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Put meat on bike laws

Re: "Children told not to drive motorbikes", (BP, Nov 30).

This is a sort of oxymoron. They are "told" not to ride motorbikes, buy they do. I have not yet seen police outside schools enforcing this law, or, sending traffic officers into schools to lecture young riders that if they are caught riding motorbikes, the bikes will be confiscated, parents will be levied with large fines, and young offenders will be banned from obtaining legitimate driving licences until they turn 25.

But of course, none of this will ever happen.

In reality, motorcycle accidents and deaths will continue to occur as always, while parents and police will wonder why. Most vehicle laws are all like stews made of all potatoes and no meat.


Solution to water woes


Re: "S44 urged for wastewater fee", (BP, Dec 2).

City Hall just needs to impose a wastewater fee at a certain rate and combine it with the existing tap water fee and charge for both fees in one bill. Consumers will have no way to avoid payment for their wastewater fee. Any failure to pay this new water bill will result in the termination of water supply. Therefore, there is no need to enforce S44.


See no evil, hear no evil


The Chiang Mai Malin Sky Pub assault story is being watched with curious interest among the Thai community in San Francisco's Bay Area. The most popular comment is that the "little rich girl" and her boyfriend will walk away from it all, no pressed charges, with no one to prove anything.

Of course, a physical assault leaving a kid with a broken nose, fractured jaw, loose teeth and destroyed ear tissue proves nothing, as after all this is Thailand.

In the end, money will talk regardless of who is involved, and the old Thai line, if you don't see it, there is of course no problem, will no doubt prevail.

Remember many years ago when Chalerm Yubamrung's son was charged with killing a policeman in a club in Bangkok at close range? No one saw a thing. Daddy made sure of that.

Now, if the accused were poor, or perhaps teens from Cambodia, well, the story would certainly be written differently, wouldn't it, just like the Koh Tao story?


Xenophobia thriving

Don't let anyone tell you that xenophobia is not alive and well in Thailand.

I am a Citibank (Thailand) Visa card holder with a credit limit well into six figures. I spend between 30,000 to 50,000 baht each month, and when travelling overseas it goes well above that figure. My repayment record gives me the top credit rating.

Today I received an email from Citibank with the offer of free travel insurance covering accidents and medical up to two million baht offered through Cigna.

I followed the instructions and telephoned Cigna to register for an imminent trip I am making to Vietnam, only to be told that this offer is only for Thai citizens.

Apparently my baht-spending with Citibank as a foreigner is worthless, other than the large fees and charges they collect from me every month.


Stop ethnic cleansing

Myanmar continues to commit atrocities against the Rohingya people while Aung San Suu Kyi continues to look the other way. There are reports of children being thrown into burning buildings and woman being raped. And a reporter was arrested for reporting these crimes. The UN has accused Myanmar of ethnic cleansing.

For years I've been arguing that Ms Suu Kyi is nothing but a hypocrite and and now she is window dressing for a government that is clearly run by a murderous military. Whatever international economic sanctions that were removed from the "reform" government should be immediately reinstated.


Cops toothless tigers

Re: "Police 'ready' if abbot stays in hiding spot", (BP, Nov 29).

Will you spare us the on again, off again reports of what was, and was not done, or what intends to be done? This has become a case of the boy who cried wolf.

Both sides are all foam, no substance, and if the abbot continues to flaunt the law, why shouldn't others as well? It seems the police do not have fangs when it comes to their own, or the rich and influential. Now, if this were a case of an abbot in a poor mountain temple with five monks, you could expect a squad of riot police in bullet proof vests, a platoon of army rangers, and a few hundred soldiers. That would be impressive.


Saucer of Buddhism

Current developments in the Phra Dhammajayo case only serve to underscore the farcical "preserve corruption at all costs" approach to justice that epitomises Thailand's third-world status.

The Buddhist Sangha is corrupt. The government agency that is supposed to regulate it is corrupt and no one ever does anything to upset this manure cart.

The world looks at Thai Buddhism and sees a flying saucer. How perfect a picture is that?

Chon Buri

Cuban history lesson

Re: "The real Castro", (PostBag, Nov 28).

Martin R shows his lack of knowledge of Cuba's history. To set the record straight: Fidel Castro liberated the Cuban people from tyranny and slavery. Starving people to death and killing thousands of opponents happened before Castro through dictator Fulgencio Batista.

One of Fidel Castro's first visits to a foreign country after the successful overthrow of the Batista dictatorship was the US. He got a hero's welcome by the American public and was received by then vice-president Richard Nixon. However, the US government did not trust Castro and turned down his plea for credit and support to rebuild Cuba. Only then did Castro look to Russia for support. Exiled Cubans celebrating Castro's death in Miami are abominable and showing their true character.


