Throwing good money after bad

According to a report in yesterday's Bangkok Post, "Prayuth defends fix for beleaguered blimp", army chief Gen Prayuth can't understand why taxpayers may be reluctant to throw good money after bad to repair his old-fashioned observation balloon.

Perhaps the general missed all those news stories on the use of reconnaissance drones?

It seems to me that the army needs someone in charge who is a little aware of the equipment available for modern warfare, and that there should be an investigation as to how the army was persuaded to buy something so useless and out-of-date as an observation balloon in the first place.

Taxpayer


CHEERS FOR ANATOLE

The  probing and thought-provoking article by Anatole Kaletsky in yesterday's Bangkok Post,  ``New long-term bull market is on the way'', was a nice change from the sort of preposterous analyses readers sometimes have to endure. Please keep more such interesting articles coming.

Songdej Praditsmanont, Bangkok


TURN OFF THE TUBE, TURN THE PAGE

Supoj Wancharoen's ``City Life'' article yesterday about the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's promotion of  the city as World Book Capital 2013, highlights once again the farce of Bangkok being awarded this honour.  I noted with derision the statement that the BMA aims to raise the reading levels of Bangkokians from the current five books a year to 15-20 books annually within this year.  You can only marvel at such pie in the sky remarks.

I was born and grew up in an era with no television.  Needless to say, we didn't have computers or iPads either.  Instead, each night after dinner, my mother would read my brothers and I a story before packing us off to bed.  As a consequence I had a reading competency way beyond my years by the time I started primary school, and my mother's initiative implanted in me a lifetime love of reading and language. There is no short-term fix to the poor reading habits of Thais, but if parents turn off the television, make their kids put away all their computer games for an hour, and sit down and read stories to them, then we might see a future generation of Thai of book lovers, and who knows, they might read more than 20 books a year.

David Brown


PRIORITISE RAIL SPENDING

On viewing the spectacle of yet another SRT train lying on its side after last week's accident in Chiang Mai province, I feel I should raise a question about investment priorities. 

We are told that two trillion baht is to be spent on major transport improvements, the jewels in this rather expensive crown being a network of high speed train routes across the country. China, which has far more experience in such public transport than Thailand, commenced a rapid programme of high-speed train development in 2007, with disastrous results.  In July 2011, two trains collided, killing 45 people and injuring 192, amid allegations of design faults, management failure and corruption.

With similar concerns very much to the fore in Thailand, I hope that at least some of that two trillion baht is first spent on rendering the existing rail network fit and thus avoiding more accidents like the one last week?

Nigel Pike, Phangnga


MAKE MERIT QUIETLY

The commentary by Ploenpote Atthakor in Friday's Bangkok Post has shone a bright light on the dark practices of some abbots and some temples. It is becoming  obvious that some temples in big cities are a business and some monks mere businessmen devoid of  spirituality.

I would recommend that devout Buddhists bypass the grand rich temples and make merit by visiting temples that cater to the spiritual needs of their communities, or visit poor temples that are located in forest areas.  And remember, merit can also be achieved by donating to worthwhile causes.

Roger Hewitt, Chon Buri


SNOWDEN: PATRIOT OR PARIAH?

The United States has for many decades offered political asylum to refugees who suffer severe penalties for criticising their government, so it is interesting to observe the double standards regarding Edward Snowden, a stateless soul trapped in terminal limbo?

I personally admire courageous whistleblowers such as Daniel Ellsberg, John Dean, Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. Like them, Mr Snowden is facing an overly aggressive barrage of fear, jeer and smear tactics to  shift focus away from the US government's own wrongdoing.  His crime was to challenge the hegemony of Uncle Sam by exposing the operation of the world's most powerful state-sponsored cyber-espionage system in a country that supposedly prizes individual freedom. The National Security Agency is contravening the US constitution's fourth amendment guarantees.

Brave whistleblowers like Mr Snowden have forced us to reflect on security and only time will tell if their leaks serve the public interest.

Dr Charles Fredericksen, Bangkok


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