Reform Thai prisons

Re: "Illicit drug limit set for dodging jail", (BP, Feb 11).

Reading the article shows that it's about one or more government officials deeming that people busted for small amounts of illegal drugs should be able to avoid hard time in prison. It's a baby step in the right direction and should be instated retroactively. In other words, roughly half of the tens of thousands of inmates in Thai prisons are in for petty, bogus and/or victimless crimes. Thailand ranks five or six in the world for the percentage of countrymen and women imprisoned.

Will this new edict affect the old Burmese man who is serving 28 years for getting caught with a speed pill? How about the Malaysian old man whose legs are as thin as bamboo, who's been in a Thai prison for so long that he's lost count of the years, all because he got caught with three ya ba pills in the prior century?

Come on, Thai politicians and judges, be a little bit Buddhist. Quit ruining peoples' lives for a drug that's less harmful than beer.

Ken Albertsen

Unity or division?

Re: "Pita under fire over horn stunt", (BP, Feb 10).

No politician can be successful in running the country if he or she has gained popularity through polarising tactics -- pitting a group of people against another or instigating rebellions in society by cooking up excuses.

A group of politicians in Thailand is doing just that. Let's see what transpires going forward. As the old saying goes, "You reap what you sow".

Vint Chavala

Hard to accept

Re: "A 14th century warning for the 21st century", (Opinion, Feb 12).

Max Hastings suggests studying 14th-century history "can be a big help to understanding our own times". Clearly, this premise is hard to accept given the advent of gunpowder, and AI happened subsequently, but Mr Hastings manages to take it into the realm of extreme nonsense. After rambling on to add historical stuffing to his turkey, he finally makes the embarrassing leap to his unsurprising purpose -- bashing Trump.

No doubt Hastings imagines that to criticise Trump for being a demagogue is a righteous accomplishment, but let's see how he does it. The Oxford Dictionary defines demagoguing as "rhetorically exploiting (an issue) for political purposes in a way calculated to appeal to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people". Every thinking person immediately recognises when someone uses the very thing they habitually do to blame others for their own selfishness. Mr Hastings' opinion piece is readily seen as merely one more silly excursion into the indulgence of exactly that kind of thinking, despite its cloak of pretentious historicity. In a democracy, a successful leader must also be popular. This does not mean he or she is, therefore, illogical and thus a demagogue.

Michael Setter

Odd priorities

Re: "A man of his word?" & "Pita under fire over horn stunt", (BP, Feb 10).

In answer to Khun Vint Chavala. Sometimes, one has to keep balanced thinking. What Ms Tantawan did is very bad manners but not a crime. Staging a coup is a crime. It seems the conservatives in Thailand have unhinged judgement.

Karl Reichstetter
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