LET­TERS

Bangkok Post - - EDITORIAL & LETTERS -

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

RA­PA­CIOUS ANDORRANS

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.

Lungstib

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