Yesterday morning seven people were killed on the highway from Chon Buri to Rayong when their minivan ran off the road and exploded in a fireball.
I was driving from Rayong to Pattaya and passed the scene of the accident within minutes of it happening.
Why am I writing this letter? Because even before I saw the carnage across the highway, I was in a state of sheer terror.
I have never seen such madness on the road.
Big trucks and petrol tankers hogging the right hand lane. Impatient drivers trying to overtake by crossing into the verge lane and pulling back in without indicator lights. A pickup truck that tailgated me at about three metres, all the time flashing headlights for me to cross over to let him pass, when that was impossible because all the lanes were full.
Later, drivers who wanted to change lanes who sped up to get in front of me, rather than pull in behind me. Drivers who jumped red lights. Big truck drivers who obviously think that might is right and showed no regard for smaller vehicles. On the open highway I was doing 120kph and cars and trucks were racing past me at speeds up to 160kph. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
When are drivers in this country going to learn some respect for their fellow drivers, and more importantly respect for human life? How many more accidents like this does it take to drive the message home? There's no pun intended there, but I was thankful to eventually make it home safely.
OUTSIDERS HAVE INSIDE TRACK
In Friday's commentary, ''Politics must begin with the idea of public service'', Wasant Techawongtham writes that all candidates for political office should have dedicated part of their lives to public service and the public should have a say in the selection of candidates. Why?
The Italian comedian Beppe Grillo who did so well in the election there appealed to voters precisely because he wasn't a politician. His campaign was based on his being an outsider who told the truth about politicians.
Letting party members choose a candidate is no guarantee of quality either. The selection of several unelectable ''Tea Party'' candidates and Mitt Romney by the US Republican Party members is a case in point.
Nor is it true that selection by party bosses is always a bad thing. Wasant describes Yingluck Shinawatra's selection as Pheu Thai party leader as the ''worst top-down decision forced on an unwitting citizenry by a party machine'', but in Ms Yingluck's case the ''unwitting citizenry'' seemed to approve of her choice by the party leader _ her brother _ and her selection probably increased the size of the party's vote.
DUST SETTLES OVER UTOPIA
Last week we saw the first pieces of Pheu Thai's utopian rice pledging scheme tumble into dust as the government is hinting at a cutback to the prices promised to rice farmers. The leader of a farmers' network has said that in such a case farmers would stage mass protests. Meanwhile warehouses are full of rotting rice and the country has been dethroned as the world's top rice producer.
Because of this pie-eyed scheme it is possible that Thailand will once again experience civil unrest. What's more, middle class Thais will feel cheated out of their tax money to finance a give-away programme that was not properly vetted. The current Thai government is long on promises but short on common sense.
ECONOMIC ROW NO SURPRISE
The article titled ''Economists dismayed by baht row'' in yesterday's Post seems illusory to me.
The difference of opinion between the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Thailand (BOT) is typical. As they say, if you have 10 economists in a room, there will be 11 opinions, so I see no cause for dismay.
Simply, the Finance Ministry believes lowering the interest rate is necessary to discourage speculation. An inward rush of funds can be bad for the economy, as exemplified in the past in many countries (including Thailand in 1996-1997).
On the other side, the BOT's Monetary Policy Committee believes the interest rate of 2.75% should remain since the current inflow is modest in nature. The surplus funds are from the West and are likely to stay on for many months (or even years depending on recovery in the West) because of the lack of alternative places to park.
The row is not really over economics, but more political, with the Finance Ministry wishing to pacify exporters while the BOT is reluctant to do so.
NOOTSARA SERVES UP GRACE
I want to congratulate Thailand women's volleyball team player Nootsara Tomkom, for being voted the world's Best Setter in the Volleyball Globe awards (www.volleyball.it).
As one Post online blogger said, Thai fans consider her not only the team's MVP, but also its MBP (Most Beautiful Player). Hence, Thailand owes her a big thank you for her tremendous achievement, done with such natural grace.
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