Re: “Excuses to celebrate”, (PostBag, Nov 17). I really got a kick out of it when Khun Songdej quipped, “Thais celebrate Valentine’s Day and Halloween without knowing what they are.”
To Thais, especially adolescents, Halloween has something to do with witches and ghosts and Valentine’s Day is related to roses, chocolates, candies, and it is the day to lose their virginity if they still have it.
Meanwhile, if you randomly ask Thais what the significance of Makha Bucha, Visakha Bucha and Asahna Bucha Day is, I bet only one out of 100 can give you the answer right off the bat. To most Thais, all they know is those days have something to do with Buddha and they enjoy having days off from school or work.
While we are at it, I asked several people what the Victory Monument is all about. They all think it’s about Thailand’s victory in either WWI or WWII.
For the Thai readers, do you know without googling it? Tick, tock, tick, tock.
Voters want peace
Re: “Destroying democracy”, (PostBag Nov 17).
Eric Bahrt portrays those of us coming from a “democracy”, enjoying all freedoms, as people who think Thais are too stupid to choose their own leaders.
Mr Bahrt, did you ever hear of the Alien and Sedition Acts in the United States? Do you honestly believe censorship and media control do not exist in a “democracy”?
No, Mr Bahrt, I for one would never label a Thai, or anyone else too stupid, as you claim expats do, to have the right to choose a leader. But, this being Thailand, we all have seen (corrupt) governments come and go, (corrupt) leaders come and go, and we know most Thai politicians are in the game for self-enrichment.
Most people I know do not care who runs the country as long as there is stability, no infighting, and peace and quiet. If the gentlemen with the tanks and guns can achieve all this, let them stick around.
Odds of success are slim
Re: “No safe boxing”, (PostBag, Nov 17).
I agree that there is no such thing as safe boxing.
I think it’s disgusting when in America I hear people connected to boxing tell poor young men that boxing is a great opportunity to find fame and fortune. If they gave a hoot about those kids, they would tell them the odds that they will end up wealthy are so slim it’s not worth trying, while according to the Association of Neurological Surgeons, the chances they will end up with brain damage are 90%.
Replace the draft
Some people, for whatever reason, are less than happy with a military government. It seems that it doesn’t imply they believe this government is a particularly bad government. Rather, it is a distaste for a military government — good or bad. This is true in other countries, too. In the case of Thailand, it may stem from a dislike by parents who see their young sons being drafted into military service when they had other plans for their futures — especially when there seems to be no impending invasion!
I am wondering how Thai parents would feel if the prime minister, before the New Year, made a surprise announcement informing the nation that the red/black card system will be replaced with a voluntary enlistment policy? Countries like Canada, for example, have such a policy. In such countries the voluntary system is more than successful. Military service can be a viable career choice, especially when it includes career training programmes.
Many parents, I believe, would join the ranks of others who hope to see the general continue as PM if he were to find a way of replacing the compulsory draft with a voluntary and career-oriented system. And, now that he is chair of the Asean community, he would be setting an excellent example for leaders of other governments to follow.
A well-managed, career-oriented military service option would be a welcome alternative for many young people in Thailand — and, in my view, would win over many undecided voters in the upcoming election.
Happy to live in Thailand
Re: “Get priorities right”, (PostBag, Nov 12).
There is no doubt that the majority of the voters in the heartland of America care about a workable healthcare system, opportunities to make a decent living, and affordable education. The heartland of America is also infested by right-wing white extremists who believe that America belongs to them only. Immigrants are either labelled as parasites or criminals. Hence, most people in the heartland are not very keen on immigration reforms and fair international trade. For example, the agricultural sector in the heartland has been the beneficiary of US government subsidies for decades. And the military has wasted billions on senseless wars causing death and destruction more devastating than what we saw during WWI and WWII.
Since the beginning of this new century, the US has had a troubling relationship with most countries in the world, especially those in the Middle East. If there were responsible gun ownership laws in America, we would not see the killing of innocent people every other month. The “America first” slogan is slowly sliding into “America last”. Many countries around the world have already started ignoring the USA.
Expensive tourist addiction
Re: “Opening the gates to salvage tourism”, (Business, Nov 12).
According to a business news report on Nov 12, the government is once again liberalising the tourist visa rules in a “quick fix” that, at best, will only provide some sugar for what has arguably become a Thai economic addiction — tourism.
This liberalisation means 20% of our economy depends on an unsustainable addiction. In the end, a tourism-based economy can fall into a Great Depression. Innovation and economic pluralism are required for the economy to remain both resilient and functional, and innovation has clearly stagnated in Thailand through recent years. Without change, innovation in Thailand could simply fall too far behind the rest of Southeast Asia. Should that happen, it will become all too clear that the “tourist fix” was one very expensive addiction, indeed.
Jason A Jellison
Contact: Bangkok Post Building
136 Na Ranong Road Klong Toey, Bangkok 10110
fax: +02 6164000 Email: [email protected]
All letter writers must provide full name and address.
All published correspondence is subject to editing at our discretion.