Nagative Legend Persists
Some believe local authorities and those benefititng from promoting the tourist industry in Thailand
are pushing the credibility envelope with Naga Fireballs that have withstood one thing to date
- common sense. One Thai woman from Korat recently said of the non-event, "Thai people do
not accept the truth - nor do they want it."
eople are funny. When you want them to believe the truth, they deny it. When you tell them a lie, they believe. Is life so boring and uneventful that it has to be this way? Especially up in Thailand's northeast region, Isaan, in Nong Khai province where locals and enticed visitors have been lulled by legend and exploitave opportunists who will do anything for money. Even convert M16 tracer bullets into magic balls of gas that rise into the air far faster than any so-called globule of gas would be able to survive. The "oohs and ahhs" that follow each "event" drown out the echo of the rifle shot that propels these less than magical projectiles.
W ikipedia's writeup on Naga Fireballs at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naga_fireballs takes aim at bullets rather than magical serpents that fascinate wide-eyed villagers and old folks who depend on magic spirits for succor. This is not to denigrate the less-than-unique propensity for rural folks around the world we live on to believe something other than what they see. This is a common penchant for most of us. Rather than rationally weighing what it is, we speculate on what it really might be. And for Thailande's tourist industry, if Nong Khai can keep in the news, having failed to benefit much from AARP's best place int the world to retire to article, by claiming to have magical gases rising form the majestic Mekhong, why not? Say it ain't so, Sam.
RAPID TRANSIT - RAPID ERROR?
Lamtakhong political pipedream but the Piper plays on...
Thursday, 25 October 2012
Duh? Is this the message the city fathers of Korat want passed from one generation to the next as one bad, ill-conceived idea after another is pushed by a favorite son with "far-sightedness" and eventually built at sky-high costs that end up depriving rather than providing benefits? With rickshaws out of downtown Ubon and Khon Kaen, for example, they are strangely visible in Korat. On top of that, "planners" have worked together with consultants to come up withi master plans for public transportation that provide elevated ways for samlors and bicycles. All this, of course, at public expense and borrowed funds, with construction profits (30-60% of project costs) going into the pockets of...people who "go along."
During 2012, several seminars and meetings, roundtables and discussions took place in Korat at the Suranaree University of Technnology, Municipality of Korat, the governor's office and elsewhere regarding current study of a mass public transport system. This exact "solution" to Korat's burgeoning traffic mess was mentioned to this paper about a month ago or so by Korat's mayor Suravut Cherdchai when he was asked when is Korat going to solve the traffic problem. the reply meant, of course, that there was going to be no immediate solution, and as a consequence, any immediate serious endeavors from authorities to force the public to abide by simple traffic rules.
WHAT ARE STATE POLICIES?
Full spillways are far preferable to the present situation...
Wednesday, 26 September 2012
Mixed messages are bouncing back and forth between the government and the media, between the media and the media, and between the state and the government over whether it's really flooding (remember Samak's amazing insensitivity over his redefinition of flooding ("It's not flooding, only inability to drain faster.") or just the consequence of runaway construction and lack of master planning for runoff control and mitigation. In the meantime the people who are under water, forced out of their homes, or who knew it was coming but didn't do much about it are daily testament to the fact that flooding is indeed a reality, again, and that the phenomenon is both a nature and nurture one - that is, it is the result of forces of nature and result of what man has made inevitable.
One unmixed message being made clear, however, is that ever-burdened taxpayers are going to have to pay more and more and more to cover the costs of handouts to people who suffer from flooding. It brings an uncomfortable question to mind as to whether taxpayers should be shouldered with this untenable burden. Of course it is a worldwide and humane reaction to chip in and help alleviate those who suffer from any natural disaster, but in Thailand's specific case, the disaster is increasingly being made clear that it's not a natural disaster so much as it is a devil-may-care what happens to others state policy. Greed, stupidity, corruption and absolute ignorance are chipping in big to make Thailand's financial future a ruin of historic proportions.
Is flooding the problem?
people do not want to do this...
Monday, 11 September 2012
Today is September 11, 2012, and exactly eleven years ago terrorists flew airplanes into heavily populated public buildings in the United States, taking well over 3,000 lives in the process. While we remember today, we also need to remember that whether it is, as left-wing government claims say the government did it, or our Middle East allies of one ilk or the other were involved, or it was indeed an Islamofascist act as currently officially recognized as being, the odious nature of the act and those behind it will not go unanswered.
Flooding is once again taking its toll in thailand, first in the north, and then winding its inexorable path south to inundate the ancient capital of Sukhothai and thousands of homes that had, for a few months since last year's flooding remained dry if not high.
No one can, it is being said, predict flooding or really design a drainage system that works, but for some insight into the scope of the problem listen to the comment spoken this morning over Thai TV by residences of some areas who told media, "We have to buy budget to get benefits."Buy a budget? What does that mean? At first blush, it means that if residents and representatives of any given community want state funds spent for their benefit, they have to reciprocate in kind, but in advance, with either votes or hidden corruption that can't be traced. When the phrase 'at first blush' was used it was meant to underline similar mechanisms for local spending of state funds back in the United States, let alone other nations. If people want something, they are no longer going to get it just by voting. They are going to have to grease someone's palms and swallow any pride at what honesty might otherwise have offered.
