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Food for thought

Re: "Desperate for change", (BP, May 16).

Yes, Bangkokians are desperate for change, and the incoming governor will have their hands full. As for me, my wish for them is simple: within your tenure, make all BMA schools the equal of the demonstration schools, such as Triam Udom, Thammasat Secondary School, Satit Prasarnmitr or my alma mater, Satit Patumwan -- in terms of fostering curiosity, analysing, questioning, and challenging. In short, they should teach "how" to think, not "what" to think.

If the public schools noted can do it -- so can you.


Belt and road

Re: "Go easy on the car seats", (Opinion, May 12).

I have been trying to get some clarity on the "new" seat belt regulations. It appears the compulsory use of rear seat belts was originally mandated in 2014 for private vehicles newly registered after April 1, 2012. Does this mean all new cars sold in Thailand after that date were required to be fitted with belts for all seats? If not, were seat belt anchor points built into those vehicles? It is impossible to safely retrofit belts without fixing points integral to the design of the vehicle. Are cars and pickups older than 10 years completely exempt from both the rear seat belt and child seat laws?

As to the question of child safety seats, has consideration been given to the fact that a child from infancy to age 6 will require one rear-facing crib and at least two sizes of seat or at least one seat and later a booster seat/cushion? Do all vehicles less than 10 years old have anchor points for these, which are not the same as for standard seat belts?

In any event, is it really logical and defensible that the new regulations for inside passengers would be enforced without finally enforcing the years-old ban on carrying passengers in the tray of pickups?

Good luck with that one!


Empty rituals

Re: "Beliefs are no excuse to damage our health", (ThinkBox, April 18).

I hope the authorities in the National Office of Buddhism (NOB), the monks, and the patrons of Thai temples will pay attention to the issues raised by columnist/writer Patcharawalai Sanyanusin.

Buddha's teachings are exact. He emphasised that we should make truth our refuge. He taught against rites, rituals, and pilgrimages. Instead of cultivating mindfulness, Thai people are subjected to empty rituals, buying and selling amulets, lotteries, caged birds, and offering material things in merit-making.

The monks even engage in lofty rituals to please the spirits of the dead and promise a place in heaven. In many temples, the devotees are brainwashed and taken on a spin, ride, or trance, reincarnating into Garuda, Naga, and other creatures which have become part of the fable of Buddhism. The path to "Nibbana", as taught by Buddha, is now filled with potholes of blind faith, empty rituals, and rampant corruption.

Ms Patcharawalai is correct that the enlightened one who taught us against rituals is now suffocated with the stench and smell of incense, candles, rotting flowers, garlands, and food. Thai monks have also become experts in botoxing rituals for those who can pay. In addition, there are scores of criminal cases against Thai Buddhist monks. There is no doubt that costly rituals, the flow of easy cash, and corruption are correlated.

Above all, the lack of education and poor training of monks is mainly responsible for distorting the teachings of Buddha and the reputation of Thailand as a Buddhist country.



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