Vol. IV No. 39 - Saturday September 24 - September 30, 2005
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LETTERS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

More sodden garbage problems

Not everyone is unhappy

TOT has communication problems!

Everyone has his price!

Watch your purse!

More sodden garbage problems

T. Watgate a month later

Editor:

What is going on with garbage pickup a month after the flood? Our flooded mess was picked up as soon as the garbage truck could get through the flood waters, but our neighbors complain that the truck has yet to stop at their place. Everything starts to smell and it is not a nice sight. Who is responsible for things like that?

Concerned Citizen


Not everyone is unhappy

Dear Mailbag,

Recently I’ve been reading a lot about police officers in Thailand and they seem to be getting a bit bad publicity. One story said they needed and received English lessons and another one said they had some temper problems. I’ve been living here in Thailand for five years now and would call myself a “Thai-traffic-veteran”. I know how to deal with most aspects of Thai traffic. Now I admit I’ve been pulled over quite a few times (for good reasons…) but I’ve never encountered a police officer who didn’t have sufficient English skills or was in a bad mood. Every single one of them smiled and was able to communicate with me. I’ve even had some police officers, who were waiting by the road side for a VIP to pass, ask me to help them with a few vocabs and to practice their conversation skills for a few minutes. And they always had a smile on their faces. I just have to say that I’m really happy with them and I have no complaints. Just a slight suggestion though, if anybody who has political power reads this, I think the color and material of the uniform for Thailand’s finest isn’t exactly the best and most comfortable. It might make a big difference for the officers’ motivation if they’re dressed somewhat more comfortably. Just a suggestion.

Mary Johnson


TOT has communication problems!

The Editor,

Our telephone at home went dead on September 10, 2005. I called TOT and there was no answer. I called again on the 11th and still no answer. It’s a good thing I wasn’t a hospital, ambulance service or doctor. My mom is 90 years old and having access to a telephone is very important considering her age. I finally reached telephone repair on the 12th and they said they would call back on my friend’s cell phone to give me a time for the repair man to come. My friend called on the 13th who’s Thai as I thought there might have been a communication problem. They told him that they would call to verify and give a time. He went to TOT on Tung Hotel Road in Chiang Mai on the 14th and they told him the report is on file and they’d call him. I went to TOT at Airport Plaza on the 15th and I was told they’d check it and call on the cell phone number. On the 16th my friend called again and was told they’d check and call back. On the 19th, he called again and given the same answer. So far, not one call has come through after six promises and the phone is still dead and I have come to realize that TOT’s efficiency is only surpassed by their consistency.

Ajarn Paul Schoenkopf


Everyone has his price!

Dear Chiangmai Mail

Reading always about people complaining on traffic and watching the police helmet searches in Chiang Mai made me write a letter to you. I am a Canadian national living in Chiang Mai since 1994. I’ve been driving in this beautiful country since day one and, although it took some getting used to the “aggressive” driving style of Thais, I managed to master the art of driving a car in Thailand.

But there is one thing which I would call interesting: Traffic police corruption. Now, I do admit, it is a VERY bad thing, it can also be somewhat helpful. Take my last drive down to Bangkok. I was speeding, (as usual and as everybody else), and I got caught. The officer waves to me to pull over, so I comply. When he comes up to my window a “small-talk” takes place and I get off the hook by giving him 20 baht. That is a ridiculous amount for a “traffic ticket”! Other times I usually pay only 100 baht. Now I do admit this is somewhat handy in the city when I just don’t have the time to go to the police station and pick up my confiscated driver’s license, corruption and bribery is something which should NEVER be allowed to happen. Yes, “everyone has his price”, as the saying goes, is true, but corruption can not take place, no matter how high the price! I admit, I don’t have a bad conscience if I bribe a cop with 100 baht, but that is the “limit”! (I’ve put it in quotation marks because there really isn’t a limit for Thai police officers) If police officers can be bribed with 100 baht for speeding, then you can bet a drug smuggler will be able to do so with a higher amount as well. Maybe if the government just improved the working conditions of the officers, then corruption will probably be reduced. (For politicians who might be reading this, the boys in brown could also be motivated to stop taking bribes with a pay-raise!) I’m really looking forward to some improvements, even if it means I’ll have to spend some more time at the police stations.

John E. Thunder, Lampun


Watch your purse!

Dear Editor,

Watch your purses!! A while back I appreciated the notice cautioning people to watch their purses - expressly not to turn away from them even for a moment while they are in a shopping cart. Since then, I’ve been very diligent not to do that. However, now I want to add another caution: don’t look away from your purse even when it is on a counter directly in front of you. I think this was the mistake I made that led to my purse being stolen recently in an international supermarket on Hang Dong Road. I had finished shopping, paid my bill, and gone to buy an ice cream for my daughter. I had my wallet in my hands, paid for the ice cream, and while I was still standing right at the counter I turned to my daughter just a moment and then my purse was gone. Fortunately, my bank card was in my wallet, so that was safe. But unfortunately, my wallet was too small to hold the B. 20,000 baht I had taken from the ATM machine just as I entered the store, so it was lost along with my purse (and my cell phone and pocket calendar, a vital part of my brain’s ‘external memory’). Another caution: I think the person who stole my purse was aware that I had visited the ATM as I entered the store. Be especially watchful when you have just drawn out cash. I knew this before, but had become lax. May the Lord, our provider, help us to be wise.

Regular reader



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