Wheels of death
Re: "Many roads 'unsafe' for motorcycles," (BP, Oct 22).
The revelation that many roads are not safe for motorcycles was just one in a long line of articles passing the buck on the outrageous number of deaths for two-wheeled road users. Thai society not only condones illegality but encourages it, so why the sudden surprise when it's found that people are dying. The situation here is not so different from the rural area of Gloucestershire where I grew up -- narrow roads, numerous pot-holes and high hedges -- but what's remarkably different is the attitude of the citizens. Kids didn't ride illegally in my village because parents didn't hand them the keys, they didn't let them ride without first having lessons and passing tests and, if someone was obviously drunk, sober senior citizens would talk them out of using a vehicle.
Riding my big bike I am often forced to slow almost to a halt and hug the extreme left verge because someone decides to pass the slow vehicle they have been stuck behind or because they urgently need to do a U-turn I am approaching.
But what's missing is the indignation that should be shown by other passengers in the vehicle -- stern words that should describe what just happened is close to murder. Elderly citizens in my village in the far north regularly ride 200m down the wrong side of the road to get to market, then overload their pickups with 5 tonnes of goods. In a village with no police only peer pressure is available to correct this situation. It is, of course, totally missing.
Just think this through
Re: "No, Buddha wouldn't," (PostBag, Oct 22).
Mr Setter, meditation is not limited to sitting and chanting just as Buddhism has many expressions beyond Thai Buddhism.
When I teach meditation, it is framed as the "intention of attention" and you can be meditative performing anything from washing the dishes to walking in the park.
Secular knowledge is required for everyone, even those living a monastic lifestyle. In Thailand, Buddhism was even tasked with teaching secular subjects to children through Prince Wachirayan when state and monastic schooling were intentionally aligned.
Monks require secular knowledge such as financial accounting and banking to run a temple and accept monetary donations. Architectural and engineering knowledge is required just to build a temple.
Understanding modern media and digital technology is also required in the 21st century. Even microphones and speakers demand understanding.
To say that monks do not need to learn anything beyond Buddhist subjects demonstrates a lack of understanding about consciousness.
Essentially, monks live in and depend on the secular world -- so how could ignorance support a healthy relationship?
Govt discouraging tourism
Re: "Clear entry edicts demanded now," (Business, Oct 16).
Instead of lurching from one failed system to another, officials should listen to the advice of tour operators and tourists on the need for plain and simple procedures for clearing potential travellers to the kingdom.
If Thailand is serious about attracting tourists, the requirements ought to start and end with proof of full vaccination and one pre-flight Covid test -- which is the airline industry norm.
There is no significant value in demanding a certificate of entry, multiple swab testing, tracking apps, or proof of insurance.
With regard to insurance, it's unlikely that a person with the means to travel from one side of the globe to the other will do so without adequate insurance coverage.
Thai officials should ask themselves if they truly want foreign tourists to visit the country or do they want to continue dreaming up complicated and confusing procedures that turn people away.
More vaccine confusion
Re: "DDC to approve boosters for Sinopharm recipients," (BP, Oct 22).
The article says: "The AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines are mRNA vaccines." This is incorrect. Pfizer and Moderna are mRNA vaccines. AstraZeneca is a non-replicating viral vector vaccine.
Re: "Prizes for letter writers," (PostBag, Oct 17).
The award for best philosophic satire must surely go to Ye Olde Theologian. His positing of the ancient question of mind over matter, or the reverse, or neither (false dichotomy), but then suggests an alternative "continuum" could be as obvious as the nose on your face.
His "thorough scientific study into such questions would be welcome" was a super laugh-out-loud finale. Wow!
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