We want action, not talk
Re: "Govt lures wealthy foreigners", (BP, April 1).
I read with great interest of the government plans to attract wealthy foreign tourists, investors and retirees, by loosening restrictions on foreigners wishing to buy houses, improving regulations on immigration and applications for work permits, and even reforming the 90-day reporting requirement.
The one suggestion I would make to the enlightened authorities advancing these efforts is to start with the thousands of foreign residents already residing in the country. The best way to attract additional wealthy foreigners to the kingdom would be to demonstrate that existing residents are treated with respect and appreciation for their contributions to the local economy and society.
Currently, the treatment of existing foreign residents remains one of the biggest obstacles to attracting others. Initiating the reforms immediately for current residents would immediately create a pool of goodwill ambassadors that would undoubtedly become very effective in convincing others to invest and retire in Thailand.
Get jab priorities right
Re: "Jabless foreigners", (PostBag, April 3).
David Brown is right that nobody knows how many foreigners reside in Thailand. Could be as high as four million.
But the vast majority are not "farang" at all, whether with work permits, permanent residency, Elite visas or a variety of one year extensions of stay.
They are guest workers from neighbouring countries -- mostly in the construction, food and hospitality industries -- replacing a shortage of Thais thanks to the decline in the birthrate and a disinclination to take manual jobs.
Most farang will follow David and pay for jabs from private providers when available. But the migrants from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos are usually earning around 300 baht per day. Who should take priority in any mass vaccination programme?
Encourage a healthy life
I'm glad to see the government fighting obesity and that some soft drink makers, including Coca-Cola and Pepsi, have no-sugar versions (BP, April 1). Makers of fattening foods -- like doughnuts, deep-fried chicken, pizza, and hamburgers -- should follow suit. Makers of obesity-prone foods should be required to offer both high-and low-calorie versions of their two most popular items, with the price of the high-calorie food including a 20% subsidy going to the healthy item.
The Ministry of Education should publish healthy, tasty, menus that fall within public school budgets for school cafeterias to use as guidelines. Public schools should allow only the distribution of non-fattening foods on their premises. Students should be taught the value of a healthy diet and regular exercise, so that they, in turn, can teach their parents, and schools should have adequate and free exercise programs for students and local communities. Public schools should motivate and reward healthy eating, for example contests for schools with the most healthy, tasty, low-cost student meals.
Ruled by a 'giant mafia'
In his recent column, "Don't isolate Myanmar", Brahma Chellaney, a professor of strategic studies at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, argued that the economic sanctions announced by the US, EU and UK are "blunt instruments" that are essentially self defeating.
He makes the error of comparing the Myanmar military with the militaries in Thailand and Vietnam. He says that since the Western powers can deal successfully with those authoritarian countries, they should continue to do so with the Myanmar military, since they are "the only functioning institution in the country".
The reality is that over the decades of total impunity, grotesque brutality, and unbridled greed, the (totally Myanmar) military has essentially become nothing more than a giant mafia. Indeed, it has become a comfortable home for every low mentality thug and licensed criminal in the country. I certainly hope the UN or some other international body can talk sense into the Myanmar junta.
However, that seems a vain hope as things stand. More likely is a full-blown civil war which will be bloody and brutal even by the standards of Myanmar.
Needless to say, as well as being horrible for the people there, the likely spinoffs will not do Thailand any service either.
Don't ignore Myanmar plight
Myanmar people from inside and outside the country hope to get assistance from US, UK, Europe and other democratic countries around the world for getting elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who won the 2020 election free, from the military regime. The military rulers in Myanmar have been killing innocent people with no remorse.
If Myanmar is a democratic country, there will be no refugees and no conflict within the country.
Ms Suu Kyi is the best hope for the people of Myanmar if they want their country to be a democratic civilian government, rich in natural resources.
She could also lead it to prosperity, rather than having the country trapped in poverty. For this reason, Myanmar people need help and the world should not ignore them.
Aung Chin Win Aung
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