BUDGET FOR THE PEOPLE
The plea on behalf of 109 civic groups to extend to all parents the government’s 600 baht per month subsidy for children of poor families says a lot about the junta’s priorities. General Rolex has trouble reading all the zeros in his next procurement proposal due to the flashing lights emanating from his wrist, while these good-hearted people are on their knees begging for help.
Imagine if 50% of the military budget were returned to the people for health care. Wouldn’t that save more lives than the subs, blimps, bomb detectors and other inoperable junk the generals squander their money on? Mr M
PESKY CULTURAL THIEVES
Re: “Fired up over sauce”, (PostBag, Nov 10).
ML Saksiri Kridakorn’s letter in defence of Sriracha sauce is written with such clarity, passion and length as to assure an eternal place for Thais’ rightful claim to their characteristic national hot sauce.
Some other nations, of course, have had their ideas ruthlessly expropriated. Consider Great Britain and their inventions of navigation and chronometry, which transformed the world when they were stolen, the US with their blue jeans and countless other blingy things, or the French and Italians with their notions of romance.
But perhaps ML Saksiri is justified in his complaint since Thais seem not to have stolen the concept of punctuality, nor do they generally know where they are headed, thus the slate must be clean in that regard.
Naturally, the romantic bit was gratis so no problem there. Right then, let those pesky Vietnamese thieves in the US be enjoined to return the Sriracha designation to its rightful owners.
Let’s forget that pirated flashy stuff sold all over Thailand, and all will be right in the world. Michael Setter
In the wake of declining visitor numbers entering through Suvarnabhumi, down to 1.7 million, the cabinet, taking advice from the Immigration Bureau, has decided to waive the 2,000 baht visa-on-arrival fee for 20 countries. I note among those countries listed is Andorra. I would urge the cabinet to think again.
Is Thailand ready for these Andorran hordes with their innate mountaineering skills, to clamber over our temples and yell at each other in their incomprehensible Catalan language, not to mention their rapacious assaults on hotel buffet breakfasts throughout the land? Yanawa David
KHAN’S BRITISH YEARS
Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, was murdered by a bodyguard for speaking out against Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. If PM Imran Khan, too, fears for his life if he were to allow Asia Bibi to fly out of Pakistan, one solution would be for him to invite Ms Bibi to join him on the plane that would take them both out of the hotbed of irrational fanaticism that Pakistan has become.
Mr Khan has a history of thriving in Christian England. He attended a grammar school there, earned a degree from Oxford, and played his first cricket test match in the UK. It behooves him now to give Asia Bibi the same chance of living a normal life, in this way, too, returning the favour for the educational and sporting honours he was able to earn in a Christian country. Allowing the Islamists to lynch her would be a repudiation of the years spent in the UK.
At the same time, it is regrettable that the Thai government is repatriating Pakistani Christians who are here illegally. Surely, they could be handed over to the UNHCR, who would have no trouble relocating them to a safe country. Edward Zile
BETTER THAN LESE MAJESTE
Are the blasphemy laws in Pakistan that much different from the lese majeste law in Thailand? True, people aren’t directly killed for lese majeste (I emphasise the word “directly”). But how many lives have been destroyed and how many years have people been sentenced to prison because of lese majeste? Merely being accused of that crime can get you thrown in jail.
When I was growing up, my hero was the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King. But I would be doing a disservice to King’s memory if I harmed someone for allegedly saying something negative about him.
Men such as the late King of Thailand or Dr King earned our love and admiration by appealing to our better instincts as human beings. They didn’t try to win us over through fear and intimidation. Great men are better than that and we should be too. Eric Bahrt
NOT MY PRESIDENT
I won’t call Donald Trump the president, as he does not act like one.
He is rude and has no manners. I think it’s about time the press takes action and stops attending any press meetings.
He might be a good salesman, but as the president of the USA he definitely is not.
The White House is more like a house with a revolving door with politicians entering through one door and quickly passing out the other, especially when it concerns the Mueller case, which could make him look very bad. Barry Wallace
OUTDATED US CONSTITUTION
Re: “Rules for radicals”, (PostBag, Nov 10).
Mr Setter speaks as if Joseph Stiglitz is some sort of deranged maniac wishing for the impossible and willing to go to any lengths to obtain it. He is, of course, well-educated and very popular worldwide for his common sense approach to the crazy behaviour demonstrated by US politicians.
Let’s take a look at what wasn’t said in Mr Setter’s letter. The US constitution was ratified in 1787 when the US population was under 4 million. George Washington suggested it would last maybe 20 years which would have been fine.
It has been amended 21 times but the last was over 80 years ago, while the US was a different country in a different era. If the constitution had stipulated anything about refuelling transport it would have mentioned hay and water on every high street.
What Mr Stiglitz was discussing was the fact that with two senators for every state, Wyoming, with a population of 580,000, is disproportionately favoured to California, with a population of 39 million, which I suspect most people would agree with.
The current US system has 20 senators representing half of its big cities and multi-ethnic populations, while there are 80 senators for the other half. See anything wrong with that?
The idea that “socialism is only possible under an authoritarian regime” would have the Scandinavian’s breaking their ribs laughing.
Looking after the old and sick, providing education and building modern public transport may not appeal to Americans, but doesn’t have to be forced on the sensible people in other countries.
There is a growing number of people who do hope that common sense will prevail. Hopefully they will soon be correcting a system that is 200 years out of date.