Vol. IX No. 24 - Tuesday
June 15 - June 21, 2010



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


MAILBAG
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

No investigation?

Freshmen hazing

Enjoying How Does Your Garden Grow column even in England

What has become of ‘Dek Mong’?

Nawarat Bridge needs a traffic light

 

No investigation?

Dear Editor. My office and that of my neighbor was recently broken into. Nothing of value was stolen in either building but it was still, as they say, breaking and entering. The police came, had a look and said that since nothing of value was taken there would be no investigation. They only took photos for the report after my encouragement to do so. They took no fingerprints, initiated no investigation.

A friend has had her house broken into twice with the same lack of result from the police and another friend had her motorbike stolen with the police again, saying there was nothing they could do.

I made a police report as did my friends but of course, with no evidence and no investigation the burglar is free to break into more offices and homes at will. What happened to the idea of catching criminals to prevent further crime? Is there no training for police here? Perhaps it’s part of the mai pen rai attitude? I do not know, but I must say I was rather surprised at the nonchalant atttidue of the police. Perhaps it’s only investigation worthy until the burglar breaks in and hurts or kills someone in their home? A preventable crime were they to actually start investigating crimes and pursuing criminals.

But perhaps the police academy here does not actually train the police recruits in investigative techniques? I realize it’s an underpaid job, so perhaps it’s time Thailand realized the need for decently paid, professional police force?
Signed
Deeply disturbed

 

Freshmen hazing

Dear Editor:

Last week the son of a close friend joined a college in Mae Jo as a new student. A quiet, studious lad he was eagerly looking forward to making new friends and continuing his studies. During the whole week he and the other new students, male and female, have been beaten (the bruises on his stomach and shoulders prove it), humiliated and deprived of sleep in the practice commonly known as “#1’I-C+!H.” This may not be a problem that concerns many expats here but to my mind it is a stain on Thailand’s character as bad as any that are more often complained about. My friend’s son laughed off any suggestions that he should complain to the college concerned as the staff and college authorities turn a blind eye to this ‘hazing’.

A few minutes’ Googling revealed that the practice is quite common- as one Thai critic put it: “it is not tolerated especially being broadcast across media, if behind closed doors and people don’t see or hear about it, all is fine”. I think it is high time it was broadcast in the media, international as well as national, and that foreign bodies that support Thai educational institutions should think twice about helping those that tolerate such practices. Bullying, after all, does not stop at school.
Signed
John Moore

Chiang Mai


Enjoying How Does Your Garden Grow column even in England

Dear Eric,

Just a brief note to say how much we enjoy reading your column in the Chiang Mail Mail, which we access on line here in the UK. You provide some really interesting angles on plants and people. It is refreshing to read your wider perspective of gardening - I was fascinated but your experience with the Marbled Cat Snake. Gardening is not just about plants it is about all the many things that take place in and around our gardening experiences. You may remember Ann and I visited Dok Mai last year and we will be returning to Chiang Mai on a more permanent basis in the coming Autumn and it will be interesting to visit Dok Mai and see the changes that will have taken place as the garden matures.

Best wishes
Colin


What has become of ‘Dek Mong’?

Dear Editor

In September last year a Stateless schoolboy, of Shan parents but born in Thailand, was all the buzz in the media. Little ‘Mong’ (real name ‘Sai Mawng’) was initially denied travel documents but PM Abhisit intervened to allow him to travel to the international paper airplane competition in Chiba, Japan.

Even though he is not a Thai citizen he represented Thailand with honour, success and dignity. Before departing for Japan he said, “I believe I will return as a champ to Thailand because I am doing this for my father, mother and for the people in Shan State and Thailand.”

Little ‘Mong’ did succeed (in more ways than one) and due to his success and, no doubt, the extensive media coverage he received, he was granted the role of Youth Science Ambassador by the Science Ministry. ‘Mong’ stated that his dream and ambition is to study to become a pilot. The Science Minister Khunying Kalaya Sophonpanich promised, “We will offer him scholarships”. (Thaindia news 24/9/09)

Well, this little boy has dropped out of the media’s attention now but I am probably one of many wondering what has become of him. Has he been granted the promised scholarship? Is he still fulfilling the role of Youth Science Ambassador? And, more importantly, is he still one of the 3.5 million Stateless residents of this country who have not been granted citizenship (even though he was born here)? Are he and his parents any closer to becoming Thai citizens?

Ron Lister
Chiang Mai


Nawarat Bridge needs a traffic light

Dear Editor:

Today, I received an email with a letter giving the Chiang Mai Governor’s office phone number. I felt this was a ‘sign’ that I should make a complaint about the Nawarat Bridge traffic light that has been out of order for more than ten days. I had already googled the governor’s email address from the Provincial website. The email had not bounced back to me but I did not receive any response in Thai or English either I called the phone number printed on the official Provincial letterhead. No one answered the phone. I glanced at the bottom of the letter and saw the number again but the last two numbers were transposed. Most likely one number had been mistyped.

I called the second number. That person refused to identify the name of the office I had called. She asked why I wanted to contact the Governor. I said I wanted to ask some information. She gave me the phone number of the Provincial Office of Information. I phoned that office and explained to the person who answered that I wanted to complain about the Nawarat Bridge traffic light. She politely informed me there was a sign there at Nawarat Bridge explaining why the traffic light was not repaired. I said I cannot read Thai and I want to make a personal complaint about the situation. She said I should phone the municipal department’s Suan Yota or Traffic dept.

I called that number. Instead of the Suan Yota, it was the phone of the office of Dir. Vichai. The receiver of the call hesitated to say anything and tried to say she did not understand my accent when I spoke Thai. So I spoke louder and I got from her a different phone number for the Suan Yota. This time, yes, it was the Suan Yota but this office does not accept calls for-out-of-order equipment. I should phone another number.

Using this number, an automatic recorded operator came on with instructions to dial “0”. A young woman answered the phone and informed me they do not “have the budget to repair” the transformer that had been burned. I told her I had seen three traffic accidents with my own eyes. I just could not accept that the city does not have a budget to repair the traffic light.

A man came on the phone with the same reply about the lack of budget. I asked him for another name or phone number to follow up. He refused to mention any names. He said it was too soon after the recent councilmen’s election to do anything about the budget.

Then, my husband felt sorry for me “spinning my wheels” and dialing number after number. He said he appreciated my efforts trying to do something to benefit the community. He gave me the mobile number of our area’s elected City Councilman. The Councilman answered the mobile phone. I could feel his smile in his voice. At first, he would only speak about his side of the problem not listening to me. I spoke louder and louder until I got his attention. I informed him that until the budget comes through that it’s necessary to have a traffic policeman on duty 24 hours to direct traffic or to set up a temporary light. How would he feel to see a young person down on the street with the smashed pieces of a motorbike strewn on the road? What if you were that young person’s parents— how would you feel? I had seen sad repercussions like these three different times.

He assured me the municipality would solve the problem. We’ll see.

Signed,
Lightless on Nawarat Bridge



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