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Cabbies' identity crisis

It would be wonderful if some readers more well informed than I, and ideally from the Bangkok Taxi Drivers Association, could perhaps let us and other readers know the "street rules" and general modus operandi to successfully manage to hire a conveyance in the name of a taxi in Bangkok.

I had assumed, obviously completely wrongly, that when I wave down a Bangkok cab with an "available for hire" light on, and that taxi stops next to me curbside, that they will happily take me to where I want to go. Big mistake.

I have been left standing at the side of the road like a complete loser so many times in the past three weeks as cabbies drove away muttering mai bai, mai bai -- whatever that means. I even saw a Japanese lady with two young kids, umbrella up in the rain, shopping bags in hand, be refused paid transportation in similar circumstances. Highly embarrassing.

Of course there are some good ones, many good ones. But that's not the issue here. What's the deal with this? Either you are a cabbie or you aren't a cabbie. Is it an identity crisis perhaps?

Seeking guidance


At the coal face

Re: "Climate risks and opportunities in the transition to a low-carbon economy", (BP, March 8).

It is true that coal is not clean. The amount of pollutants from coal combustion depends on the types of coal. However, with the developed clean technology used in the coal-fired power plants nowadays, the emissions from the power plants are below the limits of international standards.

That is why many developed countries have a share of coal in their electricity generation, including the United States (33%), Germany (40%), Japan (31%), South Korea (39%), Australia (63%), and Malaysia (41%), and they have strict emission standards that they have to adhere to. In Thailand, our electricity generation in 2016 depends on coal with the share at 18%, and it will be increased to 23% in 2036.

The UK's coal share in electricity generation is 16%, but it plans to reduce this share to 0% in 2025 by replacing with nuclear power from Hinkley Point power plant.

However, the UK experienced a crisis of low power reserves during the winter for two consecutive years as it has tried to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by rapidly increasing the share of renewable energy.

To cope with the crisis, the UK National Grid signed capacity contracts with power companies for two years in a row. These capacity contracts will force UK power consumers to pay £378 million (17 billion baht) through their energy bills in 2017 to natural gas, coal, and nuclear power plants with a total capacity of 54,000MW to guarantee that they have the generating capacity available when renewable energy is unavailable.

The closure of coal plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is noteworthy. However, the UK still needs to depend on base load power plants including natural gas, coal and nuclear power which guarantee power system security.

The UK is one of the countries in Europe that pays the highest electricity bills, while its industrial electricity prices are the highest in Europe.

Therefore, we need to carefully consider which choice is better between (1) fuel diversification to achieve energy balance as chosen by the US, Japan, South Korea, and Malaysia and (2) a focus on reducing carbon dioxide emissions but a lack of power system security and reasonable electricity prices.

Sanit Niyamakom
Director, Egat division of corporate communications


Go for tanks, not subs

Re: "Cabinet backs Chinese tanks purchase", (BP, April 5).

This purchase is far better than buying submarines. It is cheap, and mightier than what others in the region have in their possession. The Defence Ministry should buy more of these instead of subs.

RH Suga


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