|Letters to the Editor of the Korat Post should be sent to editoratthekoratpost.com. Always consult the latest main page of the online paper for current links, including email, etc.
Are Thais Doll-Crazy?
Ed.: I've been paying a bit of attention to Thailand's newest craze - dolls called Child Angels that are being carried around by adults as if they were real children, but with magical powers. What is going on?.
Seeking answers. Randy in JoJo .
The dolls are indeed a craze in superstition-ridden Thailand. Contrary to what they are supposed to be able to do - bring their owners luck and good karma, etc. - leading Buddhist authorities have also come out to criticize them and their owners are departing from Thai culture and going off to willy-nilly land to insulate themselves with positive feelings through possession of something that will bring them luck. .
Ii is not a surprise that such a fad comes onto the Thai social/cultural scene. Thailand's current prime minister is himself superstitious and has his own fortune teller/astrologist. Thais who are traditionally cited as Buddhist have long ago departed from the Middle Path, relying instead on professions of belief while carving out their own renditions of what Buddhism is. Animism and Brahman traditions are also still very much alive. The impact of this fad seems more that it is further damaging the country's image through causing Thais to appear immature and silly. Some degree of this is present, but there is a deep-rooted belief that magic spirits do exist. Codifying them into a personal doll is Thainess, it seems.
Ed.: What's going on with all these arrests in Thailand? Its (sic) getting worse and worse week by week and people are being put in prison for long periods because they did nothing but click 'like' on Facebook.
Thanks. Don in Sikiew.
Most of the issue stems from Thailand's feudal elites reasserting their power base, which is done every so often anyhow to once again stop rampant government corruption that has built up in the civilian political area. That's the official version. Unofficially the elites that have always been in league with the military and in our view not a single government in Thailand has ever really been independent of military and elite observation and indirect control through state agencies.
The coup in 2014 was different because over the years political and social values in Thailand had changed to produce an upstart minority that didn't want to put up with puppet string dominance from Bangkok anymore. The "Thaksin System" as it has been somewhat inaccurately called brought forth long-seething hatred of the ruling class. The problem was that the leadership of this movement, Thaksin and Red Shirt leaders, also as in previous governments and all state agencies had their own interests at heart. In what could have been a potentially significant genuine shift toward democracy was instead warped and then curtailed in the name of national security and protecting the monarchy and the coup followed. As a result, Thai society is undergoing a Thainess cultural revolution like that of Chairman Mao in some respects, including jailing people for the least indication of opposition or even of reasonable logical expression against something very wrong with the country.
Brief update on events in Thailand
This is a single source report, based on multiple source input, and thus limited in scope. It does, however, provide a brief overview and assessment of the situation in Thailand based on this editor’s perceptions and experience. Information is provided for general use as deemed appropriate.
In early November 2013, anti-government groups coalesced into a mass gathering in Bangkok and were subsequently joined in much smaller, sometimes negligible support groups in upcountry locations. The number of people involved in the main Bangkok groupings was numbered anywhere from 150,000 to a million (the latter by ardent anti-government interests). At the time of this writing, 16 December 2013, there is still a significant and highly vocal presence of these protesters in Bangkok.
Ostensibly the current protest against the Thai government was triggered by its insistence on rejecting the Thai Constitutional Court [http://www.constitutionalcourt.or.th/english/]’s rulings on 20 November 2013 whereby the court judged against the government’s attempts to modify constitutional provisions changing the way Thai senators are chosen (making them all elected instead of some appointed) and other changes. In response to the court’s rulings, the pro-Red Shirt/pro-Thaksin government declared that the court did not have such authority to rule over areas designated by law and the constitution to be the privy of the country’s legislature. Thus developed a stand-off between two major branches of the Thai government – legislative (largely controlled by the executive branch) and judicial. This, apparently, was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Thus Suthep Thaugsuban, formerly deputy Democrat Party leader, after resigning from the party led a coalition of the willing to overthrow the duly elected government in the name of ridding the country, once more, of the proverbial “corrupt government.”
Perhaps a major difference this time between previous coups and this one in the kingdom is that instead of the military stepping in and the constitution being abrogated, the constitution is currently still in existence, approved by the king, but its provisions are basically all set aside selectively in any manner the protesters justify needs to be done. Whereas the pro-Thaksin government is said to have violated constitutional provisions relating to violating a constitutional court decision, the protesters are now judged to have basically thrown out the constitution. One of the most significant aspects of this development is that they demand a period of zero elections, currently being bantered about as two years, where reforms to put Thailand into honest shape would take place.
