Curb cars to cure air

Well, Bangkok's air quality is poor?

No surprise there. Just look at the condition of most of the trucks and buses that gridlock the city. It is a miracle that those wrecks are still moving. Of course the engines and exhaust systems of these old vehicles do not comply with modern standards. Fixing this would be a good step.

Another idea (used in Beijing) is to ban private vehicles from driving in the cities. Not all of them, of course, but on alternate days cars with number plates ending in an odd number aren't allowed to drive.

I remember from a long time ago, during the "oil crisis" in the 1970s governments in Europe made all private car owners to select one day of the working week, Monday to Friday, on which they would not use their cars. You were given a sticker for the car (say "1" for Monday) and you were not allowed on the road with that car on that day. Okay, this was because of shortage of petrol, but it would work just as well to (at least slightly) reduce pollution and heavy traffic. Why not try it?

Heavy Breather

Passport puzzle

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha should ask the Cambodian government to explain why former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register a company in Hong Kong.

Immediately after Thailand's 2014 coup, Cambodian government leaders declared that Cambodia would give full cooperation to the post-coup government of Thailand. They also expressed hope that both Yingluck and Thaksin would understand the Cambodian government's situation at that time.

Now that Yingluck has used a Cambodian passport to broaden her personal and family businesses outside the borders of Thailand – how will Cambodia explain this to Thailand's satisfaction?

Vint Chavala

Enemy of my enemy

Re: "Prawit's time is up", (PostBag, Jan 10).

A Johnsen is now expressing concern about the horrible way a young 18-year-old Saudi Arabian refugee has been treated by Thai immigration. He should be aware that over the last three years, according to Amnesty International, there have been numerous instances of refugees in Thailand being sent back to countries to face likely persecution and torture. Just because there was corruption and injustice in the previous Thai government people assumed everything would be great after the coup. Why? The old saying: "The enemy of my enemy is my friend", simply isn't true.

Eric Bahrt

Great farang life

Re: "Chiang Mai spoiled", (PostBag, Jan 10).

In answer to Lungstib's letter, when I lived in the northern capital in the late 1970s, there was just one supermarket and one little shop (probably the same one). What was then known as the Chiang Mai Co-education Centre was the centre of farang life for many with about 80 kids attending and other farang with no connections to the school. So I never would have said "little farang company". In fact, it was a great life.

Magpie (Phnom Penh)

Not wanted here

Re: "Tightening the screws", (PostBag, Jan 11).

I was slightly amused by Mr Bahrt's letter. Mr Bahrt, don't you realise or understand that we are not wanted here? We are tolerated, but truthfully not wanted, neither by our presence, nor what we could contribute to this country. We are begrudgingly "welcomed" for our money only. Don't be deluded into thinking we are liked. We are welcomed and treated well in Laos, Cambodia, even Burma, but not in Thailand. Sometimes I cannot understand what the lure is, certainly not the temples and beautiful beaches as the government proclaims. Many temples are in disrepair, many monks are not real monks, many of the beaches are fouled with filth and litter. What keeps us here? Some people stay for the sex, but they are quickly disillusioned, caught, or leave on their own. For the rest of us, I have no real, logical answer. There is, however, hope. One day the light will come on, and there will be a great dawning.


Help city dwellers too

The Marine Department plans to introduce catamarans on the Chao Phraya to boost tourism (BP, Jan 10). Wouldn't it be more prudent to introduce catamarans for the benefit of those Thai citizens who travel to work on a daily basis using those antiquated Chao Phraya river ferries? This would benefit both tourists and locals. Every time there is a change or improvement made, it is always for the benefit of tourists, not those citizens who would benefit most by change. If it were not for the tourist dollar, I get the impression that no rail, road, river, or other mode of transportation might have been introduced, and the elephant, horse cart and row boat might still be the only way to get around. Come to think of it, it might not be a bad idea.


No free lunch

It has been reported that China announced its willingness to help Malaysia with the money crisis supposedly lost during the Najib administration. When questioned about motive, the Chinese ambassador in Malaysia said that it was purely for friendship, and China does not offer aid to anyone with strings attached. Does the Chinese ambassador think the Malaysians are as stupid as some of that country's close neighbours? China's aid ploy, "with no strings attached" might work in naive and gullible African countries, but that sanctimonious blather should indeed be contained where it belongs -- in the recycle bin. Any country that has not yet learned by now that there is no such thing as a free lunch, will probably never learn.


Let expats choose

I see that Thailand looks like it's becoming the first country in the world to introduce compulsory health insurance for foreigners who wish to live in this country on a long-term visa. I don't know of any other country in the world that makes its residents have compulsory health insurance.

Most people who decide to retire here to live settle with a partner and financially take care of them and their family in a loving, stable relationship, using their savings and income from their native country, usually a pension or pensions, to support and in many cases marry their partner. It is common here to see an older man with a younger woman and in some cases children; it is a long-term commitment.

A responsible expat will keep enough money in savings for what we call rainy days -- unexpected emergencies, unforeseen visits to the hospitals -- but our monthly income goes to supporting our families.

But now it looks like there will be an extra tax on us expats, apart from the 800,000 baht we have to keep in the bank for a retirement visa. I fear that many will not be able to pay for it if the premiums are too high. This could lead to many expats on fixed incomes seriously reconsidering their futures here. This doesn't just affect foreigners, it affects their wives, their wives' families and their children. I welcome affordable health insurance, I just hope this is well thought out.

Andy Lewis

Wall around Trump

I think America should build a wall around Mr Trump. "Slatted style with no hairdresser" would be good.

Dan Pickett

Sign and abide

Associated Press journalists won a Pulitzer Prize in 2016 for their investigative reporting on human rights abuses in the Thai fishing industry -- one of the world's largest.

A new report by three Australian investigative journalists contains this scathing summary: "Responses by governments and companies since then have proved the inadequacy of existing legal and managerial frameworks to effectively tackle the problem." They go on to say that a survey of canned tuna brands originating in Thailand and sold in Australia found only one free of the taint of human slavery.

Rather than setting their goals in economic terms, i.e. obtaining EU approval, Thailand should set clear humanitarian goals and reach them by establishing the rule of law and transparency in the fishing industry. It is one thing to sign an agreement and another to abide by it.

Michael Setter

So what?

Re: "Prayut rejects call for detente with Thaksin", (BP, January 9).

Unfortunately for the ruling politicians who overthrew the supreme legal pillar of the Thai nation on May 22, 2014, the international community knows as well as domestic Thai voters that being a fugitive criminal from the Thai rule of law does not mean that any wrong has been committed.

It should be remembered that it was his own acquittal by the Thai rule of law in 2001 of any wrongdoing for his "honest mistake" that allowed Thaksin to become PM in the first place. That example, along with the recent well-watched decision by the National Anti-Corruption Commission and numerous other examples, can but confirm that the world is right not to confuse Thai rule of law with actual justice founded on respect for truth or other good morals.

As Thai election results consistently show the Thai nation to know every bit as well as the international community, the proper response to the fact tediously repeated by dictators that Thaksin is a fugitive criminal is: "So what?"

Felix Qui

136 Na Ranong Road Klong Toey, Bangkok 10110
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