Re: ''Drink drivers hit with community service'' (BP, April 19).
Assigning drink drivers to perform community service at hospitals is good, but not good enough. I remember a few years ago news spread among drinkers that some judges had ordered the guilty to sweep footpaths along the buildings near to their place of employment. That really stopped me from drink driving.
Leaders let mob run riot
Perry asks in his letter on April 17, ''What nobody understands is why does the government lets this situation continue?''
We have the same problem with the taxi mafia here in Pattaya. My friend called a taxi and was asked for 400 baht for a trip that would cost 40 baht maximum on a bus. My friend then asked another taxi who agreed to take him for 200 baht. After that four men came up to the second taxi driver and talked angrily to him in Thai. The result was that the driver turned around and said he would be beaten up if he took my friend home for a price lower than the price offered by the first taxi.
As far as I understand all taxi drivers are required to use the meter. And in Bangkok they normally do. In Pattaya, absolutely no taxi uses the meter and everybody is overcharged plentyfold compared to what you would pay in Bangkok for the same distance.
How can the taxi mafia in Pattaya, Phuket and other tourist places get away with this? Of course the authorities, all the way up to the top, cannot have avoided seeing the problem. The pertinent question in this matter should be: ''Who is it among the authorities that receives the bribe in order to allow the taxi mafia to break numerous laws and do exactly as they like without punishment?''
It must be somebody very powerful, because even the police are happy to look the other way.
Unlicensed to kill
At last the authorities are beginning to see that the use of safety gear such as crash helmets save lives. Pol Lt Gen Chatt Kuldiloke's comments that 21% of motorcycle deaths during Songkran were due to riders not wearing this gear should be taken as a warning, and stricter control over their use should be enforced at all times, not just during national holidays.
The figure of 232,600 charges for not using crash helmets is staggering _ that is the potential for a further 48,846 motorcycle deaths using the 21% figure given.
That 222,601 motorists were caught driving without licences is also amazing. I wonder what these figures nationwide actually are?
A knock-on from this, which is more serious, is the fact that no licence means no insurance, as most insurance policies are only valid if one holds a full Thai driving licence. So who compensates the innocent parties involved?
In Europe, driving without a licence or insurance carries heavy penalties including jail terms for repeat offenders.
Office lacks manpower
In the past week or 10 days, several comments have been published in PostBag regarding the services of Chiang Mai Immigration Office and the processing of 90-day registrations.
I have been a client of this office for more than 20 years, so I know their history and what they have done during this period.
Since a few years ago, congestion at this office has been far beyond imagination, and everything there is nothing but a great mess.
I do not intend to take the office's side. I know they have made several attempts to solve this problem, but somehow all failed.
The root of this problem is very simple: They lack both the manpower and facilities to accommodate for the explosive increase in foreigners both visiting and residing in their jurisdiction.
The only thing they succeeded in doing was separating the handling of Myanmar migrants to another facility. But the other remaining foreigners have far exceeded the capacity of what the office can handle.
Once they tried introducing a ticketing system based on the each person's purpose of visit. But somehow that system failed.
Since then, they have been using haphazard manual devices, but none have been effective.
Once it is your turn, the individual processing is actually done in reasonable time, and is fairly efficient.
However, the number of clients for 90-day registration is so large that it is beyond their handling capacity.
I am not in a position to criticise the 90-day report rule itself, but unless they drastically change the registration procedures, or build a separate facility and reinforce the officials working there, congestion at the Chiang Mai Immigration Office will continue.
R H SUGA
Smile, it's just a game
I sincerely thank Brian Stocks for his compliment at the end of his letter, ''Service far from uniform'' (PostBag, April 15). He writes that ''Yankeleh appears to be one of the lucky ones''.
Yes, that's very true. I do consider myself very lucky. I learned long ago not only to ''play the game'', but to just be part of it all, accept it all, and not get into an uproar when things don't go according to plan. I have had my share of rude immigration officers, long lines and sweltering offices; but I just put up with it, sat there, wiped my brow, smiled, and took it all in my stride.
It is the Brits I believe who have the expression, ''Don't get your knickers in a twist''. The Thai Postal Service might not be perfect, but at least it is always service with a smile _ unlike those who staff the US and Canadian postal systems, who sometimes steal, never smile, sneer at customers, and who are part of the most overpaid postal systems in the world while providing the poorest service.
I assume Brian is a young man with lots of energy, little patience and always raring to go. If so, good for you. At my age I can use that familiar cliche, ''Been there, done it, seen it all''. Who really gives a hoot? Enjoy it all now, Mr Stocks. There will come a time when you'll mellow out like me. Oh, and, yes, I do live in the same Thailand as you. We might even possibly be neighbours.
Code orange bus alert
I'm writing to express my dissatisfaction with orange minibuses that are driving around Bangkok, especially those in Bang Rak district. I am a foreigner who has lived in Bangkok over 10 years.
Most orange minibus drivers are driving crazily. They speed on small roads, and change lanes erratically and without indicating. Most of them lack discipline and have poor manners, which is unacceptable in our society.
I would appreciate it if the authorities concerned could look into the issue before someone gets injured.
Drivers hit new low
Over the years, PostBag has published many letters commenting on driving habits in Thailand and on the general hazardous nature of taking to the wheel in this country.
Today I witnessed what must surely be a new low in drivers' total disregard for other road users.
An ambulance, with lights flashing and sirens blaring, was trying to navigate the last few hundred metres of Sukhumvit Road in Rayong to reach Rayong Public Hospital.
Not one driver tried to move across to let the ambulance through. On the contrary, it seemed as though some drivers were trying to jockey for position so that the ambulance could give them quicker passage through the traffic.
I have seen similar behaviour before, but in very heavy traffic when it was nearly impossible to change lanes.
Today there was no excuse because the traffic was moderate and cars could have easily moved across.
I only hope that one day some of those drivers are the patients in the back of that ambulance trying desperately to get them to life-saving support in hospital.
Smokers kidding around
Re: ''Thailand's anti-smoking YouTube Hit'' (BP Online Learning, April 14).
This article [originally published July 4, 2012] was posted for learning English, but it also teaches another lesson: Some people know how bad smoking is for kids, and some people don't.
In Thailand, nobody gave the kids a light for their cigarettes.
But in Denmark, where the same kind of youth request to adults was staged, 90% of the adults gave the kids a light, or even offered them a cigarette, according to the Copenhagen Post. The health officials there were not happy since it appears that smokers don't care if kids smoke or not.
Research shows that Thais, including smokers, view smoking unfavourably, but in other countries, even some in Southeast Asia, this is not the case.
Given the facts about smoking, it is rather disturbing that many smokers worldwide remain unconcerned about the dangers of tobacco, and that adults in society don't do more to turn kids away from smoking.
'Colour' claim awful
In his letter on Thursday, Ron Martin concludes that as there were no dark-skinned young boys being trained as juvenile monks, that these boys were from privileged families. What an awful and racist conclusion, as so-called privileged people, as well as the rest of people in Thailand, are made up of all shades of ''colour''.
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