I am somewhat confused by Dr Decharut Sukkumnoed's excellent article on renewable energy (''Let's go renewable to solve power crises'', BP, April 23) in which he states that due to the necessity of a construction licence, ''renewable energy sources are prohibited from being located in residential and agricultural zones''.
In Wednesday's article ''Low Energy Living,'' we heard from two people who have installed solar panels on their houses. Have they managed to obtain the aforementioned construction licences, or are they just ignoring the law because it is a stupid one?
Perhaps I am missing something? I would also appreciate clarification on this matter.
Thailand has so much wonderful sunshine it seems a sin to me that we are not harnessing this free, clean energy source.
Countries like the United Kingdom, Germany and Denmark, which hardly have sunshine, find it both economically and environmentally beneficial to promote this green energy source _ why are the Thai governments of both past and present so ambivalent about it?
Dr Decharut answers: Thank you for your interest. In short, in my April 23 article, I talk about a construction licence for a solar power plant, while the owners of the houses roofed with solar panels in the other article are merely household users. However, house owners who want to sell electricity back to the grid are required to have such a licence, and will face city planning restrictions.
While home owners who install solar panels for private use do not require a licence, they are deprived of the privilege which comes in the form of a state subsidy, which is offered only to those who connect to the grid.
DR DECHARUT SUKKUMNOED
Heroes rise at ICJ
The ongoing Khao Phra Viharn or Preah Vihear territorial dispute between Thailand and Cambodia has brought forward two heroes in the eyes of the Thai public. One is Virachai Plasai, Thai ambassador to the Netherlands, who leads the Thai legal team in the International Court of Justice case.
Although he was ousted from the Joint Border Committee by Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul in 2011, the ambassador still carries out his duty without any grudges against the people who maltreated him.
Alina Miron, meanwhile, has won the hearts of the public with her strong performance in a bid to protect Thailand's interest. On top of that, these two heroes have proven that their endeavours are free from any political agenda.
Cambodia not to blame
Re: ''Asean leaders to talk China, trade,'' (Post Online, April 24).
The article said: ''But a push by the Philippines and Vietnam for Asean to send a united message to increasingly aggressive China crumbled amid resistance from Cambodia, a close Chinese ally that held the rotating chair of the bloc in 2012.''
I wish to clarify that during the 45th Asean Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM), which was held in Phnom Penh in July 2012, there was no consensus on the issuance of a Joint Communique (JC) since there were objections from two Asean member states concerning the issue of the South China Sea.
Cambodia, as the chair of Asean, did its best to break the deadlock. We proposed a compromise in the draft Joint Communique which reaffirmed our resolve to work towards the early conclusion of a regional Code of Conduct in the South China Sea that would effectively ensure peace, stability, security and cooperation in the sea, and called upon all parties to respect the universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
However, the two Asean member states completely rejected Cambodia's proposal by insisting on including their demands which served their own national interests, and one of these two member states expressed that its position was non-negotiable.
This is the main reason why the JC could not be issued at the end of the 45th AMM. Thus, where does the cause come from?
Under-Secretary of State, Cambodia's Foreign Affairs Ministry
Jumbos still being beaten
Last November the Thai legislature passed a major animal welfare bill. But to my understanding, the bill has to be passed in three readings before it can go into effect. I have contacted friends in the animal rights movement and spent hours on the internet trying to find out what has happened to the bill since November. As far as I know, nothing has happened since then. This would not be the first time the legislature has sat on animal welfare legislation until the bill became invalid.
If readers search online for ''Elephant cruelty in Thailand'', they will see that despite the Animal Welfare Act, baby elephants are still routinely being beaten and tortured for the benefit of the tourism industry.
What has happened to the Animal Welfare Act? Why are elephants still being tortured? Can somebody connected to the bill please respond to these questions?
