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Letters to the Editor of the Korat Post should be sent to admin@thekoratpost.com. Always consult the latest main page of the online paper for current links, including email, etc.


Thailand Breakdown

There was the Bangkok Shutdown and the Thailand Restart, vanguarded by misguided ideas of innate ability to resolve problems of corruption by people whose entire culture is corrupt beyond repair. Maybe that's too negative. Maybe it's just a matter of fine tuning politics and culture a bit and everything, as Bob Marley wished, will be all right. And again, maybe not.

A country and its sociopolitical culture that has been so corrupt for so long - several hundred years in Thailand's case) is not likely to be able to search through a weed-filled garden of intellect and virtue to hunt and pick for those noble plants with the components to create an antivirus that once administered will even make a dent in the garden's disarray. To get out of the metaphors, Thailand is doomed for further regression. Why?

First is the issue of social class hierarchy - something the elites are again claiming does not exist. In fact, they recently came out to strongly remind the intelligent among us - not the poor of the northeast, however - that this imbroglio we are experiencing is nothing of their fault or initiative but rather just a corruption problem, and one caused by evil Thaksin Shinawatra. In previous writings this editor has commented on alleged Thaksin and the Shinawatra degree of corruption. At issue - or which isn't at issue but should be - is the inherent degree and scope of corrupt ethics and morality in the Thai culture as a whole, often defended by a silly claim that the kingdom has something called Thainess and no one can explain it and no one can feel it unless they have it. Such irrational argument easily underpins other silly arguments as there is a noble group of Thai people today who want to reform the country.

This strange group, the PDRC - People's Democratic Reform Committee - led by Suthep Thaugsuban, posits that it has the inherent right to block democratic elections in the country in any way it deems necessary to stop corruption from being re-legitimized through yet another election that the Democrat Party would suffer another defeat. But on 4 February 2014 in his daily rant on Blue Sky TV, Suthep finally opened the door a crack to show us what was behind the movement and what it's plans were for reform. and not surprisingly, there are no plans! Well, nothing other than getting rid of the Thaksin system and then wisely working with a new appointed - by the noble elites - government that would choose worthy and ethical leaders to run a new government, ostensibly during which period the nation of nearly 70 million can then be re-educated with ":good knowledge" and "Buddhist discipline."

So in a sense the real situation is out in the open - it wasn't a battle to ensure reform takes place, but one to abrogate Thaksin influence and bring back the old elitist military-ultra royalist rule for a couple of years or more, probably much more, to reform the population back to its docile character circa pre-1932.

Open Letter

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

Dear Editor:

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.

Sara Buri

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


Bill Pratu.

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

Dear Editor:

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

Dear Editor:

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!

Olde Letters

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.

February 2007

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

Editor's reply:

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?
Ralph, PA.

Ralph -
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.


Hi !
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
P. Phongam
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 KRTAFB.
Best regards,
Bill Herridge
Gatesville, Texas

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, stomper103@hotmail.com to Mr. Herrige for direct inquiry. We did so.

TO :
national newspaper

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
Czech republic
tel: 00420721740804 (Libor)
e.mail: Vojacek.L@seznam.cz

Korat Post action: We replied via email requesting a sample article.

The Thais migrated from southern China (Published in The Nation, 17 November 2004)

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
Nakhon Ratchasima

Thai Education Shows Growing Inequity

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.
Bill Templer
RIT, Sikao, Trang

11 August 2004
Korat Post:

Keep up the good work! Your site looks better and even this last month's issue looked great.
Dave B.

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

Dear Korat Post:

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!
Rick, Buriram

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?

Hi Frank

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.

Michael Long
Santa Ynez, CA

Sawadee Khrap,
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.

Kind Regards,

Cavan Jordan

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 new class!

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

Dear Editor:
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 expenses involved!
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 about this.

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 Thailand

15 April 2004

Seriously, has the Thai government encountered any of Bin Laden's people in NE Thailand?
Ralph, ChiengMai.

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

Dear Editor:
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 hotels.

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.



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