Constitution Has Poison...
Photo courtesy freesource reports
Sunday, 26 August 2012
Commentary on an article in The Nation...
The 2007 Constitution is regarded by the ruling coalition leader Pheu Thai as a fruit from a poisonous tree, which is definitely poisonous and needs to be got rid off. However, their opponents see the Pheu Thai stance on the charter as aimed at serving a vested interest. As a result, the proposed amendments have led to severe conflicts in the society. Bhokin, a former Parliament president and House speaker, says the coalition would have to be patient in the manoeuvring for the rewriting of the charter so that the country could exit the "black hole" political situation. HEADLINES
Once again hardly an iota of wisdom in public servant sayings, but if we reach into the nitty-gritty of what the guy said there are a few salient points, all of which when lumped together spell the fact that the 2007 constitution was crafted with inherent errors or evne intentional provisions that make life hard for some and easy for others. Not a bit surprise, as said, but certainly worth correcting it it can be corrected. And that is the salient point once more...can "things" be righted and justice ever prevail in the kingdom? Reminding one anohter, of course, that we are already under the eighteenth constitution and no one really knows how many more will be carefully crafted and then destroyed in a blaze of nationalist glory.
An observer said that we should remind ourselves that not that long ago when the military was asked whether a provision such as "no more coups or interference by the military" could be incorporated into the constitution a national military leader smiled wistfully and shook his head "no." Big surprise there? No, of course not. It is the same rationale, however, that G.W. Bush reflected when he quipped about not finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It was almost as if the entire war in Iraq was a joke, the same kind of joke that suggests the Thai military stay out of politics and civil strife. But for societies that are inherently corrupt, short-sighted, at odds with reality and in perpetual denial of essential human truths, does anyone really think that removing poisons from the current constitution will also help remove poisons from the rest of Thai society?
Tough Call for Court
Graphic by the Korat PostFriday, 13 July 2012
the Korat Post Avery tough decision is scheduled to be announced today that will probably reflect the unique Thai way of arriving at tough calls with a mixture of stated principles, compassion, firm resolve and need to maintain national security, honor the will of the people and so on. It's not the first time that the Thai courts have cautioned the public, and the entire nation, to remain calm in the face of an imminent court judgment that could determine the fate of the ruling party and many of its members.The decision, whatever its outcome, will be in response to filings with the Constitutional Court by pro-elite opposition party members ostensibly concerned with a stated attempt to bring down the current form of government.Article 68 of the 2007 Thai constitution reads, "No person shall exercise the rights and liberties prescribed in the Constitution to overthrow the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State under this Constitution or to acquire the power to rule the country by any means which is not in accordance with the modes provided in this Constitution.In the case where a person or a political party has committed the act under paragraph one, the person knowing of such act shall have the right to request the Prosecutor General to investigate its facts and submit a motion to the Constitutional Court for ordering cessation of such act without, however, prejudice to the institution of a criminal action against such person.In the case where the Constitutional Court makes a decision compelling the political party to cease to commit the act under paragraph two, the Constitutional Court may order the dissolution of such political party.In the case where the Constitutional Court makes the dissolution order under paragraph three, the right to vote of the President and the executive board of directors of the dissolved political party at the time the act under paragraph one has been committed shall be suspended for the period of five years as from the date the Constitutional Court makes such order."
The Thai version reads the same, but it is the grammatical construction and possible confusion that is at question. Did the wording mean that the prosecutor was the party to refer such a protest to the court, or an outside party?
Duh!...about Says It
Graphic by the Korat Post
Thursday, 12 July 2012
the Korat Post
Now the "divine" nature of a second fraudulent explosives-detecting device and its marketers is out in the open, will people finally wisen up and realize that spending a single dollar, let alone millions, for crap and junk that is marketed to work only "under ideal conditions" is itself criminal negligence at best, and overt crime at its worst. The trouble is, will the dumb ones also be made responsible?
20 June 2012
See editor's comments on Center for Strategic and International Studies http://cogitasia.com/the-leaderboard-surapong-tovichakchaikul/#comment-4440 for comments on US-Thai strategic relations
Thailand's Got Talent
(Exposed Boobs - Benz Walks)
Too much cleavage (right), caught cultural denunciation with female judge Benz Pornchita NaSongkla (foreground in separate screen capture) walking away from the panel in protest. "For Thai culture," she said, "this is inappropriate." the Thai Ministry of Culture felt the same way. Show's producers apologize with a "Won't happen again."
"Benz" on a popular magazine cover.
Thursday, 20 June 2012
Benz, as her monnicker goes, walked away from the Thailand's Got Talent panel on 17 June 2012 when a younger female contestant shocked viewers by removing her blouse and bra, splashed her breasts with paint, and then used them to create what she told the judges was art. The video can still be viewed on Youtube, but the entire issue is what brings several questions into the foreground.
1. Why was the male audience pleased and the female audience disgusted?
2. Why were the judges and producer not earlier aware of what was going to take place?
3. Why is the Ministry of Culture upset?
4. What got into the 23 year-old contestant to work up the courage - and it took a lot - to expose herself like she did?
5. Is Thai society changing because of western inroads into its culture or are corporate interests once again ruining society?
