Olympic spirit hopes
What happens at the 2020 Olympic Games with the motto "United by Emotion" will stay in Tokyo forever. The organising committee has announced that it will be the first games without foreign spectators. This has never been the case since the first modern summer Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. Even now, no one is sure if Japan will be able to welcome more than 11,000 athletes to Tokyo this year.
It is a special and historic moment to determine the future of the Olympic Games and the trends for upcoming mega-events. The practices and experiences of hosting this summer's games will determine upcoming events such as the Dubai World Expo 2020, the Beijing Winter Olympic Games 2022, the Qatar World Cup 2022, and the Osaka World Expo 2025.
According to a recent official video clip, these games will offer unprecedented technologies in Olympic history: 1) self-driving vehicles, 2) mascot robot guidance, 3) face-recognition gates, and 4) immersive live viewing. It will definitely showcase the innovation of Japan and advance future mega-events.
Also, these technologies, machines and vehicles will be a part of the futuristic lifestyle in Japan under the Japanese government's initiation of "Society 5.0". According to this plan from 2016, it aims to offer a human-centric society with the most advanced technologies solving societal and environmental issues.
However, about two months prior to the games, Japan still has about 5,000 new Covid-19 cases per day. This has stirred public anxiety among the population. According to a recent survey by the Yomiuri Shimbun, about 60% of the population is against having the games this summer. Also, there was an unfavourable petition which 350,000 Japanese citizens signed and submitted to the organisers, though the Tokyo Games bear a special mission to bring dreams and hope to the Japanese after the Fukushima disaster.
Let's hope the IOC and the Japanese government will be able to keep the locals engaged and to showcase the Olympic spirit.
A bumpy ride
Re: "Pass law to aid dissidents", (Editorial, June 4).
One is indebted to the Post's editorial on June 4 marking the one-year anniversary of the abduction of Wanchalearm Satsaksit in Phnom Penh, whilst urging the government to give a favourable reading to the upcoming bill on the prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance.
It led one to wonder what had become of another political activist, Ekachai Hongkangwan, arrested on spurious charges relating to the re-routed motorcade last October.
Mr Ekachai's history as the man who tried to present Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon with a wristwatch outside Parliament House in 2018, hence becoming the victim of routine physical abuse at the hands of mysterious, disguised assailants, was memorably detailed by the former Sanook columnist Andrew Biggs in the Post two years ago.
His article concluded: "These are uncomfortable political times for Thailand. One would argue that this country never had a smooth ride when it comes to politics, and indeed, when Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in 2014 promised to bring happiness back to the people one wonders which happy period he was referring to."
Biggs, who was always deeply sympathetic to Thailand and all things Thai, had a gift for nailing the country's idiosyncrasies, and is still much missed by many Bangkok Post readers.
Re: "Schools letting a yearlong virus crisis go to waste", (Opinion, June 8).
I agree with Leonid Bershidsky. Indeed, the situation in Thailand is worse. Teachers and college instructors are waiting for the pandemic to end so that students can come back wearing their stale uniforms and sit in classes for face-to-face teaching using the same old "one size fits all" curriculum. Sadly, it is the same curriculum loaded to the online teamwork portals, by the same people who extol the virtues of traditional classroom teaching.
Prior to the Covid pandemic, online learning was never given any importance in Thai institutions. Even today online diplomas and degrees are not officially recognised. Online learning is also seen as an interim measure, just like a curfew. As a result, there are no innovations or any other efforts to reform the curriculum for digital learning.
Needless to say, that in young people there is an urge for personal contact and socialising but such impulses will not be appealing in terms of sitting in a post-Covid era classroom. I am afraid that after exposure to rich online digital content and mastering a variety of new tools and technologies, students will not be excited or willing to go back to the same routine. During the ongoing pandemic, the young high school and college students have already cultivated skills for self-learning. Unless the institutions innovate and adopt "remote learning" in the same spirit as the hybrid "remote working" becoming a new normal, they will face a drastic decline in enrolment or even worst, extinction.
Call in foreign judges
Re: "Foreign judges to stay in HK courts", (BP, June 9).
Given that Hong Kong has invited prominent foreign judges to sit on its Court of Final Appeal for over a decade to increase the credibility of its verdicts and show that justice has been done, I suggest that Thailand should do the same.
For example, our Constitutional Court recently ruled that a court's jurisdiction stops at its borders -- and hence a cabinet member Thamanat Prompow's narcotics-related lawsuit in Australia was, legally speaking, irrelevant to our courts. If so, how can we say that remarks made beyond our shores, posted using overseas servers, break our laws and demand that Facebook block or delete the speaker's account?
Foreign chief justices could share their insights and experiences with their colleagues and the general public, making justice not only done but seen to be done.
Re: "Jab registration site opens for foreign nationals", (BP, June 8).
I tried to register via the website www.thailandintervac.com today.
I filled in the information as required. But when it came to nationality, I clicked on it to select but nothing appeared! Same with select province, select district, select subdistrict.
Then there was another "input organisation". What organisation are they talking about? I am a permanent resident here and retired. What organisation do I belong to?
Looks like the government is not making it easy for us. Do you want herd immunity or not?
Re: "Jab registration site opens for foreign nationals", (BP, June 8).
I am wondering if others have had success registering for the vaccine at the thailandintervac site.
I filled out the form but had problems entering information in the "district" and "subdistrict" fields for my address.
When I clicked inside the boxes to enter the information a pop up came up with the words "select district" but there were no districts to select.
I tried to send the form without filling in the "district" and subdistrict" fields but it would not allow that as there was a message saying those fields were required.
Good health for all
Re: "Vaccine aid: US catches up with China", (Opinion, June 8).
Indeed, vaccine diplomacy based fully on international law can increase mutual respect, benefits and trust among nations and is able to contribute to releasing tensions between big powers.
However, the practice of vaccine diplomacy should be guided by the genuine acceptance of the right to health as a universal human right and must resist the temptation of being used for egoistic political pursuit.
Health must be treated as a vital common good of all humankind.
Stop the rambling
Being a long-time reader of your publication I have often submitted comments both on individual articles and to PostBag. In the past few months I have noticed a growing trend in the comments to deviate from the subject and ramble aimlessly off into other areas.
It is self-evident from the comments regarding the sexual activities of other posters, the continued use of profanity and many of the racist and degrading comments being posted that your moderator(s) are either non-existent or have no concept of English usage. This has become more evident recently in the massive amounts of disinformation being bandied about regarding vaccines and their effects on the human body.
Being a subscriber to many international publications the comments there are almost always meaningful, to the point and rarely, if ever, profane, or racist. It might be in your best interest, and in the interest of some of your readers, to deal with this issue and try to limit comments to the subject at hand.
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