What are the new rules that prohibit taxis from saying "no" to a customer?
Last night around 9pm I was on Sukhumvit Road and needed to travel to Rattanathibet Road, Nonthaburi. I counted 15 taxis that refused to take me to my destination, citing low fuel, too far, or just "no". As a farang I can't believe how weak the government is on this issue. It is time these new rules were enforced.
If you try to take a photo or document licence plate details it just creates a lot of anger from the driver and I don't want to put myself at risk.
Reaping what you sow
Someone should run those silly sound trucks up and down the rural rice growing areas with the loud proclamation of, "If it is too good to be true, it probably is." Rice farmers were completely taken in by Pheu Thai's promise of 15,000 baht per tonne of paddy rice. They saw immediate profits without thinking of the possible consequences should the scheme fail. Look before you leap, caveat emptor, and a few other such thoughts come to mind. Farmers elected Pheu Thai and the red-shirt minions and are now paying for their blind faith in political promises. You reap what you sow.
Creative energy lacking
Are there any Thai innovators who are endeavouring to "push the envelope" regarding alternative energy technology? Three related items in that regard: a) a new type of biofuel, called isobutanol (heavier and better than ethanol) can be made from the type of yeast used in alcoholic drinks; b) attractive "solar trees" with solar panels placed at parking lots, which could also provide power and shade; and c) a newly released report from Australia which found that newly built renewable energy arrays are cheaper than energy generated from newly built fossil fuel plants.
This third item may be a no-brainer to those of us who study such things, but to people running the Thai government or Egat, it might be an eye-opener.
What tangible things do the government, businesses or rich individuals do to foster and nurture development of alternative power technology? Are there scholarships or research facilities or grants available to innovative Thais who are at the vanguard of such things? If there are, we don't hear about them. How about a dedicated section in newspapers for such stories? There are already dozens of pages each day devoted to sports and fashion and TV personalities. Perhaps Thai leaders figure it's easier to just let foreign innovators blaze trails, and Thailand can follow along, to reap the benefits decades later - though there will be royalties required to pay for using others' innovations (ha ha ha). Are there capable Thai men and women who would accept and act on the challenge of developing cutting edge technology? One would think so, but support from Thai institutions is drier than Death Valley in July.
Pollution policy is rubbish
Re: "My discord with karaoke" (PostBag, March 1).
Mark Spencer might as well stay up at night, join in the karaoke, and whistle dixie for all the response he is going to get from local authorities on the noise pollution at Mae Ram Pheung Beach, Rayong.
I and many others have written numerous letters to PostBag and have made representations to local authorities about the other sort of pollution rife on Rayong's beaches: the garbage and rubbish piled high on Rayong City beaches, through Mae Ram Pheung and down the other side of Ban Phe. It has all been ignored and the pollution fluctuates with the tides.
Admittedly, periodic clean-up drives clear the beaches for a day or two. But then the next high tide re-pollutes the beaches all over again.
The real problem is that the authorities have not tried to solve this pollution at its source.
The first issue is that because of limited space and it being a national park, there is no garbage dump on Koh Samet, so rubbish is theoretically meant to be returned to the mainland. Instead, locals dump it in the sea, and on one occasion when bags of rubbish were loaded onto a boat for return to the mainland, I saw it being dumped overboard midway between the island and Ban Phe.
The second is the rubbish jettisoned by ships sailing up and down the Gulf of Thailand's sea lanes to and from the ports in Bangkok and Chon Buri.
Much of this garbage dumped into the sea is eventually carried by tides and currents to the mainland beaches, and that is why they are so filthy, and will remain filthy and an eyesore for tourists and visitors.
The solution is to seek and enforce a garbage disposal policy on Koh Samet, and the surveillance of ships in the Gulf of Thailand and vigorous prosecution of offenders. Perhaps this is a worthwhile "nation building" job for the Royal Thai Navy, given that it has little else to do except harass Rohingya.
In fear of Phuket dengue
I am a tourist in Phuket. I plan to stay six months in Karon beach but the dengue fever epidemic worries me. There are at least nine people in our soi alone who have become very ill with dengue fever. I have sent emails to the Phuket Gazette and also to local doctors who promised to inform health authorities. As yet I haven't seen any measures to tackle this health threat.
Also, rubbish bins are a rare sight around here in Karon and people throw rubbish everywhere.
