published : 3 Jan 2012 at 00:00
newspaper section: News
We have all read in the news lately that the electricity generating authority is committing itself to buy even more electricity from the proposed new dams at Xayaburi and Koh Kang even though recent articles state that we have excess capacity now. And with that commitment comes higher charges for consumers who cannot use it. What the electric company needs to do is drastically improve on its current service.
Case in point. A few years ago new wiring was installed in the Laksi area, among others, with the assurance that the power outages of the past would soon be forgotten.
How wrong they were. Now we have more outages, more frequently and for longer periods of time.
The ''upgrade'' certainly has not improved our lives through dependable service. In the past four days alone, service was down for three hours at a time on two of those days. The people here now know how the residents of Baghdad feel with their sporadic service. What is the problem? I have an opinion of what the causes may be.
1.Poorly trained personnel.
2.Personnel who don't really care if the problem is fixed or not; they have to work anyway and get paid regardless whether the problem is fixed or not.
3.Inferior equipment or parts which fail on a regular basis. ''Made in China'' comes to mind.
4.All of the above.
As a consumer, I am _ as are countless other consumers _ irked by this poor service. Shareholders should be even more irked. I am sure these types of disruptions in service occur all over the city every day and with each outage, revenues decrease because the electric company can't charge for what it can't deliver. With decreased revenue dividends go down instead of up. That would certainly irk me. So I think the electricity generating authority's No.1 New Year's resolution should be to improve their service and stop spending our money on electricity we don't need.
IN THE DARK
Govt caused market mess
The Chatuchak Market controversy is about to bubble over. I have a feeling it is going to cause problems for a long time, way down the line. This government should have kept its sticky fingers out of this issue and not caused the current mess. It all boils down to making money, making more money, and squeezing the vendors dry. Fewer vendors mean fewer tourists. In the end, the tourists will stop coming and the market will start drying up.
PM Yingluck Shinawatra should have read her history and learned from it. American businessman Bert Lance once said: ''If it ain't broke, don't fix it''.
More predictions for 2012
This has reference to ''Unpredictable Predictions'' by Mr Voranai (BP, Spectrum, Jan 1).
I would like to add a few more events to Mr Voranai's forecast for 2012.
First, Thailand will remain a No.1 country for people all over the world to travel to and have a ''good time''. Despite the fact that people like to travel to Thailand, its arcane immigration laws will not change.
The year 2012 will be declared a year of ''cultural revolution'' and special events will be held to lure more foreign travellers to Thailand.
In the true Thai tradition, ''reconciliation'' will also become another buzzword like democracy, harmony and peace. The powerful patronage system will remain as colourful as the taxis on the road. In 2012, the fighting factions will not be identified by the colour of their shirts only, new combinations of colourful pants, shoes, hats, flags and ribbons will also emerge.
In 2012 and beyond, neither the ruling party nor the opposition will talk about corruption. The old guards and politicians will convince people that to remain happy and blissful they need to ignore negative thoughts about a substandard educational system, ills of the patronage system and rampant corruption. ''Ignorance is bliss'' will become a new ethos for uniting people.
I have great hopes for this new year: I hope the prime minister will get her act together and garner an Oscar for best supporting extra.
I hope driver education will be included in the high school curriculum to reduce roadkill.
I hope the police will have the common sense to arrest common lawbreakers. I sincerely hope nothing is done about potential flooding as I did enjoy the free time it gave me.
Lastly, I hope the complacency here becomes contagious and spreads worldwide, ensuring that our inspirations and dreams remain what they were intended to be: hopes.
Out of the mouths of babes
It was truly heartwarming to read of the success of the Suan Lumpini Primary School's first place win in the Hong Kong Marching Band Festival 2011.
This was made even more so by the fact that _ after some delay _ the government, in a true Christmas spirit, issued travel documents to two stateless children at the school who were an integral part of the band.
But the words of Jittima Rimpoo _ a 12-year-old band member _ were the truly impressive thing about this great victory: ''We wish to see unity and love among Thais. These two things will bring success to our country just as they brought victory to our marching band''.
This 12-year-old says more in her few words than the volumes of verbiage spouted by our supposed political leaders. Unity and love _ as exemplified by the fact that this band includes two stateless students _ and they too contributed to Thailand's victory.
As we enter 2012 we should all actively adopt the words of Jittima and bring to Thailand the success that unity and love can so obviously provide.
It just doesn't hold water
As international insurers are declining to cover Thai firms against flooding or charging higher premiums than companies felt they could afford, the government will offer such insurance itself. But such government-sponsored coverage doesn't solve the problem at its root, and leaves vast sectors of the economy vulnerable.
The problem is that international insurers don't believe that we will effectively address the problem of flooding, which our Irrigation Department warns may happen again at the same magnitude in 2012. There are solid grounds for the insurers' fears: for example the Office of the Auditor-General found that government agencies' efforts to manage water in the country's 25 river basins lacked unified direction. The Auditor-General also found that the allocated 160 billion baht for water management over the river basins was badly handled, based on auditing of the government's water management from 2005 to 2009. Establishing a government-sponsored flood insurance scheme won't even begin to tackle this credibility gap.
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