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MAIL BAG
 

Nine shopping malls?

Dear Editor,
A friend told me there are 9 shopping areas going up, not all of them mega-malls like Central Festival but shopping malls of some sort or size. Goodness, don’t we have an abundance of these as it is? If they build them on the outer ring roads then what will happen to the many small businesses in town? Do go the route of the sadly generic United States with its row housing and strip malls that makes every town and suburb for 3000 miles look the same? I hope not! I retired to Chiang Mai to get away from that very same ugly sameness. Chiang Mai is so pretty and quaint, with its historic temples and city walls. A friend of mine came to visit and was thrilled by the fact we have a moat!
Please, Chiang Mai people, don’t sell your community out for the sake of another McDonalds. As an American who has seen my country go down this road, I can tell you ahead of time; It’s not worth it.
Yours,
Jim


Loy Krathong traffic

Dear Editor,
I enjoy Loy Krathong in Chiang Mai and visit here regularly. I live rather far out in the middle of nowhere in Northern Thailand, retired with my wife so a trip to the big city is a pleasure. But, I must say the traffic this past Loy Krathong was tremendously bad and picked up early.
Imagine my horror to come up Loi Kroh one late afternoon to find a giant tour bus just stopped in the lane, blocking an entire lane in what is already a very narrow road. Imagine my second surprise when a local traffic policeman came up on his motorcycle to straighten out the traffic situation and get it moving again.
I must add this was the second such incident I encountered that day, perhaps the Chiang Mai police have figured out that sending our roving teams of traffic police to unknot gnarled traffic is effective. I hope so as it was a welcome surprise to see someone come and get things moving again.
Well done to the Chiang Mai traffic police in this case.
However, I should say not so well done to some of the drivers. I saw many drivers doing very crazy, irresponsible things and some even acting aggressively. I heard of a friend who lives here who was followed by some man in his car honking aggressively because my friend dared to turn into the turn lane inside the moat, not even cutting the car off but clearly he felt that he was entitled to drive wherever he felt like it, regardless of traffic signs.
Most of these aggressive and irresponsible drivers appear to be local. Perhaps they are already fed up with the traffic but if so, do not take it out on others around. Do not put others lives at risk due to your own frustration. I hope the traffic police will do more than just solve traffic jams but also enforce traffic laws and fine offenders. It would go a long way towards solving some of the traffic problems if people here learned to follow the laws.
Signed,
Ed B.


Christmas Fair

Dear Editor
Thank you so much for publicising the JJ Market Christmas Fair. I have tended to avoid past fairs held at City Life because of the complete lack of parking. I went once and got trapped in by some person who parked immediately behind me and did not respond to calls to come move their pickup truck.
However, the Fair at JJ Market was not only well organised, but also had abundant parking and was also very big! It was great to see so many vendors and to be able to stroll around the fair comfortably. I enjoyed sitting in the shade of the trees sipping some delicious tea from the Chedi but must confess it was a bit disappointing to have the food in a separate building. I wasn’t really sure what was back there until I saw a friend eating a delicious looking kebab who then pointed me in the right direction.
However, other than that very small complaint I would just like to say, “Well done” to the organisers of the event. My wife and I enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.
Regards
Dan


We Tv

Dear Editor,
If I may, I would like to offer a small rant at the declining quality of We TV. I know that you get what you pay for and at 330 baht a month, it is not going to be on a par with True Platinum but honestly, they have two English language TV series channels, both of which repeat the same shows over and over and over. Then there are two English language movie channels. Many of the films on there are B movies, or repeated regularly as well. There is Australia Television which has some programming of interest.
Finally, the news and sports channels seem to be the strongest. Thank you for bringing back BBC News, that was a welcome relief. But Channel V seems to be mainly for children. Perhaps that is the nature of music channels of late, but the constant barrage of K-Pop on that channel has me quickly changing channels.
So, a few requests, please bring back the Food Channel in English, it was one of the highlights of your line up. National Geographic in English would be more than welcome as well.
I am getting to the point of finding even the measly 300 baht monthly fee to be a waste of my money. I do hope they will revamp their line up soon.
Yours,
Ed


Flooded drains

Dear Editor
I own a small restaurant down a side soi off of Nimmanhaemin road and while the torrential rains of last night were unavoidable the floods that ensued may have been lessened were the streets around here cleaned regularly and the drains cleaned out. I cleaned out the drain next to my place which was clogged with leaves, debris and garbage. However, the main street of Nimmanhaemin was a river with water very deep from one side to the other.
I see the street sweepers around the moat but surely they could send a few people and a few machines to this very busy part of the city.
While I am at it, I must say that the state of the road here is very horrible. It is broken with many giant potholes, even more dangerous when the water is so deep.
I realize that Nimmanhaemin is just one road but it is a popular one, it is heavily used. Please, do try to include it in the maintenance list for street cleaners.
Signed
Flooded out


Peace in Thailand

By Shana Kongmun
I confess that while I do hold some rather decided opinions on the politics of Thailand I generally do not publicly air them. Thai politics are quite complex with so many undercurrents and intricate past relationships that I understand that even more than 20 years of following Thai politics still leaves me with a rather superficial view of the whole thing. Perhaps not as superficial as many others but still, given the depth and historical references that only a seasoned insider could know, superficial nonetheless.
However, more than 20 years of watching politics in Thailand has given me enough understanding to see that there seems to be a sea change in the way people view each other, how they view their politicians and how they react. And frankly, I am not convinced it’s a good change. There seems to be an abundance of intolerance to other people’s opinions coming from all sides. Just the fact that there are actually “sides” to anything is something different. Thai people have never had a this ‘us vs. them’ mentality in politics and if you had asked me ten years ago what ideology a particular party followed, I could not name it. It didn’t seem, to me, to be about ideologies but about personalities and again, historical relationships. It didn’t seem so much that you were pro or anti one particular party but that you followed the person and ultimately the party they belonged to, which could change like the wind as alliances shifted.
So, I ask myself, why does it feel like things have changed when the alliances still shift like the wind? Violence in the political scene is certainly nothing new in Thailand, although it must be noted that it is not really all that common unless it’s at a local level and is one politician bumping off another. What to me seems to different is not just the scale of events but also the virulence each group feels for the other, as if they were enemies at war rather than countrymen and women who all just want what is best for the people of Thailand.
The recent violence in Bangkok leads me to ask, why can’t everyone allow each their own opinion? Why can’t a peaceful discussion of those differences take place? If Thailand’s road to modernization has it end up with same bitter divisiveness of my own country’s politics, then this is, to me, not the best road to follow.


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Nine shopping malls?

Loy Krathong traffic

Christmas Fair

We Tv

Flooded drains

Peace in Thailand
 

Note: Letters printed herein in no way reflect the opinions of the editors or writers for Chiang Mai Mail, but are unsolicited letters from our readers, expressing their own opinions. No anonymous letters or those without genuine addresses are printed, and, whilst we do not object to the use of a nom de plume, preference will be given to those signed.
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