I read with interest your article regarding the expansion of the Thai Post Office International Parcel Service. It sounds absolutely great, let's hope it works better than their current core business. I live 50 kilometres north of Nakhon Sawan.
Since the floods of 2011 we have received absolutely no deliveries of international mail (there have been at least eight missing items of correspondence from the UK and Belgium). This is despite the fact that some of the correspondence has the address written both in English and Thai so translation should not be a problem.
Before the floods the delivery of air mail was a little slow (10 days on average) but reliable. Could somebody from Thai Post please explain in honest terms what has gone wrong with their system? Unless they get their act together they will not survive in the international business world. I have tried well-known international courier services with no better results as they appear to transfer deliveries (even though I've paid for door-to-door service) to the Thailand Post if the destination is outside Bangkok _ and I get the same negative results.
Somyot sentence queries
One must express appreciation that Chief Justice Thawee has descended from the Court Bench to a public forum to explain the apparent severity of the 10-year sentence for Somyot Prueksakasemsuk (BP, Jan 25, ''Court plays down harshness of Somyot's sentence'').
''... it's a law which is inviolable,'' Chief Justice Thawee said. Ah yes, thank you for this clarification. May one now ask how the sentence is justified in light of the inviolable law on freedom of opinion and expression expressed in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and ratified in legal form by Thailand in the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights?
Further, a mathematical query, may we have details of the judicial calculation that the 10-year sentence is midway between a minimum of three and a maximum of 15 years?
Union for Civil Liberty
Can't have it both ways
In my Postbag letter of Jan 19 I was sceptical when 44 Democrats in their letter expressed concern about threats to freedom of speech. I asked why these ''freedom loving'' Democrats remain silent when red shirts are prosecuted for violating the lese majeste law.
Ironically, five days after my letter was published a red-shirt leader was sentenced to 10 years in jail for violating that law. Will the 44 Democrats now join Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Reporters Without Borders and others to ask for the lese majeste law to be changed? When pigs fly!
Some readers may be surprised that I'm raising this issue since in the past I've been highly critical of the red shirts. But unlike those 44 Democrats, I'm not interested in partisan politics. My only political agenda has always been to promote human rights and animal rights and I don't care what colour shirt people wear.
Driving me up the wall
My recent two-week vacation to England at the end of the year was a truly memorable experience. I travelled around in a hired vehicle. Like any well-behaved tourist, I never thought that I would have any trouble. I was wrong.
Early this week. I received a letter from the Transport for London (TFL), which said I had to pay a fine of 100 pounds for driving into London's ''congestion zone'' without registration. The fine is to be charged from my credit card. I am totally baffled. The thing is, I never knew of such a registration system. The car rental company did not alert me when I took the vehicle.
During my entire trip I spent a very brief time in London and I didn't search for such information.
Had I known of the system, I would have registered my hired car (I have just learnt that it's only 10 pounds a day). I wouldn't have waited until the amount accumulated to 100 pounds.
The car rental company was quick to distance itself from the matter, just saying the fine will be added to my credit card payment.
So, I have no choice but to pay the huge fine.
My only complaint here is that there should be a proper channel to warn tourists, especially those who hire a car. This way, frustration can be avoided.
Putting all of this aside, I have to say that I admire the TFL for its bold measures to cope with traffic problems. All big cities, Bangkok for one, should learn from it.
Stop this unholy racket
Amazing Thailand never ceases to amaze me. Can someone please explain to me why a celebration of any kind at our local temple attracts people with amazingly bad singing voices. Their unmelodic caterwauling goes on for hours. Why are these people allowed anywhere near a microphone and amplifier? Is it because these egomaniacs are big donators to the temples? I have heard more melodic sounds emanate from a screeching cat. Perhaps these wannabes should heed the words of John Lennon, ''Give Peace a Chance,'' and let the rest of us have a chance at peace.
Taxi driver from hell
I am a 40-year old woman who has been living and working in Bangkok for seven years. Last night, after a meeting, I got in a meter taxi at Sukhumvit Soi 11 to head home to my neighbourhood in Bang Lamphu, as I have done countless times. After driving me in large circles, where I assumed he was trying to extend the rate of the cab fare, the driver finally pulled over to the side of the road on Sam Sen near Thewes, in front of a quiet park where there was no one around. I went to open the doors, but they were locked and there was no knob to unlock them. I turned and saw he had pulled out a large knife and said he wanted my money. I emptied my wallet of the 10,000 baht I had just been paid earlier in the day and begged him to please just take the money and let me go. He apologised, waied several times, and said: ''Sorry Madame, you go hospital now''. I was terrified, sure that in this moment, in this very small space in the back of a Bangkok taxi, my life would end. I begged him and he kept shaking his head and apologising and I begged him not to hurt me. In a moment of grace, he opened the door and I bolted, running without looking back as he drove away.
