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Why no women?

Re: "PPRP renegades unveil party: Sang Anakot Thai aims to heal economy", (BP, Jan 20). Your front-page photograph illustrating the formation of the new Palang Pracharath Party (Building Thailand's Future) is a line-up of old and bold politicians from the past -- all of them men.

It would seem the PPRP intends to "build Thailand's future" without input from the female of the species.

There is some evidence to support the claim that Thailand was one of the the first countries in the world -- perhaps the second after New Zealand -- to introduce female suffrage: The Local Administration Act of 1897 gave female suffrage in village elections in Thailand, and de facto nationally.

Certainly, by 1932 Thai women nationally had the right to vote, but 90 years later, women have minor representation on the Thai political landscape, which is dominated by men.

The Women in Parliaments (https://data.ipu.org/women-ranking) 2019 index lists Thailand as 181st out of 190, with women holding 13 of the 240 seats in the Thai lower house. Unbelievably, Rwanda has top billing, with a 61.3% majority of seats held by women, followed by Cuba in second place, with 53.2% of seats held by women.

It seems that Thai women, who are dominant is so many other areas of Thai culture, society and business, hold out little hope of advancement in Thai politics and parliamentary seats, as long as the mores of the PPRP and its ilk prevail.

DAVID BROWN


Artful deception?

Re: "Thanathorn denies copying other artists' drawings", (Online, Jan 19).

Allow me to express my sincere sympathy for Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit for being under suspicion of copying foreign artists' drawings. Here's my opinion:

Firstly, Mr Thanathorn should have asked the owners of the drawings for permission before he allegedly started copying their works -- not after he had sold them for more than 3 million baht.

Secondly, the manner in which the paintings were sold at a non-fungible token (NFT) auction was suspicious. As far as we know, NFTs are also tools for laundering illegally acquired money as well as hiding the identities of those involved. In this case, how can we learn the identity of the buyer(s)?

Lastly, in Thailand, there are cases involving politicians instigating young and unknowing students to commit seditious crimes. National divisiveness is their tool of trade. They also raise money to help bail out the arrested youth, as well as provide them with food and other amenities during their imprisonment.

Hence, to clear the air over the three points mentioned above, Mr Thanathorn should explain himself more clearly.

VINT CHAVALA


Western betrayal

Re: "Will Russia play the 'Cuban card'?", (Opinion, Jan 19).

To all, especially Gwyn Dyer, after his ridiculous article, I wish to say this: Stop underestimating and ridiculing Russia.

I am a survivor of the 1968 Russian invasion of my country, Czechoslovakia, when half a million Russians stopped our "Prague spring" dead. Despite desperate pleas for help, no one, repeat no one lifted a finger, and the West, quaking in its boots let Leonid Brezhnev ruin our lives. Including mine, as I had to escape, due to my opposition to the thick-eyebrowed Brezhnev.

At that time, old Leonid said: "What is 15 million dead Czechoslovaks against 27 million dead Russians" (in reference to World War II). And he meant it! He would have steamrolled my country and anyone who stood in his way.

Putin is no different from Brezhnev. Worse still, he is more sophisticated and is laughing at Nato and especially at the threats by Joe Biden. This bunch of posturing clowns will never help Ukraine, if it is invaded. As Biden says: "No boots on the ground."

Putin has much better and more weaponry than the whole of Nato, excluding the US, and would sweep through Ukraine in a few days and through Europe in a couple of weeks. Some silly sanctions will not deter Putin, it will enrage him and he will move onto the Baltics and beyond.

Ukraine made a dire mistake by surrendering its sizeable atomic arsenal deterrent. That is the only way to stop Putin! Stop underestimating Russia!

By the way, the West betrayed my country in Munich in 1938, too. Let's remember that as well. Good old appeasing West? Forget it!

MIRO KING


Test & Go troubles

Re: "Test & Go quarantine-free entry to resume Feb 1", (BP, Jan 20).

