Alien Thoughts

19 Jan 2016
Maybe the military government is getting a bad rap over the alleged corruption concerning Rajaphakti Park.  I know one of their stated excuses for overturning the constitution and ousting a democratic government was the elimination of corruption, but it would be unreasonable to expect any government to be 100% spotless. 
5 Jan 2016
‘Gen Prayut said that other countries planned to use genetically modified (GM) plants during times of war or widespread disease that affected crop cultivation because they could be engineered to endure.’ News report explaining the government decision to withdraw its GMO bill, which had nothing to do with protests from farmers, consumers, exporters, the NESDB and the Ministry of Commerce – in fact just about everyone except the GMO companies whose fingerprints were all over the bill.
15 Dec 2015
Some years ago, I was in conversation with a retired government official who had been a high heidyin in the Bangkok governor’s office.  Bangkok was just recovering from the latest inundation and he was scathing in his criticisms of the administration of the day. He noted, correctly, that flooding in the capital seemed to be both more frequent and more severe.  I agreed, but mentioned climate change and other factors that were not directly under the BMA’s control.
8 Dec 2015
It’s beginning to get on my wick. Because of the BMA’s farcical idea of what constitutes a ‘cycle lane’, I have a choice. I can pedal along the gutter, prey to the insouciant homicidal tendencies of the average Bangkok motorist.  Or I can mount the footpath, use the ‘cycle lane’, and become myself predator, a danger to poor pedestrians. My confidence in my own magnanimity (and total lack of confidence in that of Bangkok bus drivers), induces me to choose the footpath.  But I am not out of danger there. 
3 Dec 2015
Sorry, but are we living under a military dictatorship or not? This morning’s paper has a lead that says the military are about to throw Deputy Defence Minister, former Army Commander-in-Chief and chairman of the Rajabhakti Park Foundation General Udomdej Sitabutr to the anti-corruption wolves (or at least those of them who are less selective in their outrage). 
17 Nov 2015
The Thai Health Promotion Foundation has fallen foul of the anti-corruption vigilantes, who claim that the Foundation has been supporting all sorts of activities that are beyond its mandate, wilfully and wantonly squandering the taxpayers’ hard-earned money. Well, no.
9 Nov 2015
Acharn Thitinan ‘the Quotemeister’ Pongsudhirak produces a Bangkok Post op-ed with an exemplary regularity that makes a Friday read of the page most worthwhile (though maybe not as entertaining as on a Saturday).  His recent offering on Thai trade policy and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), however, was a sad disappointment.
23 Oct 2015
It is a commonplace of police procedurals.  Somewhere around page 180, the hero detective, stymied by a lack of clues, the stupidity of his superiors and his personal failings (alcoholism, troublesome family relations, unreliable car) stays awake ruminating obsessively on the case.
15 Oct 2015
It is reported that the policy steering committee of the National Council for Peace and Order has sent a proposal on fisheries for the approval of the Cabinet (which contains a number of NCPO members).  The idea is to pay 228.4 million baht in compensation to 4,800 fishing boats that have been operating without a licence or with illegal fishing gear.
9 Oct 2015
A number of government offices were forced to close their doors yesterday after coordinated DDoS or ‘Distributed Denial of Service’ attacks by tour guides, travel agents, hotel owners, taxi-drivers, Grand Palace ‘it’s closed today’ touts, the Patpong ladies ping-pong team and countless others. 
2 Oct 2015
People not getting jobs is becoming a regular feature of the news. First ultra-royalist Boworn Yasinthorn failed in his bid to become a National Human Rights Commissioner, where one assumes he would champion the right to file lèse majesté charges against anyone he disagreed with.  And now Chitpas Kridakorn, once a Bhirombhakdi but still a Boon Rawd beer heiress, has decided to withdraw her application to join the police force. 
23 Sep 2015
Thai universities have just started their delayed academic year, but bang on cue, the articles pour in about what happens to new students at institutes of higher education. In the English reports, the preferred term is normally ‘hazing’, but take a moment to look at the Thai term – ‘rab nong’ – which carries none of the connotations of a potentially dangerous or embarrassing rite of passage.

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