Down the rabbit hole
Help me, somebody, I think I must have fallen down a rabbit hole and found myself in a world as crazy as Alice did. In this strange, topsy-turvy world the people who ousted an elected government, an action usually considered more serious than sedition is now arresting protesters and dissidents for actions and speech inciting people to rebel against their government.
It seems that actually overthrowing a government is a lesser wrong than a protest against one. Is this one of the unusual things to be taught in the new subject of Thainess? Maybe a passing rabbit can give me an answer.
'Thai Niyom' working?
I am surprised by all the indignant waffle (Burin Kantabutra et al) about "academic freedom" etc surrounding Nida director Pradit Wanarat's suppression of the recent opinion poll on Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon's timepieces (BP, Jan 31).
The polls findings, specifically that 15% of its respondents believe Gen Prawit did indeed borrow the 25 luxury watches from friends and neighbours, seem to me to be a major success for the military government.
Could this be a sign that the government's Thai Niyom programme is already having an impact?
Full speed ahead
Re: "Slower than a speeding bullet train? No way", (Opinion, Jan 31).
I agree with Soonruth Bunyamanee that the Prayut government should not look for ways to cut the cost, or compromise the top speeds, of the Bangkok-Chiang Mai high-speed trains.
As a Chiang Mai resident, I think this project will be a good investment if the government considers it a long-term national project.
If built, these trains would facilitate people from the fast-sinking areas of Bangkok and the Central Plains moving upwards to the North, making the towns and cities along its route more populated and developed as well as allowing new communities to spring up.
Therefore, if the current Thai government thinks that the price of building the Bangkok-Chiang Mai high-speed railway system is too high, it should scrap the project altogether.
On the other hand, if the government considers that these high-speed trains will serve Thailand in the same way as the Transcontinental Railroad that was built in the US in the 19th century -- linking cities and towns from the Atlantic Ocean side to the Pacific -- then to expect a short-term yield and reward from such a project as this is surely an ingenuous idea.
On the wrong track
Before investing in expensive high-speed rail, Thailand should use a dependable, safe, moderately fast and reliable standard rail network, coupled with an informative website with a decent online booking capability.
At present, it has nothing of the sort.
Cruelty to children
In what was perhaps the most heartless letter (PostBag, Feb 2) I have ever read in my life, Martin R pretty much says that people deserve to starve for having too many children. While I'm a big supporter of family planning, how could anyone be so cruel towards the innocent children who are already born and need to be fed?
While in the past, Martin has ridiculed me for being a vegetarian, may I point out that according to Lester Brown of the US Overseas Development Council, if Americans cut back on their consumption of meat by just 10% we could save enough grain to feed 60 million people. But I suppose that would be too much of an inconvenience for Martin. So just let the children starve!
Is it conceivable that "Courtesy on the Road" could be included in the government's plan for Thai Niyom? An apolitical approach of course. It might save a few lives.
Skytrain plan, anyone?
With the continuing extension of the Sukhumvit Skytrain line and the number of residential complexes being built along its length, would the BTS management explain what measures are being put in place, for example longer trains or a more frequent service, to cope with the already evident rise in passenger numbers?
Dare I look forward to reading their reply?
I fully agree with the writer of the Feb 1 letter, "Police state in making". I too have been told (by immigration officials) to comply with the newest edict handed down by head-in-the-sand Immigration Department. Is it paranoia or just mean spiritedness which compels immigration bosses in Bangkok to make life difficult for farang wanting to retire peacefully in Thailand.
Like Thursday's letter-writer, I travel around Thailand. According to the Immigration Department, each time I return home I must re-report my address to the department, no matter that I've resided in the same house for nearly 20 years. If I take little touristy trips twice a week, that's eight times a month, I'm required to waste entire mornings going to the Immigration Office, 11km from my home, to formally inform them I still live in the same house.
Even convicts who have served time in prison aren't required to do that. But elderly farang are. What's the purpose? Is it because, several years ago, several insurgents rented a house in Bangkok to make bombs? Is that the reason retired farang are being inconvenienced -- like what happened in South Africa's apartheid era?
