The new Cambodian and Thai visa arrangemen is a PR stunt to conceal the fact that seven years of negotiations over common Asean visas have yielded nothing except petty squabbles and internal fighting in Thailand about who gets to syphon off visa fees.
Virtually all of the nationalities listed can get a visa on arrival, free in Thailand and at a price in Cambodia, without the hassle of going to an embassy beforehand.
The visa is only of slight use to Chinese tourists who will still have to queue up and pay again at the second country they visit.
In any case, China is negotiating hard to get visa-free travel to Asean countries.
Even for the bulk of Chinese who enter via Bangkok, the visa is useless because it is only single entry. So they fly into Bangkok, fly to Siem Reap, and the visa is used up already. They now need another visa to go back to Bangkok to catch the flight home.
For western visitors who want a 90-day tourist visa, rather than 30 days free on arrival, it is also going to be useless for the same reason that it is only single entry.
Most will be better off with two 90-day visas (or a 90-day multiple entry Thai visa).
More True complaints
Re: TrueVisions and their new look Premiere magazine. Jerry Schele of Rayong isn't entirely correct (''Have True cut back again?'', PostBag, Dec 30), although I sympathise and agree with his sentiments about the company which treats its customers with all the arrogance that only a monopoly can get away with.
In fact, about three weeks ago, I received a flyer from TrueVisions (in Thai and English) in which it mentioned ''big changes to our magazine in 2013''.
It goes on: ''In line with your requests [really?] we will be changing the format of our schedule pages. The new design will combine the highlights of the most popular channels together in a logical format so that it will be much easier for you to see the evening's Prime Time schedule at a glance.''
Another paragraph goes on to tell you that if you want more detail you can either download the app, sift through the on-screen EPG or go to the TrueVisions website.
Oh yes, and Mr Schele will be glad of this: ''If you feel that they [the new schedule pages] fall short of information, please contact our Customer Service Centre on 02 725 2525 and we will make arrangements to supply you with an alternate detailed printed schedule.'' If that actually happens, well done TrueVisions, but I am not holding my breath.
In summary, TrueVisions has broken the golden rule of ''if it ain't broke, don't fix it''.
They have taken a perfectly acceptable programme schedule magazine and turned it into something almost completely useless for the average viewer.
They have also ignored the fact that a fair percentage of their viewers are foreigners, as in their changes they have made no concession at all to those who can't read Thai.
Sacrifice for country
An open letter to Thaksin Shinawatra.
Dear Khun Thaksin, my best wishes on the occasion of this New Year 2013.
I would like to take this opportunity to ask you, in the name of all Thais, to give your country something in return on this special occasion.
Will you please give up your involvement in Thailand's political affairs?
As you see, Khun Thaksin, your involvement in politics has proved right from the beginning to be counterproductive, and even divisive.
Only with your departure from politics will Thais be able to reunite, and the country's reputation as the land of smiles and a land of peace-loving people be restored.
Instead of each of us going our own separate way, why don't we all join hands and work as one instead, so that our King will be happy and our country again will become prosperous.
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