So we're paying for THAI?

Re: "THAI to borrow less amid recovery," (BP, Nov 24).

I'm glad that Thai Airways International will require only half the money initially estimated for its recapitalisation, given its positive performance. But everybody carefully avoids even whispering that taxpayers -- like you and I -- will still be at risk for the billions in new THAI loans as well as old loans still outstanding.

Also, nobody's credibly explained why taxpayers should be held liable for THAI's new loans -- and nor has the Opposition done its duty and demanded such an explanation and vote in parliament. Remove THAI from our necks.

Burin Kantabutra

What the HEPA?

Re: "Kids and Covid," (PostBag, Nov 23) & "Think of the children", (PostBag, Nov 21).

Diane Archer says that, "until every classroom in Thailand is fitted with HEPA filters and set up with a constant flow of ventilation, we should continue protecting our children with indoor masking requirements".

Diane, you have an airflow problem. A micron (micrometre) is 1,000 times larger than a nanometre. The Sars CoV-2 virion is about 60-100 nanometres in diametre. HEPA filters (which are far more effective than surgical or cloth masks) are rated at 0.3 micrometres.

A typical cloth or surgical mask has openings of 0.5 to 10 microns or more. They do not seal the face well, and their openings are therefore much larger than a virus particle.

Furthermore, what could the rationale be for wearing masks if they do not work? We have had the worst infection rates despite all of the mitigation measures being in place, including vaccines and masks. The vaccines do not prevent transmission or infection and neither do masks, lockdowns, disinfecting gels, social distancing or closed borders.

Michael Setter

Illusory soft power

Re: "Building on Apec pluses," (Editorial, Nov 24).

When they write glowingly of French President Emmanuel Macron eating Chinese food, of a muay Thai skit, and a visit to Wat Pho as being "the talk of the town" the Bangkok Post's editor is perhaps expressing wishful thinking of the same variety that leads the national police chief to regularly insist that the latest heavily promoted crackdown will solve whatever problem is currently hot, once and for all. And there are no gambling dens in Bangkok.

The claim regarding those rigidly managed photo ops of visiting national leaders doing the approved Thai tourist cultural activities, including the obligatory temple visit, dictated in detail by the same centralised power structures that subject Thailand to militaristic rule that "they helped promote the country's soft power" is equally incredible. That is not what soft power is; they were just cute distractions.

Actual soft power would be what Korea's K-pop and economic growth show. Actual soft power would be what is demonstrated in Taiwan's booming economy founded on the technological innovation that drives its computer chip and related industries.

Such actual soft power success requires creativity to question old ways and reform them in new ways.

Thailand has no soft power industry of global note; it only sells off its natural beauty, historical and cultural myths and heritages for profit.

Felix Qui

Religion is not politics

Re: "Opposition leader Anwar named PM," (BP, Nov 25).

Anwar Ibrahim's long-awaited return from enforced exile as Malaysia's new prime minister testifies to Martin Luther King's declaration that "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."

November 2022 has been joyful in witnessing the resurrection of two deposed arbiters of hope in a desperately polarised world; Lula in Brazil, and now Anwar in Malaysia.

Anwar has a battle on his hands to heal a fractured nation. His progressive and inclusive vision of a modern multicultural people is at loggerheads with a restless Muslim base agitating for Islamic law.

The systematic prioritisation of Malay privilege over the aspirations of minority Chinese- and Indian-Malaysians foments inter-racial resentment.

As a Malaysian-born Chinese Australian, I remain hopeful. Anwar contends that regardless of race or religion, no Malaysian "should be left to feel that they are ignored in any way, none should be marginalised under my administration".

This aligns with the first Chief Minister of the Federation of Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman's declaration that: "No man in his right sense would accept a nation which bases its political administration on religion, and in a country like Malaysia with its multiracial and multireligious people, there is no room for an Islamic State."

Joseph Ting
CONTACT: BANGKOK POST BUILDING136 Na Ranong Road Klong Toey, Bangkok 10110Fax: +02 6164000 email: postbag@bangkokpost.co.th
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