6. Is expression in the kingdom really free, or will it never be?
7. Why wasn't censorship also put into the target area on the matter?
Perhaps the answer to no. 7 above is that because the Ministry of Culture is preserving "Thai" values and "protecting" them from wayward practices, let alone wayward thinking, that its mission in life is beyond question. Yet anyone who has had a visit from Ministry of Culture staff asking them if they are really Thai or not knows the tremendously intimidating nature such a visit can have.
Thailand Celebrates WHO Event
...sans WHO? See editorial.
A reader asks the Korat Post why WHO isn't compellingly evident on promotional material. We write to the Thai Red Cross and wait for the reply.
Thursday, 14 June 2012
The Thai Red Cross Society is one of Thailand's most active and well-attended event organizations, coordinated in kingdom by the Thai Ministry of Public Health. Today, 14 June 2012 is World Blood Donar Day, being coordinated locally by those two organizations. But a reader brought up an issue or non-issue... why is WHO not figured prominently on advertising media and being mentioned by organizers, either up to today or at the 10 June 2012 press conference the Thai Red Cross held to announce today's festivities? Thailand's news bureau, however, did publish a 31 May 2012 announcement of the event, crediting WHO, at its link to the event here. EDITORIAL.
Certainly many events in Thailand, although supposedly international and often actually promoted and organized by well-known global agencies, are treated as Thai events, or perhaps more accurately promoted only in the Thai language and "marketed" to Thais. Foreigners who happen to run into the event are, of course, welcome but their hosts fail to observe that full credit, visible and unashamed, should be given to the event's real sponsors - in this case, the World Health Organization, WHO. Most foreigners are probably unfazed by the seemingly lack of proper accreditation that comes with such events, but the question as how far to take deserved recognition as an issue and make it plain that World blood Donar Day is not just a Thai event. Is it worth it to press the issue? Thailand's other state agencies and local organizers might also be taken to task for totalyl failing to provide English language coverage to World Boxing Council and other international events held throughout Thailand from time to time. Viewers have to be trustrated by the nonchalance. Will this October's Youth Boxing event in Bangkok be bilingual?
Not Just Map Ta Phut
Car-Racing Abbot Crashes!
Tuesday, 1 May 2012
Korat Post Online Editorial
Sadness comes in comedic forms all too often. Sad is the prime minister of Thailand being so out of touch with everyday reality that she has to visit markets twice (link) just to magically discover that prices have indeed gone up. As well, environmental and industrial tragedies in Thailand (link) are often followed by complacent state and government reaction - often in ignorance, often in cowardice, often in corruption. Denial of reality and lack of simple appreciation for the human condition are not markedly Thainess traits, but stretch across the globe. Yet in Thailand they seem to prosper beyond "normal" expectations.
Believe it or not some villagers in northeast Thailand are still eating field rats - and not just because they taste better. It's often a choice of eating or not. Having been in the northeast for years, this writer has personal experience with that special relationship that Herbert Spencer called Man Versus the State (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Spencer). In what has been described as a Shakespearean-type work, Spencer's book describes the condition and consequences of the state and of man, intricately weaving a tale of woe with one world of frailty and and the other of fools. Together it is reality.
Photo courtesy Manager Online: Location, NE Province of Loei - monks are not supposed to be driving...
Tuesday, 1 May 2012
Manager Online Article
Transedited from (Original article (here )
Shame knows no bounds, apparently - if you believe Buddhist monks (and especially those at the top - should practice as they are supposed to and abide by the precepts that the Lord Buddha prescribed. But these days with monks at the Mall, wearing shoes while shopping downtown, and now...an abbot racing his car into a pole! - with Thai government ministries having grasped culture and Buddhism and prescribing how it all is supposed to work - well, apparently someone is not listening. Editorial. We are sure they have an explanation. Read on...
Maybe it's the rapidity times are changing, or perhaps global culture falling apart, or individual liberation finally taking its toll...whatever... the latest news from Loei involves a temple abbot that was driving a fellow monk to a massage session! - and hit a power pole on the way. When told of this incident a local Thai woman blithly commented that there were dozens of such cases where monks and abbots were driving vehicles. It certianly raises the issue of propriety - is it proper for a Buddhist monk, and in this case an abbot, to drive a car? The traditional, and probably accurate Buddhist opinion is absolutely no way Jose. So, then, what would a temple abbot flaunt the basic precepts of Buddhism so he could take a colleague to a massage session?
It seems that beliefs - not just theological but philosophical - are becoming more and more secular, with nonchalance the normal response to really extreme twistings of basic beliefs and tenants of core cultural values. Whether this is a good thing or not is something that will certainly be reflected in the end product sometime in the future.
Verdict Moved to 30 May
Photo from Prachatai website 30 April 2012
Monday, 30 April 2012
The Korat Post
On 30 April 2012, award-winning Prachatai editor Chiranuch Premchaiporn was informed by the Criminal Court that her verdict would not be read that day as previously scheduled, but would be read on 30 May 2012, primarily because of the huge number of documents relating to the case. Many observers have seen her case as a simple one of the state being used by vile ill-intentioned accusers bent on forcing all Thais, and foreigners in the kingdom, to keep their mouths shut, completely, about not just the monarchy but about anything the state deems inappropriate.
