The Bangkok Post has named the Thailand Development and Research Institute (TDRI) as the Person of the Year for 2012. This is an excellent choice, as are the reasons given. The front page article by Soonruth Bunyamanee gives appropriate credit to the present president and three former presidents. However, it fails to mention the founder and first president, Anat Arbhabhirama.
The whole concept of TDRI as an apolitical think-tank and advisory body was the brainchild of Mr Anat, then a professor at the Asian Institute of Technology. His enormous success in setting up the TDRI and immediately obtaining the funding to bring it to a viable size created the basis for its success.
It is important that this be recognised as we celebrate the occasion and the realisation of Mr Anat's dream.
ALASTAIR M NORTH
Gridlocked up north
When I previously lived in Chiang Mai, the only times I would experience a traffic jam was during rush hours. But, when I returned in September after having lived in Japan, I was shocked by the increasing number of cars on the road. Now, almost all the main roads in Chiang Mai are crowded all the time.
I don't think the first-time car buyer cash rebate policy is suitable for Thailand. Think also about fuel consumption. More cars means the government will have to import a larger amount of fuel.
The government should instead focus on improving our mass transportation system to deal with traffic jams, which are a huge problem in big cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
Take a stand against US
I am alarmed by the story ''Cops to fight trafficking by the book'' (BP, Dec 31).
In summary, the US has provided Thailand with an instruction book regarding trafficking. If Thailand does not satisfy America's requirements regarding trafficking, there will be sanctions - not unlike Cuba, Iran and, until recently, Myanmar, I suppose. This is scary! It is also an issue of sovereignty. The US' international policy is largely driven by the influence of its political constituents who are often religious and lacking in worldly experience.
No issue of the day is more infused with cultural and moral overtones than trafficking. Forcing American cultural and moral values down people's throats will not make friends for the US around the world.
In the 1950s and '60s, media-driven fear of communism caused the US government to overthrow popularly elected administrations - Guatemala, Iran, Vietnam and more - and replace them with dictatorships. Now, in the 21st century, Thailand and other countries must assume the cultural and moral values of the United States to avoid sanctions. The cycle goes on. Thailand should tell the US it will enforce its own laws regarding labour and sex issues - but I guess it can't do that.
I don't have an answer, short of Third World countries organising themselves to stand up to the US on what should be internal issues.
Annoying Eric's award
Hearty congratulations to Roger Crutchley for his spoof on the characters of 2012, especially his Golden Panties Award for the case of ''the knickers nicker being nicked''.
The runner-up must be the writer of the letter which on Nov 30 fawningly stated what a wonderful person the ever-annoying serial letter writer Eric Bahrt is. It must have made Eric's year to see his name in print for the umpteenth time this year.
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