Vol. II No. 50 Saturday December 13 - December 19, 2003
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LETTERS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Your excellent newspaper

Lost opportunity for a better new world

A suggestion

Your excellent newspaper

Good Evening;
We had the pleasure to visit your city in 1988. It was off-season so we got to tour all the shops and factories that made most of the things sold as souvenirs in Thailand. We took a trip up into the mountains, visited all over your city. We stayed at the Rincome Hotel. One day a taxi picked us up on the street and took us all over to see the sites. We visited temples and all different sites outside of Chiang Mai. We stayed in Thailand for a month, visiting Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya and of course your excellent city.

It is the first time I came across your paper on the web.

Cheers,
Bruce
Canada


Lost opportunity for a better new world

To the editor:
As someone with more than a passing acquaintance with Thai educational institutions, I would like to offer the following comments on the article regarding Payap University’s institution of a new military camp as a substitute for traditional initiation activities for freshmen.

Given the strong hierarchical structure of Payap, it is laudable that they would like to modify traditionally oppressive forms of freshman initiation. However, I was disappointed that their choice of substitution was a military camp in which students would learn “discipline, sacrifice, and respect [for] senior students, under military trainers.”

The kind of respect I believe is needed in the increasingly complicated world we now face is not one based on seniority. Students, as future leaders and citizens (not consumers, as citizens are now referred to in the media) would do well to explore alternative forms of interrelatedness. Much research has now been written on partnership and non-dominant forms of social structure. Why not have students read and discuss these ideas?

In a highly seniority-based culture like Thailand, Payap would be more applauded if they focused on having their students at different levels in university learn how to relate to each other from true respect that comes from honoring the best in everyone, instead of just a simplistic goal of “respect senior students.” If programs were focused upon open discussion and understanding, instead of physical military camp activities, there would be no need for training to be “adjusted to be suitable for women.”

It is this blind obedience to hierarchy, reinforcing dominance and oppression that lies at the root of Thailand’s problems with racisms and sexism. I’m afraid Payap has lost, yet again, another opportunity to educate students for a, hopefully better, new world.
J. Suter


A suggestion

Dear Chiangmai Mail Team,
The first thing on Sunday morning is to go and buy your newspaper, which gives me the latest news from our area. Often I read about what has happened in the past (week).

I (and maybe others) would appreciate it very much if you could open a column with “Future events” which would help me very much, to participate in more on events, often found in your newspaper after they were held.
Have a good week,
Rudolf

Ed replies: “Thank you Rudolf for writing to Chiangmai Mail. We very much appreciate your suggestion, and would also like to invite you to peruse our Community Happenings section (pages 10&11) to see if there is anything there of interest.