Yet, the flip side of the coin says that she got everything she deserved, should not have started up a website, isn't a real Thai, has caused damage to the country, and has no shame, etc. The flip side being, of course, the nonsense side. Having met this brave woman, this writer was impressed by her professionalism and sense of humility. Now she has to carry through life a sense of shame - not of herself, but the society that made her very slight incursion into a major international case of concern.
Under the Influence?
BANGKOK, April 25, 2012
arking the 60th anniversary of Thai Television and 35th anniversary of MCOT, Thailand's leading broadcasting company MCOT Plc (formerly the Mass Communication Organisation of Thailand) on Wednesday kicked off its anniversary celebration, aiming to become a media leader in the region and in the world arena.
Over the past decade, even beyond that well before Thaksin was even a thought in anyone's head, the Thai state, government and a combination of agencies, individuals, groups, ne-er-do-wells and dictators have gone beyond the call of duty in ensuring that only what was approved was said, and if not, then the speaker is punished. They have been calling it loyalty, but is it?
Send us an email to let us know what you think of censorship and media in Thailand. Email here.
Did He Know?
Sunday, 22 April 2012
Very interesting...Although math-flunking Albert Einstein was surprisingly smart, so was Pfizer. After it has spent millions and finally came up with Viagra, its market share was 92% at the beginning. But then competition came along and it dropped off to fifty percent. Is generic viagra equal to the task, safe, or dangerous? Note that the follow does not nor is intended to be medical advice or construed as prescribing action, use or acquisition.
It depends on two major factors: First and foremost are you healthy enough to take Viagra? The Pfizer and US FDA requirement for a doctor's prescription might be sufficient to underline that there is a potential not just for trademark violation, but that you could end up in a horizontal position quite different from the one you expected. Secondly, even if you are healthy enough and your doctor said it's fine, other factors could affect your health and consequences of using the drug.
Aperson might note that while generic Viagra is an alternative to the real thing, it is illegal to sell and according to various authorities, could be dangerous. But a major consideration that someone might consider ordering Generic Viagra online is cost of the real deal. In the Korat Bangkok Hospital, for example, an expatriate was informed not long ago that while the doctor found him physically able to use Viagra, that the cost of each "Blue Diamond" was 600 Baht. That is $20. Online generic products usually run from under $1 up to $2 each. Again, it is prudent to remind all that these versions may nor may not contain ingredients that are totally safe and/or equal in active ingredient context as would Viagra itself be. But when you order two dozen of the real thing and pay 14,400 Baht ($480 US), that is a lot more than paying $$60 or so that includes shipping.
Going on to a serious question, does the online generic version work? We tried to warn you above, but opportunity being what it is, and market forces of supply and demand being what they are, there are probably dozens, if not hundreds, of clients who bought the unapproved version online and found it satisfactory and accommodating. This editor does not yet have any record of generic Viagra deaths. It is also likely that the only Viagra-related deaths to date that are confirmed would be related to the real product and an unfortunate circumstance that led to the incidental death.
Readers who find this particular subject interesting have possibly experienced the benefits of this performance enhancing medicine, which not only seems to cure erectile dysfunction but also seems able to aid normal performance with a little added enthusiasm. Should a man feel ashamed to admit that he needs such an aid? Perhaps, but probably not. Today's culture treats people a bit more adult than it used to, at least in the way of public education about sex, and going in to the doctor to sit down for a brief consultation may embarrass the older generation, but can lead to a more fulfilling life.
Although the original patent for Viagra is expiring this year, a renewal already approved will protect the company's right to produce the drug until the year 2012. While Pfizer is probably not worried about its general core area of business and long-term survivability, the loss of market control over one of the century's most successful products will undoubtedly put a hole in a pocket here and there.
High-Heels Vs. Common Sense
Why is it necessary to tell motorists not to leave shoes on the floor near brake pedals?
korat's latest "accomplishment in the traffic world.
Saturday, 21 April 2012
Khao Sod Thai language newspaper
Transedited from (Original article here )
Young or old, male or female, the advice should always be the same - but on the other hand, why is it necessary to provide common sense to people who are supposed to possess it when they get behind the wheel of a car?
A story not long ago about a woman in England who brought a container of gasoline into her kitchen and poured some of it into another container, while her kitchen stove was lit...and guess what...she was burned, then some of the local press and politicians tried to blame members of the government for needlessly alarming people over gas shortages....it just smacked that common sense was totally absent in that household.
Here in Korat, Thailand this week, another demonstration of total lack of common sense demonstrated itself when a Thai woman, an adult, drove her car into a shallow pond after making it possible for the brake pedal to be blocked into position by a high-heel shoe the lady had taken off and not bothered to put two and two together to realize that leaving any object on the floor under the driver is nonsense. But today in Thailand we have thousands of motorists using cell phones as if their lives depended on being in total contact with whomever they happen to be talking with at the moment. Even motorcyclists are running around, one hand steering, another holding the cell phone next to the ear, ignoring oncoming traffic, ignoring lights, ignoring basic human consideration of others. And what do thai authorities do about any of this? The usual nothing.
