Your Say: June 2018
This is an open forum for you to express your opinions. write to: [email protected] Subject: Your Say. Letters can be on any topic but priority will be given to those under 200 words. Letters may be edited for clarity or conciseness.
Hello, I have read your news pages and I am impressed by your professional approach.
Investigating for my agency about night life and prostitution in Chiang Mai, I had a very bad experience. Through a local travel agency I visited a karaoke bar, not far from downtown.
I was brought in a room where two girls presented me videos of songs. They ordered beer and soft drinks and some food, no strong alcoholics nor champagne! As time passed, more girls came into the room and no sex was done and not one girl was naked or half naked.
As I left after some time, the boss (a clever women) presented me a bill of 32,000 baht. I was not willing to pay this amount. So they “confiscated” my passport and my mobile phone. Then they forced me to my hotel, hoping to get the amount from me there. I asked the night guard to call the director and the police, but he did not do it. So one of the guys followed me to my bungalow, but I was able to close the door in time. Then he tried to enter by the window. Closing it, I hurt myself and I lost a lot of blood. One hour later the hotel manager came and saw the blood all over my bed and on the floor. So he insisted to bring me to the hospital where I was treated by a doctor.
I went to the police station the day after, but I soon realised that they were not interested to intervene in this matter. So I have to go to bangkok to apply for a new (Swiss) passport, as my visa is in it.
Is this behavior of the police “normal” for Chiang Mai?
I did return to the travel agency and they accused me. As I told him that I will tell his name to the police, he turned physically aggressive but once again no one wanted to call the police. A very regrettable situation!
[name withheld on request]
I’m an avid reader of Citylife magazine and would like to thank you for all the fantastic editorial work you do. I’m emailing you in the hope that you and your team could change, or at least have some kind of positive impact, on the concerning rising levels of police corruption I’m witnessing on a daily basis.
I’m talking about the police check point that position themselves opposite Maya Mall (on Huay Kaew Road — the side of the road that leads up to CMU). Right now, four hours after first pulling over their first victim, they are still swiping 500 baht notes from foreign tourists. Their greed is growing. Their two hour shifts of corruption have doubled to four and sometimes even five hours. They now set up at the same spot almost every day (last year it was 2 — 3 times per week) and show no signs of easing. This is so fundamentally and ethically wrong. These supposed-law-enforcing-people have gone beyond a joke.
I have my own bike, taxed, green book and have a Thai license. These police are now asking for everything. If you don’t have the full works, they want between 200-500 baht on the spot. I spoke with several tourists who all said basically the same thing: ‘I only paid them 500 baht. The police officer said if I get stopped again I can show them my receipt, which is valid for three days. This means I don’t need to pay another 500 baht fine which is great! Having lived here for four and half years, those words sent shivers down my back. Tourists are not only being ripped off, they’re being manipulated by corruption and worse still, accepting it with a smile.
If there’s anything you can do, by taking photographs of these events / broadcasting this information to the masses via your website and magazines, I’d be extremely grateful. I really don’t know where to turn to voice my concerns. Things are getting much worse and will continue to do so until someone, somewhere high up in the land of corruption, starts to look over their shoulder.
[E.d. We’ve discussed this issue with governor Pawin Chamniprasert and the head of the traffic police…will keep up the pressure.]
I used to be a cram school teacher, it sucked, teachers here don’t know 75% of the curriculum, they only repeat what is in the book, which is why Thai students who go to international universities like MUIC don’t know how to write essays, because all they can do is repeat and memorise. [Shadow Education: May 2018] The effect is usually originates in Thai high school classrooms where students only repeat and memorise, I met this type of frustration first hand when I taught at a cram school, students just repeat and memorise the content I write on the board, even the wrong content, they still didn’t even raise their hands and tell me it was wrong.
I often wonder just what Thai students are taught, reading and writing Thai? How many times when I am in my home and chatting with a Thai friend they will ask me if I had my breakfast. I will tell them that here it is now night time and I will soon be going to bed. “What? You don’t have the same time as we do?” No the earth is round and the sun can’t shine every place at the same time.
1. The teachers do have to sometimes slow down and go at the pace of the weakest group of students in the class. For the brighter students, this can be a disadvantage. 2. Sometimes also, the parents do not have the same level of education, as the students themselves are getting, so are not able to help their children as much, hence the need sometimes for some extra outside tuition. 3. The schools that I have experience of, provide extra tuition themselves, after normal school ends. These classes cost around 800 baht per month, per class, and also enable the children to finish school closer to 5 pm (if they take two extra classes), when it is more convenient for the parents to collect them after their work. 4. Schools provide extra tuition at the weekends, around the times of exams like O-Net. There are some real-world and practical issues here that need to be considered too.
Kindness of Strangers
A special thank you to those who assisted us on May 12, 2018 at the Chiang Mai Saturday Night Market.
On our last evening of an otherwise great visit to your beautiful country, our 19 year old daughter had an emergency medical incident while we were walking through the Saturday night market. As any parent would know, seeing your daughter in distress is very frightening but through the thoughtful and kind assistance from a number of anonymous people, we are happy to report that our daughter is fine. Since we were so focused on attending to our daughter, we were unable to thank all the kind people who helped us through this event — from the lady in the nearby stall who brought over a pillow and water to the two kind ladies who provided so much support, to the man who called his personal doctor to provide advice, to the police man who controlled the scene and the many people who called for transportation to the hospital — a very heartfelt and sincere thank you! In particular, we would like to acknowledge and thank the incredibly kind tuk tuk driver who transported us to the Chiang Mai Medical Hospital and Mr. Kumar, Dr. Sol and the nurses at the hospital who provided such great care for our daughter.
While we wished we could have thanked everyone in person, please know that your assistance to us has only inspired our family to pay forward your kind help in our country — we will make an effort to ensure that any visitors to our country who need any assistance will receive it just as we were helped in your country.
Keith, Sara, Sophie and Julia