I am amazed at the recent flurry of articles and statements by state and other agencies on energy saving during this energy supply crisis.
One may consider escalators in MRT stations being shut down during off-peak hours as an effective way to tackle the problem _ even though it may adversely affect some people, particularly the elderly. However, in my humble opinion, this is just a drop in the ocean.
When I look at Bangkok's skyline at night, I see many companies keeping neon or LED logos or advertisements on until late at night, or in some cases all night _ such a huge waste of energy for practically no purpose at all. This is also a case of ''light pollution'' that annoys many residents.
My question is: why don't the authorities send a directive to these companies, forcing them to turn off the lights after a certain time in the evening, say 9pm? This would be a more effective way to save energy and make Bangkok/Thailand greener.
Go solar for future gains
Re: ''Public in the dark over power puzzle'' (BP, April 5).
There are many things behind the scenes that are misty to the public _ for instance, the suspension of supply from Myanmar's Yadana gas plant for routine services.
How on earth was PTT, which holds 25% of shares in the Yadana plant, not aware of this in advance? What took the energy minister so long to ''wake up'' and make the headlines, scaring the public?
I completely fail to understand the whole scenario, unless someone is pushing for a coal-fired power plant and took this opportunity to dismiss green and clean energy such as solar by claiming it is too expensive. With proper calculations of the Ft cost and the lower price of installations nowadays, solar is the future of clean and sustainable energy, once the country is equipped with efficient storage capacity.
With strong sunlight across Thailand, we are much luckier in this regard than so many other countries.
I just hope that green energy will be seriously considered for the well-being of all Thais _ not for the gains of one individual.
Abhisit must speak out
Re: ''Abhisit strikes back'' (Postbag, April 5).
Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva should present his political views and arguments more often on Thailand's English-language newspapers.
By doing so, the international community will better understand what is going on in Thailand _ both politically and democratically. In this day and age, it is imperative Mr Abhisit opens himself up to the world.
Surely, this would be a lot better than our opposition leader falling silent on important issues _ as was the case prior to this.
KR critique unfair
Re: ''Khmer Rouge legacy lives on'' (BP, March 19).
First, the current leaders of Cambodia from Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister, to other ministers went into marquis, at the appeal of HM the Late King Father in order to oppose Lon Nol's coup d?tat on March 17, 1970.
Second, in April 1975, after having ousted Lon Nol, the Khmer Rouge, under the name of Democratic Kampuchea, seized power and began slaughtering people. After learning of these atrocities and mass killings, Samdech Techo Hun Sen and others fled to Vietnam and started leading the struggle against the Khmer Rouge, which was eventually toppled on Jan 7, 1979, and Cambodia was liberated from a reign of genocide.
Third, as far as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong is concerned, he was simply a prisoner of the Khmer Rouge, like other Cambodian people during the Khmer Rouge reign of terror and genocide.
When the Khmer Rouge seized power in April 1975, he was still serving as Cambodia's ambassador to Cuba at the time. But in December 1975, the Khmer Rouge recalled all ambassadors and diplomats to Phnom Penh for a period of 10 days for what they called at the time ''re-education''.
Once in Cambodia, Hor Namhong was just another prisoner of the Khmer Rouge. He never became a Khmer Rouge officer, as has been falsely and wrongly accused. This is a great insult and injustice against him.
In fact, upon his return to Cambodia, he was put into a Khmer Rouge re-education camp in Beoung Trabek. He was forced to be in charge of a Committee of Prisoners (because no one could refuse the Khmer Rouge's order; to refuse the Khmer Rouge's order was equal to death at the time).
Under the direction of the Khmer Rouge cadre, the camp as well as the Committee of Prisoners was monitored by three young Khmer Rouge at all times. The Committee of Prisoners was to receive orders, work details and food rations for its members. Those who were forced to serve in the Committee of Prisoners laboured hard like other prisoners in the camp. They were not given better treatment, nor were there privileges.
Under Secretary of State, Cambodia
Visa claim misses point
Re ''Power shift from West to East requires visa reciprocity'' (BP, April 4).
Kudos to Thitinan Pongsudhirak in acknowledging the lack of respect for foreigners by Thai immigration officials.
I have been here for 25 years ... and still need to go down to immigration every 90 days to ''check in'', even though they give me a one-year retirement visa annually. Why the 90-day hassle?