Plodprasop in hot water
The picture of Plodprasop Suraswadi (BP, April 24) being sprayed with water from a hole he drilled in a water tank gives me a wonderful feeling of security. This is the man in charge of Thailand's Water and Flood Management Commission, and he was actually so sure that water would not flow through the hole that he set up a media event to demonstrate it. Amazing Thailand!
Look in the mirror
David James Wong, in his letter ''Stop your Whining!'' (Postbag, April 24), asks why do expatriates continue living in Thailand when, judging by his narrow view of letters in PostBag, they constantly complain.
Mr Wong does not seem to understand that many of us living here have little voice when things go wrong; PostBag is therefore an ideal channel for these complaints to be heard. Judging by the official responses and reaction to some of the complaints, the authorities concerned often take measures to improve things that they otherwise might have been unaware of.
Doesn't Mr Wong also realise that the very tone of his letter is itself whining about the people who live in Thailand? Perhaps he would be happier living elsewhere where freedom of the written word is not allowed.
For the greater good
I'm hoping David James Wong's letter was written in an emotional moment. To say that PostBag gives a clear vision of the types of expats living in Thailand is a gross exaggeration. Perhaps this would have been better written: ''Gives a clear vision of one type of expatriate.''
Most of the expatriates I have met in my 34 years here do not fit Mr Wong's description. We may complain, yes, but that is not the main focus of our lives.
In addition, some of us who do write to the Bangkok Post are seeking to improve conditions for everyone, not just ourselves.
Expats free to express
David James Wong is asking why some expatriates still continue to live in Thailand even though sometimes they feel obliged to express negative perceptions on various aspects of living here. There are many possible responses to his question: They have a family here and it would be difficult to relocate elsewhere; a work contract cannot be terminated quickly; or they may be on the verge of getting back to their respective countries.
Irrelevant as to why one remains in Thailand, once they are a resident (short or long term), an individual should be entitled to express his/her views about what it is like to live here. We have read too many times in this column that some ''visitors'' are trying to be more Thai than Thais.
However, such a remark, ''If you are not happy here, why you don't go back to your country?'' demonstrates a very strong intolerance of criticism.
Much more balanced view was Thomas Sword's response in his letter ''Nowhere's perfect'' on April 25, which demonstrated that one can enjoy living here but does not necessarily need to become blind to the reality of life from an expat perspective.
So I am asking Mr Wong when he reads something negative expressed by a Thai, would he suggest that this person should emigrate from Thailand, or is it that only locals are entitled to express criticisms in this country?
Winners don't whine
I have often wondered, along with David Wong, just why the whiners do not return to their own seemingly perfect countries. A more basic question is why human beings leave their native country and migrate to a foreign one. Over 60 years ago, professors at the Harvard School of Business asked that very same question in a watershed study. Their main hypothesis was that people migrate to another country because they believe it is superior to their own country. This hypothesis seems patently ethnocentric now, but at the time, these professors were simply echoing the beliefs of their own culture.
What did the Harvard study show? People will leave their own native country and migrate to another almost exclusively for economic reasons. The Whiners won't say it (maybe they're embarrassed), but it's probably basic economics that motivated them to relocate to Thailand. They whine about Thailand because they hate to admit that they can't afford to live as cheaply or as well in their own country.
I believe that these Whiners were whiners even in their home country. Once a whiner always a whiner! Winners don't whine!
GEORGE W ROSS
No need to patronise
Re: ''Ex-lover charged in butchered body case'' (BP, April 26).
The story says the suspect told police he had been in a ''homosexual relationship'' with the murder victim. If the two people were a man and a woman, would you have written that they were in a ''heterosexual relationship''? Just say that they had been lovers and leave it at that! No need to patronise us readers with some immature, wink-wink, nudge-nudge writing.
Tattoo you, Obama!
According to a BBC story on April 25, ''US President Barack Obama has warned his daughters that if they get tattoos, he and his wife will get matching ones on the same place on their bodies.'' I hope his daughters get face tattoos or tattoo their backsides.
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