Vol. IV No. 31 - Saturday July 30 - August 5, 2005
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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Land of Tomorrow?

Answering Taxi Fleet is a Joke

Night Safari ire

The red light ignorance

Land of Tomorrow?

Dear Chiangmai Mail,

This country was given the nickname “Land of Smile” but I think the name should be changed to “Land of Tomorrow”. Everything happens “tomorrow” as I have discovered, at least for foreigners. Recently my cell phone broke and I couldn’t turn it on anymore, so I took it to a phone shop in a reputable shopping centre because I thought they looked competent. Looks can be deceiving. After having my phone fixed for a ridiculously high price the phone broke again after only 3 days. I went back to the shop and they told me to leave it there until tomorrow. I did, came back the next day, took it home and by the next morning it was broken again. I went back for the third time and again the ‘engineer’ said “leave it here and come get it tomorrow.” Not very happy, I leave my phone there overnight and the next day he tells me they need to change a part which would arrive “tomorrow”.

At this point I had trouble not screaming at this guy for his lousy repair. My story continues three weeks later, my phone still in the shop, me still supposed to pick it up “tomorrow” and the people in the shop still doing nothing. I spent an afternoon there waiting for them to fix it but nothing happened, except that I noticed two other people who came to the shop who said their phones also still didn’t work. After a long argument with the people there they agreed to give me a partial discount because of “service costs”. Ummm, excuse me, but there was no service done to my phone during any of the time it was there. Now I have a new phone and I tell everybody not to go there. Ever.
Jon S.

Answering Taxi Fleet is a Joke

Dear Chiangmai Mail,

On behalf of songtaew (“red busses”) and tuk-tuk drivers I am offended and appalled by Joseph Williams’ accusation that these drivers “try to rip you off as much as possible.” “Taxi Fleet is a Joke” I have used this convenient and inexpensive public transportation system for many years. I have found the vast majority of drivers to be helpful and kind.

They are just trying to scrape some baht together to support their families. Though Mr. Williams claims to have lived in Thailand for “quite a few years” he has learned little about compassion and, it seems, not even enough Thai to get himself home.

Mr. Williams proceeds to call taxi drivers “a bunch of bums”. I suggest that Mr. Williams enroll in one of the beginning Thai language classes on offer at AUA. Then he will understand when I say to him “som num naa”.

Earl Trowbridge

Night Safari ire

The Editor,

I read the article about the night safari in your paper, which I by the way, think is great, but I was shocked to read that foreigners will have to pay again a different price than the locals.

First of all, congratulations for having the courage to actually go public with this even before the park opens. I just wonder what goes through their heads when they decide to charge foreigners higher prices. Do they think all of us have little cash trees in our living rooms that just dump a pile of 1000 baht bills on the floor once a month? I don’t have one of those, heck, last time I checked nobody had one of those.

But why is it that we always get ripped off in this country? Everywhere I go they always try to charge me way too much money. Does everybody in this country think we’re stupid and don’t know when we get overcharged? Or did you never consider that our wallets aren’t deep enough to throw whatever outrageously high amount of money you charge in your lap? What if I have to pay way too much money to get into the safari and it just ends up being dull and boring because all the animals are sleeping?

I will not be going to the night safari unless the prices are the same for everybody and I will tell my friends to stay away too. Have you never heard of equality? Does that word exist in the Thai vocabulary? If you charge me differently than the locals I call that discrimination.

How do you want to make Chiang Mai the tourism hub of the north if the tourists will be treated differently? You should definitely reconsider the whole price thing if you don’t want this safari to go under.

Jose Vasquez

The red light ignorance

To Chiangmai Mail and various government officials,

I enjoy living in Chiang Mai a lot. Pretty much everything’s nice, beautiful and relaxing. But there is one thing which isn’t any of the above mentioned things: traffic. Traffic here is absolutely horrible. People drive recklessly, don’t use turning lights, and suddenly decide that they need to cross three lanes on the highway to get to the off-ramp, overload trucks so you always have to be on the lookout for objects falling off and my favorite, ignoring red lights.

But it’s not like the rules of the road get enforced by anybody with authority (I’m not even sure if there are any rules…), police just cluster together at corners of major streets causing huge traffic jams. I’ve even seen police officers totally ignoring the fact that other vehicles are on the road driving and running out to the middle of the road to stop some motorcycle, which ends up getting away anyway.

One suggestion would be to have a lot more patrol cars driving around with officers behind the wheel who aren’t too lazy to chase after wrong-doers.

We also have the red buses. Total nightmare. Most of them spew out way too much exhaust fumes, cut centimeters in front of other cars without even showing some kind of signal and park in the middle of the road or, better yet, just around curves to let passengers on or off.

Another huge problem is the whole traffic light thing. They are all programmed totally wrong! If you wait at one traffic light and it turns green, you arrive just in time to see the next one turn red. And then again, if you don’t believe me, just take a cruise down the canal road and you’ll soon see what I mean. If you would just take the time to calculate everything so people can get a “green-wave” at intersections, the fuel consumption would drop so much, because right now so much gas is wasted on accelerating at each red light. I’m sure that’s why so many people just ignore them and keep on driving.

But I must compliment you on the use of solar-powered warning lights at various places in the city. I’m looking forward to some improvements.

Elizabeth Green

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