Re: ''Fins ain't what they used to be'' (Brunch, Dec 9).
Khun Suthon Sukphisit writes a sorry tale of the greedy exploitation of fish stocks, to the point of extinction or near-extinction of many fish species.
He mentions, among other examples, pla khao, which has disappeared from Lat Pla Khao, pla kot, which hasn't been seen in Bang Pla Kot for more than 70 years, and pla chado, which vanished from Lad Chado more than 50 years ago.
If you enjoy crab _ in all its infinite varieties _ tuck in quickly, because I predict these delectable crustaceans will go the way of pla khao, pla kot and pla chado in the not-too distant future.
Early every morning I walk my dogs on the beaches of Rayong province, and every morning I see Thais _ sometimes whole families _ digging at sand tunnels in the receding tide for crabs.
But these immature crabs are smaller than my thumb nail, and are taken away in their hundreds every morning by unthinking people who do not realise that these are the future breeding stock.
In a similar fashion, I often see people with a wire-net device, dredging along the tide line for clams, collecting and carting away bucketloads that are smaller than my little fingernail.
In my home country, Australia, it is now illegal for people to remove any shells or shellfish from many beaches (including dead shells, believe it or not), and there are severe restrictions on fishing over huge tracts of the country's seaboard.
Without impinging on fishermen's livelihoods, Thailand should consider similar moves, or in the future the only crabs we will be enjoying are those ghastly faux crab sticks all-too-often served up instead of the real thing.
MSG a foreigners' bane
Is there a bad batch of MSG being distributed in northern Thailand?
It appears most Asians have a tolerance to MSG, although this is questionable, because they are not going to complain about (or be able to attribute) any side-effects caused by it.
Some foreigners, on the other hand, experience physical and psychological ill-effects from it. While there haven't been any scientific studies, the estimate for foreigners experiencing ill-effects from MSG is anywhere from 5% to 50%.
Yet, during the recent Loy Krathong festival in Chiang Rai, every foreigner I know who attended the festivities and ate street food later experienced the classic MSG side-effects _ headaches, irritability, constant thirst and body aches. Some were even bed-ridden for a few days.
I don't know more than a dozen foreigners here, but every one of them experienced such symptoms, and they ate at different stalls.
These are the types of things that Thais are not aware of, and even if they were, they wouldn't raise a finger to investigate.
They would chalk it up as ''bad luck'' or karma, and smile about it as if to say ''let's just grin and bear it''.
Meanwhile, foreigners are spending half their holidays in prone positions with headaches in dark hotel rooms, feeling ill.
Incidentally, whenever a foreign dignitary comes to visit Thailand, chefs for state dinners are instructed to not use MSG.
If it's bad enough for dignitaries, then it might be bad enough for ordinary people without letters after their names.
When will Thailand kick the MSG habit, at least in relation to food served to foreigners?
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