Speeding out of Thailand

I just arrived in Thailand on a holiday with family. I hired a car to get around, with my international driver's licence.

We went on the expressway towards Saraburi and were driving at a safe speed of 90km/hour. Police stopped us (no speed radar) and told us we were going too fast?

They wanted 500 baht. I refused to pay or accept a ticket and got threatened.

Thanks Thailand. Never, ever again.

PETER


Plodprasop gets it wrong

As a gentleman who claims to understand science, Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi's recent comments pushing an accelerated schedule for constructing large-scale dams (BP, Feb 10) exhibit a keen disregard for sound science.

Surely, he knows full well that natural forests inundated by reservoirs cannot be replaced by manmade forests elsewhere. His assertion that the government will ''replace every plot of forested area [flooded by dams] with three times the amount of forested land ...'' is a hollow defence for the destruction of irreplaceable natural forests. The natural forests of Thailand typically harbour hundreds of diverse tree species, shrubs and herbaceous plants, providing food and habitat for an incredible range of birds, reptiles and other wildlife.

Government reforestation initiatives, on the other hand, invariably involve establishing plantations of a single tree species (all too often eucalyptus or Acacia mangium) in neat rows, in a barren environment that no self-respecting hornbill or pangolin would ever consider making home.

Even a plantation 100 times the area to be flooded by dam reservoirs would not be adequate compensation for the loss of rich natural forests teeming with plants and animals.

SAMANEA SAMAN


Salmonella origins clear

In response to my letter about the link between poultry and salmonella food poisoning, Victor Meldrew (Postbag, Feb 11) notes that many vegetables have salmonella and E coli bacteria. He fails to point out that such contamination originates in animals and might be spread to vegetables.

For example, if I'm in a restaurant and the same knife that the chef uses to chop up chicken is used to chop up my lettuce he might spread the salmonella bacteria from the chicken to my food. But who is the culprit, the chicken or the lettuce?

Mr Meldrew also ignores the point I made about how the beef, pork and poultry industries overuse antibiotics which is making it increasingly difficult to treat food poisoning regardless of where it originated from.

While Mr Meldrew always accuses me of quoting from biased sources, my sources in that letter were a former assistant Secretary of Agriculture, a doctor from the CDC and a USDA inspector. All those people represent the establishment and would probably commit suicide if they knew I was using their statements to further my cause!

ERIC BAHRT


Smokers a rail menace

I travel between my hometown and Bangkok several times a month on the State Railway of Thailand. People never fail to stand between the carriages and continuously smoke, regardless of the conspicuously posted no-smoking warnings, filling the carriages with obnoxious cigarette smoke.

The worst offenders are the Western tourists who travel from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet. I recently asked one of these tourists to put his cigarette out as he wouldn't dare smoke in or between a railway carriage in his own country, and there was no need to treat Thailand with any less respect. Meantime, the ticket conductors and the so-called railroad police, a lot of retired old men carrying guns, simply walked past the smokers and smiled. What are they being paid for?

COLA RIDGEBACK


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