Vol. IV No. 4 - Saturday January 22 - January 28. 2005
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LETTERS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Taking umbrage to laugh lane

The heart of America mourns with you

Thanks to everyone who supported tsunami charity party

No noise is good noise

Taking umbrage to laugh lane

Editor,

I read the article that you allowed to be printed written by Mr. Jones (Life in the Laugh Lane). I assume he is an American and I hope it’s not so. I am not a 30ish old American, I am 63 yrs old and recently retired, living here in Sankamphaeng with my Thai wife who has lived with me in the USA!

I find Mr. Jones article in bad taste, you Mr. Editor would not have allowed such an article like this to be written about HM the King of Thailand and printed in your paper, now would you!

G.M. Mayo

Scott Jones replies: Mr. Mayo thinks I’m 30ish. Let’s see, I’m 55, a little younger than him, “retired” as well, but about as busy as I’ve ever been in my life helping rural children and less-fortunate people here in Thailand. No, we wouldn’t print “an article like this about HM the King,” because I wouldn’t have written one. I respect what he does and am honored to be in his country. It seems that since Mr. Mayo has left America, he’s forgotten about things like the Bill of Rights and Freedom of Speech, values I still love about America, though I choose not to live there. I also choose not to live there because people like George W. Bush can somehow become the leader of the country. Mr. Mayo is free to speak for the half of America that voted for Bush and I am free to speak for the half that didn’t. But I’m not speaking for anyone else but me, and that’s what freedom of speech is all about. Yes, I am an American, though this is disappointing to Mr. Mayo, and I’ve taken the liberty to retain some of my American rights here in Thailand.


The heart of America mourns with you

Editor,

Thank you for sharing the news firsthand with us. All over town, flags are still at half mast, clubs, TV stations and other organizations and churches are collecting money and praying for those who are helping to save lives. Kids are setting up lemonade stands. Auctions, luncheons, and fund raising of every kind are going on.

The heart of America mourns with you. From our blessed bounty we offer money, but we also offer profound sympathy. We cannot imagine losing so many dear ones, and without warning. We especially are concerned for those families who have lost their beloved children.

From a friend in south Florida, which has seen its share of disasters (not the least of which is Jeb Bush, did I say that?) - Very seldom do I become involved in what happens abroad. Although I grieve for the losses and pain that others experience far away, I usually concentrate my giving to causes here in the U.S., which are plentiful and also needy. This time, though, I have been overwhelmed by the news. We have sent money, but also send our hearts to all who have suffered so terribly.

From a daughter - Please tell me that precious little girl in the photo with the Bam-Bam hairdo didn’t lose her family.

And from our son - We are so grateful to those who went immediately to the Thai Red Cross to give blood, to the beaches to help clean, to the camps to offer not only donations of food and clothing but also gifts of their hearts. It makes us proud.

And from a writer/childhood friend - I saw those message-boards on TV and was reminded immediately, as you were, of the response in NYC to 9-11. I went into the city every day, dreading every second of the trip, not out of fear but misery, and I saw those message-boards on street corners and in the subways and knew that, a week later, all those pleas for help were hopeless. Still, there they were, on display, and it was truly heartbreaking. I fear you will have the same experience when you are in Phuket.
Caroline Henson
North Carolina, USA


Thanks to everyone who supported tsunami charity party

The Editor,

Ref: Tsunami charity party - We raised a total of 637,000 baht for H.M. The King’s Foundation for the Tsunami relief fund in Thailand - thanks to all those who supported us. Us being residents of Hillside 4; Dr. Howard Graves, John Morgan, John Wright, Bart Sutton, Phil Wharfe and Mark Walder also Marion and Michael from the Chiangmai Mail and Pim from City Life. Thank you to those who donated such great prizes and auction items.

I would like to thank Khun Wachara - owner of Hillside who paid for all the expenses and his staff who did a great job. If it had not been for Marion and Michael of the Chiangmai Mail (Marion whose contacts for raffle and auction prizes are great and Michael who was brilliant as the MC along with Pim - her usual bubbly self and JJ) the evening would not have raised nearly so much money.

Most of all though - the evening certainly belonged to John Morgan - he kept me on the right track and sorted out all the problems. If I have forgotten to thank any individual - it is only because there were so many people who helped.

I have been told - same time next year plus one day.

Thank you all! It was exceptional.
Steve Yarnold


No noise is good noise

Dear Sir,

In his recent birthday speech, His Majesty the King expressed his growing concern about the increasing noise pollution in the country. Prime Minister Thaksin sought the co-operation from owners of discotheques and entertainment centers to reduce noise levels to a maximum of 91 decibels.

This was obviously ignored by the organizers of the Chiang Mai Winter Fair, whose decibels during the nightly performances of various singers and rock bands must have been well off the scale, since in our residential area over two kilometers away from the site the noise was already intolerable. This, alas, was an unwelcome repeat of previous years.

If the Winter Fair has already received criticism of being devoid of any cultural status or touristic value, it is further degraded by catering to juvenile tastes in excessive noise at the expense of the local community. Your recent report headlined “Unruly Teenage Gangs Disrupt Fair” may indicate the direction this unsophisticated annual event is taking.

To add to this, the Royal Thai Army’s “Soon Feuk Wicha Tahan” has sprung back into action after a long period of welcome silence. The noise of weaponry from this military training ground located close to the 700 year stadium has tormented residents for many years, and although it is clearly unacceptable in any civilized society to have a live firing range located within the city limits, this unfortunately now looks set to continue. Through your newspaper, perhaps an army spokesman may wish to advise us of our fate? To make things worse, weapons practice is not restricted to daylight hours. Between 0300-0330 hrs on the morning of 9th January 2005 we were treated to loud machine-gun fire, and several detonations of high explosive, which shocked our hearts and shook our houses. Gentlemen, whatever your night training requirements are, this is a disgrace.

Despite His Majesty’s well-placed concern, the truth is that Chiang Mai is now a burgeoning noise factory. Loudspeakers and amplification systems are used with impunity everywhere, and hundreds of cars, motorcycles, and songtaews with loud exhausts roar through the city streets unchallenged, 24 hours a day.

Mr Prime Minister, in addition to the choking and toxic fumes we breathe, your once charming and enchanting birthplace is now being ruined by noise pollution. On behalf of all of us who live in and love this northern capital, please do something immediate and decisive to save the environment, and restore quiet dignity to our historic city.

Beatrice Clement
Soi Chang Khian
Chiang Mai