While the leader of the current protest Suthep and his closest supporters have been clearly anti-foreigner/anti-American in recently made public statements warning the US government and its ambassador in Thailand not to interfere or even speak of the current situation, adding threats to barge into the Embassy’s compound and “teach Americans what it means to Thais to cherish their soil,” [referring to some convoluted misconception that America’s only interests in Thailand are to bilk left and right]. Thus there is an appreciable anti-foreigner and anti-American sentiment (not without historical justification in multiple ways) component to the protests. Add to this the insistence of Suthep and the People’s Council he created that the problem in the country is crooked politicians (not crooked people in general), the electoral process (because it is always controlled by corrupt politicians and business interests), and a preoccupation with this thing called democracy. Domestically in Thailand democracy has never been a popular idea among the ruling elite classes and ardent ultra-nationalists other than as a self-embellishing byword to be lip-serviced when it suited the needs of the occasion. Now the word is being turned back on those who cherish democracy, those who support it and against those who want it to exist in Thailand in a true sense out of what is cited as a clear faulty foreign interference concept that won’t work for Thais.
Some sectors in Thai society have referred to several scenarios that may develop out of the current chaos, with civil war a feared possibility if things get out of control. This is a very real fear, and unfortunately has some justification in the light of viewing what it is that is feared and by whom. Over the last eighty years or so, since the 1932 coup that was supposed to establish a constitutional monarchy but which failed miserably in the analysis of many, Thailand has been faced with repression of minority opinion and minority rights. Over the most recent couple of decades membership in the UN and other human rights groups has led the kingdom to accommodate certain aspects of human rights righteousness per se while basically ignoring any real need to adhere to them.
Human rights, democracy, freedom or expression, the right to form and express opinions, freedom from fear of unjust arrest…these realities found in nations that do provide, or in the past have provided, a semblance of protections do not exist in Thailand to any meaningful extent when compared to the larger social context. In fact, the Thai Establishment has in recent years abrogated even more rights by passing laws and incorporating their intent in constitutional statutes that make freedom of thought illegal. This last week, pre-mid-December 2013, a poor Thai was sentenced to six years and eight months for engaging in an attempt to insult the monarchy! This travesty is no different from that in the Tom Cruise Minority Report where an individual was arrested for a crime not that he committed but was going to commit. In Hollywood the scenario was pure fiction – Thai ultra-conservatives made it a reality through harsh implementation of a computer crime law designed to silence dissent and protect interest groups using the nation, religion and monarchy as props for their own continued existence.
In fact, in the mid-December 2013 national meetings that are being held to work the way out of the mess it was clearly said that many interest groups were bringing in the monarchy to further their own interests and undermine those of opponents. This is not merely a political ploy in Thailand but a social one. In the legendary story of Robin Hood, the evil sheriff’s henchmen were always harassing the people and invoking just authority by saying, “In the name of the king.” This is what Thai society has been doing for a long, long time: invoking the name or authority enshrined in the monarchy to prop up and enhance its own wayward needs no matter how distasteful or even criminal when viewed under an international microscope.
In response to any international, but especially hated western commentary on this, reactionary groups become indignant and throw up a roadblock of nebulous claims that make little or no sense – to anyone except those who make and believe them. Unfortunately in Thailand there are many, many who do. Nonsense has a high value in the kingdom because it affords unity and underscores Thainess. Thainess is that Alice in Wonderland quality that no one except a genuine and good Thai can understand. In a sense it’s the secular equivalent of enlightenment – being there IS there. By being one is. By being Thai one is Thai, one knows what it is to be Thai and one understands the Thai ways while anyone who is not Thai cannot do so.
The illusion marches on…
25 November 2013
Isn't Thaksin getting a bad rap and is whatever he did really that serious? I keep seeing all this anti-Thaksin stuff but remember meeting a few Thai politicians myself and not one of them seemed to have an honest bone in his or her body.
It doesn't take a lot to be astute for you, apparently. Yes, a great deal of blame is being put on Thaksin, and absolutely little to no televised academic debate is being held in Thailand that identifies the real problems. See our editorial tomorrow online covering the real nature of the Thaksin System and what it really is, where it really came from. Ed.
24 November 2013
You used to cover monthly press conferences in Korat where media gave questions to the governor and he got government agencies in Korat to respond to public concerns and so on. What happened to this coverage and why aren't you publishing it?
