Thai Ridgeback hit the nail right on the head yesterday with his letter stating, among other things, that talk is very cheap in this country.
This was brought home to me when I read that one of Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen's pledges in his campaign to become Bangkok governor is to push for fare cuts for commuter ferries.
This has about as much chance of success as former PM Thaksin Shinawatra's pledge to clean up Bangkok's traffic problems within six months.
Watch out on the buses!
Bangkok bus companies must educate their drivers and passengers immediately to alert them of the dangers of opening bus doors and alighting from buses when the vehicles are in traffic.
Buses are not taxis where the passengers can pick and choose where to get on or off, and bus drivers have a responsibility to stop at designated bus stops only. The consequence of ignoring these rules is the real risk of injury, or worse.
This seems to be another example, as if we need any more, of avoidable behaviour which needlessly puts the lives of people at risk. Frankly, common sense seems to have deserted us yet again! Meanwhile, defensive driving techniques should be employed at all times, and please, watch out for the buses!
ARTY A DRIVER
All fired up over a radio
Isn't it totally amazing how we are all fired up over the supposed theft of a radio while Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen was in the United States during the 1980s?
I don't see the same fervour over the millions either lost, stolen or misplaced daily by the government or individual politicians in our midst. Nor do I hear anyone complaining loudly about the government rice scam, er, sorry, I mean scheme.
Free speech hypocrisy
It's obvious from two earlier PostBag letters that I wrote, that I agree with the 44 Democrats (PostBag, Jan 17) that the charges filed against former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva are politically motivated.
But how come these people didn't complain when the lese majeste law was used to punish red shirts? I've learned from first-hand experience that everyone believes in freedom of speech as long as you agree with them.
When I was in college I first went to a conservative university whose college newspaper editor sometimes refused to run my articles because he thought they were too left-wing. Then when I transferred to a left-wing college I ran into trouble with editors who thought I was too conservative!
When are people going to learn that unless you defend the freedom of speech of the people you don't like, your ''concern'' for academic freedom when you feel threatened will come across as self-serving and hypocritical?
Turn off the loudspeakers!
Re: ''Thailand 'edges closer toward a police state','' (PostBag, Jan 17). As close to home as one can get to cite concern is the installation of government-sponsored loudspeakers along city streets blaring ''selected'' news of the day! At 7.30am, no less, in the resort town of Hua Hin, we are shocked from our sleep with one hour of blaring voices and music _ and not just once a day but often two and even three times a day.
I would expect as much in communist Vietnam or Laos but not in ''democratic'' Thailand, In this day and age, it is no longer necessary to enlighten a non-reading populace with news of the world via loud speaker. For use in emergency, possibly, but more likely a deterrent to future holidaymakers seeking a peaceful beach stay.
SLEEPLESS IN HUA HIN
Already a police state?
Re: ''Thailand 'edges closer toward a police state','' (PostBag, 17 Jan). I read with interest the assertion by 44 Democrat Party members that Thailand is rapidly becoming a police state. As a resident non-Thai academic, it has been crystal clear to me that Thailand, though parading as a democracy, is far indeed from what the West would understand as such.
The capacity for the politicians in office to get their tentacles into every area of state mechanisms is legend here. Normally, however, it is at least done cunningly and not in a screaming, barefaced way.
I was therefore utterly astounded to learn from reading their letter that Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung chairs the Department of Special Investigation's special case committee. I did need to read it again to fully believe that a politician from the executive was in charge of a police committee that decided cases. The equivalent in the US would be Vice President Joe Biden being chairman of a top FBI committee. It is so preposterous as to be almost obscene to the western democratic mind.
The Democrats may believe that Thailand is fast becoming a police state but it is already so fatally flawed in the separation of state powers that in no way can it be called a democracy, so I wonder what one might call its present manifestation is as it mutates further to a yet more dictatorial form.
DR DANIEL W DELAWARE
Teachers a role model
Re: ''A society in decay'' (Opinion Online, Jan 17), Voranai Vanijaka searches in vain for a role model to remedy the malaise of weak character among the young. However, in the same edition there was the story of 700 teachers who have taken an oath to remain at their posts in the deep South for the duration, despite 157 of their colleagues being slain.
