Postbag: Reforms need substance

Somkiat Tangkitvanich's commentary in ''Education system ills setting up future failure'' (BP, March 27) is very valid and is a matter close to my heart.

It seems no one at the policy level is concerned nor taking any serious action. Often it makes we wonder about their sincerity in wanting to have better educated Thai people-_ because if that were the case, people could start thinking for themselves and would not be easily led/misled.

The current Education Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana, in my opinion, is a capable person, and I only wish he would put his heart into his work to bringing about educational reforms with substance, perhaps incorporating Mr Somkiat's comments. Then he would leave behind a legacy that truly benefits the Thai nation in the future.


Bad facts pollute debate

In his letter ''Don't take a deep breath'' (PostBag, BP, March 26), the writer claims western PM10 pollution standards are much lower than the Thai limit of 120 microgrammes per cubic metre. This is not correct.

The US limit is 150 microgrammes, ie 25% higher than the Thai limit. The EU limit of 50 microgrammes is not for a single day, but for the 36th highest daily level during a calendar year.

In other words, the EU standard allows for 35 days per year exceeding this limit, with no maximum value set for how much it can be exceeded by.

The WHO Air Quality Guideline is at 50 microgrammes, but the writer forgets to mention that the WHO is aware that this may not be realistic in all parts of the world. As a result, the WHO also states three ''Intermediate Targets'', the highest being 150 microgrammes.

There is no doubt that the present pollution situation in the upper North is regrettably bad. The discussion about this is however not helped by misinformation about international standards.

Chiang Mai

Real friends survive rows

Jack Gilead faced contempt and lost one friend for an opinion expressed under his real name (''Pen names have merits'', Postbag, BP, March 27). I say to him he is better off without those friends.

I value friends who telling me their differing opinions or warn me for having gone too far. I regard them as my real friends.

Pen names have a major merit in letting us know about some scams or deceitful matters that would never have come to light if pen names were disallowed. But I do not subscribe to the use of pen names for all occasions, which I view as rather cowardly and wasteful.


Who burnt down mall?

Re: ''Court lets off 2 red shirts on arson charges'' (BP, March 26).

The Bangkok Post reported on the acquittal of two red-shirt supporters who had been charged with arson at CentralWorld, which of course further undermines the widespread and continuing accusations by Democrat Party politicians and others that the red shirts carried out that attack.

Pol Lt Col Chumphon Bunprayun, secretary-general of the Public Disaster Relief Volunteer Association of Thailand and an adviser on fire prevention to Central Pattana Plc, the owners of CentralWorld, stated the mall's fire prevention systems were in full working order. He said the 180 security guards and 25 fire prevention staff were forced to leave the mall by ''the same armed people who were throwing bombs''.

Crucially, he further stated that at the time the staff were forced out all the areas surrounding the mall were occupied and controlled by the army, which did not subsequently permit access to fire fighting crews.

Mall security guards have also separately claimed that they were forced out of the premises by a group of men dressed in black T-shirts, camouflage trousers and military style boots who were throwing bombs inside the mall. So who were these men, who controlled them and how were they able to gain access to the mall when the area was controlled by the army?

Surely there are many people who know the answers to these questions, but they are keeping quiet. Maybe one day the truth will be revealed, but I doubt it, given how such matters are usually hushed up in Thailand.


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