In a vocational void

Re: ''Tech school image woes worry Ovec'' (BP, April 18).

One of the dumber things done by the United States in the 1960s _ apart from its misadventures in Southeast Asia _ was to promote the notion that college or university was for everyone and everyone should go.

A by-product of this was to devalue vocational education and the result is that now there is a dearth of qualified semi-skilled professionals available to employers.

We live in times where what counts is not just what you know but what you can do with what you know.

As I write, there are thousands upon thousands of jobs which go unfilled because employers cannot find people with the necessary skills to perform the jobs available.

Let's face reality _ not all of us are destined to become rocket scientists, discover new worlds in the cosmos or develop a cure for a dreaded disease.

That vocational education is shunned, now to a lesser degree in the United States but very much so here in the Land of Smiles, leaves us with a terrible void.

Where are the people qualified to fix our cars _ now much more complicated than ever? Where are the skilled food technicians to support the export of Thai products? Where are the people who have the skills to build our houses?

They should be coming from vocational schools but the prevailing attitude towards them precludes this from happening.

The Office of the Vocational Education Commission has every right to worry. A thorough overhaul of vocational education would benefit Thailand more than producing more graduates with doctoral degrees.


Clear the air to save city

Bangkok's air pollution is as bad as that in Beijing or Mexico. If the government's first-time car buyer rebate continues adding more cars, the city is destined to turn into one big cemetery.

Fresh air, fresh water and uncontaminated food are basic ingredients of life.

In the context of Buddhism, prana is the prime life force. If we have no fresh air, we have no breath, and no life.

Hence it should be the number one priority of society to keep air, water and food away from contamination.

Air pollution is an issue that should be handled as an emergency.

Just like the human body, the city will also perish because of foul air and acid rain.


Nightlife not for all

Re: ''Police call for longer opening hours gets mixed reviews'' (BP, April 16).

Of course the police would be the ones to call for extended opening hours for Bangkok's nightlife. Who do you think stands to benefit from such a policy other than the ones running the bars and nightclubs?

Regardless, if I was an owner of such a business, I could see the benefits of such a policy change.

However, because I am not, but am merely a good citizen who enjoys getting reasonable amounts of peace and quiet (and sleep, might I add), I fail to see the merits of allowing these establishments to let in raucous customers at even later times.

One wonders why Bangkok seems to lack zoning laws that keep residential areas and nightspots at a proper distance from one another, but that is another matter for another time.


Privilege on display?

Watching a TrueVisions programme featuring the training of juvenile monks it occurred to me that the young boys were perhaps selected from privileged families.

Not one dark-skinned boy was among them. A cross-section of all classes would seem fairer. Having said that, my family is glued to the box whenever it is showing.


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