While alarmists now scare radio listeners with stories of how the world is going to Hell, one can't help but wonder if at least some of it is true from the way people are totally ignoring the inconveniences they cause to others and the very real dangers their behavior poses to the general community. Of course we can understand official hands-off approach to all of this because votes matter. Complaining to residents of a community that they should not be blocking any, much less half or more of a major roadway is certain election death.
Guilty and Forced to Admit It
No legal counsel, police-compelled "press conference." Justice?
Friday, 20 April 2012
Manager Online report and Korat Post Commentary
Transedited from (Original article here )
Suspects in Thailand being held in remand by police through the the Thai "Justice System" are most often put on parade, without any legal counsel or attorney (state-provided or personally sleeted) in a public confession and frequent enactment of their crimes, albeit not yet having gone through a legitimate court trial. Such "events" are arranged by police who use these sessions as self-aggrandizing opportunities to promote favorable public image and engender public support for their actions.
Several years ago an unfortunate but effective collective protest by major police officials led to cancellation of a government move to transfer the Royal Thai Police out of the powerful Ministry of Interior and into the Ministry of Justice where, by way of mention, Dr. Pornthip Rojanan is assigned as head of the Forensics laboratory there. the good doctor and the police have often been at loggerheads given clear and present evidence that Thai police were involved in falsification of forensic evidence in many cases, and that police corruption also has often interfered in the process of justice in Thailand. In thousands of other civil and criminal cases in Thailand, performance and transparency of reports of police behavior in these cases has almost always been secret or biased in favor of the police collectively or specific police officials who are in senior positions and well-capable to making people disappear should they insist on "justice."
While state machinery per se in Thailand insists that it is continually working on improving internal procedures and has made admirable progress in accommodating measures to ensure prevention of human and civil rights, nothing could be further from the truth. Thai society and culture are so intrinsically enveloped in a self-righteous eternal campaign to present positive spins on all areas of operations, and have often blocked or completely dropped legitimate investigations into criminal wrongdoing by the police. Putting yet another criminal on public pillory such as this latest one satisfied national ego but does nothing to safeguard rights.
Reconciliation - Dead Before it Begins
18 April 2012
The people's Alliance for Democracy, the entrenched royalist activist group which played a major part in exposing alleged wrongdoings of the former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who, after five years of being a criminal fugitive still can't return to the kingdom without facing a jail visit, recently announced that it was filing charges against 416 members of the majority government parliamentarians for wrongfully amending the Thai constitution, particularly Article 291 which stipulates how the constitution can be amended. One thing that was not included in the methods was military coup.
And that seems to be the sole method in Thailand that can be used with relative impunity to rip to shreds any constitution and then those who destroyed it, the military and their string pullers, put together their own version of a constitution, ram it through an interim parliament, and then the new version gets approved. All in a coup's work.
With the PAD once again on the warpath, the outlook for reconciliation is not good. But it was dead from the word go. The adamant refusal of various parties in Thailand to absolutely refuse to see the other side of the coin is legion. that's partly why criminal defamation and lese majeste laws are still used. They maintain silence and compel conformity.
How It Is?
Can it be this bad?
"The US is just the battering ram."
17 April 2012
The Korat Post Online
ARepublic Broadcasting Network radio program host of Cutting Through the Matrix today said it:"It's not the US - the US is just the battering ram." If you haven't heard about scary conspiracies lately, read on as a couple of updates on news in circulation that may put you ill at ease...and should.
The RBN is a bit of a left-wing media organ, rather obstinate and persistant, but also revealing in what the Executive Branch, Congress and the Courts - the three pillars of our constitutional freedoms - have done to destroy democracy and upsurp our rights as Americans to make them even more diminuitive that those enjoyed by the people of North Korea or Cuba. Accomplishing such a feat is not to be dismissed easily. At issue is just how so many freedoms and rights were pushed aside, and how national security suddenly became the prayer word on everyone's lips while Americans were allowed to become subject to legal kidnapping and murder based solely on suspicions that they are terrorists. Surely terrorism, in this instance, is that of the state, not of the people.
Is Phuket Still Safe?
Phuket residents take to streets 16 April 2012. Will another Big One hit?
Photo courtesy Manager Online
17 April 2012
It depends on whether there is another quake, flood, other natural disaster or a man-made tragedy helped along by corruption and wanton negligence.
Phuket is one of the main jewels of the Orient, to be sure, a veritable paradise - albeit crowded, hot and corrupt - and everyone who can afford it likes going there, despite its distance from Bangkok or even further, from capital cities in Europe and the United States. So when a small earthquake jolted residents out of their homes and away from the crowded beaches on 16 April 2012, people rightfully asked, "Is it safe here? Am I in danger? Those still back home were asking, "Should I go?"
When a traveler considers visiting Phuket or is already there, the historical concerns now happen to be whether there is a likelihood of an earthquake or tsunami, and if so, what to do about it? The issue is not dissimilar to considering what to do in the middle of New York during 9/11, or being anywhere on the planet during an emergency or natural disaster. The following items should be considered when deciding what to do and how to do it.
