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Keeping mouths shut

Re: 'The Great Dictator' blocked on 'democracy day', (BP, June 24).

Thai historian Thongchai Winichakul is correct in saying the revolution of 1932 is not yet finished. An obvious reason for this is the antipathy some feel towards the values that underpin democracy, for which antipathy leads them to repeatedly make up excuses, however lame and false, to tramp democratic evolution into the dirt.

The quotation from Sulak Sivaraksa reminds us that those making up their excuses for opposing the Thai nation's democratic growth "truly believe they are good people".

But the excuses given cannot justify a coup. Sincere belief cannot make that belief true. The Earth did not move to the centre of the universe because popes and bishops sincerely believed it to be there in accordance with Biblical teaching.

Nor does a coup become necessary or morally right because those committing it truly believe themselves to be doing something morally right or necessary.

It remains wrong and an assault on good morals.

These basics from elementary critical thinking explain the desperate need to censor and suppress free thought and open discussion, which have characterised Thai society and politics for decades, but even more intensely since May 2014.

There is only ever one primary reason for censorship. Censorship is always, without exception, imposed to enforce ignorance, to prevent a sound knowledge and informed understanding of the topic being censored.

This is why China makes it a criminal offence for Chinese citizens to learn about Tiananmen. This is why North Korea makes it illegal for citizens to access foreign sources. The intent is to protect false myths from being exposed.

The truly bizarre result of the censorship imposed on the captive Thai audience is that foreigners can and often do know more about Thai affairs than locals do.

The only Thais who can reasonably claim to have a sound understanding of their nation, its society, its history and its government are those who have sought out and considered the views of academics and others held in contempt by the censors.

These so-called enemies of the state are either forced into exile or imprisoned; or they are censored to protect the public from opinions related to Thai affairs that are of genuine importance.

NOTE: The previously blocked clip of The Great Dictator with Thai subtitles is available on YouTube again.

Censorship is beloved of those with contrary values.

Felix Qui

Face the facts

Re: "Suvarnabhumi disputes 'world's 9th worst airport' rank", (BP, June 18).

First we had the government disputing Thailand's highly dangerous country ranking for tourists, and now we have the authorities at Suvarnabhumi disputing its 9th worst world airport ranking.

The authorities claimed it was not clear how the main criteria of the Airhelp survey on time, quality service and performance and passenger sentiment, were judged.

The powerbrokers of Thai society cannot just keep dismissing these negative portrayals as baseless. They need to get to grips with reality. For it is only when one acknowledges one's faults that one can truly improve.

Khon Kaen

Safety's building blocks

Re: "BMA starts high-rise fire safety drive", (BP, June 23).

I'd like to urge two points with respect to this drive.

Firstly, even if world standard building codes, fire prevention and protection rules exist here, the problem is whether these rules have been fully implemented and authorities have strictly set programmes to periodically inspect these properties.

Secondly, those buildings have basically been built using fire resistant materials, such as steel and concrete, but fire departments and building administrators must make sure that all interior furnishings have been done with non-flammable or slow burning materials, and that there is no flammable materials stored in the buildings as well.

This inspection is also required periodically.

RH Suga

136 Na Ranong Road Klong Toey, Bangkok 10110
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