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Don't lose rail history

Re: "New plan for old rail hub," (Editorial, Nov 23).

The editorial article draws attention to the sad possibility that this wonderful old railway station may be lost forever. If that happens, a major part of Bangkok's, and Thailand's, history will be gone.

Thailand has many tourist attractions and Hua Lamphong is one of them. My understanding was that the entire site would become a railway museum, and this is an opportunity that should not be missed. Thailand has a great railway history, and the small museum that I have visited at Hua Lamphong more than once shows some fine examples of that.

The possibility of some services continuing to operate at Hua Lamphong should be seriously considered, especially for trains that will attract tourists. It could easily double as a limited rail terminal and a magnificent railway museum. Apart from that, it is a central location that is well connected to other parts of Bangkok by the MRT.

The development at Bang Sue is magnificent, and is in keeping with the fact that rail travel in Southeast Asia has a bright future. However, authorities need to recognise that railway history is of significant interest to many tourists.

Reflecting this is the increasing number of television programmes about the great railway journeys one can take in the world, which include their stations, rolling stock, and destinations.

Hua Lamphong is one of the great "classic" railway stations of the world. Progress is important, but not at the cost of losing such a wonderful piece of history.

Let's continue to admire it and see it develop into a must-see for visitors from around the globe.

MARTIN GEORGE


Keep station as is

I agree with the Transport Ministry's plan to preserve Hua Lamphong train station as it is. The station, which was built during the reign of King Rama V, should be kept as our national treasure -- because of its unique design and lengthy service for the past 105 years.

However, apart from the Hua Lamphong area, the government should reveal how it plans to develop the land along the tracks between Hua Lamphong and Bang Sue, Bangkok Noi and Mammasan stations -- which will be left vacant when all train services are moved to Bang Sue Grand Station. These areas involve hundreds -- if not thousands of rai of land.

Since this project involves an enormous amount of money, it is surprising that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha did not show leadership and get involved -- in order for this transformation project to proceed smoothly and free of any irregularities.

VINT CHAVALA


Don't overreact

Re: "Suankularb Wittayalai school shut after single case," (BP, Nov 22).

Suankularb is to be highly praised for rapidly testing a student's entire class when it discovered his case of Covid-19. But it might have over-reacted by moving the whole student body to online classes.

Consider that (a) The US CDC has reported that the most frequent mode of school-related Covid-19 infection was not student-to-student, but among staff. No Suankularb staff member had been affected, and the ill student had been infected by his parents. (b) Closing a school is very disruptive to all involved, eg, a parent usually must take work leave, and we're just emerging from two years of pandemic.

I suggest that schools proactively: (a) improve ventilation, eg, using HEPA filters for air-conditioned rooms, and exhaust fans for other rooms. (b) split classes into cohorts, with staggered scheduling to reduce interaction between cohorts, and (c) test students and staff, including outside vendors, regularly with ATKs to catch infections before symptoms show.

Obtain peace of mind by following science, not overreaction.

BURIN KANTABUTRA


Grow trees instead

Re: "Rice farmers nationwide to receive aid," (BP, Nov 10).

Instead of continuing to pay farmers year after year to produce rice that, at best, is sold for meagre returns, why not pay farmers to plant and tend trees in line with international initiatives to expand forest cover to soak up carbon emissions?

Since Thai taxpayers are footing the bill to prop up farmers in any case, it would make sense to have farmers growing a crop that benefits the environment and helps safeguard the future of humanity. Trees efficiently absorb and store carbon.

Rice production, on the other hand, is a major source of methane -- a powerful greenhouse gas that is 80 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide.

SAMANEA SAMAN


Make Thailand better

Re: "Thailand not so bad," (PostBag, Nov 20).

Yes, David Brown is 100% correct that Thailand does have beautiful beaches, sunsets, food, and pleasant weather.

It does provide basic amenities that are so essential for all of us to enjoy life. Most of the Bangkok Post forum writers do not gripe about the good things. They do want their adopted country to become even better.

Thailand can join the cadre of world-class economies by amending its immigration laws and land ownership and work permit policies.

It should treat foreigners the same way legal Thai immigrants are treated in the United Kingdom, Australia, the European Union and the United States.

Foreigners who are living here point out the flaws in policies with the hope that they will be rectified and help Thailand to become a better place. That is all.

We should be thankful for whatever we enjoy in our adopted country and hope that this Christmas Santa will bring some treats for Thai policymakers to change things for the better.

KULDEEP NAGI


American chaos

Re: "Rittenhouse saga flames gun row," (BP, Nov 21).

I watched Kyle Rittenhouse's "saga" play out multiple times on CNN, and can answer this article's lead question right off the bat. No, it is not acceptable for a teenager -- or anybody -- to bring an assault rifle, or any lethal weapon, to a political protest.

This baby-faced young punk got off scot-free after carrying an assault rifle to a protest rally, with his baseball cap jauntily worn backwards in the latest hip-hop fashion. He murdered two innocent people and wounded one more. Then the jury declared him innocent and the multitudes cheered.

All this speaks volumes about America's plunge into moral chaos. Will nobody speak out to condemn such an abomination?

OBSERVER


Stop travel hassle

I am a doctor and a consultant, living in Sweden right now.

Yes the future is digital but big tourist numbers will not return without simplicity and transparency.

Any possible obstacle downstream will deter people. Even business travellers will hesitate to visit partners in Thailand.

A visa and a vaccine passport should be enough. PCR tests can give false positives.

Another thing. The pull factors for Thailand will never tempt quality tourism. Add the lack of democracy and the possibility of "hassle" and the TAT will have to revalue its strategy.

I do love Thailand and hope to be back soon.

DR ANDERS FANT


Thai pass 'is fixed'

Re: "Thailand Pass needs fixing," (Editorial, Nov 19).

I wish to refer to your editorial titled "Thailand Pass needs fixing", which I believe was unfairly characterised in that column.

Although some of those issues did indeed arise at the launch of the Thailand Pass system, they were resolved within the first week.

To enable users' requests to check on the status of their applications themselves, the agencies adapted the system to do exactly just that, and on top of that adding the ability for users to download the QR code themselves. These fixes bypassed the need for confirmation emails and addressed the issue of an incompatibility of the system with emails other than gmail.

The column also referenced a photo of long queues at the airport. Upon further investigation, these claims have actually been proven false. At disease control checkpoints, travellers were only asked to provide evidence of a negative RT-PCR test and boarding pass, not to present all documents used to apply for a Thailand Pass QR code.

In the end, the numbers speak for themselves. As of 25 Nov 2021 at 9.00am, the system logged 296,842 applications, of which 236,184 have been approved, or approximately 79.57%, with the relevant agencies working to increase this approval rate.

MR TANEE SANGRAT

Director-General of the Information Department and Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand


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