Andrew Biggs posed a pertinent question in last Sunday's Brunch when he asked exactly why Christian missionaries are in Thailand. I used to be a teacher at an allegedly Christian school where lots of students were the children of missionaries.
There was, unfortunately, much hypocrisy, especially in the actions of the Christian principal. Some missionaries were wonderful, while others were fanatical and boring. Most of them were working with hilltribe people. However, many ofthese missionary teachers would actually teach these innocent people nonsense, such as that the world is only 6,000 years old and that dancing is a sin. They also preached that the world would end soon and taught this bizarre Armageddon theology to all they could reach.
On the other hand, they built schools and churches and sometimes fed the tribe. They gave them hope in a rather hopeless environment of unemployment, drugs, superstition and exploitation. In fact, they occasionally did more for the hilltribe people than the government ever does.
My point is this: God is perfect, but people are not. The issue of missionaries in Thailand is complicated and opaque. In the end, it is up to people to choose what they believe.
Religious beliefs and ideas should be like deciding what to eat in a cafeteria. No one should tell you what to choose.
As Jesus said, the quality of a tree should be judged by its fruit.
'BEST MEN' ARE A RARE BREED
In a letter in yesterday's PostBag about the lottery to assign policemen to duty in the troubled South (''Lacking sense in South''), Victor concluded with an astute comment from his little niece: ''I'd send the best man to do the job.'' Unfortunately, there have not been any best men, or best women to help run this country, its civil services, ministries, or any state agencies for ages. There are no best men to run Thai Airways or the State Railway of Thailand. Those who are chosen for ''best man'' status are wealthy, corrupt or both, but one thing they all have in common is that they lack knowledge for the jobs assigned to them.
CHEERS FOR YAOWARAT COUPLE
I enjoyed the story ''Where East meets West'' in yesterday's Bangkok Post. Learning that a Frenchman and his Thai wife from Isan are serving yum woonsen (spicy vermicelli salad) in Yaowarat, brought a smile to my face.
Despite their different cultural backgrounds and languages, the Frenchman Sam Montassier has adapted himself to the local culture. What's more, he and his wife are managing to earn a better living despite some earlier setbacks.
A farang man and a Thai woman from Isan _ worlds apart at first glance _ can accept each others' differences and cooperate, and indeed love one another. Why can't Thais who speak the same language, share the same history, and live within the same borders cooperate? Do not let colour-coded politics divide us and get in the way of cooperation. If East can meet West, then surely the reds can meet the yellows.
ERIC'S TRUE COLOURS REVEALED
I just read an excellent editorial in Pattaya Today about Eric Bahrt called ''Eric Bahrt and the emperor Nero''.
For years Eric's critics have abused the websites and the letters sections of the newspapers that print his letters, distorting and lying about what he writes. They resort to personal attacks because they can't intelligently and intellectually dispute Eric's well-documented arguments.
But like me, the writer of the editorial knows Eric and can tell readers the real Eric Bahrt is a kind, idealistic and compassionate defender of animals and vegetarianism.
After reading the article the readers will see that Eric stands head and shoulders above his critics as a writer, a man and most importantly as a human being.
HAS TRUE CUT BACK AGAIN?
This week I received the TrueVisions TV guide for January 2013 and immediately noticed it was half the size of previous booklets.
Upon opening it, I saw that January programmes had only been indicated for evenings and no longer for mornings, afternoons and nights.
The first two pages were covered by the True CEO in the Thai language, in which, according to my Thai wife, he let us know how good True has become. I had my wife check for any announcements for a change but she told me there were none.
Calling the normal True contact number, my wife was told they did not know about this and had to call another section.
Apparently she was told the following by the True employee:
True had adapted their programming in such a way that some channels (foreign?) will only be shown in the evening time.
Notwithstanding this, the subscription fees will remain the same.
There might be a dispute between True and the government as the basis of all this.
I have sent a message to True's website with questions but they have been left unanswered up to now.
Can somebody let me know what is behind all this? It certainly looks like True is doing this purely by themselves without letting anybody know. Is there any suitable alternative?
By the way, True has lost the bid for the next three years of Premiership football programming. To whom did they lose?
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