HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Golf in Myanmar - another challenge part 1

Remains believed to be those of four American MIAs sent home from Vietnam

Message from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany

The karuna dana project needs your help

Japan checking into reports of rowdy Japanese in China

Message from the US Embassy

The solution to downloading music

Golf in Myanmar - another challenge part 1

Dear Editor;
This is for everybody to study who finds a hair in the soup or complains about anything in Thailand. Be thankful to live there!

Freshly arrived in Myanmar, I went at the end of the first week to a golf club, for which the place I’m working for has four corporate memberships. Prior to deciding to get my first experience of playing this game in the Golden Land, I had checked out the course from a distance, meaning from the clubhouse. From there I had a great overview, as it was elevated on top of a hill. The course looked and it still does look great, nice layout, in good shape - so it seems - and some reasonable difficult obstacles on the way to the holes.

Great thing I thought, at least I can improve my game and handicap while stationed here. And playing golf should not be as dangerous as driving around in Yangon.

Before going back to work, I inspected the clubhouse. But (and now I make this mistake again to compare my ‘new home’ to golf courses around Chiang Mai and Chonburi) it was absolutely unusable. Why?

Dirty lockers, the showers with dripping water only and overall highly contagious for any form of disease. The smell that welcomed me when I opened the locker would not make you think of placing even one of your enemy’s personal belongings in there. And being a fan of taking showers after playing golf, I decided in my mind to feel a bit uncomfortable on the car ride back home, rather than take my shower there.

I am looking forward to playing next week and will let you know if the course keeps up with its looks.
Ike Burnett

Remains believed to be those of four American MIAs sent home from Vietnam

By Margie Mason
Associated Press Writer

Remains believed to be from four soldiers killed in the Vietnam War were draped in U.S. flags Tuesday and saluted before a plane finally carried them home.

Dozens of Americans and other onlookers stood in silence in blazing heat, hands over their hearts, as aluminum transfer cases were loaded onto a U.S. Air Force C-130 at Hanoi’s airport.

The repatriation ceremony came just after Washington announced that the remains of four other servicemen recovered from a crash site in Laos had been positively identified.

“The war is not going to end until all of the missing are accounted for, or at least as many as possible,” said Jim Doyle of Vietnam Veterans of America, who served in the Army in 1969 in Binh Duong province. “The families deserve to know what happened to their loved ones and put them in a final resting place at home.”

The latest remains were found in central and southern Vietnam by a recovery team that searches for soldiers listed as missing in action. The remains were being flown to the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii for efforts at positive identification.

Vietnam Veterans of America President Thomas Corey, in Hanoi to present documents to government officials about missing Vietnamese soldiers, presided over the ceremony with Lt. Col. Thomas T. Smith, new commander of the U.S. MIA office in Hanoi.

“I thought I would come here and I would maintain kind of a professional attitude toward it, but I’ve got a son who’s a lieutenant in the 1st Infantry and, to be honest, the parent part kind of took over in a way,” Smith said after his first repatriation. “I know if something happens to him, that his government will do whatever it takes to find him.”

About 1,800 American servicemen remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

Message from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany

German nationals traveling to Thailand may stay in the country up to sixty days on a tourist visa and up to ninety days on a non-immigrant visa. Both types of visa may be extended for thirty more days (see website: www.imm.police.go.th).

The embassy would like to point out that visa-extensions must only be applied for in person at the local Bureau of Immigration or at border crossings.

Unlike some tourist-guides advise, an extension of stay through a travel agent or others must not be asked for. In various cases, forged entries were made into passports and a subsequent arrest of the passport-holder occurred.

The embassy furthermore wishes to draw the attention to the fact that it is not in a position to cover for any expenses (fees, etc.) in cases of overstay.

The karuna dana project needs your help

Dear editor;
I would like to ask if it is possible to insert this small text in the next issue of Chiangmai Mail, perhaps with the title: ‘The karuna dana project’.

The cold season is soon on the door and it can be very cold out here in the Northern hills of the Mae Hong Song Province. If you have some old but still in good shape blankets, cushions, socks, pullovers, anything and everything that can make your body warm (except whisky), the children of the Buddha Kasetra School in Kung Yuam will be delighted to receive all that you have for them. And say thank you to your all.

