The government is making loud noises about its achievements with the first-time car buyer scheme. But there are implications from this ill-conceived populist project.
After distorting the car market for a year or so, what will happen to car sales from next year onwards?
Many buyers taking advantage of the tax reduction really don't need a car and are just enticed by the discount they're getting. Did they know that they must keep the car for at least five years, meaning costs mount with insurance, fuel, maintenance and instalment payments? Bad loans and repossessed cars are likely to follow.
Just like the rice pledging scheme, this car buyer policy is merely aimed at enriching the accounts of certain people. In this case, Thai-based auto suppliers. Don't forget: the only eligible cars for tax discount are those with engines under 1,500cc, pickups costing less than a million baht and those made in Thailand.
Hero of the 11th hour
As usual, Sanitsuda Ekachai hit the nail on the head with her column on the encroachment of Thailand's forests. She refers to the ex-national parks chief as coming across to some as a hero with his order to demolish certain encroaching structures. In my unpublished letter to the Bangkok Post, I asked the question, ''Where was he when these encroachments were taking place?'' They didn't spring up overnight and for him to appear as the forests' saviour at the eleventh hour is absurd. He and his department should have been on the ball to stop the problem in the first place.
Charter move just a ruse
Pheu Thai Party leader Charupong Ruangsuwan says the section of the charter that urgently requires amendment is the one punishing an entire political party for the wrongdoings of even a single party executive. The constitution, the foundation of a democracy, should protect people from government abuse of power, not the reverse as Mr Charupong would have us believe.
Such urgency communicated by the coalition in power merely reflects their perception of an opportunity to seize more power at the expense of the people, not their desire to establish a truer form of democracy. I would hope the Thai people are no longer susceptible to this crude ploy.
Bitten by dog dispute
For farang new to this country, I offer an interesting, not to say baffling, insight into Thai culture, which might help them acculturate more easily and without unintended and unfortunate consequences.
Situation: A neighbour owns a dog that harasses pedestrians and barks incessantly.
Response: In an effort to resolve the situation in a reasonable and mature fashion, you speak to the owner and request he controls his dog.
Result: Your actions are considered confrontational, relationships are damaged, and you are blamed ''for making a problem''.
Welcome to Thailand!
Sala Daeng a rat paradise
Thomas Giesen is correct in his observations that Sala Daeng Road, considered to be a desirable residential street, is now a rat-infested eyesore and potential health hazard.
For the record, many Sala Daeng Road residents have signed and presented a petition to the BMA requesting that closed dustbins be put out at and at appropriate times for rubbish collection. The feeble excuse from the BMA is that there is nowhere on the pavement for such containers.
There is a street market behind Central Department Store/Silom but no rubbish bins. The street vendors therefore walk to Sala Daeng Road and put their rubbish in front of abandoned shophouses. The rats are now so big and bold that I have seen rubbish bags literally bouncing up and down as the rats have a field day inside. Scavengers looking for reusable items also leave a scattering of rubbish. Maybe all the rubbish should be taken to the BMA and dumped on their desks with the rats.
RESIDENT IN SALA DAENG
CONTACT: BANGKOK POST BUILDING
136 Na Ranong Road Klong Toey, Bangkok 10110
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