Understand the risk
Re: "Online class 'stressing students out,"' (BP, Oct 7).
I agree with Amporn Benjaponpitak that we should not discriminate against unvaccinated children. They should be allowed to go to school or do their activities like inoculated kids.
Children and their parents should understand the risk before deciding to be unvaccinated. If they get infected with the virus they have the chance of becoming severely ill or dying, apart from being a courier to bring the virus home.
In the event inoculated children are infected, the worst case may be like catching the flu which will fade away in a few days.
Erased from history
Re: "Historic accuracy vital," (PostBag, Oct 4).
Akiko Iijima's paper 'The Invention of "Isan" History' (Journal of the Siam Society, Vol. 106, 2018) records that Mom Amorawongwichit (Mom Ratchawong Pathom Kanechon), while serving in the Interior Ministry in Monthon Isan under the Royal High Commissioner in the reign of King Rama V, voluntarily compiled a local history which was submitted to the Ministry in Bangkok.
The typescript survives but with numerous handwritten changes. An amended version incorporating most of these changes appeared in the 4th volume of Prachum Phongsawadan (Collected Histories) published in 1925. The Collected Histories are widely regarded as important primary sources for Thai historical studies.
Comparing the original typescript with the final publication reveals some interesting changes.
For example, the original says (Iijima's translation): "The indigenous people of the region are Lao, Khmer, and Suai race, and there are people of other countries, such as Thai, Farang, Vietnamese, Burmese, Tongsu and Chinese, who have settled to engage with trade in large numbers."
This becomes, in the "authoritative" text, "The indigenous people are basically Thai. In addition to the Thai, there are Khmer, Suai, and Lawa, and people of other countries such as Farang, Vietnamese, Burmese, Tongsu, and Chinese have settled, but they are not many."
In fact, almost every time the original version says "Lao", it is either deleted or changed to "Thai". Thus were the Lao written out of Thai history.
Accurate history, anyone?
Re: "Operators fret over B500 tour fee," (BP, Oct 5).
Most foreign tourists will not baulk at paying an additional 500-baht fee so long as they feel confident that the money is well spent on legitimate improvements of tourism infrastructure and services, or environmental protection. If, however, the funds are poorly spent or simply become another slush fund for politicians to play with, the collection of the fee will become yet another turn-off to visitors.
The additional amount collected may seem small relative to the overall cost of a visit to the country by well-heeled tourists, but the irritation becomes amplified if the funds are not spent in a meaningful and transparent manner. Sometimes it's those little annoyances that pile up to collectively that make a country less attractive as a tourism destination.
Masters of spin
Re: "Phuket gets 42,000 overseas visitors," (BP, Oct 7).
On July 1, the TAT crowed that it expected 600,000 foreign tourists by the end of September.
On October 7, it crowed that it had netted 42,006 from July 1 through Oct 5.
That's a shortfall of merely 557,994 warm bodies. Not much to crow about. Guess they'll have to eat crow. But they get top marks for being masters of spin.
YE OLDE PEDANT
Bigoted over blood
Re: "PC wins every time," (PostBag, Oct 7).
I see Eric Bahrt is bounding around on his high horse again, this time claiming that banning homosexual men from donating blood is not bigotry.
Even the most cursory search at the CDC reveals that "Adult and adolescent women accounted for 19% of new HIV diagnoses in 2018. Of these, 85% were attributed to heterosexual sex and 15% to injection drug use."
So MBH is in fact correct that "all blood donations should be screened against pathogenic micro-organisms to be fit for purpose", and relying on the exclusion of any particular group is not only bigoted but criminally negligent.
Hard jab questions
Re: "More dubious Covid figures," (BP, Sept 26).
Of statistics, Mark Twain once keenly observed that "facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable". I was reminded of this quote when Ray Baan pointed out that the Minister of Public Health used some optimistic mathematics regarding Thailand's hopes of vaccinating 90% of the population; or actually perhaps 74%, as the writer pointed out.
