Wow, Cites is in town...! People have jetted in from all over the world to attend the so-called Cop16 meeting to try and help the planet's wild species. However, things are not going so well for many animals like elephants, tigers, rhinos, sharks and the polar bear, plus many others. Legislation to improve protection seems to have been lost in what I call ''747 conservation politics'' with infighting and squabbling amongst the parties. Many countries have their own agenda on what and how these species can make money. Even Thailand is trying to pass legislation on crocodiles so we can export more skins and meat.
Activists from Animal Activist Alliance Thailand call on the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department and delegates at the Cites conference in Bangkok to step up action against the illegal wildlife trade. The meetings continue until Thursday. SOMCHAI POOMLARD
But when all these people leave, things in Thailand will just revert back to ''business as usual'' and the wildlife trade will continue. There is just too much money involved and too many unscrupulous mafia organisations out there. They are just too powerful to stop and the day the ''big fish'' are caught and put behind bars is the day we can move forward.
It is said for every load of endangered wildlife that is apprehended by the authorities, 10 more will pass through on its way to China and Vietnam (the bad boys on the block and both Cites members). When will these two countries say ''no'' to old-fashioned traditional medicines that use endangered wildlife body parts? Probably never. So many species have gone into extinction or come close because of this deplorable trade.
Without doubt, the future looks bleak for Mother Nature's wonderful creatures as we humans make an utter mess out of things because of greed, politics, corruption and stupidity. When will the ''powers that be'' make the right decisions to protect the innocent wildlife that has evolved over millions of years? It is hoped this message will reach all those Cites parties now sitting in the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre making the wrong decisions concerning wildlife. Wake up and think before voting on destructive legislation and laws before it is too late...!
Profit just name of game
Re: ''Big fish need reeling in'' (Postbag, March 8).
Vint Chavala writes, ''Isn't it time Thai businesses led the way in making our country a better place for future generations, instead of making money at any cost to the public?'' Mr Chavala is right. The problem lies with the entire political and moral problem in Thailand where ''me'', ''myself'', are above everyone else. Politicians are self-serving rather than serving the public. Why should big business in Thailand be any different? Incidentally, big businesses in the USA and the rest of the world operate the same way. The name of the game is profit at any cost, and to hell with the public who is being poisoned by chemicals, hormones, radiation, and more. What's being done? As far as I can ascertain, absolutely nothing.
DAVID JAMES WONG
Throw drunks off trains
Bravo, Eric. Your letter, ''Transport off the rails'' (Postbag, March 8), was right on. I experienced the same problem during the five times I've taken the SRT between Bangkok to Udon Thani. It's drunken Brits and Aussies mostly, who drink for hours and keep the rest of the passengers awake. While the porters continue to serve them more beer, the security guards ignore the situation and other passengers' complaints. There should be no beer served on trains, and if it must be, then serve it in a dining car where the waiter should be instructed to limit service to those who become drunk, loud and abusive. As for those SRT security guards, those old geriatrics should be replaced by muscular, younger police guards who should have the authority to toss these loudmouths and drunks off the train at the next available stop.
'Mu Ham' folks at fault?
Re: ''Mad about Mu Ham'' (Postbag, March 7).
Taking away his licence now and forever is the right thing to do, but if he has had this ''illness'' for a long time, as stated to get his jail term reduced, then his parents should be tried for neglect for allowing him to have a driving licence in the first place.
There needs to be justice. Or is this just another case of money rather than justice?
STAN ZYDEL, Bangkok
White stripes for danger
Can anybody explain to me what the white stripes on roads in Thailand are for? They are similar to those in England which we call ''zebra crossings''. These enable pedestrians to cross the road in safety, vehicles being required by law to stop. But in all my years living in this country, I have yet to see a vehicle stop at one. In fact, they are more likely to accelerate so perhaps what they indicate is ''get a move on''. Enlightenment please.
Don Mueang in slow lane
As a frequent flyer using Don Mueang airport, I have one suggestion for its management. Could you please arrange to have the incoming flights park at gates nearer to where passengers must go to pick up baggage and exit the airport. Currently, the one wing used for incoming flights requires passengers to hike for 10 minutes just to get to the baggage area. There are no moving staircases to assist in this trek. This is a problem that many people complained about at Suvarnabhumi airport but at least there are moving staircases to assist passengers. With the other arrival gates virtually empty all the time one wonders why this policy was adopted. Perhaps a Don Mueang official can enlighten us?
STEVE RUBENSTEIN, Chiang Mai
Hua Hin sand goes astray
I stayed in a very nice hotel in Hua Hin the past weekend and was out for my afternoon walk by the beach and something stopped me. To my shock, I saw a house and in the garden, there was a huge ''Kubalco'' machine which was sweeping a mountainous amount of sand from the public beach into the place. My first thought was, ''Don't these people have any shame for doing that? Or do they have a right to do it?''
When I asked a hotel staffer, his answer was that the house must have belonged to some rich dude! That explained it!
Ban the BTS whistlers
To whom it may concern at BTS, is it really necessary to have your security guards blow their whistles at passengers at ear splittingly high decibel noise levels? I have ridden many commuter train systems around the world. I have enough common sense to know not to stand close to the platform edge.
Many of us passengers resent having a whistle blown at them by some security guard who insists on blowing it when our toes are 2cm over the yellow line!
Unfortunately, due to the design of BTS platforms, especially at Siam Square station, there is not enough room for passengers to stand back from the yellow line when the crowd behind them is immovable.
You have many self-made problems BTS: a lack of cars, little room for passengers, disorganisation, no planning for the future, limited handicapped access, noise pollution in the trains from constant advertising, an uneducated Thai public that does not know how to use escalators or get out of the way of incoming passengers. The list goes on. BTS should try fixing some of these problems and training your security guards not to blow their whistles at all.
Road mayhem never stops
Re: ''Driving us all crazy'' (BP, March 3).
With another senseless loss of life we are told maybe the driver fell asleep. No controls on condition of vehicles (witness all the cars, vans, trucks operating without tail lights, etc), no control over drivers (too tired to drive, too drunk to drive, too stoned to drive) but in chase of the almighty baht they are sent out to reach their destination asap.
Countless and meaningless items appear in the news about crackdowns, speed limiting devices, GPS tracking etc. Nothing is ever really done. Drive on any major road in Thailand and you will be passed by speeding vans and trucks operating well in excess of 130kph. When stopped the driver pays a minimum fine to the local enforcing authority and goes on his way to create further mayhem.
There are simply no penalties in place to get drivers to think about the consequence of their actions. Thais are generally a very polite people. Never would a Thai simply push in front of you in line at a bank for instance, but put a huge engine under their control and they (like most people) change and become a danger to all.
BOB NEYLON, Huay Yai
A pedestrian's nightmare
I have just returned home to Australia after spending 10 days in your amazing city of Bangkok. Your city is truly a modern day wonder, with efficient transport systems and some greenery along the streets and enjoyable selections of food.
However, I was shocked at the appalling state of the sidewalks in such a modern city. So many uneven paving stone slabs - which spurt water up your leg if you stand on a wobbly one, and ankle breaking size holes everywhere. Worse, pedestrians were forced to share the sidewalk with motorcyclists who most of the time speed past - so close that if you detour from your forward direction by even a small amount, you could get knocked over! Parts of the sidewalk were impassable due to the amount of space some food vendors used. When the street vendors departed they left behind messy cooking oil stains (perhaps they could have a piece of rolled-up plastic sheet spread down before they set up their cooking area?).
But anyway I love your city and I will be back again.
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