Ban takes shine off

Re: "Khao San, Yaowarat skirt BMA's ban on street food", (BP, April 20).

I read with no small alarm the plan by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to clear vendors off the streets of Bangkok and "reclaim the space for pedestrians".

Before I first set foot into Bangkok more than two decades ago, I remembered looking at images of the city and I could never understand why hordes of people found it attractive when all I saw was traffic jams, human congestion, air pollution -- a little chaotic in fact.

Then, out of curiosity, I made my first foray and from that day, I became one of the hordes of tourists who continue to make Bangkok one of the top travel destinations in the world, if not the top.

Great and varied shopping aside, one of the attractions of Bangkok is the intoxicating street life -- there is so much vibrancy, energy, laissez faire and a nice kind of chaos to it all that make it hard to wean oneself off once you've been there. Clearing these off the streets may turn Bangkok clinically clean where most foods could then be found in food courts and shopping malls. That would certainly take much of the shine off what is uniquely Bangkok.

I have always advised people to see places as soon as they can, because conditions at every destination are changing fast and the uniqueness of each place is disappearing as the world becomes more globalised -- every place will soon be more like the other. Sure there will be improvements in pedestrians' rights but, as in life, there'll be trade-offs.

Peh Chwee Hoe
Singapore


Very testing times

Re: "A yearly reminder of utter incompetence", (Opinion, April 19).

My thanks to Daniel Maxwell and Peerasit Kamnuansilpa for an excellent article about our flawed educational assessment system.

The public rarely asks if the tests are valid in their connection with the required curriculum and in the language used to convey the questions.

Participating in a two-week test preparation workshop for teachers (led by two international experts), most of us walked in smugly, assuming that we could write tests, but we discovered quickly just how poor our test writing skills were. Being an academic or lecturer does not ensure that tests are valid and fair.

Verneita Boonlom
Pathum Thani


Leasing xenophobia

Re: "P-move opposes 99-year leases for foreign investors", (BP, April 17).

Once again spurious and xenophobic arguments are being used by certain groups of people to protest against the cabinet's resolution allowing foreign investors to lease designated government land for up to 99 years.

As has been stated on numerous past occasions, Thais can, and do, buy outright land and properties in such countries as the US and the UK, but any hint of allowing others to do so in Thailand is immediately quashed with the abovementioned arguments.

Perhaps the key to this is the part in the article which states "...foreigner investors will reap great profits...". Now we can't allow that, can we?

However, who talks about the great profits reaped by Thais in the early 1990s during the property boom when, at last, foreigners, after many years of debate, were allowed to buy condominiums?

Martin R


Let's be fair on land

Re: "Too long for a lease", (PostBag, April 18.)

I too read the article on the opposition of P-move to the awarding of 99-year leases to foreign investors, and I agree it would be indeed "unfair" practice. Whilst this protest is specifically aimed at plans to sell "government land plots" in only certain areas, it is a disservice to the natives of Thailand and should be stopped.

I can only wish though, that the many Western countries that allow the purchase of land in their countries by foreigners would follow suit, therefore meaning that many unusually wealthy, rich or mega-rich Thais would not be allowed to purchase land, houses, condos, farms or football clubs overseas until a reciprocal agreement is signed with Thailand.

I can't say fairer than that.

Peter Fairless


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