Vol. II No. 48 Saturday November 29 - December 5, 2003
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West Side Story

150dBs and all that

West Side Story

Last night I witnessed West Side Story, but this time there was no music for Benny and the Jets. This time it was a display of brutal teenage behaviour, where a gang of approximately ten youths were systematically kicking at the head and stomach of another youth, lying on the ground, having been previously beaten into submission.

I have no idea what his ‘crime’ may have been, but the summary court of (in)justice was certainly meting out its punishment. I was with another expat, a Chiang Mai resident, who counselled that I should not cross the road and intervene. I can understand his thinking. What was to be achieved by two farangs, for both of whom the bloom of youth has faded? With head and eyes averted I walked back to my hotel on the other side of the street.

I awoke this morning after a troubled night’s sleep. What has happened to the Land of Smiles? There is a fundamental problem in our society. Teenage violence is no longer something you read about in the western world. Teenage violence is here and now - right here in Chiang Mai. Forget the ‘respect your mother and father’. Forget the precepts of Buddhism, reputedly deep in the hearts of 94 percent of the Thai population. Forget the repressive zeal of the government’s ‘New Social Order’. All of those important sociological factors have failed. And so have I - and everyone else who sees, but turns away from the sight of such brutality.

Next time I will at least inform the police, no matter how ineffective this is, according to some. In the meantime, the local government should be looking at ways of curbing such behaviour before the much vaunted ‘Aviation Hub’ becomes the ‘Gangland Hub’ of the north. And ahead of the endless seminars presenting their lack of conclusions on the subject, an increased police presence, with uniformed officers patrolling the streets, would be a good start. Thai society must not stand back as well, otherwise it will be lost for ever.
Frequent Visitor

150dBs and all that

Your article on “prevailing noise at the Computer Fair” could well have been written of any Chiang Mai Fair these days.

Your 150dB unfortunately seems a target of all fair organisers who have never read Danny Danziger’s apt quotation “Of all the varieties of modern pollution, noise is the most insidious”.

I recall last year writing in your Mailbag column of the noise driving friends and I from the 15th Chiang Mai Food Festival by Airport Plaza. A respondent suggested we should take our custom elsewhere which we will indeed do during the pending 16th Fair you currently promote; though through our own resolves, not from his goading.

Like you, at any fair or function where exhibitors prove so uncaring of patrons’ comforts, we shall elsewhere spend the money we had come to the fair to ‘splurge’.
Ric Richardson,
Chiang Mai