Re: ''Fight for green space'' (PostBag, June 29).
Yes, the paucity of park space in Bangkok is lamentable, but it's not only a problem in Thailand's biggest city. Chiang Mai, for example, doesn't have a park.
Similarly, all mid-sized cities in Thailand which I've visited have little bits of green space with a few trees, but none have real parks.
Even if a park is designated here, it is essentially installed with obligatory cement shrines, platforms and walls throughout. How about some large parks dominated by grass and trees, with a few walking/jogging paths curving through?
One example: In Chiang Rai (my adopted town), there's a soaring limestone hill alongside the river. It has caves and is 2.5km in circumference _ an ideal spot for a park. All it needs is some sort of official ''park'' designation and some TLC, but local officials aren't concerned.
They seem to only think of it in terms of revenue, if they think of it at all. So once a year, a few Songkran bamboo and thatch shacks are set up and rented out, and piles of garbage are left behind. With a small investment in constructing a trail, hundreds of folks could jog and bicycle there each week, and enjoy nature.
Thailand doesn't need more concrete and metal shrines, but instead could benefit from nurturing and showcasing its natural bounty.
Mice scurry to master
Re: ''Chalerm shoots PM a warning'' (BP, July 5).
Apart from his ''warning'' to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra whilst she is overseas, Chalerm Yubamrung mentioned he was leaving for Hong Kong after visiting the Labour Ministry briefly. Been in the job less than a day, and already off overseas; study tour maybe?
Other cabinet members and Pheu Thai MPs were also travelling to Hong Kong to see fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Is it a government-funded trip or at personal expense?
Why do these MPs need to visit Thaksin? If it's to clear doubts about the reshuffle, why is Thaksin involved? We were led to believe it was Yingluck's reshuffle.
Strange these activities are occurring while PM Yingluck is on a visit to Europe. While the cat's away, the mice will play!
No position to preach
Jatuporn Prompan states that the government will not receive the support of his red-shirt elements if they fail to steer clear of corruption, refrain from abuse of authority and keep its promises to push for an amnesty (BP, July 4).
This comes from a person who defied the previous government and continued to support and push his elements to the brink of civil war in 2010.
He and other red-shirt leaders refused to agree with the government's proposals, which would have seen a ''ceasefire'' to a situation that was becoming more explosive by the day. He even has the temerity to seek the jurisdiction of the World Court to find the persons who caused so much death and injury.
Perhaps he should start in his own backyard where ''men in black'' appeared, where red-shirt protesters ambushed military vehicles and stole weapons from the army.
Another crisis cooking
Re: ''Tycoons of disaster urge caution'' (Business, July 5).
The government knows very well the causes of the tom yum kung crisis, but it still continues its extreme populist policies with projects that are plagued with corruption. If this goes on, we are at risk of a new crisis.
Why do we have to learn lessons the hard way?
Innovation off course
Re: ''NIA sets standards for 2 South dishes'' (BP, July 5).
It seems odd that a body bearing the title of National Innovations Agency should mount a campaign to discourage innovation by chefs when cooking Thai yellow curry and insist that they all produce a standard taste.
However I don't want to discourage the NIA; in fact I'd quite like to watch one of their officials telling Ken Hom or Gordon Ramsay that their yellow curry wasn't up to standard.
Little left to lose
Re: ''Leave and let prosper'' (PostBag, June 29).
I agreed with Bernie Hodges' suggestion that we should lease off rainforest land to multinational corporations for biodiversity studies.
As Bernie suggested, the proviso that no fauna or flora be disturbed will be a great improvement on how it is today.
Why not give it a try? Nothing else seems to be working.
Phuket needs clean slate
Re: ''Hit them where it hurts'' (PostBag, June 29).
Mr Bereleh suggested we should boycott dishonest business operators in Phuket. Although in a perfect world I would agree with him, anyone who understands Thai thinking and has had to deal with this on a daily basis will tell you that boycotting will only get them madder and they'll put their prices up further to cover losses as they certainly are not going to give up their grip on power and lose face at the same time. The only answer to saving Phuket in general is to bring in a new governor who thinks like Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew. Give him or her the power to wipe the slate clean. Stop all new development; look at all the problems; make a new plan for how Thailand wants the world to view Phuket; put in strict regulations with regard to over-development, waste management, rubbish collection, general pollution, tourist safety, traffic management, tourist transport and simply regulate current taxi and scam operators. Then maybe, in a couple years, Phuket will look and feel like the brochures it represents; or otherwise in a couple years from now the tourist numbers will start dropping.
