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Got to stay cool

Chartchai Parasuk in his April 11 article thinks mass-transit light rail projects "are not financially successful." He also thinks that when you build a house in Thailand, air conditioning should not be installed unless it is "cost effective", "there maybe a more cost-effective way to cool the house".

There seems to be this attitude in Thai politics that government projects -- whether a rice or agricultural subsidy, military project or infrastructure -- should somehow be "profitable". They are not, if they were you would not have to pay taxes.

The many foreigners that come to Bangkok for holiday, business functions, trade shows, etc. will not be satisfied with an alternative method to cool their rental accommodation or having to take a motorbike taxi to get to Impact. It may be "cost effective" to have infrastructure that rivals Bangladesh, but you will also lose revenue. I agree with him on the extended high-speed rail projects though. Not necessary, flying is better.

TC


Far too laid back

Re: "More things change", (BP, April 7).

It seems that when it comes to punctuality in the workplace, the Thai spirit seems to overflow its boundaries of decency. The excuses made in broken English can be quite amusing. I often hear the expression "I got laid" because the bus was laid, the ferry was laid or the train was laid. And of course, I got laid through no fault of mine. What is the big deal if I got laid? It is Thailand. Go ahead, you can also get laid, no worries. If you often get laid, you will be sent to an inactive position. Then you will not have to worry. Understand?

Kuldeep Nagi


Dogs can't fly

In 1985 I began teaching English to a group of Thai students at Vajiravudh College in Bangkok. The students, all 6th graders, were typical of Thai boys being forced to learn English. Most of them did not want to go through the trauma of rote-learning, albeit necessary, especially for those beginners. Worse yet, the English paper they were required to take in the final examination contained one of the most bizarre English sentences I still can't figure out who on earth would go about saying it in real-life situations. The sentence read "Can a dog fly?" The purpose of this part of the test was to determine whether 6th graders could understand the use of a yes-no question. The first student I summoned to take the test was one of the most rambunctious boys I had in class. Upon seeing the sentence, he screamed "What a stupid question! How can a dog fly?" Instead of getting angry with his unruly behaviour, I rewarded him with a full mark for that part of the test, having realised that even a 12-year old boy could see the absurdity of the question which was crafted by the "expert" in the Ministry of Education then.

This is a small incident indicative of the fact that English education in this country needs to be overhauled. If testing or assessment is now considered an integral part of quality instruction, those writing exam questions must be very careful in producing English questions that are correct, meaningful and relevant to real-life situations. For sure, if a dog had been able to fly, the exam writer must have provided a context--linguistic, and pragmatic -- that would enable a dog to fly, and more importantly, a 12th grader to see why he would need to say either a yes or a no to the canine question.

A Teacher


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