Our newspaper contact Mr. Soontorn Jangrangsee
Funny you should ask. I just got out of a brief meeting today with a local newspaper editor and publisher, a guy well-entrenched in the Thai media and who also used to attend those monthly press conferences. I brought this up and he told me there were two main reasons, in his thinking, about what happened. First, he said, a lot of the so-called press inquiries were useless, frivolous and made for self-interest. Secondly, he said, about three or four months ago the governor told the local media that these conferences were being curtailed. It is doubtful that the media is to blame alone. The Thai government has become even less transparent than in the past - if this is possible. Ed.
14 November 2013
I drove by that accident in Nakhon Phanom yesterday, probably just after it happening. I always see minibuses like this carry students racing back and forth like it a joke. I don't understanding why police don't patrol highway better.
Yes, anyone who has been in Thailand for longer than ten minutes, it seems, sees accidents like this where recklessness was clearly involved. Police don't pay a lot of attention to speeding drivers in most highway sections so drivers feel like they have a right to speed. In Thailand strict enforcement of traffic regulations would probably be interpreted as harassing citizens for political or financial purposes. As you know, image is more important than substance in the kingdom. Thanks for your views. Ed.
19 August 2013
Did Balu close his German restaurant for good? Where can I go now if he did?
Call me Dude.
The bad news is positive - yes, Balu has closed down permanently and according to what he last told us, should now be in Germany looking for a job there or trying to find a way back to Thailand. His business suffered greatly over the last few years, notably the flooding in Bangkok that curtailed shipments and customer orders for his sausage business. The other factor that contributed was the Thai military forcing GIs, or the American government forcing them, to live on base when Cobra Gold and Cope Tiger exercises were going on. Also they were under early curfews. All in all it led to continued expenses and inability to pay the bills. A very sad departure after over ten years of valiant efforts. We wish Balu well.
As to where else to eat, there is the Mexican restaurant and the Swiss restaurant, to name but two. As soon as anyone else advertises with us, we will put their logos on the pages. Bon appetite!
11 May 2013
What's the problem in Korat these days? Aren't the locals happy like they are? Why do they need to divide Korat into two provinces?
Jake in Surin.
Jake: Happy locals? Surely you jest, Jake!
Anyway, the issue is that Korat is the country's largest province in area and those advocating separation are convinced that it's physical separation that keeps them from receiving justice and fair play. They do not apply the same measure, however, to the Bangkok monolith which is, of course, at least three hours away by car.
How do our readers feel about separation?
2 May 2012
An American friend died recently and his next of kin is in the States. the guy left no will and everyone is a bit mixed up on what is to be done.
Jill...Nong Bua Lamphoo
Jill: The US Embassy in Bangkok helps with all cases of Americans passing away here, and Thai authorities are supposed to coordinate with the Embassy and vice-versa. Check first with the Embassy, via their online link to American Citizen Services. They might not satisfy all your needs, but should be able to satisfy the essentials.
22 April 2012
Traffic in Korat! Used to be bad, now is gridlock. Who do I complain to?
Norton in Cha-am.
Thanks for writing. Sorry about your experience here re. traffic. You have now seen exactly how Bangkok became what it now is. Officials talked and talked and had lots of photo sessions but ended up doing nothing. After all, they would lose votes in the next election. You can thank, however, the Mall Group, local police and municipality and various businesses and residential owners for not caring one iota whether or not you are able to move safely and conveniently around. They park where they want and if you make a face you can stand to get into an argument at best, and at worst, some payback. Be careful, and if someone really violates a law and makes like difficult for everyone, and if you feel you have the energy, lodge a complaint with traffic police. It might be the first one they ever received!
10 May 2007
What's with the traffic here in Korat! Last time I was here - eight years ago - no problema...
Dancer, Maryland - USA
Welcome to the new Korat! Back about eight-nine years ago, the Mall Group began contributing to Korat's traffic problems by putting up the Mall as you now know it to be. At the time it was being discussed as a construction project, the powers-that-be took it upon themselves to remain silent over any idea about trying to make sure the Mall impacted traffic as little as possible. That is, no one cared enough to ask hard questions.
And it's generally the same with most other issues here, although we'll stick to traffic for the moment. Korat's downtown traffic now rivals some of that in Bangkok, and it's nothing to be proud of in the litany of achievements that might have been possible. Traffic is bound to get worse, even with the proposed 400 million Baht redesign of the three-way intersection leading off Friendship Highway route 2 to the Khon Khon highway turnoff near Big C.
