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Cheap at the price

Re: "Thai politics' murky tunnel to nowhere", (Opinion, Jan 7) and "Thaksin vows to come home", (BP, Jan 6).

The magisterial Thitinan Pongsudhirak's latest column asks the question: "If PM Prayut goes, who do we have to replace him?" The answer is: "Nobody." The current political scene seems to be dominated by mediocrities.

But hold! The Bangkok Post also reported that former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, aka Tony Woodsome, has expressed a wistful desire to come home from exile to dandle his grandchildren on his knee.

Mr Woodsome actually won an election some time in the distant past. He has been gone since 2008. Is it possible that in the intervening 14 years he may have matured sufficiently in wisdom, compassion, and intelligence to warrant his return?

Thailand is famed as a land of forgiveness, flexibility, and compromise. Thaksin was famed as a prime minister of charisma and skill. Imagination and political courage are in short supply nowadays, but all it would cost Thailand is a few cups of o-liang. The phuyai ought to think about this.

IGNORANT FARANG


Heedless 'manhunt'

Re: "Couple spark Covid alert", (BP, Jan 5).

The report quotes Dr Apirat Katanyutanont, chief of Chon Buri health office, saying he was in contact with the Embassy of India to help "locate them", which is incorrect.

The report also published the phone number of Vibharam Laemchabang Hospital asking the public to report their whereabouts, which in fact launched a manhunt for two innocent law-abiding Indian nationals who were available on the phone and in contact with Vibharam Laemgchabang Hospital. They could also be located on the Mor Chana tracking app installed on their phones.

You may also note that the Embassy of India put out a tweet at 7.35pm on Jan 4 saying that two individuals were in touch with the embassy and were trying to get admitted to a hospital in Bangkok.

It is brought to your notice that Mr Ankit Sejwal and his spouse Mrs Preeti Panwar left Chon Buri for the airport in anticipation of a negative RTPCR result. They were in fact in regular touch with Vibharam Laemgchabang Hospital as they could not have boarded the flight without a negative RTPCR.

They, like any responsible citizen, isolated themselves once they come to know about the positive RTPCR test. Mr Ankit did not want to travel back to Chon Buri as it would have put at risk the taxi driver, and he wanted to be admitted in Bangkok. All throughout, he was in touch with the embassy, members of the diaspora and the hospital. The embassy too was in touch with the hospital and the health office of Chon Buri.

It is unfortunate that a reputable newspaper like the Bangkok Post did not bother to check the embassy website, nor did it reach out to the embassy for comment before launching a virtual manhunt for two fully vaccinated individuals. They had travelled to Thailand on Dec 28 to spend the New Year, having taken a RTPRC test before departure and after arriving in Thailand, and following all rules and regulations. This kind of reporting has a tendency to harm the reputation of individuals and the countries to which they belong and is unacceptable from an organisation of your repute. You are free to verify all the facts from the sources/individuals concerned.

A Roy Chowdhury

Second Secretary Embassy of India, Bangkok


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