Your Say

 |  May 27, 2013

This is an open forum for you, the reader, to express your opinions. Write to: Subject: Your Say. Letters can be on any subject but priority will be given to letters under 200 words. Letters may be edited for clarity or conciseness. Name and contact details must be supplied.

• Controversy, or Something Like It 

As a former female expat who lived and taught English in Korea, I am offended by your statement in your introduction to your column [Love or Something Like It, April 2013]: “This column will feature my monthly musings about dating as a long-term expat who isn’t into Asian dudes and isn’t a farang retiree with a host of potential…ahem, partners, at my disposal.” It’s upsetting to read this kind of ignorance that suggests that it’s okay to just not be into Asian dudes. Like, as an entire race? Funny to be surrounded by Asian men and find none of them attractive. Have you ever considered why? This is such a painfully common trope in the expat community in Asia: white women saying Asian dudes are just not attractive to them. Maybe there’s a reason why you don’t find Asian men attractive. Maybe there’s a reason why Asian men in the Western world are portrayed as feminine, sexless, inferior to white men. Maybe you should consider these things in your writing. Maybe you’d be more desired by Asian men in Asia if you didn’t write all of them off because of their race, as you suggest you do in your column.


• You’ve Got Male 

[RE: Love or Something Like It, April 2013]: I wish you well with your column and your life in Thailand…Citylife is a great mag. A special plea, if I may, as I noticed your whimsical reference to retired expats. I’m not sure if you read the article in the Telegraph (UK) website recently about urban buffaloes and the sexpat club. We male expats, most of whom have decent Thai women as partners, are so very, very over sledging and put-downs by western women about our partners and lifestyle. Let’s respect one another’s choices and enjoy our time in the land of smiles.

[RE: Kiss With A Fist, April 2013]: Important issue and a generally well-written article. I was pleased to see a reference to male victims – albeit rather late in your paper. You mention that victims are overwhelmingly female, but offer no stats to back this up. In fact, you don’t know I suspect. And let’s not forget that outside the home males are disproportionately more likely to be victims of violence, are they not?


• Nimman Nonsense

Having lived for over four years on a soi off Nimman, I have just recently moved elsewhere. However, I am still on Nimman every day for the gym, shopping, eating, etc.

And every day, for the four years I lived there, and every day now, I ask myself: is this grubby road really the best Chiang Mai can do?

I recall that you wrote an article a year or so ago about all the obstructions blocking the sidewalks as one walks along; I don’t think your article changed much, nor did you expect it to.

Worse, though, than motorbikes on the sidewalks and various advertisements forcing pedestrians into traffic is the rubbish that litters the place, especially on “Karachi Corner”, the soi for Hillside 2 and 3, which always has gently rotting discarded food outside those little restaurants (which share the space with a motorbike repair shop, if that can be believed!)

Then we have the standing water stagnating in various puddles, plus the debris left by the young and drunk every night as the bars close, plus bad parking…and so the list goes on.

It’s amazing that this dumpy area claims to be Chiang Mai’s fashion street!

If the Nimman business owners don’t have an organisation to deal with these problems, they need one! If or when they do, they should collectively do something to clean up and civilise their area so that it is not quite so disgusting: hire some more street cleaners for early morning (one elderly man just can’t cope); employ someone to patrol and remove all obstructions; pay the police to really enforce parking regulations…and so on.

The shop owners themselves should take responsibility and tell their customers to park their motorbikes on the road parallel to the sidewalks, but not on the sidewalks: those are for people!

Finally, what happened to the one-way soi system? The police got off to a good start, but then, just when it was beginning  to actually work well and to be accepted instead of ignored…it was abandoned!

All of this is just so, so easy to do: all it takes is a bit of effort on the part of the Nimman business community…and they will definitely benefit from it.


• Sidewalk Sorrows

My husband and I have now been on and off residents of Chiang Mai for almost a decade.  We both love Chiang Mai, adore the people and can’t have enough of the abundant exotic fruits and vegetables. Thai food is in a class of its own. Eating Thai food is like throwing a flavour party in your mouth.  However, as much as we love the city, its people and the food, we can’t help but be frustrated by the absence of decent pedestrian walkways. And in the places where there is the semblance of a path or a sidewalk, both residents and business establishments behave like they own it. It has now become even more serious because these people behave like they not only own the sidewalk, they also own the street in front of said sidewalk. NO PARKING signs and obstacle courses are now common, particularly in the Old City, so that one can neither walk nor park. Can somebody from City Hall or the Tourist Police inform these people that they do not own the sidewalk and the corresponding portion of the street in front of their house, store, restaurant, office, café, etc.?

Gina Lewis

• God Revisited

I enjoyed [Love or Something Like It, May 2013]. I grew up with no belief in God but rather the opposite: a strong, biting cynicism of both God and religion. As a recovering drug addict and alcoholic, I found a God of my understanding who has helped me really change my life. Lately, I have been following a lot of Sam Harris, a staunch, to say the least, atheist. My question to you and probably to him as well is this. It seems to me that many writers, atheists and agnostics begin their writings about God at least using the term in the title but wind up writing about organised religion. The comments tend to focus on the problems with organised religion and I tend to agree. The titles are oftentimes, though, about God. There are at least two entities and possibly three. God as one, religion as the second and organised religion possibly a third. Why is it so difficult for writers to stay on the topic of God when they use the term in the title? Why the seeming obsession to equate or combine God and religion? Are they the same to you? As you may or may not know, in recovery we use the term ‘God of our understanding.’ Not a religious God. Is it God that you have given up or the religious God forced upon you as a child? There is, or at least can be, a difference.


• Hell or High Water 

Citylife seems to be one of the few media outlets seriously interested in improving life in Chiang Mai. Now that the rainy season is here again, I and many other readers would, I am sure, be interested to know what the authorities have done to prevent flooding along the Ping River.

I know that there has been lots of talk and good intentions, but has there been any real and meaningful action…that will actually work? If not, then we know what to expect the next time there is an unusual amount of rain: another disaster!


• Raves for the ‘Rai 

So happy that you decided to feature Chiang Rai in your last issue. Thank you for taking the time to really experience all that our community has to offer. I love living in Chiang Rai and am so proud of the wonderful art community that we have here – it has really turned into such an exciting place to be. Your piece about the Art Bridge was spot on. You really captured both the talent and warmth of our community. And your interview with the fascinating Rebecca Weldon offered a great perspective on Chiang Rai’s long history of art – much of which I didn’t even know myself! Thanks, Citylife, for a great issue celebrating the creativity of Northern Thailand.

NW Loves CR