Leave Yingluck be
Re: "Officials 'must capture Yingluck'," (BP, Jan 12). We should all extend our sympathy to the government for having to resist pressure from various sources to pursue extradition proceedings against Yingluck Shinawatra.
It must be patently obvious to one and all in Thailand that Yingluck was (and is) a very popular figure to millions of people, and to enforce her return and consequent imprisonment would result in massive demonstrations (and inevitable casualties), the like of which even Thailand has never experienced before, and to which there would be no foreseeable resolution. All hopes of national reconciliation would probably be dashed forever!
Why not simply accept the pragmatic result that Yingluck, after all, was merely a pawn in the proceedings and is now suffering, along with her brother, effective banishment from her homeland and leave it at that?
Let bygones be bygones.
UK won't help regime
Between news articles and letters to the editor, people are astounded why the government is incapable of capturing former PM Yingluck Shinawatra. The Bangkok Post should try to help people understand that many democratic countries are unlikely to offer active assistance in extraditing a lawfully elected head of government back to the military junta that ousted her.
We need to understand that any criminal charges or guilty verdict against an elected official brought about by order of a military junta will likely not be taken seriously by any free country. The odds are the verdict was predetermined.
Fair and free trials may occur under a democracy but not under a government capable of ordering the verdict. I remain unsurprised that the British government is ignoring any request for cooperation.
Re: "Officials 'must capture Yingluck'," (BP, Jan 12).
Good acting, Gen Prawit Wongsuwon. You deserve an Oscar!
We all know that you are not stupid. If you really wanted to prevent Yingluck Shinawatra from fleeing, you could easily have done it. But you chose to "cut a hole in the barbed wire fence" to let her get away. The same thing happened to Phra Dhammachayo. You know that if the two were in jail you'd be nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof.
By the way, I noticed from your picture in the Jan 12 edition of Bangkok Post that the sleeves of your suit are a bit too long. Don't you think so?
A popularity puzzle
I am really puzzled as to why Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha remains as popular as he seems to be. Yes, he seems to be a nice guy with a certain amount of charm and some sense of humour, but he hasn't really done much to solve the problems of the country. For example, although he has given some crumbs to the poor, the inequality of wealth is still one of the worst in the world. The prisons remain jam packed with mostly small-time drug addicts and dealers because he apparently hasn't the compassion to treat these people as having health problems.
He has surrounded himself with military people, no doubt loyal to him, but not really competent to solve the country's problems. He has spent money like a drunken sailor on military equipment, instead of funding the health system and preparing for an ageing society which is actually already here. As far as I can tell he is still fixated on having more coal-burning power plants, rather than embracing the possibility of using more clean, alternative energy.
I guess that if we are invaded by a foreign power which seems unlikely, we will have a fighting chance, but if we are beset by internal social problems like we are now, under his leadership, we are lost.
Paying for confusion
Re: "PM wants to sell gift puppies", (BP, Jan 4).
The saga of the three gift puppies is all rather confusing -- just who was gifting the puppies to whom? In any case, it seems everyone agrees that the prime minister paid some 39% above the market price for the puppies. Any parallels to potential overpayments for submarines, NGV buses, battle tanks and high-speed trains shall remain pure speculation.
Poor in perpetuity
Re: "Fairness sadly lacking in the workplace", (Opinion, Jan 12).
Considering how hard it is to get a good job in this country, and the fact that the minimum wage is so low, one would think that the workers would be grateful for having such a well-paying job in the first place. I wonder if the workers would be acting like this if this were a Thai company? I highly doubt it. I have read a couple of books of former Honda managers who were here, and they stated that the biggest complaint that they had with Thai workers was their constant sulking.
So far as I am concerned, the workers' ridiculous behaviour is indicative of Thai people's lack of respect for anything foreign. Whether it be foreign tourists or foreign companies, Thais are always seeking ways of exploiting foreigners. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has it right here when he states that foreign companies will be leaving the country if Thai workers keep demanding more.
The typical Thai worker wishes to keep up with the latest trends and fads. So if it is now in vogue to buy a nice car and get a big house, the typical Thai worker will try to achieve this, even though it is not realistic at all. Do you see Japanese workers constantly protesting? No. Japan is a developed country while Thailand is a third world one. If Thai people keep disrespecting foreign firms, they will ensure that Thailand remains such a country in perpetuity.
Target drug factories
Re: "Cops mull changing tack to win drug war", (BP, Jan 12).
A police general is quoted as saying that neighbouring countries are cooperating with Thailand in trying to stop the huge influx of drugs into Thailand.
It would seem to me that if these countries were sincere in their wish to cooperate, then they wouldn't mind letting the Thai air force use their Gripens for something besides impressing children and let them take out some of what must obviously be some big factories producing these drugs in their countries.