Obviously, we have had more letters since the last entry. However, rather than hunting and pasting them in, we are going to proceed with a restart using the latest letter received.However, if you wish to have your letter published, please let us know whether you want it anonymously or not. We will generally default by using initials, city, state and country unless otherwise requested.
3 February 2007 (Ref. feb007)
Ed: (1) It would be interesting to delve into news archives to see if the very same issues about cracked taxi and run-way concrete occurred when Don Muang was constructed.
(2) Let’s begin a score card. Your recent revelation of torture chambers for southern militants has obviously occurred under the supervision of the current junta and, by their stated support for the junta, the royal house. You have claimed, in the past, that similar extrajudicial punishments/interrogations (against suspected drug criminals) have happened during the rule of the former elected party. OK, that’s one against Thaksin (in your suspicions), and one against the junta and the royal house (as you have reported). This time, no one has to understand the Thai language, nor its nuances, to understand the reporting by the English speaking press as to what’s going on. Let’s begin keeping score and see who comes out on top. Again, I don’t have any illusions of this ever being published. But, with that said, please surprise me again. Respectfully, P.B., Felton, DE, USA
3 February 2007 Surprise.
After a town visit this morning, we will post your letter. Why not? Our surprise, however, is that you do not think we are fair. You have not given examples. The extrajudicial killings we talked about, in fact, besides under Thaksin, also took place under Chuan Leekpai's government (Burmese students seizing Thai hospital). Unarmed, they were all executed on the spot. No one said a word. As to why you have merged ability of reading and understanding English with the inability of doing the same in Thai we are a bit perplexed. Our point was that if you are privy to Thai language reports - and hopefully, not just those from the pro-government media - then you will gain some insight and a different, deeper perspective. Re. English media, cite an example and make your point based on it. We are willing to be educated... Ed
Additional response re. Don Muang:
3 February 2007 As to your inquires about Don Muang, here's some good background information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Muang_Airport To date I have not been able to get historical construction and maintenance information - but be assured of one thing: IF Don Muang had ever had any of the number and scope of problems seemingly present at the new airport, Thaksin would already have been on TV saying so. I believe that over the forty years of being in Thailand and flying in and out of Don Muang repeatedly, I have never experienced any delays or cancellations arising from runway/taxiway problems. That's in forty years. Of course, with Don Muang just seven years away from being 100 years old, a lot could have happened. But listening to Sondhi Limthonkul on TV recently, he emphasized the basic beginning differences between the two - the new one is built on a swamp; the old one is built on high ground ('don' means high ground, knoll, mound, elevated land). In fact, my own construction degree and civil inspection background help me from time to time to think things through carefully on subject matter pertaining to engineering. I have some 20 years' experience in inspection - soils, asphalt, steel, wood, concrete, cement - and know what can go wrong easily without valid field inspection and testing. Thailand is notorious for not checking construction methods. I was told, for example, here in Korat by the mayor once that the reason field testing is not done is that equipment operators know how to produce specs needed and thus no inspection/field testing is necessary. This is the kind of logic that built the new airport. Thai authorities can be expected to be as truthfully forthcoming about the new airport problems as they have been about extrajudicial killings and criminal negligence regarding the tsunami deaths. No surprise here...
26 August 2006
What's up with that prime minister, Thaksin? He's screwing the country over, isn't he?
Good observation, if somewhat muted.
The prime minister, apparently, has also instructed all 76 governors throughout the country not to allow anti-government demonstrations. Or else, news has it, the specific governor concerned who allows anything to go on in his province will be dismissed, transferred, etc.
Readers: There have been letters over the last couple of years! Just haven't put the time into transferring them out of Outglook onto these pages. Sorry. Glad to get your email anytime. Ed.
I'm thai born in korat , living oversea for half of my life .
First wow ! I see this newspaper first time today .
which i looking forward that korat ppl gonna have own english newspaper
, it's happen now wow wow wow , thank you you all the Korat post group
who made it happen , i love you !
So now korat ppl like me can read about korat news in english and
may be have some more contact home . I miss Korat .. Hope you maye
be have chatroom too , why not ?