However, there is some new hard data coming in from highly vaccinated countries which raise serious questions as to the long-term efficacy of our current generation of Covid vaccines. A metanalysis of global data yields that, as of Sept 18, 2021, the US was 63% vaccinated, Germany was 66% vaccinated, and Israel is at least 68% vaccinated. Yet, the US has roughly 300% more infections now than at this time last year, and Germany and Israel had +56% and +65% increases in their infections; within the recent dates of Aug 19th to Sept 15th. Meanwhile, in the same period of time, South Africa was only 19% vaccinated, Nigeria approximately 2.5% vaccinated, and Kenya 4.4% vaccinated, yet their change in cases (known infections) are down -65%, -55%, and -64% respectively, according to a metanalysis of public data published on Sept 20, 2021, by journalist Roney Atkinson in the UK.
According to the same recent public Covid data metanalysis, in Scotland, 70% of Covid fatalities and 58% of hospitalisations were recently discovered to be among the fully vaccinated. Any interested reader can pull the raw data themself, but the results broadly urge society to ponder the virtues not only of natural immunity, but also the virtues of what elected officials around the world tend to tell citizens about these vaccines only after signing lucrative (and often opaque) contracts.
JASON A JELLISON
We are a family of five who wanted to travel under the Phuket Sandbox programme from Germany to Thailand on 8 Oct 2021. Mother, granny and one child were accepted. The father and one child's COE applications were rejected by the Thai Embassy in Berlin. The reason is the pre-booking of PCR Covid tests didn't work properly. In these two cases, i could only book and prepay for one test instead of two tests.
I prepaid business class flights for 9,000 euros, the Trisara Hotel for 11,000 euros, with all the expenses at approximately 25,000-30,000 euros for 14 nights. This experience was not good and it was so painful to collect the necessary documents. For instance, Thailand asks for medical insurance up to US$100,000. I have insurance with my credit card, insurance from the airline, and I therefore had to get a third insurer. And in the end because of a flaw in the Homepage/booking system of the test provider we didn't get the entry permission.
By the way we are fully vaccinated.
Very pricey plants
I have always been a keen gardener and I'm fortunate to live in a free-standing house with gardens on all four sides. Over the past 15 years I have developed the garden from literally a weed patch, to a tropical paradise.
In so doing I have spent a lot of money at nurseries in Rayong and further afield in my travels throughout Thailand, but I always found that buying plants here was a lot cheaper than at home in Australia.
With Covid lockdowns I have over the past year intensified my gardening, and have renovated several areas of the garden to give them a new look.
But the cost has been astronomical. What has happened?
Three years ago I could buy a mature caladium (colourful variegated-leafed plants) in a 20cm pot for one or two hundred baht. Now the nurseries here are full of miniscule specimens in 5cm pots, some as small as 2-3cm tall and with only two small leaves, ranging in cost from 300 baht to several thousand baht. One I saw in a nursery this morning had three leaves, stood about 8cm tall and had a price tag of 16,000 baht.
And if you look to buy on the internet the situation is even more ridiculous. Various types of banana plants less than a metre tall with a price tag of upwards of 300,000 baht, and other exotics are on offer for hundreds of thousands of baht.
Are plants the new Covid currency? Are Thais really paying these ridiculous prices? I don't know; can someone enlighten me?
Lots of lemons?
How can you possibly, in good faith, air the views that shoot down paragons of rationality such as anyone who mentions the proven benefits of actual treatment such as Ivermectin, lemon peel, and other well-known treatments? It is an embarrassment to civilised, intelligent society, and should be treated as such.
TERRY AT SHAMROCK BAR
Laughing at Lotus's
Which self-styled master of the English language decided to rebrand Tesco Lotus as "Lotus's?"
Not Lotuses plural, but Lotus's possessive!
Which gives rise to the question "Lotus's what?"
I understand the need for rebranding following the corporate takeover, but why not just drop the "Tesco", which was the United Kingdom parent company, and leave it as "Lotus"?
Even several of my Thai friends agree that the new name is inelegant and awkward.
I wonder if Lotus's consulted any native English speakers before launching what must have been a very expensive rebranding of its name and livery.
One word which really grates on me now is "impact". The new fashionable substitute for affect. It's now used by newscasters and in newspapers. Much the same as "absolutely" was used instead of yes. I've noticed that it seems to be going out of fashion now. I hope "impact" does. It's affecting my brain.
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