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Bells of tolerance

Re: "'Big Joke' targets foreign lady who griped about bell ringing", (BP, Oct 6).

There is a minority of Thais who are calling for calm in the Wat Sai bell-ringing drama and those people, notably including Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and the Bangkok Post's editorial pages editor Ploenpote Atthakor, should be commended.

The Post reported that our prime minister cautioned us "not to fan out the issue" and this is sage advice for two reasons. First, the complainant is a foreigner and second, Thailand is asking an awful lot of foreigners to tour, study, live or invest here.

Thailand sometimes does not understand that there is no such thing as "one Buddhism" when one contends with the costs and consequences of globalisation. All non-Thai branches of Buddhism have substantially different traditions and it's not fair to expect foreigners to understand Thai traditions; nor is it fair to forbid them to ask "why?"

When the global community sees religious intolerance and draconian penalties in scenarios involving foreigners in Thailand, it substantially deters their interest in living or otherwise economically investing here.

One must understand that a lack of a carefully manicured ex-patriot pedigree has been a large contributor to Thailand's dwindling ability to innovate and, as the country visibly starts to falter behind its neighbours, it becomes less likely for Thailand to escape the so-called middle-income trap unless we change some of our ways, but not necessarily change our traditions.

While I happen to believe that the bells should ring just as they always have, demonising a foreign national is a counterproductive response. In short, when a foreigner asks a legitimate question, even an angry or offensive question, if the answer we give is "because my God can beat up your God!" -- then we've got a terribly incorrect answer.

Let us instead ring the bells of tolerance or, as Freddie Mercury so aptly put it back in 1982, las palabras de amor (Let me hear the words of love).

Jason A Jellison


Bullet-free banks

Nobody in a bank should be armed -- including the Bangkok Bank guard I saw last week.

The reasons are:

1) The bank's insurance should cover such losses.

2) If a robber knows the branch guard is armed, the guard will be the first one killed.

3) Customers don't want to be in the middle of a shootout, especially when they're sitting ducks.

Burin Kantabutra


Thaksin or Prayut?

Re: "Don't step back", (PostBag, Oct 7).

Press criticism of the military government is inevitable, even though it would not be permitted in elected dictatorships such as the Philippines or Cambodia. Governments usually have credibility problems as time goes on. Mr Macron and Ms May both slumped in popularity after they were elected. Mr Trump has never obtained a clear 50% approval rating.

In the next election, Thai voters will be choosing between a Thaksin proxy party and a civilian-junta partnership. I seem to remember that the former was once accused of parliamentary gerrymandering, wholesale multi-billion-baht corruption and the deaths of thousands in anti-drugs raids.

Barry Kenyon


Gutter language

It is high time for PostBag contributors to tone down their choice of words and try intelligent means of self expression. Descriptive words such as "weirdo", "psycho", "psychopath" and a whole list of others simply show writers' inability to express themselves without injecting personal venom into an opinion.

It is good for "yellow journalism" and sensational rags like Britain's The Sun. Many contributors have set themselves up as psychiatrists, judges and jurors when criticising others, regardless of whom those others may prove to be.

In the late 1950s when I was taking a high school writing class, a reporter from the now gone New York Herald Tribune was invited to talk to us. He explained that a mark of a good writer is to attack another person's opinion, not the person. This is relevant today, although many have either forgotten this, or never learned it.

Charcoal Ridgeback


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