Wish you all happy new year
Keep on good work
Sapphasit road 30000
I was an American Air Force sergeant posted to
Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base from October, 1968 to November,
1969. During that time, I volunteered as an English teacher at Long
Lean Sipchet. My class room was on the second floor at the far end
of the building. I am planning on returning to Thailand in October
of 2005 as part of the Return to Thailand reunion of former American
soldiers and airmen, and am also planning on making an extended
trip from Bangkok to Korat during my visit to your beautiful country.
I would like to hear from any of my former students who might still
live in Korat. Also, I would appreciate your help in contacting
the current headmaster of the school so that I might gain permission
to visit. I consider the time I spent in Thailand as a high point
of my life. It was a joy to work with those young children, and
I often wonder about how their lives progressed after I returned
to my home here in Texas. I want to thank you in advance for your
assistance in rekindling friendships made during my assignment to
Korat Post action: We spoke
with Thai Air Force Commander Group Captain Chaiyaphruk offices
today, 16 December 2004. He requested that we provide his email
address, firstname.lastname@example.org to Mr. Herrige for direct inquiry.
We did so.
THE KORAT POST
Dear mrs./mr.Editor-in-Chief, dear friends,
First of all let me send you some fresh pictures from our pre-Christmas
time which I took yesterday, while walking through the town (see
in 2 enclosured pictures). Just enjoy melancholic winter and pre-Christmas
atmosphere on old ancient and historical Chateau Square (in 2 weeks
it will be covered by snow!) in Teplice City, Czech republic, Central
Europe, where I am living with my family. My name
is Libor Vojacek and my wife is a Filipina (her name is Jima), so
we have some close and certain special feeling to your part of world,
to South-East Asia. As we are reading quite offten your news and
surfing time-to-time over your The Korat Post web site, we realize
out that it should be pretty interesting and nice sometimes send
something also to "other direction", from here to there,
from Czech republic to Thailand, so, we would like to let you know
that we are here for you if you should be interested in getting
some good article with nice, "sharp" and interesting perceptions
from our part of World. If you should be interested in some kind
of little partnership we can prepare and send some intereting and
attractive story, that including some touching fresh pictures, for
your readers back in Thailand. There is a plenty of possible topics,
like for example : 1) local life style and habits in Central Europe,
2) history, 3) personal experience of my Asian woman (my wife) faci
ng life in Europe, with
its difficulties and beauties, 4) story about local traditions and
cuisine that incl. some prime recipes!, 5) story from Capitol City
of Prague which belong to one of most beautiful around, 6) story
about from our spa City od Teplice (see in english language on www.teplice.cz),
7) picture galeries and brief describing from some of Czech most
famost castles, and we have many of them here and very beautiful
(for example Karlstejn Castle - ww.hradkarlstejn.cz, or Krivoklat
Castle - www.krivoklat.cz), or any other story on you wish. We think
it should be good and worth article as we think outside world is
not only USA, Japan, Canada or Germany ... We are here for you and
for The Korat Post as a freelance reporter and your occasionaly
amateur contibutor from "Heart of Europe" ..........
P.S. During 1993-94 I was working as a reporter for
Czech national sportfishing magazine Rybarstvi (Fishing) from USA.
I like this work and I am good
in this!! So I have some experience in writing and I am also well
provided by digital and quick communication (nonstop internet connection,
digital technology, cameras etc.).
Attached : 2 enclosures from our home city
Libor and Jima Vojacek
tel: 00420721740804 (Libor)
Korat Post action: We replied via email requesting a sample article.
migrated from southern China (Published in The Nation, 17 November
Reading Sunida Kitiyakara’s 16 November letter
[“Guests should not be critical of their hosts”] slapping down Major
Smith was an uncomfortable reminder of racism and xenophobia, to
name but two. This letter then, from a retired Westerner living
in Thailand, will probably churn her stomach. But hopefully it will
also waken her mind. Sunida refers to someone else’s ignorance of
what students are learning of extremism in Islamic schools. I do
not suppose that her own ignorance is any less. We can, however,
readily refer to many published reports about what Muslim extremists
learn in Islamic schools and mosques – and too much of it is hatred
and incitement to violence. I am not quite sure where Ms Sunida’s
argument lies in equating these studies to Fulbright and Catholic
programmes. I wish to correct Sunida’s obvious error about the Thais
not being a migratory race – they sure are. I believe southern China
was the first discovered root of the Thais. Further, this blather
about being an immigrant versus being a native decries the fact
that all of us were born here on this planet, and that playing name
games is immature and ignorant in the extreme. “Do not equate us
with your own kind” is not merely a patently offensive comment,
but it is made with the kind of solace in self that spells delusion,
illusion and preclusion. We all started from the same place, I believe.
