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Life must mean life

Re: "Death no deterrent", (PostBag, 22 June).

A recent Bangkok Post editorial on the death penalty rightly pointed out that even supporters of the death penalty acknowledge that the death penalty is not an effective deterrent. What is at stake here is not deterrence but plain justice -- a central principle that, to my amazement, tends to get lost in the debate.

The death penalty, let it be said, is a fully appropriate sentence for one who has deliberately and brutally taken the life of another. A life sentence cannot do this, and as the Post also correctly pointed out, "lifers" are often freed in a matter of years. One is then forced to ask what justice there is in this. Where is justice for the victim, the victim's family, and society? Abolitionists seem to think they occupy the moral high ground on this issue, but this is not the case. It is morally outrageous that a man who kills multiple times can simply be imprisoned, with all his human rights respected, and at some point released.

A debate on this issue is reasonable, but it would be helpful if the abolitionists recognised that the death sentence has moral and legal arguments in its support and try to answer them, and not just unthinkingly assume that they have a proven case against it because it is not a deterrent.

Robert Gosling


Rail is the answer

Re: "Rayong upset at high-speed elimination", (BP, June 22).

The five eastern provinces (Chon Buri, Chachoengsao, Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trad contribute more than 20% of national income and always suffer from traffic jams. You may get stuck on a road at 10-20kph no matter whether you drive a few hundred thousand baht eco-car or a 10-million-baht sports car. Travel by air is also not worth it because the distance to Bangkok is too short. High-speed trains are the ideal solution, and this line is the only one which is feasible. With the already prosperous economic background, there will be plenty of passengers who will be benefit from such convenience and enable the project to be profitable (much more feasible than Bangkok to Korat).

Prasan Stianrapapongs


America Last?

Re: "American Empire crumbling along with long held values", (Opinion, June 20).

It is increasingly becoming clear that the all politics may be "local" but the economies of the countries are global. Mr Krugman is right in saying that for the first time we are seeing a massive shift in American alliances. The way it is going, Mr Trump's "America First" will soon turn into "America Last". His government's withdrawal from all major international treaties, including the recent withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council is an indicative of regressive policies that will soon hit his support base -- the gung-ho, gun touting, Bible thumping crowd. The recent immigration policy fiasco is also indicative of the rife between Mexico, the rest of Central and South America and the US. In the coming midterm elections in November 2018, the Hispanic population in the US will definitely teach a lesson to Mr Trump and his party. He cannot make America great again by annihilating minorities -- the blacks, Hispanics and Asians. In addition, his daily tweets and insults to traditional allies in Europe will result in more tensions. Like the British Empire, the American hegemony will tumble unless the Americans wake up and put the brakes on Mr Trump's insane policies. Mr Trump has turned governance into a daily gambit and his policies into pranks.

Kuldeep Nagi
Bangkok


Right to fight halal

Re: "Flight of halal", (PostBag, June 21).

As an atheist, Peter Atkins is right to object to being served halal food. Halal labels finance Islamic organisations that provide the certification.This money finances a religion that calls for the death of atheists. Atheism is punishable by death in 12 Islamic countries.

As a Jew, I also wonder why I should be made to pay a tax for a religion that preaches the killing of all Jews. I'd rather have the option to say: no thanks. A number of halal-certification organisations have proven links with Islamist and terrorist organisations. In France, the Muslim Brotherhood controls 60% of the certification market.

Baffled reader


Saving more wildlife

As former deputy director of corporate communications for the WWF, then secretary-general of the Thai Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (TSPCA) and currently the Chief Adviser to the Society, I would like to respond to Roger Lohanan's June 16 letter on Animal Welfare Provisions. There is no intended criticism of his sentiments but we are dealing here with delicate legal matters.

In the previous constitution any citizen, with sufficient popular support, could propose legislation. The TSPCA, having been established in January 1994, I was appointed its secretary-general in 2004. I worked with others to draft the Animal Welfare Bill which was unveiled in 2006 and finally presented to the House in 2011 as the culmination of several years' hard work in collaboration with the Lawyers' Association of Thailand, the Government Livestock Department and various other parties concerned. The proposed bill was submitted to the house by our group under my name being the only citizens' bill on this subject. I would like to inform your readership that this law is still pertinent and effective resulting in over 300 cases being investigated and so far over 20 convictions.

The law is in two separate parts: The first is the protection of animals from cruelty; the second covers the general welfare of animals. Since the legislation was enacted we have recently added to the Welfare Law a statement of the five freedoms: Freedom from Hunger and Thirst; Freedom from Discomfort; Freedom from Pain and Injury; Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour; and Freedom from Fear and Distress. Specific areas of care must therefore follow these precepts.

Whereas the section of the law dealing with protection from cruelty protects all animals classed as pets and "livestock", it does not yet provide the same protection for wildlife. There is already legal protection of other aspects of wildlife in the form of Wildlife Protection Law. Therefore, the ministry's decision to announce additional species of wildlife for the anti-cruelty law, citing five particular species, in no way implies limiting provision to these five species only. What we have now is a sound precedent and further species will be added in the future.