I am grateful for the young Thai man who was the first person I ran into, who kindly took me by the hand and walked me to the nearest police station, calming me as I was shaking and sobbing. I am grateful for the Tourist Police, who, although clearly frustrated that I hadn't bothered to get the taxi number, were polite and efficient and kind as they took the report. I am grateful to be alive and unharmed, even if shaken from the incident.
I am all too aware of how easily the scenario could have ended very differently, much much worse for me. I know how little value some people place on human life, and I thank the taxi driver for choosing to spare mine. In choosing not to hurt or kill me, this man saved my daughter from irreparable suffering. I am so grateful that I was able to go home last night, call my daughter in Canada and tell her how much I love her.
No easy solution in South
In Australia we have people who want a police officer on every corner and a police car on every kilometre of road. It's impossible of course. But so is Stan Zydel's (Postbag, Jan 25) request to have every bus and school protected by the authorities in the South. Two things Stan. There will never be an effective peace while the administration is governed by ineffective, arrogant and self serving politicians and not the military. At times the military and police are extremely hampered by political rules of engagement. For example, two female school teachers were brutally assaulted resulting in one dying and the authorities were not allowed to penetrate a line of Muslim women who were protecting the perpetrators.
Similarly, when two marines were brutally tortured and murdered a line of Muslim women thwarted the authorities' attempts at arrest. As these insurgents are extremely hard to find because they hide behind women and children, they never attack head on and they very rarely confront authorities because of their cowardice.
Their beliefs are their sanitised versions of the Koran which, I believe, is a book of peace. Sorry Stan but there will never be a policeman on every corner and there will never be protection for all in the South. Authorities need to have a worded mandate to break the lines of women and have clear and concise rules of engagement.
Medical rip-off exposed
The cartoon regarding private hospitals eating patients money, (Opinion, Jan 22) with the doctors and nurses waiting behind the green cross sign just about sums it up.
Well done Bangkok Post for showing what we all know to be a medical expense rip-off.
Time for cooperation
Re: Preah Vihear or Phra Viharn in Thai, the old Hindu temple on the Thai-Cambodian border, could be jointly administered by both countries.
Money from tourists could be shared accordingly and a border conflict could be snuffed out.
Along the same vein, the islands in the South China Sea, whose ownership is being disputed by China versus six other countries, could be jointly administered.
Unfortunately, ''sharing'' is not a concept embraced by Asians.
Asia is a land mass where nearly every house and property is enclosed by a high wall and/or barbed wire fence.
Among the world's hundreds of World Heritage Sites, 18 are jointly administered by bordering countries.
How many of those are in Asia? None. Phra Viharn (oh sorry, Preah Vihear) temple and the rock islands in the South China Sea, could serve as examples of how Asians can share stewardship of little bits of property ... if Asean chooses to consider that.
Better yet, for the islands, it would be better to have them declared as international marine reserves _ owned by no country, and thereby owned by everyone _ and left to nature, which has been humbly doing its cycles for hundreds of thousands of years before people came along to declare possession and threaten to overfish the region, and possibly cause a few oil spills to spice things up. Oh, and a possible war at sea, which would be calamitous for marine life and other species.
It's easy being green
As a follow-up to your excellent article ''Green Dream of Makkasan'' on Jan 22, I'd like to point out that further south of Bangkok there is also a similar green dream of Mabprachan. This is a reservoir on the outskirts of Pattaya that has phenomenal potential to emulate the immensely successful Bay Run area in Sydney.
It would take minimal effort to turn this area into a park where walkers, joggers, cyclists and people who simply want peace and quiet can enjoy.
Among the major benefits would be increased local tourism to the area since Thais are infinitely more attracted to natural local tourism than foreigners _ sorry if that upsets some foreign nature lovers, but you know what I mean. How many foreign families do you see at the many waterfalls around the country ?
Unfortunately word has it that the development rights are under wraps with a local gardening business.
This has been the case for some years already and I guess until they can figure out the means to maximise profits from it then it stays as it is.
There have been some token gestures in recent years but they've been half-hearted and mostly remain unfinished.
Why the city cannot undertake this for the benefit of the people is something they can remain ashamed of.
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