The fact that we are possibly centuries earlier than someone in
a specific place says nothing. I am personally very pleased not
to be equated (as requested) with anyone who has such a closed and
angry mind as to denounce another race, to damn other viewpoints
or to accept one side of an argument while ignoring the other. Talk
about being too opinionated or indoctrinated.
Frank G Anderson
Thai Education Shows Growing
Hi from Trang,
To give 516 students from the rural working class ‘scholarships’
to study at a few elite Bangkok Mathayom schools (spending Bt
15 million!) is no solution to the problem of growing educational
inequity in the country. The richest 20 per cent own more than
half of the country’s assets, two-thirds of all the money in banks
belongs to Bangkok residents, farmers have on average four years
of education (“Huge wealth and education gap in society now: Kasem,”
THE NATION, Nov. 11, 2004). UNESCO urges Thailand to do more for
public education (“Education: “Thai lagging behind globally,”
The NATION, Nov. 9, 2004).
Meanwhile, the present government has moved to encourage precisely
the most experienced and qualified teachers to leave the system!
The cost-cutting policy that has reduced the number of teachers
across the country through the ruse of early retirement is a serious
mistake. The country as a whole now lacks some 80,000 teachers!
This policy, designed to destroy public education in the Kingdom,
should be pro-actively opposed by all concerned. There needs to
be action directly in the community, involving all stakeholders:
teachers in the Khroo Sapa, school directors, concerned parents,
the school kids themselves have to speak up. Committees should
be formed to begin organizing public protest and to discuss counter-action.
Education should be a top priority in Thailand. Money is there.
The upshot of present policy will be expensive private schools
for the rich (45 international schools in Thailand, some charging
800,000 baht per year), a scattering of ‘elite’ schools in Bangkok
and a few urban centers and understaffed overcrowded state schools
for the rest of the people, a two-tiered system or worse. All
the money passing hands in the form of ‘gratuities’ (petiya) to
school directors to have children admitted to schools and the
expensive ‘private’ classes spreading across the country are adding
to the deepening inequity between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots.’ More
IT hardware and software to ‘replace’ teachers is not the answer.
Early retirement is a cynical move to dump experienced staff.
Instead, make sure older teachers can stay on in some capacity
AFTER the age of 60! The schools need all the expertise they can
get. Not teachers rehired as ‘volunteers,’ that is absurd. Teachers
rehired as ‘senior mentors,’ full-time, even beyond normal retirement.
Preserve the expertise. The kids deserve no less.
Reinventing schools is a longer-term proposition: alternatives
to the present curriculum in far too large classes need to be
considered. Half-day school programs that get the kids out learning
‘holistically’ in the community are one alternative, as described
in the new book by Dave Sobel, “Place-Based Education: Connecting
Classrooms and Communities” http://www.oriononline.org/pages/ob/index_ob.html
Ideas from North America at http://www.rethinkingschools.org are
also worth considering. Thailand needs more of what is called
‘lateral thinking’ on how effective democratic schooling for all
can be encouraged. Stakeholder committees have to be involved.
It needs to be a grassroots campaign.
RIT, Sikao, Trang
11 August 2004
Keep up the good work! Your site looks better and even this last
month's issue looked great.
Thanks for the kind words. We have been working pretty hard, as
you can see. We have a long, long way to go before we are a 'real'
paper, but the march has started and if we get support from people
like you - and from advertisers - we will make it.
|12 July 2004
This AIDS conference thing is fine. It's great
to increase awareness and to try to save lives, etc. But what's
with the absence of teachings about avoiding high-risk behavior?
Just because people do things doesn't mean they should be rewarded
for it or tolerated for being stupid!
The conference is organized not just for awareness, of course, but
to increase the effectiveness of information and treatment networks
globally. There are other objectives, but these two are primary.
In regard to high-risk behavior, if we dismiss - for argument's
sake - incidental infections attributed to hospital blood transfusions
or unwanted injections with infected needles during licensed medical
treatment, then you have a point. High-risk behavior should not
be paid for by society at large. It's like bungee jumping. You know
the risks, you accept the chances, and you pay the price if you
are wrong. Why should society pay insurance and health treatment
costs for people who are willing to disregard common sense?
Discovered your website and newspaper wile surfing the net....I've
been to Thailand 6 times and have a Thai fiancee who attedn college
in Korat... a very nice Thai girl from Phimai.....we'll be married
here in the California in September and then back to Thailand in
January for the Thai Traditional wedding..
