Strong stand on Sorayuth
published : 13 Oct 2012 at 00:00
newspaper section: News
As a former journalist, I would like to commend the Bangkok Post's editorial team for their decision to run the ''Advertisers mull pulling support for Sorayuth'' story on Thursday's front page.
And to no less extent, I would like to commend the Anti-Corruption Network for taking a stand on the issue, saying members of their network who advertise on Sorayuth Suthassanachinda's news programme are planning to withdraw their support as long as he remains on air at Channel 3 while facing embezzlement allegations.
Sorayuth announced that he did nothing wrong on his morning news programme the day after the National Anti-Corruption Commission found him guilty. This violated journalistic ethics as he used the station's airtime that was sponsored by advertisers to defend himself.
That's called one-sided journalism and to avoid criticism for that he resigned from the Thai Journalists Association.
He somehow failed to say why his firm returned 138 million baht in advertising revenue to Mcot if he did no wrong.
Corruption is rampant and considered the most serious enemy of the country's progress at the moment. In legal principles and ethical standards, there can be no compromise when it comes to corruption.
So, considering the stance of the Anti-Corruption Network and its advertisers, I hope that BEC World Public Co, which runs Channel 3, will not compromise on good governance and ethical standards on this matter.
No guilt proven yet
Is this a kangaroo court calling for Sorayuth Suthassanachinda to leave Channel 3 before the public prosecutor and the court decide his fate?
Is this pressure encroaching on his human rights? Didn't the National Anti-Corruption Commission recommendation for prosecution fail to be followed up by prosecutors?
Have any of those anti-corruption gentlemen ever read the transcript of Sorayuth's six-minute defence? Do any of them know that under our constitution a person is considered innocent until proven guilty in court? This constitutional right is just as important as good governance.
It took the commission four years to conclude its investigation, while the anti-corruption front took less than 24 hours to decide to call for the boycotting of this public figure.
I truly admire the Anti-Corruption Network's goal and its efforts to eradicate the epidemic of corruption. However, I fear in this case, the organisation may be seen as corrupt in using its newly acquired persuasive power to bully and coerce an individual and Channel 3.
Beware palace scam
Last week my husband and I went for a visit to the Grand Palace.
We took a bus, were dropped off next to the palace and were immediately confronted by a person standing close to the tuk-tuks. We were told by this person that there was something else going on in the palace grounds at that moment and that we could not go inside. However, he said he could organise a tuk-tuk for us to go and see other attractions in the meantime.
Thinking we might as well do that, rather than wait around in the heat for two hours, we agreed, and he showed us on our map what we would be seeing. Needless to say, there was a hidden agenda here.
We saw the first of the attractions, which we enjoyed. Then we were taken to the next one, a jewellery shop, and here is where our problem with the whole situation started.
It was interesting to see the process of making jewellery and there are some very beautiful stones, but we immediately felt that there was something going on.
However, we left with some gifts for family and friends. Upon getting into the tuk-tuk, we were immediately asked by the driver how much we spent. It infuriated us, as we could not see how the amount that we spent had anything to do with the driver, but we had our suspicions.
At the next stop our suspicions were confirmed. We were taken to a silk shop, which was not on the list of attractions that we were supposed to be taken to.
We said that we were not interested, but the driver said not to worry, to please go in and stay at least 10 minutes because he would then get a gas coupon, and he insisted we did not have to buy anything.
We thought OK, no skin off our noses.
What happened next was something I hope will never happen to me in Thailand again.
Upon entry, we were immediately accosted by a salesperson, who asked us very bluntly what we wanted. When we told him that we did not really want anything but that we wanted to took around, he told us that we could not just walk around and he became aggressive when I said I just wanted to look at the fabrics. Impoliteness was not something I had encountered in Thailand until then.
When we came out, I told the driver of the tuk-tuk that the man in the shop was not nice and that we wanted to leave, coupon or not.
We were then promptly taken to a souvenir shop (also not on our list of attractions) where we were treated with utmost respect and I bought more things for family and friends. Again, we were immediately asked how much we had spent by our driver.
After this, we were taken back to the palace, but by that time our appetite for the visit had dissipated and we went back to our lodgings.
The reason I started my letter by telling you this story is that we found out that almost every foreigner we know in Thailand has had the same experience.