Please send or bring the goods to:

Address: The Buddha Kasetra School 842 m1, t. Khun Yuam A. 58140 Mae Hong Song, Thailand or to: to Phra Daniel Nagasiri at Wat U-Mong Kuti n0 8 Suthep road 50200 Chiang Mai, tel: 061858612, email: [email protected] or website www.geocities.com/buddhakasetra_school

Thank you very much for your attention.
Peace and wisdom to you all.
Phra Daniel Nagasiri

Japan checking into reports of rowdy Japanese in China

The Associated Press

Japan’s foreign minister said Tuesday officials were checking into complaints that Japanese tourists hired hundreds of prostitutes for an orgy in China on a sensitive World War II anniversary.

Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi said Tokyo had yet to determine whether the reports that hundreds of Japanese men, believed to be on a company tour, hired as many as 500 prostitutes in the southern city of Zhuhai, near Macau.

“China is looking into it and the Japanese government is also collecting information,” she said. “We don’t know at this point what exactly happened.”

Chinese news reports said more than 400 Japanese male tourists had sex with Chinese prostitutes at the Zhuhai International Conference Center Hotel from Sept. 16-18, which is the anniversary of an attack by Japanese forces in 1931 that China regards as the start of its World War II occupation.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan has called the case “extremely odious” and asked the Japanese government to “strengthen education of its citizens in this regard.”

The fracas has been carried prominently by Japan’s media, which have reported the tourists were in China as part of a trip arranged by a construction company based in the western Japan city of Osaka.

The name of the company, which has reportedly denied any involvement in procuring prostitutes, has been withheld by the media, however.

“If this is a fact, legally speaking at least, the Japanese should not commit any act that would be against the law in China,” Kawaguchi said. “More importantly, I regret the kind of act that would damage women’s dignity would be committed in a foreign country.”

Message from the US Embassy

Machine-readable passport requirement postponed

The United States Secretary of State has granted a postponement until October 26, 2004, as the date by which visa waiver program travelers from 21 countries must present a machine-readable passport at a U.S. port of entry to be admitted to the country without a visa. The Department of State consulted with the Department of Homeland Security before making this decision.

The countries for which the postponement has been granted are: Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Each country to which this postponement was granted made a formal request and certified that it is making progress toward ensuring that machine readable passports are available to its nationals and that it has taken appropriate measures to protect against misuse of its non-machine-readable passports.

Five other eligible countries did not request a postponement of the effective date, because virtually all of their citizens already have machine-readable passports. Those countries are Andorra, Brunei, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Slovenia. As of October 1, 2003, visa waiver travelers from those five countries must present either a machine-readable passport or a United States visa.

Belgium, which is also a visa waiver country, was not eligible to receive this extension. Belgian nationals who wish to travel under the auspices of the visa waiver program have been required to present a machine-readable passport since May 15, 2003. This requirement was stipulated in the Department of Justice’s Review of Belgium’s continued eligibility to participate in the visa waiver program in February 2003.

The secretary’s authority to postpone the effective date for a visa waiver country’s citizens to present a machine-readable passport is contained in the USA Patriot Act, which legislated the requirement for visa waiver travelers.

Citizens of visa waiver program countries are permitted to enter the United States for general business or tourist purposes for a maximum of 90 days without needing a visa.

The solution to downloading music

Dear Editor,
I hope your country isn’t as foolish as mine (USA) in trying to prevent the future from happening.

Presently, the entertainment industry is being transformed by a new distribution system: peer-to-peer (p2p) networking. Currently demonized by American entertainment companies, p2p is entertainment’s future. For example, it will eventually enable us to watch television programs when WE want to watch them and not when a middleman (i.e., TV network) says we can.

Foolishly, America’s entertainment industry is fighting p2p. The Recording Industry Association of America has tried to get the courts to shut down companies that make p2p programs. It succeeded with Napster but later couldn’t with all the rest. Now it is suing everyone who freely shares music over the internet. From 71-year-old grandfathers to working single mothers of 12-year-old girls. And the Motion Picture Association of America and National Association of Broadcasters (of America) are also discussing how to fight p2p.

Instead, entertainment companies need to find a business model that will profit from p2p.

The first country to act on a workable business model could end up dominating the global entertainment industry. Could that country be yours?
Sincerely yours,
Scott Jensen
Marketing consultant/futurist