1. Assess your immediate vicinity and judge whether your person and others near you are in immediate physical danger. this is why general advice to flee from inside buildings is given.
2. Assess the vicinity itself to determine whether it will remain safe or not. If the situation involves a fire, for example, you may need to relocate not just for the fire and possible crowds fleeing, but to make way for emergency equipment, etc.
3. No one knows how much time a person has, whether until the end of life or just standing in an elevator. While alive and able to move, then, make the most of it by continuing to assess the situation and the environment. Think but don't panic. Panic gets in the way of reason and logic and organized behavior.
4. Should you worry about personal belongings in an emergency like an earthquake? Yes and no. Again, assessment is important, as is luck and occurrence of random events. You can afford to lose belongings but not members of your family, or your own life. Be conservative but appropriate.
Many people are forecasting the End of Days sometime in the near future. Hollywood is replete with disaster movies and horror flicks showing aliens destroying the planet or mantle shifts that melt Hawaii and Los Angeles and move Europe four thousand miles, and so on. The end is around the corner for all of us, sooner or later, but why expedite the process? Take measures, keep researching on how to protect yourself personally and your loved ones and friends. Listen to authorities, but also listen to your own conscience. Don't panic.
Will A Year's Praying Help?
13 April 2012
THE KORAT POST โคราชโพสต
A recent campaign by the Thai government, vanguarded by the Ministry of Health and the ministry of Education-overlooked Sangka Council urges Thai youth to pray throughout the year in what is promised to be an effective way of casting the sin of alcohol consumption, and all accompanying other vices and bad habits, to the Devil where they belong. While in principle a good idea, in reality the idea may be what it was said to be by a Red Shirt radio hostess - nonsense. After all, "good Thai Buddhists" have been praying before, after, and between holidays and attending temple fanfare after fanfare, and has Thailand's social denigration, let along alcoholism per se, gotten any better? the consensus seems to be not.
When Luanta Mahabua was still alive, he forcefully called Watpa Salawan in Korat a "Toilet in fundamentals" because he knew what was going on inside the temple and how politicized much of Buddhism has become in the kingdom. A frank speaker, he was not afraid to call a spade a spade. When a lesser mortal among us, however, such as a female Red Shirt radio hostess, attempts to call a Buddhist spade what it is, she is criticized and has to take a month off just to calm Thai society that has been cajoled into thinking that Buddhism itself is under attack when it is not, but it is rather the way Buddhism is being mispracticed and malpracticed in the Land of Smiles. Everything seems to need a campaign with glowiong admiration for wonderous works and fine improvement of the spirit, of selflessness and forgiving, of tolerance and ocmpassion. But all of these honorable human traits are thrown out the window by the very people professing to be qualified to teach them as they pounce upon critics who often know what they are talking about.
In this latest roundhouse of "Smack the woman down" we have two Red Shirts vying off against one another; one a monk in a senior position, the other a radio hostess. Yet when we read the criticism from the monk, who makes a big case ouf of how much better looking the hostess' tits could have been - if they were volumptuous and white - we get an idea of the absense of Buddhism doctrine on the part of those who are supposed to be spreading and preserving it.
Keystone Cops? Thai policewomen dancing in the streets. Still another agency insult to women?
Photo courtesy of the Bangkok Post, original story here.
7 April 2012
THE KORAT POST โคราชโพสต
It's one story we are not buying. Not this time. With gender discrimination a major problem in the kingdom and exploitation of women for sex and domesticated slavery, putting female police officers on the streets to dance for Songkran is just another demeaning idea and misapplication of principles to where they are once again, being maligned.
"Naked, barefoot and in the kitchen" is just about the ultimate male chauvinist description of where women belong. This ages-old prejudice might find smiles at the bar but does not bring any at home, in the office or on the streets in Thailand where women have, indeed, a tough time escaping daily sexual-related prejudice ranging from leering smiles to actual physical contact, including rape.
Thailand has been cited time and again for one human rights violation after another, by one human rights organization after another, for sexual exploition, exploitation of women and children and labor and unreasonable inhumane laws that deprive everyone in the kingdom of first, protection from violation, and secondly, timely satisfaction once violation of human rights has taken place. In this latest instance, it might be fun for some Thais to be seen dancing in the street to celebrate the country's New Year, but isn't making policewomen do so, in uniform, not only thoughtless but once again putting the rubber stamp on the fact that women in Thailand are playthings rather than equals?
We suggest that all Thai state agencies and private operators throughout the kingdom really begin to seriously look at this issue, and in a simple but important step, to remove the prefix "woman" from all uniformed and professional positions that women occupy in the kingdom, from inside the military to the police to the medical profession, and beyond. We don't need to know if we are walking in to see a female doctor, just that it's a doctor. Thai society doesn't need to be told that a female major is visiting the seminar, only a major. Let's get the gender equality show on the road, and do it without gender dances. The Royal Thai Police don't need to entice tourists with cute Thai women who happen to be police. They need better police protection and a lot less police corruption. They know about the two and word is getting around. Thais should not be playing games with a serious problem like terrorism to save tourism by playing upon sexism. We are not saying this new act was intentional in a negative way, but that's often how prejudice is maintained...incidentally and without conscious intent.