I am a political consultant in Calif.....smalll local elections....judges,
sheriffs, county supervisors, recalls, etc.....I enjoyed reading
your editorials...and your views..perhaps I'll see you next time
I'm in Korat...I was there 10 days ago in Korat at the Mall with
finacee and saw US movie in Thai language..very interesting since
I do not speak Thai....
Best of luck with your paper.
Santa Ynez, CA
I read with great interest the article regarding the proposed International
Day to be held in Korat. I am from Auckland, New Zealand and believe
Korat to be one of Thailand’s great cities; Korat has overwhelming
potential to becoming a leading province in Thailand and a beacon
for all other provinces to look to in regards to becoming a leading
“21st Century” example.
Korat has the perfect mix of innocent tradition
and potential for future growth just waiting to be nurtured to fruition.
Having visited Korat 3 times for extended periods
of time I can say unequivocally that the people and atmosphere make
this a jewel in the regions crown and the planned International
day can only have a positive spin off for the province and its wonderful
people. I would be more than happy to take an active role in the
upcoming International day once details have been confirmed and
look forward to reading more updates.
Keep up the great work with the Korat Post.
A dumb idea?
4 May 2004
I had a brainstorm. What Hollywood stiffs need is a little service
called something like, "Down To Earth," where they get
some reality restarts by mingling with normal human beings. It would
probably be a huge financial success. For example, I was reading
that Elton John, while not a Hollywood icon per se, felt the American
Idol selections were racist. What a dummy! He could attend that
I have little comment on the people from Hollywood. Mel Gibson's
Passion was a waste of time and money, overblown and not worth watching.
People in the entertainment industry think they are apart from the
rest of we mortals. Take a look at the Liz Taylor/Michael Jackson
combo, for example. You are right - they DO need reality checks,
like a special summer course or something. Thanks for writing.
Zoning in Phuket?
What about Korat?
23 April 2004
There's reports from Phuket about trying to save the city via zoning.
I say it's too late there, and even here in Korat it might be too
late. Why don't the locals enforce zoning laws?
Gary in Khokkruat
As unbelievable as it may seem, zoning is something almost
non-existent in Thailand, save for those industrial zones you hear
about, like Suranaree Industrial Zone on the Chokechai Highway and
the new industrial development being built out in Sung Nern.We posed
this question of zoning previously to the provincial and municipal
authorities, and at a public press conference with all kinds of
officials and members of the press present, were informed that basically
people could build whatever they want wherever they want. And what
about complaints? Well, they would be processed and reviewed, and
action taken if needed.
Sample? In Nong Kae Chang community, near Wat Pa Salawan, a local
set up an autobody workshop, including spray-painting facilities,
across the street from a minimart. The guy built a very basic shell
of a building with no protection and no regard to local health or
environmental regulations. When this facility was identified to
the local municipality, they made a report and not much has been
done in the month since. One local resident even parked his car
temporarily near the autobody workshop, and when he got back in
later, discovered that he had a spattering of paint he didn’t want.
He may not even be able to get the autobody shop owner to cover
Very close to this location as well, someone opened a fish ball
shop in a privately rented house, and the smell from byproduct waste
being dumped is overpowering. Again, the municipality has done nothing
In short, Thai agencies are very prone
to doing nothing about environmental problems. This has to be taken
into consideration when deciding on where to live and work.
Al-Qaideh in NE
15 April 2004
Seriously, has the Thai government encountered any of Bin Laden's
people in NE Thailand?
Just as seriously, we brought this question up with the local police
regional commander about a year and a half ago. Sorry we don't have
more recent information, but at that time we were told definitely
no. That said, there are mosques scattered throughout the region,
and it is better than an even chance that there are a few dissatisfied
cowboys out there who are biding their time. Who, what, and how
many is a big issue, and local authorities are not going to acerbate
the situation by pressing too hard. On the other hand, they are
surely checking people and while not publicly concerned about the
region, are being complemented by foreign intelligence services
who are also looking at the area - if not in great depth. For the
time being, there does not seem to be much to worry about, but as
in all other locations, be aware of your surroundings and don't
take foolish trips off on your own - when you go to remote locations,
go meaningfully protected. For the southern region of Thailand,
you will note that foreigners have been warned to stay away. If
your travel there is really necessary, you will have to remain especially
alert and anticipate problems before they occur.
