11 Feb 2016
The Thai police have reacted angrily to international coverage of the latest ‘vice’ raid, which is being portrayed as another bumbling bone-headed police farce.
31 Jan 2016
You may not have noticed this, but the escalators on the underground MRT in Bangkok have signs telling you not to walk and to hold onto the handrail. But on the BTS skytrain, they tell you to walk on the left and stand on the right. Certainly the vast majority of passengers seem to be ignoring the signs. This could be the confusion of having different systems in the same city, but I suspect it’s just the regular scoff-law attitude you get round here.
23 Jan 2016
‘Under the new regulation, those wanting to contest MP and Senate elections must not have parents and spouses who are MPs, senators, members of local administrative bodies, or local administrators.’ — Newspaper report on a new constitutional provision. It was a whirlwind romance.
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.