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Closer inspection

Re: "Quick check fears", (PostBag, Aug 11).

I share Ray Ban's concerns that governor Chadchart's inspection of 400 pubs over the weekend might have been more form than substance, given the time constraints. That's why I questioned in my letter what BMA approval really meant, and how patrons could tell which pubs were truly fully compliant.

What Chadchart should do now is provide thorough inspection on a voluntary basis and with a service charge covering all costs (receipts given). Those passing will be awarded a certificate of achievement, renewable annually, to be displayed at the door and on the BMA's website. To give credibility to the certificates, supporting documents should be posted on the website, e.g., insurance company receipts for fire coverage, lab reports on fire-retardant materials, etc.

I note that the MOI's order to provincial governors to urgently check on pub safety evidently has been ignored, for we still don't know the results for any province other than Bangkok.

Burin Kantabutra

'Job-full' recession?

Re: "Demand destruction the new buzzword", (Opinion, Aug 11).

Chartchai Parasuk misrepresented the purchasing managers indices (PMIs). The ISM manufacturing PMI and S&P Global US services PMI are leading indicators for the US economy, based on monthly surveys with senior managers in big manufacturing and services companies, respectively. They indicate month-on-month (MoM) changes. Any PMI number above 50 indicates month-on-month growth.

The ISM US manufacturing PMI, which indicates factory output, did not plunge in July -- it was 52.8, so up MoM. And given that the numbers for May (56.1) and June (53) were also both above 50, factory output was substantially higher in July than in April. Similarly, Japan's manufacturing PMI of 52.1 indicated growth, not decline.

Also, the US economy is not "officially" in recession, as Mr Chartchai claims. In the US, the start of a recession is determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). The NBER has not yet called a recession. It frequently doesn't call a recession until some time after the fact, but given that the US added 528,000 new jobs in July, we can be confident that it won't date the next recession as having started in July or August 2022.

As a rule-of-thumb, economists define a technical recession as two straight quarters of year-on-year (YoY) declines in GDP, but that isn't how the US officially dates a recession. In any case, this year the macro-economic data are so noisy and contradictory that calling a technical recession on two straight quarters of YoY falls in GDP would be a stretch. Yes, GDP apparently declined YoY in both the first and second quarter of 2022. However, Gross Domestic Income (GDI) -- which should equal GDP -- grew in the first quarter (the second-quarter GDI number isn't out yet), as did consumption spending, while employment growth likewise accelerated in July.

Has the US achieved the first "job-full" recession in history? I don't think so! It's much more likely that the GDP estimates will be revised up.

Steve Davis

Fruitless effort

Re: "Singapore signals male-sex ban review won't allow gay marriage", (BP, Aug 1).

Singapore is to be commended for taking steps to reform inherited law criminalising gay sex. Such unjust law reflects the bad social conventions of less developed societies, in this case that of colonial Britain.

Singapore is wrong, however, to give such excessive weight to the religiously inspired prejudices of Catholic political players and other intolerant groups in society. In this, Thailand has set a good example, although the example of Taiwan and other nations that have granted full equality to same-sex marriage is even better.

In insisting, "The fruitfulness of marriage also necessitates that marriage must be open to procreation," the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore betrays its intellectual and moral poverty. And also raises questions about its commitment to honesty.

If the Catholic church's claim is to be taken seriously, they would ban any marriage where either partner is sterile, which must render such a union not "open to procreation" as required by church dogma. Worse, the Catholic dictate would mean that as soon as a married women reached menopause, after which the marriage must, short of a miracle like Mary's virgin birth, no longer be "open to procreation", the marriage would no longer meet the necessary condition so must be dissolved. This is nonsense.

The only definition of marriage that stands up to even cursory analysis of this ancient custom of humankind is that it is a legal contract entered into by two people who wish to make a public, official commitment before their society that they are a couple in the marriage so defined.