This is what we would call ''hijacking of tourists for other purposes'', starting with the first person who told us a lie, as there was in fact nothing happening in the palace that prohibited us from going in there. Because we felt angered by this ''hijacking'' and the subsequent treatment of us as tourists, we never got to do what we went there for in the first place, which was to visit the Grand Palace.
If it was not for the treatment of us by that shopkeeper, I would probably not have written this letter.
But after hearing from others that this whole thing is standard procedure, I felt I had to say something. These occurrences, and the fact that tourists are charged far more than the going rates for things, are not endearing Thailand to normal tourists.
We do not ask for special treatment and to get things very cheaply, but we do ask to be treated with respect and not be unfairly pulled into some dubious money-making schemes.
We, however, still love Thailand.
Tired of right's hypocrisy
It is absolutely hypocritical for Charlie Brown (Postbag, Oct 11) to complain that I'm hateful when he says nothing about the fact that Mitt Romney practically called half the American people lazy bums who want a free ride.
Although he polished up his image during the debate, the real Mr Romney is the man who said all those terrible things when he didn't know he was being taped.
I am so sick and tired of these right-wing hypocrites who wrap themselves up in the American flag when they have nothing but the deepest contempt for half of the American population. The big difference between myself and Mr Romney and the right-wing maniacs on Fox News is that my anger is directed towards certain American policies and leaders, while their attacks are against the American people themselves.
So you tell me, Mr Brown, who are the real anti-Americans?
Voters get just desserts
Scanning the articles in the Bangkok Post about the political resurrection of the Marcos family and ex-president Joseph Estrada in the Philippines, one can't help but recall the famous quote variously attributed to Thomas Jefferson, Alexis de Tocqueville and Hunter S Thompson: ''In a democracy, the people get the government they deserve.''
If the people (not only in the Philippines) hope to rise above corruption, nepotism, malfeasance and incompetence, they need to awaken to the power of the ballot.
THAI facelift not enough
Regarding your business story ''Thainess to save THAI?'' (Oct 10), do you really think that ''blending various aspects of Thailand such as cuisine, Otop silk fabrics and courteous service into THAI's offerings'' will help turn around this airline?
Starting with cuisine, it is true that THAI's food has gone downhill, but this is due to the type, not quality.
How will Otop silk fabrics help when THAI has been promoting silk for decades?
As for courteous service, the only way to improve this is to get rid of the airline's union and to stop hiring people based on namsakul arai (what's your last name?).
THAI has about a 35% share of the domestic market and 32% of Thailand's international market. Thai Air Asia has a 35-40% share of the domestic market. Considering that THAI flies to far more domestic destinations than its rival, this isn't very good.
The biggest problem for THAI is high fares, an ageing fleet, poor service largely caused by their union and, most importantly, political interference. Air Asia has cheap fares, good service from friendly attendants, good use of technology and a brand-new fleet of 300 new planes from Airbus.
The problem with former monopolies such as THAI is that they cannot compete when new players come into the market.
THAI management had a good idea to launch a budget carrier with Tiger Airways of Singapore, but after a year, with apparent political opposition, the memorandum of understanding simply lapsed.
The whole of THAI should be privatised and converted into a budget carrier, which is ''the wave of the future'' to quote Howard Hughes.
Getting rid of all the pork for politicians such as the special MP lines and the big cake of procurement would be steps in the right direction, but don't hold your breath.
BTS should look to Tokyo
During rush hour, it is normal to wait for several trains before being able to get on the BTS, especially on the congested Sukhumvit line.
The conundrum is that the trains are rarely ever really full, with plenty of space left within the train as people refuse to move inside.
Perhaps it is time for the BTS to take a page from the Tokyo playbook, which moves millions through the train system every day.
Pushers should be employed as crowd control, pushing people into the train and having those inside move further in.
Another option is to increase the capacity of the train by completely removing the seating from one train car.
The BTS would need to install additional straps and railings for people to hold, as well as a few fold-down seats reserved for the elderly and physically challenged.
All of these should be cheaper and faster to implement than purchasing additional trains. In addition to increasing train utilisation, we would be able to reach our destination without needing to factor in additional and unnecessary waiting time.
Bottled water blues
Whilst orchid flowers in the toilets at Suvarnabhumi airport are a nice touch, I would much prefer that AoT spends its money on something more useful.
Having had my hand-carry bottles confiscated at some departure airports, it seems that the only liquids I can buy on arrival in Bangkok are alcohol and perfumes. A bottled water stall would be a welcome addition.
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