In her Jan 11 letter, Clara Holzer sensibly questions "the Bangkok Post's obsession with elections", The answer is that the Post is "obsessed" with elections in the same way that most of us are "obsessed" with breathing. Elections are no more definitive of democracy than breathing is of being a thinking, feeling human, but just as the absence of breathing is a reliable indicator that there is no human person present, so is the absence of elections a reliable indicator that there is no democracy. But why value democracy?
The Post and many others, rather more than on Clara Holzer's shortlist, value democracy because it is the only form of government based on good morals. Elections are an essential tool, but as the examples of Mussolini and many others who got the trains running and the streets cleared of vermin show, perhaps even Donald Trump, elections alone are no guarantee of the good morals that founded democracy, for which a strong constitution enabling constant vigilance is also needed.
The latest coup against a popular civil government and civil rule of law was committed because democracy was once again showing signs of taking solid root in Thailand. The sleazy Pheu Thai amnesty bill had been defeated by the voice of the vigilant Thai people and the awful rice-pledging scheme was coming under increasing pressure from healthy vigilance. Democracy being the surest antidote to corruption, which thrives under repressive censorship, what traditional forms of systemic corruption might have been threatened next had such democratic shoots been allowed to take hold?
Trumpian tax dodge
Michael Setter in his Jan 6 letter, "Stick to the facts", asks us to stick to the facts regarding criticism of President Donald Trump. One fact that stands out is that Mr Trump is the first president since Richard Nixon, going all the way back to 1970, who has not released his tax returns (the exception being Gerald Ford, who did not release complete returns, but released summary data of his federal taxes).
Mr Setter extols the virtues of WikiLeaks and Judicial Watch for freely publishing information that they obtain through various means. I eagerly look forward to an organisation of this nature securing copies of Mr Trump's tax returns and making them public.
Israel under threat
Re: "More than 51st state", (PostBag, Jan 6).
What Israel has "more " of than any American state is the need to be on constant alert to attacks from neighbours who have vowed to wipe it off the map. Hostility between any of the actual 50 American states goes no further than interstate football and basketball rivalry. But for Israelis, the threat of death and destruction, Iran now boasting its rockets can reach Tel Aviv, is the existential "more" they have to live with every hour.
Nevertheless, some people begrudge the aid Israel receives from the US. With Iran funnelling funds and weaponry to Hamas and Hezbollah, the American aid at least helps Israel deter attacks, similar to American aid to South Korea.
Instead of just US support, more global empathy for Israel might convince its enemies that hostility is counterproductive, that the time has come to negotiate. With its large Arab population and Arabs in its Knesset, Israel has already demonstrated a willingness to coexist peacefully, in East Jerusalem and beyond.
Trains win over planes
Re: "High-speed railways to rival air travel", (BP, Jan 11).
I don't think that air travel is less competitive than high-speed trains as mentioned by Deputy Transport Minister Pailin Chuchottaworn. Of course, it is better to improve airports for passengers' convenience, but the real inferiority of short-haul air travel against high-speed trains is travellers' lost time in accessing airports, checking in, security clearance, etc. There is a so-called four-hour wall. If total travel time, door to door, is about four hours, aeroplanes cannot beat trains, even if their speed is far faster than trains. Therefore, air travel will still be the winner for longer-distance travel.
A top Thai press job
Re: "'Judgemental' Thai press comes under fire", (BP, Jan 11).
Amnesty International's seminar came to a somewhat misguided conclusion on the quality of news in Thailand's press. Speaking as an American student, I think the quality of Thailand's press is far better than many Western equivalents.
Amnesty International and its like-minded academics seem to think that the Thai press is too negative and does not lead people to using their critical thinking skills. Well, I disagree. Far from being "judgmental", there is such a broad array of interesting and opposing views and stories in the Thai media, in English and Thai. The English-language newspapers frequently publish very conservative responses to their articles; even when those responses are scathing.
The Thai-language news also often covers positive events like foreigners learning about sufficiency economics at a local college. Altogether, they are awash in stories about awards to up-and-coming Thai students, Thai athletic victories, and compassionate journalism for people who are suffering.
The Thai press is hardly "judgmental". They are simply doing their job... and they are doing a very good job at it.
Jason A Jellison
Take rotavirus seriously
Re: "Four children dead from rotavirus infection", (BP, Jan 10).
It is disappointing to note there is no mention of treatment. Transmission, symptoms and vaccination are discussed but the most effective (and inexpensive) action which can be taken is to treat the resultant dehydration with oral rehydration salts.
If young Thai women were routinely taught this procedure, (as they are in India), those four lives would most probably have been saved. In short, education saves lives, yet one more reason for Thailand to take it seriously.
Come back, Edith
Re: "Resurrecting Edith", (PostBag, Jan 10).
Will Edith Clampton (Mrs) come out of retirement and once again entertain the Bangkok Post's readers? I really hope so. I miss her cryptic observations. She must be a bit long in the tooth now and rather more acidic.
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