Bully for them
Re: "US shoots itself in the foot over Taiwan", and "Last thing we need is Pelosi backing down", (Opinion, Aug 5).
It was astonishing to read on the opinion page of this newspaper two articles sitting side-by-side but so contradictory to each other concerning Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.
The first and lengthier one was signed by Thitinan Pongsudhirak who has gained notoriety with his in-depth and no-nonsense analysis of events nationwide and worldwide. His position was clearly against Pelosi's visit claiming it will do no good neither to the US nor Taiwan, reflecting the usual Asean preference of non-interference in other countries' affairs.
The second and shorter article, signed by Bret Stephens, focused on the need for Pelosi to complete her announced visit once it has been leaked/announced; basically, not to allow China to act as the bully in the class intimidating and getting away with anything it wants.
Strangely, both positions make sense because it is not a black-and-white scenario as many pundits have attempted to describe the situation.
China is certainly flexing its muscles not just around Taiwan, but also in the South China Sea and with any country (think Australia for example) that does not condone its behaviour. A bully is "a person who habitually seeks to harm or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable". China is now vengeful on the most vulnerable, being Taiwan, yet won't dare retaliate against the US, at least not directly.
Pelosi made a statement. It was most likely not the best time to do so, but she has not backed down. China got the message and the rest of the world as well.
Re: "US shoots itself in the foot over Taiwan", (Opinion, Aug 5).
It may be unwise for me to take on the illustrious Thitinan Pongsudhirak, whose opinions I usually revere; but let me try. The issue here boils down to one of li (power, strength) versus yi (righteousness). Where power (li) prevails, the will of the people, represented by yi, righteousness, is crushed by its onrushing juggernaut. Then the wishes of the 24 million people of Taiwan are brutally cast aside and made subordinate to the ruling mandarins of mainland China.
A fair and honestly administered referendum would soon reveal that the Taiwanese people would prefer to be ruled by their own inclinations rather than by the people on the other side of the Taiwan Strait. What's wrong with that?
A referendum among the people of Taiwan, properly supervised, is therefore the only suitable solution to what is otherwise a very ugly situation.
Re: "Mental gymnastics", (PostBag, Aug 5).
It's unusual for me to defend number-related articles in your publication, but I feel I must come to your defence regarding Mitch's query to your Red Bull statute of limitations story.
Since you state that the original date of expiry for the cocaine charge with a 10-year statute in effect was Sept 3, 2022, it should be clear that the charge applies from the date of the offence, not the date of the charge (otherwise the expiry date would be August 2030).
So your calculation looks fine to me, as does Mitch's. It's just that he's using the wrong numbers.
Re: "Thailand Post seeks firm regulation", (Business, July 30).
I sent an envelope to the US using Thailand Post express mail. It was the paperwork required to receive my Social Security payment. It didn't get there on time and so they withhold my payment.
Having paid 1,600 baht, I asked Thailand Post why it wasn't there after a week. I was told it was because Thailand Post doesn't work on the weekend. A week later, it arrived (14 days total). For the same money, FedEx would have had it there in three days.
That's Thailand Post's real problem -- not being competitive. Quality for cost is the problem. They're just not competitive, in quality. When I called the supervisory staff, a woman explained it was due to Covid. Thailand has only two dozen more Covid cases reported than Israel, and I've never heard complaints about the Israel Post such as I've experienced in this case.
Friends report that US registered post gets delivered in three days, for a fraction of the cost of express mail.
The two things that upset me most are incompetence and lying about it. My experience reflects both.
Re: PostBag, Aug 4.
I couldn't believe my eyes! No letter from Felix Qui, Kuldeep Nagi, Burin Kantabutra or Eric Bahrt!
Did they really not write, or did you finally decide not to enable and indulge their compulsive habit?
Re: "Law change sees "Boss" dodge cocaine abuse charge", (BP, Aug 3).