All paper to the police
Khun Ricardo shouldn't let himself get worked up over the fact that hotels should be asked to present a list of their foreign registrants, ("Seeing red over red tape," BP, Feb 28). In France, and many other countries, this is a routine matter, not even given any thought by tourists. Every morning police detachments make the rounds of all hotels and guest houses in all areas to collect a list of those registered. It does not mean every guest is in any way a suspect. It simply helps the police and immigration department to investigate any problems should they arise. Thailand has as much right to use the same system, considering what goes on here with foreign nationals, from smuggling drugs to terrorist activities, overstays, scammers, prostitution, visa abuse, and more. If the Thai police and Immigration Department wish to create more paperwork and increase their workloads, it is their concern only, not the concern of legitimate visitors. Who cares?
Xenophobia in disguise
The news report that immigration police are pressing hotel and guesthouses to file reports on foreigners within 24 hours of their check-in (BP, Feb 27) is yet another astonishing display of Thai xenophobia and non-productive "make work". Police are claiming the hotel reports will allow them to "monitor the movements of foreigners, including those tourists who are actually criminals in disguise". I'm curious how immigration police will determine which tourists are actually "criminals in disguise" and, if this feat is actually possible, why not also monitor the movements of Thai nationals checking into hotels and guesthouses who might be criminals in disguise?
Delusions of grandeur
I had a good chuckle when I read in Business that there are plans to build housing properties named "Kensington Place" in Khao Yai ("Torfun enlarging luxury Khao Yai development," BP, Feb 28).
How do the developers dream these names up? So what's next? Buckingham Park in Roi Et? Or perhaps Grosvenor Housing in Ubon Ratchathani? God forbid we may even see a Sandringham Estate in Rayong?
I just love the creativity!
The power of one
Re: "Breaking the nation's moral bankruptcy" (BP, Feb 26).
Bravo to Parisa Pichitmarn for her brave article. You would think Thais would not (and should not) need an article such as this to be written by one of their own. It reminded me of the movie Pay It Forward, where one good deed deserves another. I try to do my part by letting people cross the road or merge in front of me whenever possible. However, all too often I see cars make a third lane on a two-lane road, just to jump the queue when the light turns green.
Still, I realise - it all starts with me.
Light bulb blackout idea
The Egat, current government and all past governments have missed a big opportunity to reduce household electricity consumption by not allowing property listed as residential to have three-phase electricity supply.
As houses in Thailand continue to increase the floor plan size, bigger and bigger air conditioning units are required to cool these larger homes and three-phase electricity is the most efficient and cost-effective way to operate larger air conditioning units. At my house we have four air conditioning units that are factory set to run on either single phase or three-phase electricity. If I was allowed to have three-phase power to run these four air conditioning units my total electricity usage and electricity bills would be significantly reduced. But I was clearly told by the Egat that three-phase electricity at this house is just not allowed. The Egat and the government, should think about this before we all experience blackouts in April.
Industry needs protection
Re: "Tata urges the government to act over Chinese cheap imports" (BP, Feb 15).
In most sectors, the Thai government is not protecting the genuine interests of Thai industries and eventually this will lead to the ultimate and premature death of the Thai manufacturing industry. In the name of the WTO and other such pretexts, the government is reluctant to come to the rescue of unfair treatment meted out to Thai companies by other countries. The import duty for textile spun yarn of any kind from Indonesia is zero whereas Indonesia levied a "safeguard duty" against cotton yarn from Thailand about three years back. Since then all exports from Thailand to Indonesia have gone dry whereas Indonesia continues to export to Thailand. We are well within our rights and WTO guidelines to levy a safeguard duty against Indonesia, Pakistan, India, China and other such countries. But we seem to lack the political will.
The Thai textile industry is in the doldrums now due to steep increases in wages, salaries, power and due to the strong baht when compared to other competing nations' currencies.
Brazil has levied steep anti-dumping duty against rayon yarn imports from Thailand and Turkey has now started an anti-dumping investigation.
Thailand is allowing duty-free almost all products from these countries.
The government is not willing to help the Thai textile industry in any manner. There is unfair smuggling activity also across the porous borders from China and eventually the Thai textile industry - like steel and many other manufacturing industries - will be doomed unless the government wakes up. It is interesting to note that the Thai textile industry employs more than 2 million people either directly or indirectly.
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