1 April 2012
Jobs, Government, Consultants and Jobs
The Post Publishing Public Company Limited
Bangkok Post Building
136 Na Ranong Road, Klong Toey
Bangkok 10110 Thailand Tel: +662-240-3700 Fax: +662-240-3666
If one thing is evident in these trying times, its that people want work, people need work, people must work. Its also evident that political leadership across the board is challenged by these needs. Talking the talk getting elected and walking the walk fulfilling campaign pledges are often something completely different. Its when the machine puts together a winning team, one that knows what it needs to do and how to do it that people are provided jobs and income and the opportunity to taste the good life.
2012 may not fulfill its Mayan prophesy but across the globe people Thais, Americans, Africans, Arabs, Persians, Japanese and the people of over 150 countries are all seeking personal achievement, with the first item on the plate being survival, and behind survival, jobs.
The Thai governments April 1, 2012 effective 300 Baht a day minimal wage will hopefully work the way it is designed. It will put more money in the pocket of the Thai worker, and for employers, contribute toward making them more competitive in a world that is changing and will change much more. For decades traditional Thai business operators, from the mom and pop stall to the local magnate, have failed to catch up to meeting demand with supply supply of not just products and services, but a convenient, comfortable and efficient, as well as cheap, supply of products. Such companies as Lotus and Carrefour, and in a local setting such as Klang Plaza in Nakhonratchasima, have accepted and met the challenge of providing these very human needs. Of course getting these level of services eliminates many, or even most, of the mom and pop operations. This is not a welcome development to the moms and pops whose family income depends on their retail operations, but it does force those in business to reassess the way they do business and to make changes
From my years of observation of the local Thai business community, Ive seen that generally vital investment steps are either ignored or intentionally disregarded
with fatal results to the new business or existing businesses. Market research is scoffed at, personal assumptions are prejudicially prominent in decision making, and the need to retain two vital parts of a business honesty and cash is overlooked.
Foreign consultants like Boston Consulting Group, and many more, can and do provide close liaison with major company management to steer the business ship through sometimes rough waters. On a more local level, smaller Thai operations need to go through the steps of market study, competitive analysis, financial survivability and impact on personal holdings and family life, and a dozen other things that will either make or break the company.
Click to visit PETA website.
26 March 2012
Transedited from Manager Online (original Thai article)
Media reported that on 25 March 2012, some twenty Thai elephants that had been sent to Burma under contract to haul teak logs out of forests had to return to Thailand recently to escape forest fies in the neighboring nation. According to Manager Online's report, forty Thai elephants had been contracted but half returned as a result of the burning.
While Thai elephants have a special symbolic value in the eyes of foreigners and Thais alike, the facts behind how elephants re treated in their homeland is anything but anything to smile about. Elephants re often mistreated and expoited as a tool to bring income to those raising them only to exploit these peaceful animals. See a long report on why Thailand isn't solving its elephant exploitation problem here.
City officials reviewed a proposal back in 2011 for an expensive overhead skybus to alleviate the city's traffic congestion. But is this really the solution?
Artist rendering above from Korat Municipality Thai language booklet Smile Korat. Inside substandard English reads, "Korat city of smile." Still, no 's.' Or comma, etc.
18 March 2012
Transedited from Korat municipality publications and online news
The problem with political visionaries and otherwise astute city planners is that not infrequently their aspirations range into the upper reaches of financial practicality, and even, upon occasion, actually overlapping the totally impractical. In the meantime, there are often persistent questions as to whether new dreams are only to occupy meeting agenda or whether they are really results of vision and benevolence for the people who are the ones that are to be served. The issues are philosophical to a great extent, but as Korat has had more than its share of expensive visionary-style projects that have either gone bust or become largely unused (and everyone knew this would be the case before the projects were budgeted, designed and built) it is worthwhile being forewarned that such overreaching has tremendous financial implications and tends to act as yet another tool for procrastinators who should be dealing a lot more effectively with much easier problems - to wit, in this case, Korat's horrendous traffic problems that have come about in part because the same people making plans did little or nothing about traffic. That is, little or nothing effective.
When The Mall Group came to Korat many years ago to hold its first media seminar on its plans to proceed with construction of the Mall right on the edge of the city's main thoroughfare, this newspaper founder specifically asked the Mall management what they were planning to do about the significant impact that Mall traffic would have on this major artery. There was little response to the question, other than a seeming look of discomfort. Perhaps imagination. Yet, the Mall was built and true to form it has had a significant bottleneck impact on all traffic in the area, traffic which services connections to Khon Kaen, Big C, downtown, the main route between Korat and Bangkok, and a lot more. This is only one area that city managers have perhaps not fully considered the implications when approving local construction. There are several areas in the municipal district of Korat that need urgent assessment and suggestions for alternative implementation, including but not limited to:
1. moving the nearby military airport out to Chalermphrakiet, and relocating civilian operations at the 450 million Baht facility there to the Korat city airbase.
2. assessing locations of all schools in the municipality, government and private, and planning a decade-long relocation to areas outside the city for at least those with major traffic impact.
