Many of us may have forgotten that Bangkok is still under martial law.
My daily morning browse through Facebook turned up a post related to a media report in China that named Thailand the luckiest country in the world. The reasons for the Thai smile are, briefly, as follows:
The article “SRT fixes rape case payout” (BP, July 27), which said the State Railway of Thailand had agreed to compensate the family of murder victim Nong Kaem with a payout of 700,000 baht, shows complete insensitivity by SRT decision-makers.
The announcement that the Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) is to become an independent body was sudden and rather surprising. A draft law was approved by the National Council for Peace and Order, but there was no public notice or debate. The new arrangement removes Amlo from the Justice Ministry and makes one of the most powerful enforcement agencies in the country even more potent.
It is symbolic that the recent Brics summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, took place exactly seven decades after the Bretton Woods Conference that created the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The upshot of the Brics meeting was the announcement of the New Development Bank, which will mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects, and a Contingent Reserve Arrangement to provide liquidity through currency swaps.
Like a sinner praying for salvation, I pray that the Ministry of Education will launch the "good deeds passports" project before the next full moon. Kids, parents and disciplinarians are dying to wave it around like a diploma of sanity, or an amulet against ghosts and anarchism. The Education Ministry is so educated that it has tapped into the zeitgeist: moral bookkeeping, and control of the happiness barometer (check out the military carnival at Sanam Luang), will guarantee the bright future of democratic Thailand.
I hope we have all been enjoying the official “Happiness Week” in Bangkok and trust everyone is wallowing in contentment and experiencing nirvana, or at least a general sense of well-being, if not absolute bliss.
Real good deeds must be done with faith, not announced to the public in the hope of getting benefits in return. The good deeds passport idea will motivate students to seek high scores to get into the best universities. It may cause students to be greedy and encourage them to lie in order to amass a large quantity of good deeds. The passport of good deeds could turn out to be just the opposite.
Winds of change are howling.
Recent satellite observations have confirmed the accuracy of two independent computer simulations that show that the West Antarctic ice sheet has now entered a state of unstoppable collapse. The planet has entered a new era of irreversible consequences from climate change. The only question now is whether we will do enough to prevent similar developments elsewhere.
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