However, I stress that great care must be taken over the progress of this work to avoid irreparable mistakes or omissions. There are many people working assiduously towards the same goal, including Khun Roger. We do not want the public to be disheartened but to help towards the cause.

Sawan Sangbunglung
Member of the Board of Directors Thai Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (TSPCA)


AFP propaganda

Re: "Will China hit Hollywood and N Korea diplomacy in US trade war?", (BP, 20 June).

This is yet another unbalanced, fear-mongering AFP report about a possible trade war between the US and China. Lacking any data whatsoever and absent viable input from sources in the US, the situation will likely be the end of the world as we know it if AFP is to be believed. The article suggests US trade policies resulted in Japan's two decades of economic stagnation and implies China would be justified in leveraging denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula to achieve concessions from the evil President Trump.

A newspaper's job is to inform the public, not to tell them what to think. By continuing to carry AFP's syndicated propaganda the Bangkok Post does a disservice to its loyal readers.

Michael Setter


Each to his own

Re: "Halal hullabaloo", (PostBag, 16 June).

I doubt if anyone can tell the difference between a halal, a kosher, or a non-halal or non-kosher meal, providing it is not pork, which would not even be offered. In the 50s I travelled with a friend from New York to Chicago aboard a Dakota, a DC-3. My friend's mom was worried about a kosher meal, so she took a huge wicker basket filled with home-made fried chicken and potato salad onboard. In those days all was permitted. She fed us, and half the passengers with it. It was a hoot. Too bad Mr Atkins would not have enjoyed it. He would have opted for the airline ham sandwich, a slice of ham on a stale bun, washed down with a glass of weak, tepid coffee. Each to his own.

David James Wong


The real cost of subs

I keep seeing references to the junta's purchase of submarines and wonder why nobody in the military and the press have explained about the additional costs and infrastructure needed to deploy this type of technology. As a US Navy veteran and someone who has visited the sub base in Pearl Harbor many times I know that the cost of accommodating the submarines will far exceed the purchase price.

To use a submarine, Thailand will have to build an entirely new communication system using ELF/SLF frequencies since standard communication methods do not apply underwater. Along with this comes the environmental damage to sensitive sea creatures like whales from sonar usage causing them to beach and die. The Thai people will have to purchase new ships called sub-tenders which act as repair stations and "tow trucks" because all technology breaks down with usage. Where are the hyperbaric chambers or rescue vessels with the capacity to hold an entire submarine crew? These chambers allow sailors to be rescued when a submarine sinks and the crew has to be saved underwater. Are the Thai sailors expected to die if a submarine breaks? And they all do.

And what about storing the subs? It takes special docks and equipment that Thailand does not have to moor a vessel like this. What incidents prompted the junta to decide that the people's money would be best spent here instead of social welfare programmes and health care? I have not heard of any submarine attacks on tourists or fishermen.

So how are the incidental costs of operating submarines being factored into the budget and Thailand 4.0? Is it fiscally prudent to buy them even if the purchase is in the military budget?

Darius Hober


No pleasing everyone

Re: "Prayer for the dying", (PostBag, June 21).

It seems that dear Peter Atkinson is still upset and moaning that Thai Airways did not offer him non-halal food on his flights to and from a Muslim country. As a self-professed atheist he admits he has a problem with halal meat being blessed at the time of slaughter. Really?

The fact remains, however, that had Peter not been told his food was halal he would never have known the difference and would not be continuing to be so outraged. Furthermore, when Peter tells us he avoided eating any meat while in Bangladesh in case it was halal, he might like to learn that breakfast cereal, rice, pasta and bread etc may even have been halal. I guess there's just no pleasing some people.

Martin R


Trump's the worst

Reading the report of Paul Krugman I can only congratulate him for his very realistic and true description of the situation in the US. At the same time he is confirming my earlier diagnosis of President Trump suffering NPD (narcissistic personality disorder).

I think it is high time that the destruction of the US and world trade is stopped by the impeachment of, as Mr Krugman describes him, the worst person ever to hold this position.

Lupus


Kosen leads the way

Kosen school students can learn practical programmes within five years effectively. The key to the success of Japanese industries is the Kosen curriculum. A lot of Kosen alumni are in key positions in firms which introduce the latest technologies with existing core manufacturing skills. Sending top Thai students to Kosen schools is absolutely right and it will enhance Thailand 4.0.

Durian Ninja


War on children

One would never know from Donald Trump's war on children that the crime rate among legal and illegal immigrants in American is lower than it is among American citizens. But just to be on the safe side, from here on in every time I see a child walking down the street I'm going to dive for cover. Thanks to Donald Trump I now realise how dangerous a child can be!

Eric Bahrt


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