3. relocating all military operations out of the city to Chalermphrakiet, which would free up huge areas for private real estate investment.
4. develop a couple of workable solutions to the Mall traffic patterns to alleviate impact on the main artery - Friendship Highway.
5. implement real zoning in the city. Rather than allowing tuk-tuk repair shops to open beside restaurants and motorcycle shops to open next to clinics, control development and encourage relocation to better areas outside the city.
Every city and community wants investment, but not every taxpayer wants to grow up, or have his or her children and grandchildren, grow up in an environment made filthy, crowded, unhealthy and inconvenient by short-sighted political visionaries who have their own interests at heart much more than those of the voters who put them in office. Photo opportunities, positive PR, self-serving functions and lack of transparency...all perfect infrastructure for a project like the sky bus(t).
Win-Lose Standoff Impedes Progress
17 March 2012
The Nation (Original link)
Despite so much talk about the need to achieve national reconciliation, Thailand still needs to create a climate for understanding, Wutisarn Tanchai [Thai language profile], King Prajadhipok's Institute (KPI) deputy secretary-general, said. Wutisarn, who led the study on "sustainable reconciliation", said compromise was tough, because both camps were seeking to defeat one another.
The study, commissioned by the parliamentary subcommittee on national reconciliation, concludes that there is a need to not just discuss the legal and judicial aspects of the conflict, but also to discuss its root causes, including a "reflection on power relations in Thai society". See 2010 article from Asian Human Rights Commission citing all talk and no action. Headlines.
Reading through the article provides both hope and disappointment. On the one hand, the citations toward both sides needing to adopt a compromise attitude is at least recognition that compromise is necessary. On the other hand, the the article cites, "He urged people to 'abandon the idea' of punishing the 2006 coup-makers and also slammed the media for providing one-sided information, which he says is only fanning hatred and exacerbating the political rift. Meanwhile, Methas Anuwat-udom, a member of the research team, warned that it would be dangerous for society if people did not have the space to express their political dissatisfaction." This idea of once again (still?) abandoning the idea of punishing the Thai military for intruding into politics and creating yet another backdrop of political instability is an oft-used plea ostensibly to get the show on the road but in fact designed, in the unique way that Thais handle most major issues, of putting them on the back shelf to gather more dust for the next revolt against repression.
Throughout decades and past dozens of shredded constitutions that Thai military and other armed forces - both so-called volunteer and uniformed members - have all willfully used sword and gun to silence dissent. Those who stand behind the principles used in exercising such authority have demonstrated in Thailand that they are not open to opinion or change. This is the catalyst for further conflict, not the decades-long frustration by a disenfranchised sector of society that turns to violence when nothing else works, that finds a new hero when its old ones do not offer justice or recompense.
SMS Messages "Compel" Imprisonment
16 March 2012
Translated from Thai language version of Prachatai (link)
In an expected decision, the Thai Supreme court (Dika) upheld the Court of First Instance judgment against Amphon Tangnoppaku (Ah Kong), an elderly Thai grandfather alleged (not proven) to have sent highly offensive SMS messages to a senior staff member of the Prime Minister' office.
The case of this 61 year-old grandfather has irked the international community for several reasons. First, of course, is the twenty year sentence given to him by the Thai judiciary, viewed among contemnor academics, activists, politicians, experience professional media staff and religious groups as not only excessive but downright unnecessary. Secondly, the fact that this poor man is 61 years old, and rather than being given something more humane like community ser vice assignments for a given period of time, has been slammed into prison for more of offending the recipient of his alleged SMS messages rather than offending others. It is a tough call if you are a Thai traditionalist...to criticize the sentence...but at the same time one has to wonder whether Buddhism allows society to hand down such severe sentences in the first place. Finally, Thailand has gone out of its way over the last decade to smack the world in the face with criminal defamation and lese majest?? cases and metaphorically giving the bird at anyone who finds such mayhem as unacceptable.
Nalinee Facing Resistance
On a US blacklist, Thai minister Nalinee Taweesin fights shadow of past
Graphic courtesy Yahoo pictures. Cartoon by อรุณ วัชระสวัสดิ์ Arun Wacharasawat,
Facebook page www.facebook.com/people/อรุณ-วัชระสวัสดิ์/100001686447746
11 March 2012
From Agencies, Reports
Most recently written up by Yellow Shirt Flagship ASTV Manager Online, Thailand's minister assigned to the Prime Minister Mrs. Nalanee Taweesin is in the car but can't put the keys in the ignition. Her appointment by the Yingluck shinawatra-led government has raised eyebrows and prompted allegations not just against the appointee but against the prime minister and the Pheua Thai government. Headlines.
The Manager Online, a staunchly Yellow Shirt media group, today cited the lack of ethics over the appointment as not just a lack on the appointee's part but of the government itself. While the Manager Group, which owns the website, is expected to make such accusations they are difficult to dismiss given the public blacklisting from the United States and frequent calls for Nalinee to step back down and move on with a different career. It is not the first time, however, that the Thai government and political appointees - around the world - have been put under the spotlight because of dubious or outright "undesirable" background. As it seems the Yingluck government does not plan to ask Nalinee to step down, only public and private pressure will achieve that objective.