What about the slums?

Channel 3 news recently presented an extensive report on the slum in the Bang Kholaem district of Bangkok. Are any of those gents running for the governorship of Bangkok interested in this slum area? There is overcrowding, vermin, unsanitary conditions and always a risk of serious health problems.

Slum dwellers might not be interested in free buses or the density of traffic jams. Their daily lives are affected by more pressing problems. I'd like to hear a response from the two major candidates, Pongsapat Pongcharoen and MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra.

YELLOW YARMULKE


Consider PM's dignity

The New York Times report describing Thaksin Shinawatra as the true power who runs things in Thailand behind the scenes says so much about corruption and the pseudo-democratic conditions present in Thailand.

The Times observed in its report that by harnessing the internet and mobile technology to run the government from afar, Thaksin has created one of the most ''unusual'' ways of governing a country.

It seems Ms Yingluck is becoming more and more irrelevant as the country's prime minister as a result of her brother's ''domineering personality'', the report claimed. Hence, it is only a matter of time before PM Yingluck breaks down in front of reporters and admits she has been used by her beloved brother _ as just a patsy.

Thaksin should stop being selfish even to his own sister. She has her dignity too.

VINT CHAVALA


Clean up this mess

Before the candidates for the upcoming Bangkok governor election get too excited about riding bikes and causing noise pollution by using loudspeakers at all hours, I suggest they go for a walk, in particular, to Chinnakhet Song in Laksi if they can.

Rubbish is strewn around, while the untidy stalls, debris and broken footpaths are a disgrace. Actions speak louder than words.

A ''Clean up Bangkok'' day is needed. Now!

MARGARET JAMIESON


Asoke's sleepless nights

Re: ''Police CCTV 'eyes in the sky' keep watch on party zones'' (BP, Jan 20).

Residents around Soi Cowboy are suffering much from the crazy music blasting from venues in the soi, which continues until 4.30am every morning, echoing through the walls of the Interchange 21 building, interrupting our sleep every night.

In addition, many taxis park in two or three lanes along Sukhumvit Soi 21, turning the road into a car park, while a great number of motorcycles are parked on the sidewalk and pedestrian passage of the road. All of them are obstructing normal traffic flow.

The shop owners and taxi drivers might be enjoying their business, but the residents around the soi are crying. This is exactly the same as environmental pollution by a factory.

Please give us back a silent and safe Asoke Road.

RESIDENT OF CONDO NEXT TO SOI COWBOY


Nothing to smile about

Ussa Yupayom grins for the camera as she shows how to handle a python (''Scales of Justice'', BP, Jan 30).

Onlookers appear amused, but Ms Ussa isn't operating a fairground attraction. She and her business partner have been arrested for buying protected reptile species to kill and cook in their restaurant.

Bangkok is hosting the Cites conference in March. That's all about endangered species. And Thailand is taking the lead. Not yet, it seems.

I suggest the Bangkok Post photographer has another photo shoot with Ms Ussa _ without the smile, minus the python, and with a couple of manacles and a well-deserved prison term.

HUGH PAXTON


Not so smart TV

Yesterday I bought a new Samsung Smart TV which can also be connected to the internet. I needed to buy a USB cable for it at the Samsung service centre in Pattaya. I went there, only to be informed that they needed to order the USB from Samsung.

To my surprise I was told that it would take three weeks to deliver! Now that's really smart. Selling you a TV, then making you wait three weeks to be able to use it at fully.

Might I suggest that Samsung include this gadget when selling these ''smart TVs''.

TONY


Arboreal massacre

A few months ago your newspaper published a letter by me in which I complained about the trees which were cut down on Beach Road in Pattaya (''Tears for Pattaya's trees'', PostBag, Sept 5).

A few people responded that I was silly getting upset, because the trees would grow back to their normal size.

Well, it's been about eight or nine months since the tree massacre and those trees don't appear to have even grown an inch. So could these people tell me how long it will take before the trees return to their original size?

My guess is that unless I outlive Methuselah _ who according to the Bible lived to the age of 969 _ I probably won't live long enough to see that glorious day.

