A global challenge

Re: "Of debt and bondage with Beijing", (Opinion, Nov 26).

Brahma Chellany's commentary gives a chilling sense of how the global order may change by China's economic power play. If one were to look at China's funding to developing countries and compare it with the funding by IMF and World Bank, it is clear that the rules-based international order is changing, as claimed by Western nations.

One can only hope that United Nations' present structure should change with no veto power to any nation, and UN decisions can be endorsed by either a simple or two-thirds majority. If the present UN order continues, we are likely to see a new form of economic colonialism. Southeast Asia should be worried too.

Concerned Global Citizen
A Covid response

Re: "What the HEPA?", (PostBag, Nov 27).

As the PostBag editor seems unwilling to carry out basic fact-checking, let me respond to our regular Covid-denying correspondents, Michael Setter and Eric Bahrt, who are continuing to peddle misinformation around Covid.

The belief that HEPA filters can only trap particles larger than 0.3 micrometres is false. Nasa published a paper on this in 2016 that concluded that HEPA filters capture almost 100% of particles at 0.01 microns. The Covid-19 virus is approximately 0.125 microns in diameter, therefore the perfect size for HEPA filters. In any case, all Thai classrooms should be fitted with HEPA filters as standard for PM2.5 pollution.

As for Eric Bahrt, yes, the CDC are "pathological liars" when it comes to one thing, and that is in continuing to spread the lie that handwashing prevents Covid spreading. As a result of this failure, the US has seen an estimated 80-90% of its under-one-year olds infected with Covid, killing 100 already this year (compared to an average of 20 deaths under one from flu annually) and leaving the rest with invisible damage to their vascular systems and brains. Tell me again that Covid is not harmful to children.

Diane Archer
Poor language skills

Education First's English Proficiency Index 2022 is out. It covers 111 countries and regions, including 10 of Asean's 11 countries (excluding Brunei). Thailand continues to do very poorly. In the world, we rank 97th, ahead of economically backward countries like Haiti (98th), Kazakhstan (99th), and Somalia (100th). In Asean, we are in the "Very Low" group (which is the lowest grade), behind Cambodia (94th), and Myanmar (93rd) but ahead of Laos (111st).

The above is not surprising. But what should amaze us is why we do so little to improve our competency in one of the most important languages in the world. It's not as if most Thais are fluent in any of the other lingua franca like Chinese or French. Our lack of expertise is dragging us down, and we do little.

Burin Kantabutra
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