Ban the surcharge scam
There have been several letters to PostBag recently concerning taxi, jet ski and other scams aimed at unsuspecting tourists. But the biggest scam of all is that perpetrated by the collusion of most Thai travel agencies in hiding the true cost of travel in their advertisements.
I recently replied to an advertisement for a three day/two night package to Luang Prabang. The packaged was advertised at 16,800 baht, with no mention of taxes, surcharges or extras. The travel agency promptly emailed me back and the price, after adding airport and fuel taxes, high-season surcharges and single room occupancy surcharges, came to 26,000 baht. In addition, the advertised ''2 Nights Accommodation + Meals'' turned out to be only breakfast, and other meals were not included.
When I queried this the agency said: ''All travel agents in Thailand do the same way of advertising, which are excluded of taxes and fuel surcharges, this is due to fact that tax and fuel surcharge change very often, which, in many times, make us all travel agent lose money, if we included within the package. This is why all travel agents in Thailand, has to do the same way of advertising, which is excluded of taxed and fuel surcharges. (sic)''
If this were true, which I doubt, the agency makes no mention of the fact that they could actually profit from fluctuating taxes and surcharges, and it is simply not true that all advertising agencies follow these iniquitous practices.
I eventually found a travel agent who quoted an all-in pricing of 16,800 baht, the same as the advertised price of the first agency. But ironically, this package offered a vastly superior hotel to that offered by the first one, and was nearly 10,000 baht cheaper.
In January this year the United States introduced all-in pricing regulations and passenger protection rules that make it compulsory for airlines and travel agents to declare all mandatory taxes and fees in their advertising. Many other countries have similar legislation.
Such reform is long overdue in Thailand if this country is serious about its reputation as a reliable and dependable tourist destination.
THAI ditches US market
Re: ''THAI vows to boost ticket sales to head off profit dip'' (BP, July 4).
I read this article with a mixture of laughter and sadness. I live in the Los Angeles area and have been coming to Thailand for business and pleasure for 15 years. I have essentially given up on Thai Airways (THAI). I now fly Cathay, JAL, or Singapore, which provide a dramatically better flying experience. Long-haul travellers appreciate good service, new or refurbished interiors or aircraft, flat beds, and/or attractive schedules and pricing.
THAI, however, provides none of the above. THAI's nonstop A340-500s to and from LAX are long gone. Daily services to and from LAX are long gone. We now have an inconvenient flight that stops in Korea for a long layover, with a BKK arrival near midnight. Promised upgraded interiors and flat beds are not fully implemented.
Although a Royal Orchid ''Gold'' member, I had not heard of a price promotion for travel between LAX and Thailand for years. Unlike virtually every other carrier, THAI Royal Orchid miles must be used quickly or they expire, with no option to extend them by making additional purchases.
I have now let my Gold status lapse. From all appearances, THAI has abandoned the North American market, or doesn't care about it. Look no further than the last sentence of the article: Chokchai Panyayong, THAI senior executive vice-president, is quoted predicting where THAI's profits should come from in 2013, and apparently, THAI expects zero profits from the North American market, which is not even mentioned.
THAI is well on its way to achieving that goal.
Meat isn't murder
Re: ''No humane way to kill'' (PostBag, July 4).
While I agree with Eric Bahrt, for once, about trying to reduce the suffering of animals raised for food, I disagree with his hyperbolisms when he refers to the murder of 60 billion animals a year for food. The normally accepted definition of the word ''murder'' is the premeditated killing of one human being by another. We are natural carnivores, dear Eric, not murderers.
Killer pet food question
Re: ''No humane way to kill'' (PostBag, July 4). Eric Bahrt, you're absolutely right, that every creature suffers when it's being killed. Now I'm speaking to you as an animal lover and I would like to have your advice. Recently I thought of converting my beloved pet dog to being vegetarian. So I prepared a nice bowl of jasmine rice and many yummy vegetables, with the result that my dog just gave it a quick sniff and walked away. As soon as I added some boiled chicken liver and ground beef, the meal had been devoured within seconds. I repeated the procedure again and again until I finally had to admit, that I failed miserably. Am I doomed to commit sin after sin just to keep my loyal friend happy and healthy?
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