LETTERS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

The unending cycle of planned obsolescence

School can be brutal here

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night...

Pining for a vacation beer, or two

Public announcement from U.S. Consulate General Chiang Mai

The unending cycle of planned obsolescence

Dear Editor,

I have a question for you... Why do Thais seem to love digging up streets for no apparent reason? I often pass along the roads in Chiang Mai and workers seem to be digging up and laying pipes underground. Well this holds up traffic and causes traffic jams all around the area where the digging is being done. As soon as itís done, which usually takes longer than it should, everything gets back to normal and everybodyís happy. However, 2 weeks later they start to dig up the same part again and traffic starts jamming again.

Iíve watched this sequence of events take place on many different roads in Chiang Mai and Iím wonder why they always have to dig up one part of the road twice.

Did they forget something? And if they did, why donít they plan better? Is it just the Thai way to waste money and time? Couldnít the city lay out proper plans and maybe even check that everything is done properly before they close the hole again? Or is the unemployment rate so high that we must give workers lots of work to do, even if itís the same thing over and over?

A concerned Chiang Mai citizen


School can be brutal here

To Chiangmai Mail:

I would like to mention a fact that I have observed in the university here. I am an exchange student from an American university and have come on an exchange program from the United States to Chiang Mai for 2 semesters.

I have come to observe that the teaching methods are very different from the US. For example: one of my teachers (please donít mind me not using the name of the university but I still have some weeks to go) likes to ask questions of the class, and if we donít answer correctly then we get a 5-minute lecture about our ignorance and stupidity. Last week I decided to ask a question because I did not understand the question he was asking and I was yelled at in front of the whole class, which didnít matter much to me, but made me mad. His answer towards my question was, to answer his first and then he would explain.

Editor, how can we answer if we donít understand? In an American school this would never happen, the students would never be afraid of a teacher, and the teacher wouldnít dare to yell at a student for fear of being sued. Is it possible to sue a teacher in Thailand? I talked to one of the Thai students about this and they said that university was nothing; I should see primary and secondary school teachers. Even though it has been outlawed to hit students now, they are using other methods such as ear pulling, etc! Why donít people do something about this? Arenít teachers supposed to be here to teach students and not scare them?

University Exchange Student


Neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night...

Dear Editor:

We (my husband and I) just moved to Chiang Mai from Bangkok and I must say, even though itís the rainy season it still seems to be very dry here. Iím amazed that people are still complaining about the rain though. In our business we deliver to the homed of our customers, and last week our workers were complaining because they didnít want to drive their motorcycles in the rain! I think that is amazing! In Bangkok it rains every day during the rainy season and the workers of our old business also had to drive through the rain. Here it rains one day and everybody is threatening to go on a strike! I find that amazing and just want to tell everybody who complains about having to drive in the rain, work harder and save for a car, or keep quiet, unless you want to lose your jobs.

Amaraporn Sangthip


Pining for a vacation beer, or two

Dear Editor:

Why is the age limit for drinking alcohol in Thailand so high? My boyfriend and I come from Europe (where the limit is 16) and we came to enjoy our vacation together in Thailand and also happened to travel to Chiang Mai. Here we saw your beautiful newspaper, our source of information to find out whatís going on with not too many tourists, and now Iíve decided to write a few comments on my opinion of the age limit for alcohol. Please donít get me wrong, we are no alcoholics, but we worked hard to go on this vacation and it is hot, we donít have to work and it would be nice to enjoy a beer at a discotheque or go dancing together.

My boyfriend is 22 and I am 19, and we have been going out to different places in Bangkok as well as other places where we have traveled. It seems that every discotheque checks ID cards, but bars or pubs donít. This confuses me.

I canít get into a disco, but my boyfriend can? Plus, I am a tourist here, shouldnít I be allowed to spend my money any way I want it? I agree that there should be an age limit to drinking, probably around 17 or 18, but why 21? Are Thai people so afraid of their children? Donít they trust them? Plus, at 19 or 20, arenít most children out of the house or going to the university anyway? They are all drinking there, even if the parents donít want to believe it. They are just doing it illegally. There has to be some changes made to that law, its not 1960 anymore you know?

Best of luck with your paper,

Hannah Wright


Public announcement from U.S. Consulate General Chiang Mai

Planning to travel to the U.S. on the Visa Waiver Program? Starting October 1, 2003, you will need to have a machine-readable passport.

A machine-readable passport has two rows of digits running along the bottom of the biographic information/picture page, and all biographic information is in typeface.

You are eligible to enter the United States without a visa if you are planning to visit as a tourist (not study or work) for 90 days or less, have a round-trip ticket, and are a citizen of Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, or the United Kingdom.

Please plan ahead for travel after October 1: If you are otherwise eligible for the Visa Waiver Program but do not have a machine-readable passport, you will still need to apply for a U.S. visa.