Whether they marry for love or not, to produce children or not, to secure assets or not, to enjoy each other's company or not, to gain tax breaks or not, or for any other reason, is irrelevant except to the couple entering that public, legal engagement. The Catholic church and like objectors heeding the dubious claims of their ancient texts are being dishonest when they pretend otherwise.

These religiously inspired objections to a reasonable understanding of marriage illustrate yet again that ancient texts are a reliable guide to the social norms of the patriarchal societies that made them up, and to absolutely nothing more.

It is unreasonable to expect society today to reject the progress of more than two millennia merely to appease those who claim that the prejudices of old men thousands of years ago have some divine sanction. That is to demand unreason and regressive morals of high order.

Felix Qui

Belt ways

Re: "Seat belts mandatory for all seated in vehicle from Sept 5", (Online, Aug 11).

Now that the introduction of new seat belt rules is only weeks away, I venture to ask the same questions I posed in a letter in mid-May.

1) Are vehicles first registered before 1 April 2012 (like mine) still exempt, as when rear seat belts were first mandated in 2014?

2) Are all new cars sold in Thailand since 2012 fitted with belts for every seat, or at least with anchor points to install them?

3) How many private passenger vehicles, particularly pick-ups, are suitable for the fitting of infant cribs, which require anchor points different from those for seat belts?

Enforcement is the other issue. Is it defensible to enforce seat belt rules if police continue to ignore the longstanding ban on passengers in the bed of pick-ups? Given the repercussions enforcement of this law would have on the transport of thousands of workers across the country, and even on family outings, it's certain such a move would cause major protest at all levels of society, as well as undermining the logic of requiring seat belts inside vehicles.

Ray Ban

Negative Nancy

Re: "Harm's way", (PostBag, Aug, 8).

Over the past few days the Bangkok Post's opinion columns have run articles condemning Pelosi's visit to Taiwan as foolish and proactive, and others that support her stand, sometimes juxtaposed on the same page.

Read individually, all the opinion pieces are valid and make sense.

But looking back into history, I ask myself the question:

"If Helen was the face that launched a thousand ships, is Pelosi's the face that could launch a thousand intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)?"

David Brown

Face the music

Re: "Marching to Moscow", (BP, Aug 10).

Given the widespread embargoes and boycotts on trade, sport and cultural exchange imposed on Russia since its illegal invasion of Ukraine, just how "international" will the Spasskaya Tower International Military Music Festival be?

Or will the two Thai marching bands have the floor almost to themselves?

David Brown

China mate

America, in trying to keep up the Western hegemony, keeps going down a path that gets harder and harder to sustain and harder for the rest of the world to swallow. After a disastrous pullout from Afghanistan earlier this year, it has now opened three or more wars or war-like stances in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. And looking for more places to build military bases and countries willing to host its missiles.

At the same time, it's also creating more false rhetoric about Huawei 5G (which the world needs), Chinese debt traps, Xinjiang genocides, and oppression of its own ordinary citizens.

A clear example of this last write-what-you-want-it-to-be is when UK politicians called for the saving of Hong Kong democracy, a complete falsehood opposite to the 150 years of iron-fisted rule by the British-appointed governors. Backed up, by the way, by funding from the NED to take to the streets. So much discourse happened that the Hong Kong economy was destroyed. Ukraine can expect the same. Taiwan? Get in line.

China meanwhile is building world-class infrastructures, developing its own technology, opening up free trade and extending helping hands to Third World countries. In particular, China is not going around sanctioning countries for buying cheaper energy and is not selling weapons to the world to create more armed conflicts.

It does not take much imagination to see which of these two divergent courses of action is better for the 90% of humanity who do not live in the Western world.

ML Saksiri Kridakorn

Missing in action

Dear Sports editor,

We are amazed that there is no coverage of the Commonwealth Games. Bangkok Post sports coverage is heavily tilted towards a few chosen sports like golf, football, MMA, etc. Also there is no mention of the Chess Olympiad going on in Chennai, India.

D K Bhatnagar

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All letter writers must provide a full name and address. All published correspondence is subject to editing at our discretion