Where's the Korat Post?
9 April 2004
I get around Korat a lot, and don't see the Korat Post printed edition
much. Usually it's only at Pizza Shop, Pasinee, and maybe the larger
You're correct. We run a limited number of
our monthly paper, and are careful about distributing. This coming
month, May, we plan to go back to using a local distributor who
places papers all over. We had used this distributor before, but
curtailed the practice when we suspended the paper for a few months.
When this is back and running, we will then be found in Big C, the
Mall, Lotus, and other large retail chain locations. For the time
being, check Pizza Shop and Pasinee (Mike's), or the main tourist
office near the Sima Thani Hotel. When advertising warrants, we'll
get back to subscribers' needs. Thanks for writing.
Settling in Thailand
7 April 2004
Is Korat worth it to settle down in? I am two years away from retiring,
and am thinking about packing it up here at home and moving to Korat.
Why Korat? I've been there several times, and like many other guys,
my wife is from there. Peter in Lansing, MI.
Worth it? Yes, and no. Making decisions on where to settle down,
and possibly live the rest of your life out, are difficult and replete
with rewards and hazards. You seem, though, to be in the same boat,
as you said, with your wife being from Korat. Same as me! That said,
first consider where in Korat, since it's a big province. Many westerners
I have talked with settle down locally, quite a few out on a farm
somewhere from 10-30 kilometers from muang district of Korat - then
later discover that it's too quiet for them. This is one of the
two-edged swords of settling in Korat. The wife wants to live near
her birthplace, and the foreign husband usually wants a bit more
activity. It's nice being in a quiet neighborhood, but do you want
it THAT quiet? I was fortunate in marrying a Thai/Indian lady who
was born in what is now downtown, but years ago it wasn't "downtown."
I still recall my late mother-in-law taking out the cows and water
buffalo in the morning fog, and the local roads being all dirt surrounded
by woods and weeds. The area stayed that way for over twenty years,
more or less, then sprang into change. First people building houses,
then roads being paved, then more houses, a lot more traffic, and
now no more dirt roads and lots and lots of houses. Still no zoning!
I am from the United States and if my wife were willing we would
likely have moved to the Eastern US (NY) some time ago. That said,
living here in Thailand has advantages that are difficult to argue
with. The cost of living is a major one, with prices across the
board still silly when compared to many places in Europe, the US,
and Japan, et. al. Cost-wise, then, it's probably better to lilve
here. If you get itchy feet, get on a plane or boat and go somewhere.
Boredom can and does set in, though. Find something to do, and do
it. Develop your skills and find an outlet for what fascinates you
- a legal outlet, that it. Remain aware that Thais, though, are
environmentally very irresponsible, and become easily irate when
you complain about them burning trash that sends noxious smoke into
your eyes - really! Traffic, both road and sidewalk, is another
issue, with Thais blocking everything for their individual convenience
and damn the general public. However, this is because they have
not been taught well, and authorities have been lax in providing
good instruction or examples.
On the legal side, partocularly on marriage, be very careful about
transferring funds here to Thailand for your spouse or spouse-to-be.
Thai law protects both parties, by the way, and you really need
to look into what is legal and protected here in Thailand befor
eyou marry. Check the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand exerpts
from our website directory page.
All in all, if you don't mind being out of your own culture/country,
and have some outlets to get together with "your own kind"
once in a while, Thailand is a great place to settle in.
Would I be alone?
15 March 2004
Where do the expats in Korat hang out?
The expats in Korat are a diverse group at best. The largest
contingent seems to be Japanese, and they generally hang together
in Japanese restaurants here or as many other nationalities, stay
at home or at the apartment of a girlfriend. Of course, many also
frequent massage parlors, which there are many here in Gateway City.
The Swiss Cafe, up the street from the city's Night Bazaar, holds
a regular 1st Saturday of each month meeting, starting around 4-5
pm. This is a spouse-type gathering, and seems dominated by Europeans
- German in particular.
Two other places where foreigners frequent are Pizza Shop and Pasinee
Restaurant, on Suranaree Road, across and up a little from Lord
Tailor. There is a Seven-11 on the corner closeby. Pasinee serves
western and Thai food, but also Middle East delights like schwerma
(more often called 'gyro' by westerners). Balu's, a German/European
restaurant on Mahathai Road up from the Night Bazaar, a fenced garden.
Particularly busy during joint military exercises, Balu's is a great
place to sit and relax. Balu specializes in his sausages.