There is untold violence and intimidation happening in the sois of Thailand which threatens to destroy all the other beautiful things about the country and its people. It used to be that in a place like Pattaya there would be a cacophony of noises, from bars, from street vendors and the ever-present motorbikes. The noise level would be tolerable and most of the music emanating from the bars would be over by midnight, thus making it possible for the hard working tourist to get some sleep.
This has changed, though. The Thai fondness for loud noise has reached new heights _ or decibels _ and their respect for the well-being of others has reached new lows. This has resulted in loudspeakers the size of small houses being erected outside bars in narrow sois, blasting noise (formerly called music) with a heart-thumping bass that makes walls reverberate and beds shake. What it does to the hearing of the people close to the loudspeakers is no secret and one can only hope that they will be able to communicate by sign language later in life.
Sometimes, specially rigged trucks will even be parked in front of the bars with the power and sound level of small atomic bombs. They terrorise the neighbourhood, with all its hotels and paying guests, until well after midnight.
And after having spent years in Thailand, one knows that calling the police will only be an exercise in futility. If this is an intentional attempt by some Thais to get rid of tourists, it just might work.
Tolerance has its limits
A Russian cosmonaut once said: ''If you want to see two people come to hate each other, stick them in a tiny capsule together for weeks.''
It's a similar case when it comes to music; you can take your favourite song, and if it's played non-stop for several weeks, it will become extremely annoying to hear.
In my small village, Hoy Plakang, on the outskirts of Chiang Rai, there's a new Buddhist compound. The head monk has a five-note song that he loves.
He projects that one song, via loudspeakers, to everyone within a 20 square kilometre radius of his wat.
The song starts before dawn, and repeats non-stop, until the sun goes down.
It's like there's a hi-fi speaker facing in at everyone's windows, with no volume control or off-button.
Does Buddhism need to be so intrusive? I don't compel my neighbours to listen to my favourite song.
Does a religious organisation have the right to compel me to listen to its favourite song 80 hours a week?
Dengue denial will bite
Re: Michael Setter's letter, ''Time to tackle dengue'' (BP, Feb 8).
I have lived on Koh Phayam, Ranong province, for many years. Two years ago, I contracted dengue fever and it took me 12 days in Ranong hospital to recover as I had a particularly bad case. I have since discovered that more than 30 other cases were recorded on the island in that same period. There has been a lack of mosquito control measures on the island for four years now.
I submitted the problem to local authorities, but received no interest.
When I posted the issue on a Facebook page promoting Koh Phayam, managed by a Thai person, it was played down. Sweeping the dirt under the carpet won't help improve the situation. Instead it will get worse, causing more damage to people and tourism.
Kho Phayam, Ranong
PM's economics 101
Economics was never my strongest subject in university, so I'd appreciate a clarification from the Prime Minister's Office. The PM insists Thais have more purchasing power. If a Thai receives a 10% increase in salary, but food and other products rise by the same 10%, how has this increased an individual's buying power? I might have failed Eco-101, but I'd say that an increase in wages followed by an equal increase in the cost of goods and services sort of cancels itself out, don't you think?
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