There is surely no need to look any further for role models of people displaying strength of character. Here are a group of individuals who have collectively decided to continue service in the face of considerable danger, for little or no material gain. I think this is quite extraordinary and I can't recall any other example in recent history of such willing sacrifice for a noble cause. On the other hand, I think it is a scandal that this government has not yet seen fit to actually pay out the promised meagre increase in hazard pay. Displaying quiet determination, the teachers reaffirmed their service regardless. I hope that they are duly recognised.
Women can be pilots too
As a licensed pilot and one whose family heritage has been entwined with aviation since 1911 when distant relative Harriet Quimby became the first woman to receive a pilot's licence (Orville Wright signed it) in the United States, I read with interest two aviation-related articles this morning (Jan 17). The first article, ''Airlines ground Dreamliners'', described actions taken by Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airlines that put their 787 fleets on the ground for a while. The Dreamliner is a revolutionary airplane. Boeing has pushed the aircraft design and construction envelope considerably further than it has ever done and certainly further than Airbus did with their whale (the A380 which, while giant, was the ''same old'' in a new package).
What I find uniquely interesting is that the problems experienced by the 787 in the past week do not have much, if anything, to do with what makes the airplane revolutionary. Rather, the battery problems, the fuel leaking and the cracked window all seem to be rather ordinary and call into question the quality of workmanship in the assembly of the airplane.
The second article, in Business, ''Thai pilot shortage creates legal headaches'', describes the lack of Thai citizens trained to fly the nation's airliners. What the article fails to mention is that due to the chauvinistic attitude held by the nation's largest employer, Thai Airways International (THAI), a significant group of potential pilots is being ignored. Women fly and they have been for along time and some of them have made major contributions to aviation.
Does the name Amelia Earhart ring a bell? Do we remember Sally Ride? In fact, hundreds of women have made contributions to aviation _ including my 11th-grade English teacher, Marjorie Raglin who flew unarmed B-17 bombers to England during World War II. There are women on the flight decks at Air Asia and Bangkok Airways but right now _ today _ according to the spokesperson for a senior THAI flight operations executive, no women are employed as pilots. The same situation is found at Nok Air. Why is this? THAI says that women might get pregnant and this might cause a scheduling problem. For nearly 40 years, throughout the world, women have been routinely piloting commercial airliners. Isn't it about time Thailand got the message: Women fly!
Always boil tap water
Yesterday, I stayed at a high-end hotel around the Pathumwan area where most of the customers are foreigners. I noticed a sign in the room indicating that the tap water is not safe to drink.
However, there is a poster stand at Suvarnabhumi airport saying that the tap water in Thailand is safe to drink. I just wonder if there is anyone in Bangkok or Thailand who actually drinks water from the tap. I wouldn't be one of them. My family in Thailand always boils the tap water before drinking it.
Thai youth doing great
Victor's letter, ''Cheats prosper here'' (PostBag, Jan 18) is cynical, degrades Thai youth, and is totally unnecessary.
How he can make the quantum leap from the Lance Armstrong doping issue in the United States to a wide attack on Thai youth is beyond my comprehension.
He writes: ''In Thailand these days we are all very concerned about how the younger generation behaves _ sadly, there are not many good examples we can see and follow.''
Open your eyes, Victor!
I have the honour, through having sponsored the education of a student, of being associated with the IRPC Technological College here in Rayong, and I can say with my hand on my heart that I have yet to find a better body of young men and women anywhere. Morals and ethics are actively taught at the college and it shows every day in the deportment, bearing and acts of these young Thais.
During the disastrous floods at the end of 2011, teams of students spent weeks at a time in the field, helping alleviate the plight of people in flooded areas, and afterwards helped clear up the mess, repaired motorbikes that had been submerged for weeks, and restored electrical power supplies in many areas.
The students have ongoing programmes to help locals, and design and make machinery and equipment to assist cottage industries, such as an oven to sterilise growing compost for a group of villagers launching a mushroom farm. Accountancy and business students run classes to teach locals how to devise and run a household budget. They help clean up beaches, plant trees ... the list goes on and on.
And I am sure that if Victor would just take the time to look he would find the same selfless and caring models at many other schools and colleges throughout Thailand. In my book, Thai youths can proudly hold their collective head high.
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