Profits from destruction
published : 16 Feb 2013 at 00:00
newspaper section: News
The question has to be asked: Who will profit from the Mae Wong Dam project (''Dams done in 5 years, says Plodprasop'', BP, Feb 10) which will flood part of a protected national park that happens to be an integral part of Thailand's remaining Western Forest Complex?
Certain nameless people have tried several times over the years to destroy parts of the largest system of protected rainforest left in mainland Southeast Asia (for example, the Nam Chon Dam project which was first proposed in 1966 and finally abandoned in 1988) and all credit to the Thai people that this important reserve of 17 protected areas covering 18,000 sq km along the border with Myanmar is still protected.
However these nameless people seem determined to try and destroy parts of this important reserve again, so let's start asking the hard questions _ who will profit from flooding parts of this reserve? And who will move in and ''remove'' the valuable trees before the land is flooded? Once we know that we will see who is responsible for the continued onslaught against the Thai people's natural heritage _ the rainforest.
So can I suggest that once we know who these people are we insist that they are transferred to another department where they can do no harm or resign immediately and never again hold public office?
My electoral wish list
This is my wish list for the perfect governor.
1. He will be his own man and not be influenced by anyone.
2. He will make sure garbage in the districts is regularly picked up and that spraying for mosquitoes happens on a regular basis.
3. He will build a complete subway system that will cover all parts of Bangkok and will link to current trains and subways.
4. He will change the job description of municipal police from fining tourists for dropping cigarette butts in public areas to being responsible for the cleanliness of the whole city.
5. He will create green space under all expressways and build routes for bicycles and people who want to exercise.
6. Slums will be replaced with subsidised housing like the Din Daeng flats.
7. He will encourage green space on the roofs of buildings.
8. Traffic will be managed by computer. The traffic police will fine offenders and not stand in gangs on the side of the road.
9. He will revitalise canals and create tree-lined walkways along the river .
10. He will clear the pavements of after-hours bars and regulate where vendors are allowed to sell, and enforce it so pedestrians can use the sidewalks.
Clean up the pavements
It is so frustrating to walk around Bangkok pavements which have been taken over by food vendors who set up their food stalls anywhere they like (maybe after they had paid a fee to the thetsakij). Or those motorcyclists who have the privilege to park on the pavements. When we asked the local police, they said it was again the thetsakij who were responsible. And who are responsible for those motorcyclists who ride on the pavements? Don't the thetsakij report to the BMA? I will vote for anyone who can clean up the pavements!
Democrats need new plan
Khun Nattaya Chetchotiros (''Democrats gird for tight finish despite poll sag'', BP, Feb 14) quotes Ong-art Klampaibul, party list MP and the director of the Democrats' governor campaign, as saying that his party's task now is to convince undecided voters to vote Democrat. That would seem a sound strategy in view of the results in a recent Suan Dusit poll which showed that decided voters tended to support Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen based on his personal characteristics while support for MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra was based mainly on him being the Democrat Party candidate.
The perception that the Democrats didn't want MR Sukhumbhand as their candidate and only chose him to stop him running as an independent and splitting their vote may cause some who could usually be relied on to vote Democrat to decide to abstain and a strategy to convince them that in doing so they may be handing the election to Pheu Thai is surely the right one.
Thaksin is no 'exile'
Re: ''Thailand's stalemate and uneasy accommodation'' (BP, Feb 15).
Professor Thitinan Pongsudhirak mars an otherwise excellent article by the misuse of the word ''exile'' when referring to Thaksin Shinawatra's non-resident status in Thailand.
The fact is, Prof Thitinan, that Thaksin was convicted of criminal offences after due process of law and fled the country to avoid the consequences of those crimes.
As such, he is not an exile. He is a fugitive.
Paedophilia not rampant
I recently went to Patpong and was seriously put off by the irritating touts there just as Thomas Giesen reported in (''Appalled by Patpong tout'', Postbag, Feb 15). In a recent walk around that area I learned to just stop walking and tell touts in firm language to leave me alone. But a few metres down the street I would have to do it again with another one. This is a huge difference compared with Soi Cowboy or Nana Plaza where this never happens.
I suggest there is one positive message from Mr Giesen's letter. He was shocked that a tout offered to provide a child for sex. He went on to say that this is the only time that this widely travelled man had ever had this experience. I agree! I too am widely travelled and I too have never experienced so much as a hint of paedophilia being offered to me. I too would be looking for a policeman if it happened.