ERIC BAHRT


True Thai patriots

I have been following the news and media stunts by the so-called pioneers of human rights and civil liberties, whom I believe are protecting the rights of criminals rather than law-abiding citizens and saviours of the nation.

They have never raised a voice against individuals or officials who continue to let the safety of the people be jeopardised on a daily basis to serve their own personal interests.

There is an endless litany of such violations. These self-styled human rights pioneers only water the tree leaves, not the tree roots.

Freedom of opinion and expression do not mean destroying the pillars of the nation, while raising no voice against those who continue to rob the nation unchecked. Thailand is a strong nation thanks to the strenuous efforts, hard labour and selfless sacrifices made by the person who will always dwell in the hearts of true Thai patriots.

I urge such social warmongers to stop criticising those trying to bring civility to the uncivil behaviour of certain unsocial elements.

JS


Survival of the greediest

I noted that Paul A Renaud in his letter (''Cheats don't prosper'', PostBag, Jan 28) vehemently disagrees with Eric Bahrt's's assessment of Lance Armstrong's use of drugs to gain an advantage over his rivals. He argues that there is a new trend towards honesty due to technological advances, etc.

It's ironic that on the right side of the page was an article by Jeffrey D Sachs (''Humanity faces a formidable development choice''), in which he wrote: ''Will prosperity slip through our fingers as greed and corruption lead us to deplete vital resources?''

Greed and graft are flourishing in numerous areas, sports only being one such area.

Armstrong's dishonesty is only a symbolic reference to a much larger form of corruption that has permeated society. One has only to look at the global financial crisis, the corruption within Myanmar's elite military families while millions are starving inside the country, and the blatant cover-ups of child abuse within the Catholic Church.

The list is endless _ one need only read the newspapers. It's becoming an epidemic. One has to consider the public's fascination and acceptance of the mafia and the mega corporations which are increasingly gaining control of the world's resources and just maybe we will eventually have a one-world government. The new system of Corporatocracy. World Economic Forum.

I agree with Eric's assessment, I consider Paul's views to be based merely on isolated examples; it appears that the survival of the greediest is steadily becoming the norm. Greed is good and cheating is accepted as long as you can get away with it.

MICHAEL CHAHINE


Unsporting behaviour

Lance Armstrong is a sad example of what sport has become today.

Historically, sport was considered to be a virtue-making discipline. The values that went with sports were considered to go hand in hand with those that go into being a person of integrity and faith.

Today, however, sport is increasingly associated with violence, drugs, sex, racism, cheating and money. Athletes are worshipped today for the money they make, for their on-field violence, for their off-field partying, for their egos and bravado that includes fighting, celebratory dances, strutting and posturing.

Technical and athletic aspects of certain sports have given way to steroid-assisted physiques, tattoos and various forms of intimidation. At one time only sailors and bikers wore tattoos. Today's footballers have helped bring these crude images of a decadent society into the mainstream. Our media helps promote and legitimise this mentality by glorifying athletic fighting and violence in a colourful and entertaining way. Vince Lombardi, former coach of the Super Bowl-winning Green Bay Packers, spoke for a generation when he said ''winning isn't everything; it's the only thing''.

Ultimately, sport should be a vehicle to develop good character, to make people courageous, loyal, generous losers, and gracious victors. We have to recover these original principles of sports so that we can work together to forge greater bonds between people and help overcome the real and terrible social problems of our time.

With respectful and cordial best wishes.

PAUL KOKOSKI


Students take it easy

Re: ''Homework cuts don't impress students'', (BP, Feb 1).

It is time the Ministry of Education realised that homework does not help improve students' academic knowledge. It does, however, give them ample opportunity to practice rote learning, which is irrelevant to practical daily applications.

Students need to develop thinking and reasoning abilities, the ability to make practical, meaningful decisions based on their situations, instead of coming to a dead end, saying, ''neither the teacher nor the book told me what to do''.

Students need to read newspapers, analyse what they read, and come to their own conclusions. Opinion columns are quite valuable in helping form opinions such as Voranai Vajinaka's columns in the Bangkok Post Sunday. However, students prefer to be led by the hand, be spoon fed, and to rely on others to make decisions and think for them. It is easier.

LOBZIG


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