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Songkran needs facts

Last week, I almost wrote in praise of Songkran Grachangnetara for his exceptional suggestions on ways to solve Thailand’s development problems (“Thailand urgently needs to tackle development traps”, Opinion, July 28).

However, this week, and to my disappointment, he reverted to gutter politics by attacking the Democrats so unfairly, and praising Thaksin and the Pheu Thai Party so undeservedly (“Without change the Democrat Party faces irrelevance”, Opinion, Aug 4).

I am not 100% behind the Democrat Party and at one time I even suggested that Abhisit Vejjajiva should resign from his post as party leader to make way for the party’s young blood.

In his comment, Songkran avoided mentioning the fact that it was Thaksin and his political parties that caused household debt among Thailand’s rural poor to double to more than 80% of GDP through their lopsided populist policies. As someone who knows something about economics, can Songkran deny that fact?

Opinion writers should know that no matter how right they think their criticisms are, they must be ready to back them up with facts.

Vint Chavala


China is close to home

The upcoming 48th meeting of the Asean foreign ministers will “also see the participation of China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, the United States, the European Union, Russia and India”, (BP, Aug 4). China has demanded the issue of the South China Sea not be discussed at the meeting, insisting it is a topic only to be considered among Asean member nations.

The reason is obvious. Among Southeast Asian nations China wields tremendous power. Add Japan, South Korea, Australia, the US, the EU, and India to the mix and China’s overtly imperialist foreign policy will be denounced.

China steadfastly refuses to tolerate criticism and its leaders must avoid losing face at all costs. The theatrical purges of “corrupt politicians” are regularly orchestrated as a means of applying makeup to a facade ravaged by greed and excess that is the Communist Party of China. If this has a familiar ring to it, readers are grasping the intended message well.

Michael Setter


Different sea rules

A recent incident in Pattaya fills me with dismay (“Drunk captain’s licence suspended after running boat aground on Pattaya Beach”).

The captain was so intoxicated he was unable to communicate and the incident forced tourists on the beach to scatter. The punishment  was a mere six months’ suspension of his licence. Surely a reasonable punishment would be that he never works a passenger boat again. The first sentence in a local paper summed up the attitude of locals: “What can you do with a drunken sailor?” Very amusing, I don’t think.

It was less than two years ago when six people died and hundreds were injured because of a crash caused by a drunk and high captain. I caught the ferry to Koh Larn a few weeks ago and watched a crew member hand the captain a can of Chang beer.

If that happened in the West, I would’ve informed the operators and police. Pointless here!

Motoguzzibob


Reveal owners’ names

Re: “UN’s ‘fix’ is wrong”, (PostBag, Aug 1).

What in the world did Guy Baker have in mind when he wrote his lengthy letter filled with misinformation?

Milton Friedman and the Republican theory of trickle-down economics have been in disrepute for a long time, even quieting the most fervent Republicans.

The United Nations, for all its faults, has done wonders for the world including Thailand. I will not attempt to argue economics just as I won’t discuss religion because there is no point to it. However, I would like to say how outraged I am that you never really hear about the wrongdoings of giant seafood companies in Thailand because their owners are powerful and considered upstanding citizens.

The closest we have come was a brilliant article in the Bangkok Post on how slave labour is fundamentally financed by these seafood companies. But I would bet my last baht that you will never find out the owners’ names.

Producer Paul


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