Your Say

 |  September 29, 2011

+ London’s Burning, Thailand’s Getting Hot

I can’t tell you how I felt seeing London on fire not so long back, because I had so many mixed feelings. The Guardian, the BBC, and Aljazeera all had a different account of what happened, and why it happened. The word ‘mindless’ was bandied about, as were the terms ‘political ideology’,and ‘disenfranchisement of the poor’. The scenes were not pleasant to watch at times, and at other times it seemed almost righteous, though it is hard to base an opinion on a large group of people I don’t know. Everyone has their reasons for doing what they do, and the reasons are always diverse. I guess the consequences of the ‘thugs’ actions might be dangerous in the dystopian sense, rather than make any remarkable social change for the good of the majority. It’s funny how the news focused so much on damage costs, while arresting youths on charges of being emotional and sensational on Facebook, and not too long ago corrupt bankers and shrewd hedge fund managers, along with collaborators in the government, took advantage of lax regulations in the economic sphere and basically brought the country to its knees while making billions between them. Hold these silly sixteen years olds accountable for smashing a bloody window and post their WANTED faces on the news, and let the real criminals leave the country with bags full of untaxed swag. God, am I glad I don’t live there any longer…

It sometimes surprises me though, in a country such as Thailand that has such brazen discrimination between the rich and the poor, sub-standards of living for the latter, while an overabundance of everything for the former, that the ‘d?class?’ don’t rise against the system that suppresses them. I guess it is only a matter of time. Lack of education seems to keep them docile. The ‘high-end’ politicians throw them a bone (iPads? handouts?) and it keeps the uncynical poor happy for a while, until their stomachs start churning again, and inexplicably they feel something is wrong with what their TV tells them. And what do the poor want anyway? Equality, peace, enlightenment for all, or typically just more than shit than their neghbours have? Would they become as insatiable and venal as many of the rich given the chance? Maybe. I guess it takes a paradigm shift, a bump out of our selfishness, to be less like the animal that Freud always said we had locked up inside of us. Maybe if schools started teaching philosophy and social compassion, morality and critical theory, rather just how to acquire more money in our fast becoming overburdened world, then maybe the new generation would be different from us. It scares me that this developed part of the world in its vapid state of evolutionary adjustments, will make all the same mistakes we have made in the west. Maybe they think they deserve our mistakes.

Walter H. Vincent

+ Bigger the Better

Thanks for making the pictures bigger in the September issue….much easier and nicer to view! Keep up the great articles, etc.

Charlie & Dr. Lina Thompson

+ It’s a Bargain!

The September issue was, once again, a wonderful achievement. How do you and your team put out such a quality publication month after month?

Remarkable! I looked forward to the ‘shoestring’ issue and was not disappointed. Living on a shoestring is sort of a hobby of mine; trying to find a bargain or a great value for money in Chiang Mai and elsewhere can be difficult. I ask myself when purchasing goods or services: What would a Thai do? Where would they go? How much would they spend? The answers can save you a lot over the long term.

If I may, I’d like to add one to the shoestring list and make a suggestion: For those who love to read, finding inexpensive books and periodicals can be a challenge, so our cozy library at AUA may be what they are looking for. For a yearly membership fee of 400 baht, readers have access to a wide variety of subjects and authors in English both western and Thai. We have a nice selection of magazines as well. For added value, while reading they can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea for only 10 baht from our Coffee Bar. I’d like to invite your readers to stop by for a free ‘one-day pass’ and check out the library.

My suggestion is that Citylife should continue the idea of shoestring living by adding it as a monthly column (or every other issue), a blog site or both. There is a real need in Chiang Mai for those who travel and live here to experience Chiang Mai in this way. So many new arrivals to Chiang Mai who are planning to stay long-term or in their retirement years could benefit by knowing what the locals know… where to find a bargain.

Keep up the good work!

John Gunther
AUA Chiang Mai