Alien Thoughts

13 Jan 2015
Fresh from their resounding victory in the National Reform Council over the calculation of mobile phone fees, the guardians of consumer rights are turning their sights onto other blatantly unfair pricing strategies by large corporations.  Such practices threaten national economic stability, exacerbate income inequality and imperil civilization as the Bangkok middle class knows it.
5 Jan 2015
Coast guards have been struggling to take control of an abandoned cargo ship heading for the Thai coast on automatic pilot.  The ship is thought to be carrying hundreds, if not thousands, of unregistered human rights violations.  International maritime authorities believe that the ship and its desperate cargo have been left to their fate by unscrupulous National Human Rights Commissioners.
31 Dec 2014
The stalled mediation attempt by the National Human Rights Commission is the latest in a series of failures to settle a long-standing dispute between the Supreme Council of Motorcycle Taxis and a group of women who want to offer motorcycle taxi services, with neither side willing to budge from their well-entrenched positions.
17 Dec 2014
Weeks of rumour and speculation were partly confirmed this week with an announcement by the Foundation for Community Educational Media, the organization which produces Prachatai, which acknowledges the resignation of Harrison George from his position as columnist.  All titles and honours attached to this position have also been withdrawn, such as ‘Advisor on Satire’, ‘Sarcastic Sod’ and ‘Perpetrator of Impenetrable Muddled Prose’ (the much sought-after PIMP decoration.)
10 Dec 2014
I am a responsible consumer.  When I get to the checkout, I flourish my cloth shopping bags. And the first time out in a new shop you can expect to be met with bemusement.  Many will try to ignore the existence of the bags and start loading your purchases into the regular plastic.  So you ask them not to do that and draw their attention to the cloth bags.  One 7-Eleven employee immediately saw the light and pulled out another plastic bag into which he stuffed my cloth bags.  At no extra charge, I hasten to add.
3 Dec 2014
Prime Minister and junta chief Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha returned from an official visit to Vietnam in his normal relaxed mood and engaged in his regular jovial banter with the media.  They had been hearing from ministers and such that the elections won’t be happening next year as expected and wanted to hear the truth from the head honcho himself. ‘What do you want from me?’ the General expostulated.  ‘I have just returned from meetings, exhausted and sleepless. Why don’t you ask whether I am tired instead of going on about the election and constitution?’
26 Nov 2014
For all its faults, Wikipedia has been a godsend to the Thai education system.  Think of the thousands and thousands of term papers and theses that have benefitted from a judicious cut-and-paste job, sometimes on a massive scale, sometimes even with proper attribution.  In this way, Wikipedia has helped to secure a ready supply of suitably trained academics to serve the plagiarism-friendly educational institutions of the country.
20 Nov 2014
This government is beginning to get up my nose. Why can’t they stick to what they do best?  Like barging into TV stations and telling them what they can and cannot show.  And then saying they don’t do censorship.  Or resurrecting a xenophobic rewrite of the Foreign Business Act that will stop these filthy foreigners from controlling their own investments.  And then buggering off to international meetings and telling foreigners that we just love your filthy money so please keep investing here. 
12 Nov 2014
The music and political worlds went into shock yesterday when the International Violin Competition Executive (known by its French acronym VICE) banned Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha from all international violin competitions for four years.  The ban follows an investigation that revealed ‘irregularities’ into the way Gen Prayut was invited to participate in the prestigious Paganini Competition held last year. 
5 Nov 2014
Khun Jod Lukplasaenmon.  You are an advisor to the Prime Minister. Yes.  Yes, I am. And so you give advice to the Prime Minister. Well, we try.  There’s a team of us, you see.  But the PM is a very intelligent man, you know. Is he? Oh yes, a tremendous intellect.  So sometimes he doesn’t need our advice.  Most of the time, in fact. I see.  So this campaign against corruption, was it something that you advised?  Or perhaps …
29 Oct 2014
The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security has drafted a Gender Equality Bill, to be sent for consideration by the blatantly gender-unequal Cabinet and then for enactment by the similarly gender-biased National Legislative Assembly. Its proponents are touting its progressive characteristics.  For the first time, it mentions a gender other than male and female. Whoopee.
21 Oct 2014
The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace is a bit of military flummery that nominally provides security for the monarch but in reality keeps the tourist dollars flowing.  The sight of humans imitating automatons in ridiculous hats attracts the gawping attention of those in need of regular trivial mental stimulation. At 6 pm every evening a similar change-over occurs in police stations around the country.  This attracts no attention at all and the mechanics of it are unknown to the general public.  But perhaps they should be.

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