Sheer hypocrisy

The world's mainstream media and the Western ruling elite are holding out Fidel Castro to be a terrible monster. Then you wonder why the accusers never criticise and punish their dictatorial friends in the Middle East and elsewhere for even worse violations of human rights. And what about the accusers' own worldwide misdoings through their military power? Who has the most innocent blood, corpses, and lives shredded and destroyed on their consciences? And why can such deadly violence be allowed to be repeated over and over again all over the world in the most informed times of all without the global community trying to stop it, name it, ban it and dare to describe by calling a spade a spade?

I doubt a truthful authoritative history ever will be written.

But how could the internationally recognised statesman Nelson Mandela have had Fidel Castro as a lifelong friend? Could he have been so wrong and not seen the monster but instead remark: "Cubans came to our region as doctors, teachers, soldiers, agricultural experts, but never as colonisers ... what other country has such a history of selfless behaviour as Cuba has shown for the people of Africa?"

Only leaders from poor and poorer countries attended Castro's funeral and this shows the poor and the rich are not in pace -- the poor's hero is the rich's enemy, so who is right and who has got history on their side?


Utter waste of time

For the first two years that I lived here in Thailand and despite having a one-year visa (non-immigrant O), I was required to exit the country every three months (which I did for an average of 10 minutes each time) before I was then able to immediately re-enter the country. I spent many wasted and non-productive hours sitting in a bus going to and from the border, and also wasted time filling out forms and queuing up at border control collecting and filling up my passport with numerous exit and entry stamps, for a needless procedure which would have to be repeated again and again and again.

Four years ago, I applied for and received a one-year retirement visa which I have renewed every year, but this visa comes with a requirement for a 90-day "report" to the immigration police to inform them of my current address. I have never been able to figure out the reason for the burdensome requirement to exit the country every three months, or for the requirement to have to report to the immigration office every three months. This restriction placed on a one-year visa really means that the visa is to all intents and purposes only just a three-month visa.

I have read many letters in the Bangkok Post over the years from foreigners complaining about this requirement but have never read of any response from the Thai immigration authorities with a valid reason to justify the requirement. What purpose does it serve? Why 90 days? How was the decision made to choose this time period? Why not do away with it altogether? All it does is create unnecessary work for Thai immigration, who would be better off doing something more productive like chasing down visa over-stayers, as well as imposing an unnecessary burden on foreigners.

There was a letter from "Worried retiree" in PostBag on Nov 29 who made mention of the 10-year renewable visa available to foreigners in Malaysia, and apparently this visa has no "90-day reporting" requirement or "exit the country every 90 days" requirement. If this works for the Malaysian immigration authorities then I'm sure it could work here!


It's not in the mail

Recently I went to the post office to send a letter by registered mail as I have done many times for many years. I was told that now I must show my passport. I didn't have it with me (who carries their passport with them?) and showed my Thai driver's licence, a paper photo copy and a digital (smart phone) copy of my passport. None were accepted, although they are acceptable to banks and the police. I was trying to mail a single page letter, not a package.

Is this regulation accurate? If so when did it go into effect? I've never seen any mention of it in the news and a Google search found nothing about it. Does this passport regulation apply to Thai citizens or just foreigners. If it applies to Thai citizens are they also required to show their passport or is another form of ID accepted?

It would be appreciated if the appropriate postal or other government official would respond to this letter and explain if this is the new policy and, if so, why?


When in Thailand...

Re: "Lost in translation", (PostBag, Dec 2).

I'm very impressed by Michael Weldon's proposal that farang wishing for reasonable treatment should speak Thai. It's a great idea that should have been forwarded to the US and UK authorities. I'm sure there will be a lot of support there to charge non-English speakers much higher rates across all states in future.


Music's not over yet

Sadly, I am writing this letter at 4am to report that the 24-hour karaoke pub nightmare continues in Jomtien. The sonic fury from this "open-air jungle karaoke" begins at 2am!

For several years, this illegal "after-hours" karaoke pub has been reported to Pattaya City official complaint line 1337. Frustratingly, the dozens of calls to the police and city officials were ignored.

Our Thai neighbours are too afraid of the pub owners to join us farang and make an official complaint.

Something's wrong!


Time to pay the piper

Former US president Harry Truman used to have a sign on his desk stating: "The buck stops here."

We have a country full of owners of various firms that absolutely refuse to take any responsibility for anything that their underlings do. I would strongly suggest the Thai government to keep owners of boats, buses, bars, who hired underqualified staff responsible for those actions caused by their underlings. These owners should pay for the actions of their hirelings. Once this happens, business operators will be forced to pay attention or pay the piper.

The current interpretation of Truman's sign simply means all the money stops at my desk. The world keeps getting smaller with the mass media.



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