As far as the reciprocity is concerned, my girlfriend applied for a visa to the US last December. Her appointment was last week. She was interviewed for 20 minutes and given a 10-year visa. There will be no 90-day check-in requirement for her.
There is no vis-a-vis here. Thailand gets billions of baht each year thanks to tourism _ badly needed baht I would imagine. That is why the easy tourist visa allowance exists.
But for any of us that stay longer than the 30-day stamp allows, it's a different ball game. We're treated like kindergarten students. Certainly there are bad apples amongst the expats here _ but do the 98% of good foreigners need to treated so insensitively?
When Thailand offers five- or 10-year visas, only then does Khun Thitinan's argument hold water.
Let's have some respect
Thitinan Pongsudhirak's article is fair and well balanced for both sides of the immigration desk. We should treat our permanent foreign residents with greater respect and kowtow less to visa-on-arrival tourists.
I'd like the same respect when I apply for visas to ''civilised'' countries. I hope our Foreign Ministry can put some of Thitinan's suggestions into action.
Thais welcomed abroad
Nobody can deny the argument of Thitinan Pongsudhirak's article that Thailand should deny visas on arrival to nationals of countries that make it difficult for Thai citizens to enter _ but he is wrong to claim Thais need visas to enter all countries except South Korea and Asean partners.
In fact almost half the countries in the world accept Thai citizens without a prior visa, either for one month, (eg Russia) or three months (parts of South America). What is true is that Thais need prior visas for the countries they mostly wish to visit, eg the US, Western Europe and Australia.
The article also perpetuates the widely held myth that ageing retirees still come to Thailand partly to enjoy cheap healthcare.
Given that people in the twilight of their lives find it well-nigh impossible to obtain medical insurance or can't afford the constantly rising premiums, let's get back to reality in these days of shrinking pounds and euros. A foreigner in his early 70s will typically have to pay 200,000 baht for annual medical cover or risk having to pay a similar amount for a couple of nights in a good intensive care unit. Whatever else Thailand is, it's certainly not the pensioner's paradise.
Scammers running riot
I have just spent a couple of hours of each of the last two days sitting in the glorious sunshine in Pattaya, outside Mike's Shopping Mall, Beach Road, with many others watching the carnage of virtually every tourist renting jet skis being ripped off.
Falsely claiming damages and charging exorbitant amounts, the jet ski thugs often resort to intimidation and violence to extract money from visitors.
While watching, you feel so sorry for those people, but it is too dangerous to assist them or even warn them as the jet ski thugs have an army of cohorts scanning the crowds during the fraud and intimidation.
There appear to be four or five young Thai men who do the ''arguing'' and debating but they are backed up by six or seven more sitting on the perimeter in case things get out of hand. These guys on the perimeter are there to ensure nobody can video or take photos of them as the scam goes on.
A recently posted YouTube video shows a tourist being attacked with a brick just for filming the scam.
We felt very uncomfortable watching, not just for the poor tourists but because we were being watched by the scruffy back-up team.
Cabinet does zilch
Let the entire cabinet, including the prime minister, take a lesson from what they did to the rural doctors. Let the premier and the entire cabinet earn their salaries according to their performances. I'm sure they'd earn next to zilch, because they do virtually zilch except create hardships and difficulties for others.
Cut out the smoke
Some 90,000 people have been to hospitals in Chiang Mai for respiratory problems in the first three months of 2013. When are you politicians going to enact laws to protect the citizens, instead of running around like chickens with your heads chopped off yelling ''the air's polluted, the air's polluted''.
Do something! Get rid of all the trucks spewing forth black carcinogenic smoke. Enforce fines for burning.
Fox News one-sided too
Farang Observer said in his letter on April 1 that Fox News is the only news media in America that criticises the government''. True, but only if the American government in office is Democrat, not Republican.
FAIR AND BALANCE
Red Bull twist shocks
Re: ''Red Bull heir case sparks legal conflict'' (PostBag, April 5).
The case against the Red Bull heir is full of twists and turns and I find it hard to believe police appear to be trying to let him off the serious charges _ a complete contradiction of their attitude when the incident occurred.
How about charging him with trying to pervert the course of justice by letting the family driver take the blame? There is far more to this case than meets the eye and it will be interesting to see the outcome.
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