On Dec 29 I returned from the UK. I was required to do the first night PCR and then a second PCR 5-7 days later. So that is not new when the article says that tighter restrictions will be in place ... that already exists ... or at least did until the suspension of the Test & Go.

Under the entry requirements visitors are required to show proof of insurance for full Covid. This, when submitted for the reentry permission, is presumably checked before being approved for the reentry permission. Therefore, how come the government says they have already subsidised 100m baht? If the insurance was approved as adequate to satisfy the reentry requirements then how is it that the government is out of pocket ... forgive the pun but this just does not add up.

I agree with one of your other readers that part of the 300-baht levy should be used to buy insurance for visitors as many people who would gladly visit Thailand are immediately put off by this onerous insurance requirement.

It seems to be a classic case of left hand/right …. we give with one hand but take away with the other.

Any wonder people are confused….. the information is constantly contradictory….

Please Mr Government make it simple and easy and then people will return in the numbers you expect.

MICHAEL PALMER


Tourism disaster

Re: "Test & Go quarantine-free entry to resume Feb 1," (BP, Jan 20).

Quote: "Visitors to Thailand were about 0.5% of the pre-pandemic figure..."

Well, that pretty much says it all. I strongly support the prime minister's Test-&-Go programme. Covid-19 will be in the world a long time and is not leaving until we make a major medical advance which is at least months to (more likely) several years away. I think this is the best programme Thailand can probably devise, and it failed.

Aside from a few tourist hotspots, and a few nice streets with nightclubs, through little fault of the government, tourism is probably not going to recover for a long time and Thailand built an economy based on tourism.

The nation will probably get a few returnees and a small number of young, brave tourists who want to spend time on the beach and maybe see some really interesting sights. Most people, however, are staying home. They can look at Wat Arun, etc, on TV or their computer. There is no need to travel for tourism anymore when we can see every great locale online.

The tourists are almost certainly not coming back in any great numbers; and probably not for many years. Since tourism was 20% or so of Thailand's GDP, that means "Test & No". Tourists are not coming back for a very long time and the result is that extreme poverty will probably be in Thailand to stay for at least five to 10 more years. The result will be starvation, depression, elevated suicide rates and death.

JASON A JELLISON


Vaccine thanks

Having just obtained a Covid-19 vaccine booster at the Thai-Japan Youth Centre, I wish to offer my compliments to the staff at this centre. Their actions highlight the kindness that is still widespread in Thai society, but which we all too often overlook.

One official went out of his way to assist me in filling in the registration form that I was unable to complete in Thai. The staff at all the vaccination stations were patient and professional.

As a "senior" I was moved through some parts of the process with additional respect. The nurses administering the shots were cheerful and skilled. The technicians entering the vaccination into the Mor Prom system were quick and efficient. Stepping outside, I was soothed by two young musicians playing relaxing melodies on keyboard and violin.

Finally, I was sent on my way with a complimentary bottle of mineral water and replenishing electrolytes. Many thanks to everyone at the Thai-Japan Youth Centre vaccination site for a job well done!

SAMANEA SAMAN


Of hamsters and men

Re: "Fury over Hong-Kong's cull of hamsters and small pets", (Online, Jan 19).

This is just another example of the complete insanity of all this Covid-19 madness. Still, I agree if your hamster tests positive for Covid-19 and then sneezes on you, kill him immediately!

We have lost all sense of sanity over a virus that rarely kills people who are in good health. And if you're not in good health then take reasonable precautions without slaughtering defenceless animals and supporting fascist policies that make life miserable for the rest of us. Enough already!

ERIC BAHRT


A very tight fit

Re: "Joe Ferrari 'wanted to scare' suspect", (BP, Jan 20).

In testimony, "Pol Col Thitisan said he used the plastic bag to intimidate the suspect and did not wrap it too tightly". The suspect, Jeerapong Thanapat, was not available for comment, but I feel it would be safe to presume that Pol Col Thitisan did indeed wrap the plastic bag too tightly.

TOM PARKINSON


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