Tussled in Thailand
Online media Landdestroyer ran a story on Jan 31 with an alarming headline: "US color revolution begins in Thailand". Are they mistaken about current protests and who is funding them, groups who want regime change, now?
Why are the Thai media acting only as microphone stands for parties, people in power and now also for the protesters? You seemingly never follow up on your own questions. I and others have to go to online sites like Landdestroyer for a broader view, like Landdestroyer of Jan 31 which reported: "In 2014, the day after the military officially removed Yingluck Shinawatra from power, the US embassy in Bangkok helped organise the creation of the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) front. Funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) -- appearing on the NED's Thailand 2014 list -- the front is one of several components of Washington's regime change machinery in Thailand."
It also said: "[TLHR] have refused to respond to multiple questions concerning the conflict of interests of posing as human rights lawyers while receiving foreign funding and representing foreign interests unrelated, even opposed to real human rights advocacy".
It is alleged that media fronts such as Prachatai, the Cross-Cultural Foundation (CrCF), and the Isan Record are also funded by the US government via the NED. All three have repeatedly covered up their foreign funding, refusing to disclose it to their readers, at other times denying it, while still at other times attempting to dismiss any sort of conflict of interest regarding receiving foreign funds and representing foreign interests through their so-called "journalism".
Is Landdestroyer wrong? What does the Bangkok Post really mean to do about press freedom and freedom of expression when withholding vital information? Why are you demanding full transparency from Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha but let his opponents operate unquestioned?
Who are all the new protesters and are there forces, overseas and foreign, behind them?
Ode to late King
Living in Bangkok off and on over the past 20 years, I have found that the people of Thailand are truly missing one of the country's most important and strongest advocates for its betterment and long-term health -- the great and wonderful late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. In the past I could always count on his presence and views on important issues regarding the health of Thailand and its people, from the need for preserving the environment to advocating for cleaner air.
At no time in these 20 years have I seen a more important need for someone to rise up and advocate for the health and welfare of the everyday resident of this country. It was especially brought to light when I realised that the quality of air in Bangkok has continually gone from bad to worse, and then the commitment by some in the Thai government to bring back coal as a major force to feed the need for energy in Thailand may become a reality.
Dear King Bhumibol, I for one miss you and am hoping someone will take up the gauntlet to keep Thailand one of the most wonderful places in the world to live. The time is now.
Out of the wilderness
There's an online environmental group called Avaaz. It's been growing by leaps and bounds, fed by tens of millions of environmentalists worldwide, who get their voices heard. A recent victory by Avaaz was closing down the world's largest ivory market. Hong Kong's legislators, influenced by the anti-poaching campaign, voted 48 to 4 to completely shut down Hong Kong's ivory dealers. Victory for wild beasts!
Bangkok, Manila, Taipei and several cities in China are also hubs for the illegal ivory trade. Similar black publicity could hit Bangkok -- not just for elephant ivory, but also for shark fins, rhino horns, tiger/lion bones, pangolins, and other contraband. Bangkok dealers in animal parts, consider yourselves warned! You're in the crosshairs. You're a dying breed.
The Bangkok Post recently had a Tum-stone ad on the "Office Leasehold Fund". Yet it was not listed as a new IPO on the SET website under new "Property Funds IPOs". Why?
This week Bualuang Securities (BLS) offered the "Office Leasehold Fund" and the first selling date was last posted as Monday, Jan 29. When we called Bangkok Bank at 9.01 AM on Jan 29, we were told it was already sold out.
It seems there was some irregularity in pre-booking and some unfairness, besides perhaps not adhering to SEC/SET rules? A high-quality office-building REIT fund it is, but one that got gobbled up by the well connected, all before the official selling date.
In the securities markets, transparency and fairness are the most important elements.
Paul A Renaud
Clocking up nicknames
I understand Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwon changed his name to General Rolex. Has a nice sound to it. Better than General Philippe Patek. Sounds too French.
David James Wong
Activists from the People Go Network head from Bangkok to Khon Kaen last month in the 'We Walk' march aiming to highlight public policy issues. Prasit Tangprasert
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