The important point to take from this is that paedophilia, and sex trafficking too for that matter, is far less common than the internet blogs and entertainment media would have us believe.
We need to be sure that the hyperbole we are subject to does not cause us to misrepresent these issues. Very conservative, even hyper-religious societies _ particularly in the US _ will use public misunderstanding of these issues to further their own agenda of remaking the world in their image. There are issues of national sovereignty and cultural identity at stake. The best way to put paedophilia and sex trafficking in proper perspective is for a country's police (in all countries) to properly enforce their laws protecting children and prevent real trafficking without interference from international organisations with a broader, even sub rosa agenda.
Veggies the way forward
Victor Meldrew (''Can't win either way'', Postbag, 11 Feb) is correct: Animals eat animals, we are all being poisoned and we are all going to die. Carnivores hunt healthy free living prey and eat the entire animal except, usually, the bones. Humans, on the other hand breed sickly animals in abominable conditions feeding them hormones to fatten them and antibiotics to prevent the inevitable outcome of their being kept in unhealthy conditions.
It is, therefore, a debased, anaemic, poor tasting and toxic laden piece of meat that ends up on the dinner plate. As for being poisoned, an entire book would hardly cover the subject. Pesticides, herbicides, mercury, fluoride, prescribed and proscribed drugs, frying food, air pollution and Mr Meldrew's bacteria are but a selection. Top of the list is smoking which poisons the individual and everyone else within spitting distance! The fact that you don't die after a few cigarettes lulls people into a false sense of security only to be abandoned some 30 or more years later.
Yes, vegetables do contain poisons but this is not necessary whereas the danger of meat is inherent in the product. The bottom line is that we cannot continue in the way we are going; changes must be made. Vegetarianism is the only way forward for a population of more than seven billion! If humans can demonstrate their difference from scorpions by exercising compassion then this would bode well for the future.
More than just a 'riot'
Re: ''Riots erupt as Bangladeshi Islamist sentenced to life'' (BP, Feb 5).
It's unfortunate that the news failed to capture what really happened. The article rightly mentions that, ''a court sentenced a senior Islamist opposition official (Quader Molla) to life in prison for mass murder during the 1971 liberation war against Pakistan''. In the article it mentions the clashes that broke out with the Jamaat supporters and the police.
However, the main reaction/event of the court decision was not a ''riot'' which was staged by supporters of the Jamaat-e-Islami Party. The main reaction to the court decision was the movement that was originated by a group of bloggers and activists that gather at Shahbag, also known as the Generation Square, Dhaka, to demand the ultimate punishment which is the capital punishment of Quader Molla. Since Feb 5, 2013, the day when the court gave the order, more than 100,000 people, irrespective of gender, age, religion, ethnic group, profession, have gathered at Shahbag. They have vowed to stay at Shahbag until their demand for capital punishment of Quader Molla is met.
It is important to mention that this movement, which has members mostly in the young generation, started mainly through social media forums such as Facebook.
They continuously sang patriotic songs and chanted slogans against the war criminals and the crimes they committed in 1971.
This movement is the largest movement in Bangladesh since its independence in 1971.
The youth generation is grateful for the sacrifice of the previous generation who fought for the independence of Bangladesh and feels that it is their obligation now to demand the death penalty for the war criminals in the liberation war in 1971 to bring justice to the people who died and fought during the war.
This movement is completely non-political and Bangladeshi expats, all around the world, including in Thailand, have showed solidarity with the movement at Shahbag.
Bureaucratic power play
I read, ''Jumping through hoops'' (Postbag, Feb 15), concerning the plight of Concerned Student, in dealing with visa renewal problems. Many immigration offices seem to make up their own rules, part of the power play to show the Westerner ''who's boss'', nothing more, nothing less.
A lot of these immigration officers enjoy their power trips. Concerned Student's letter ends with: ''Surely there must be an easier way''. Yes, there is, and it is a route taken by hundreds of students each year who come here to study and run into the same problems. Simply leave Thailand and take up your studies elsewhere, where you are appreciated, not thwarted and discouraged. Thai bureaucracy at all levels has gotten so far out of hand, without any type of coordination, cooperation or administration between departments, bureaus,and ministries.
Everyone is a czar in his/her own right, and acts accordingly. Power play, dear student is the name of the game, not efficiency. No one is interested in helping you, but only trying to show you who ''runs things'' here.
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