'Rich' number bid dials pain for the poor

The head of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) was thrilled to sell 'lucky' phone numbers for 120 million baht - hardly a sign of national prosperity. (Bangkok Post file photo

Is this a case of "irrational exuberance"? The military regime keeps telling us we live in a time of political security and that the economy is picking up. For ordinary Thais, the bright and breezy statements are becoming increasingly painful to hear.

Let's start with National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission's secretary-general Takorn Tantasith who was in high spirits as he announced last Sunday that an auction for unique mobile phone numbers had generated as much as 120 million baht.

Mr Takorn appeared extremely pleased that the auction brought in 20 million baht more than what the commission expected. He said that because as many as 70 people entered the bid and that the amount of money they were willing to pay for the phone numbers reached extraordinary heights, it suggested Thais were becoming increasingly flush as a result of the strong economy.

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