PM Prayut is to be lauded for having ex-NACC commissioner Vicha Mahakun probe why Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhaya, wanted for a 2012 hit-and-run killing, has eluded capture for so long. Vicha said that his panel had found widespread systematic corruption in the RTP and public prosecutors office. It's been two years since Vicha submitted his report.
The media should push Prayut to keep his promise to make the Vicha Mahakun report public instead of trying to bury it from the public eye. You and I should remind Prayut that he claims to be a reformist and so should put fighting corruption on his national agenda.
Re: "Cabinet approves new picks for govt positions", (BP, July 29).
Thrilling though it is to hear the good news about "the Centre for Morality Promotion (CMP) under the Ministry of Culture", a salient question has been left unanswered. Namely, what exactly is going to be promoted?
The obvious answer would be that the Centre for Morality Promotion would promote the study of Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Peter Singer, Derek Parfit, Michael Sandel and other incisive thinkers in moral philosophy both ancient and modern. One would rationally expect a Centre for Morality Promotion (CMP) to promote wide-ranging discussion about what constitutes moral rights and wrongs, as well as discussion to enhance our understanding of the nature of morality by advocating for the respectful, open-minded listening to alternative views. Such open discussion also would critically review and improve on received wisdom, as the Buddha, Jesus and like figures actively promoted.
With such a renaissance in Thai morals and culture imminent, I look forward to all these wondrous efforts as Thai officialdom at last starts promoting actually good morals while reforming antiquated moral notions that have been past their use-by date since the days of Socrates and the Buddha.
Not a scare-line
Re: "Chronic Covid-itis", (PostBag, Aug 5).
Regardless of what Australian newspapers print, Michael Lane, no, reporting Covid numbers does not "scare tourists away". In fact the Post has been quick to report the government's statements to the effect that the milder, more transmissible variants of Covid are not overloading Thailand's healthcare system and tourists are generally well aware that the pandemic is all but over.
Tourists are arriving in numbers, despite it being low season, and business is picking up.
There is no reason for Michael Lane or anyone else to be alarmed by a few numbers in a newspaper.
What I would like to see now is a concerted global effort to investigate the causes of this pandemic and take concrete steps to prevent a recurrence, with the full and transparent cooperation of all concerned parties.
I'd like to see a section of the Bangkok Post devoted to environmental husbandry. Surely, there are a sufficient number of newsworthy articles to make an "Enviro" section interesting to Post readers.
Here's a recent one: Researchers in Switzerland have designed a fuel production system that uses water, carbon dioxide (CO2) and sunlight to produce aviation fuel. They have shown that a non-polluting thermochemical process can create a high-grade kerosene. Details are in a July 20 article published in the science journal Joule. The new jet fuel could move the aviation industry toward becoming carbon neutral.
All major newspapers have large sports sections, but how many have a dedicated environmental section? The Bangkok Post could be a trend-setter in that regard.
Bag of tricks
I have been reading the Post for many years now. Although I'm not Thai I love the Land of Smiles, especially its cuisine.
For me, the most interesting place to start is PostBag. Many a time I get a good laugh at the absurd claims. It also seems to me that there are certain individuals at loggerheads with one another. They cross swords all the time and it appears there's bad blood.
The intriguing thing is the editor selects these letters one against the other. It's pandering to their debates and encouraging disputes on the Post platform.
I like to play a little game I have developed called Bahrt Bingo. Each calendar week, I count the number of letters you publish from Eric Bahrt. If you publish only one -- a rarity, but not unheard of -- I go to Burger King and order a Triple Whopper with bacon and cheese.
If you publish two letters from Eric Bahrt in a single calendar week, then I go get a meat lover's pizza. And if you publish three letters from Eric Bahrt, I treat myself to a big steak dinner with all the trimmings at Neil's Tavern -- the staff at Neil's have gotten to know me very well indeed by now.
However, his letter or letters do not even have to be about vegetarianism; they can be about anything at all.
I invite all your readers to join me in playing Bahrt Bingo.
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