12 more new laws to really improve Thailand
These are some new laws I think Thailand would benefit from. Most regular readers will recognise this as a sequel to my previous articles under the same title.
New Law No.1: Since Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has all of a sudden become intolerant of abuse hurled at her and has now unwisely threatened defamation lawsuits against any remarks deemed offensive and slanderous, in order to make her life easier, maybe it's time Section 112 of the Criminal Code, known as the lese majeste law, should also cover the prime minister, the prime minister's husband and the prime minister's husband's tennis partners, while we're at it.
New Law No.2: Governments should stop trying to run my life as if I were a child. As a fully grown man who pays taxes, I should be able to buy and drink alcohol in public places even when there's an election being held the next day.
If I'm not allowed to buy booze the night before an election then the taxpayer-subsidised honourable members' bar must also be closed for the duration of all parliamentary debates. That's only fair!
New Law No.3: Thailand should stop hailing the coming of the 3G mobile network as if we put a man on Mars. We've become yesterday's news as the rest of the world has already moved on to 4G. So at this rate, before we even consider going to 4G, Cambodia must first have 5G and South Koreans must be communicating with each other using highly complicated methods involving electronically enhanced telepathy.
New Law No.4: Constitution Court judges must be selected from a group of lawyers who weren't sick the day they taught law at law school.
It's been a long time since my class in constitutional law so my memory is a little hazy, but I seem to remember parliament being responsible for making laws and the courts being responsible for interpreting the law.
However, the real problem is the lack of trust that people have in the impartiality of the courts. The court is perceived as embroiling itself in political squabbles and even taking sides when the judges should have staunchly and unequivocally embraced neutrality.
New Law No.5: There should be limits to cost-cutting. As seen in headlines recently, Air India recently introduced an innovative new cost-cutting measure by allowing their flight attendants to fly the plane while the pilots take a quick kip down in business class.
Some of our domestic airlines seem to have followed suit by eliminating wasteful spending on items such as bolts that hold together the wheel of the nose undercarriage on their jets.
That move might explain why one of the front wheels of a local budget airline came loose upon landing in Chiang Rai a week ago.
New Law No.6: All members of the Thai media should be forced to take a class in investigative journalism. I'm utterly fed up when I hear members of the press moaning about how their freedom has been constrained by the government. The press have simply reneged on their constitutional duty to check and scrutinise all governments, electing instead to feed in silent obedience off the scraps they're given. Most of the journalism that has shone the light on corruption in this country has come from quick-thinking citizens armed with no more than courage, conviction and a smartphone.
New Law No.7: All Thai women should look like Thai women. I think Thai women are already beautiful just as they are, even without following ridiculous fashion trends such as putting multiple coats of white paint on their faces, metal railings in their mouths or wearing fake eyelashes that look like two dead caterpillars latched themselves on to her eyelids.
Let's start celebrating natural Thai women and stop worshipping the shallow fashion trends of our neighbours, because if men wanted to admire Korean women, they could always go and live in Seoul.
New Law No.8: Thai parents who send their children to international schools like Shrewsbury or Dulwich should be made aware of its proper pronunciations! For your information, Dulwich is pronounced with a silent "w", and Shrewsbury is not pronounced as it is written. It's pronounced "Shrows-ber-ri". Luckily Bangkok Patana parents don't have this problem.
New Law No.9: The governor of Bangkok should stop planting tall trees under electricity cables.
Here's a novel idea: Either place the electricity cables underground or plant these trees somewhere else so the BMA stops wasting our tax money when they have to chop down these beautiful trees every few years as the foliage spreads around the cables.
New Law No.10: All Thai army generals should be automatically given a "get out of jail free" pass. Even though the "I was only following orders" excuse failed to work for the Nazis at Nuremberg, it seems to work magic for the army bosses here.
After 18 coups d'etat, hundreds of deaths in political uprisings, and most recently 92 people killed during the 2010 red-shirt protests, not one army general has been held accountable.
While Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban have now been charged (rather unfairly in my view) with several counts of murder, army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha played his "get out of jail free" pass and was exonerated from all court proceedings.
New Law No.11: Alongkorn Ponlaboot and Bhichai Rattakul should be inducted into the Democrat Party Hall of Fame for showing valour and political courage by daring to introduce the party to a totally new concept _ reality.
On the other hand, the current Democrat leaders should be inducted _ or should I say admitted _ into a completely different kind of institution, because according to Einstein, the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".
New Law No.12: When the dress code says "black tie" people that turn up wearing a grey suit should be turned away.
I've been to a few gala events where the black tie dress code is clearly stipulated but rarely adhered to, and nobody seems to care.
Well, for purely selfish reasons, I care, because while I always attempt to be properly attired, the guy who's allowed in wearing a sleek Armani suit keeps asking me to serve him a double scotch and ginger ale!
Songkran Grachangnetara is an entrepreneur. He graduated from The London School of Economics and Columbia University. He can be reached at Twitter: @SongkranTalk
Songkran Grachangnetara is an entrepreneur. He graduated from The London School of Economics and Columbia University.