Your Say

 |  August 3, 2009

As always Citylife is well received in the Bangkok Hilton. June’s edition being particularly so. An excellent editorial, which has always been the case and a very brave article on the state of the education system _ or rather, lack of it in the kingdom, by Associate Professor Prathoomporn Vajarasthira.

I was more than pleasantly shocked when I read Assoc. Prof. Prathoomporn’s article to find that this was, as far as ever possible here in Thailand, a strongly worded condemnation of an iconic institution. Assoc. Prof. Prathoomporn wisely steered clear of Thailand’s ubiquitous patronage system. The very fact that she did is proof positive that it is endemic in the fabric of the kingdom. Had she done so, I believe that she would have rapidly found herself exiled to Nakorn Nowhere.

Many aspects of Thailand have Orwellian parallels. An overwhelming majority of the population is of low intelligence, thoroughly xenophobic, easily manipulated by propaganda, dissenters brutally culled by the Outer Party enforcers, i.e. the Royal Thai Police and the military, etc. But even I cannot do more than allude to the most obvious Orwellian parallel; else Prof. Dr. Uwanno of the Inner Party would have me in Room 101 for re-education. Whilst I agree with Assoc. Prof. Prathoomporn that the overriding necessity for the country is a massive overhaul of its repressive education system; which will never happen, after all oligarchies fear meritocracies with a passion; such a plan will only show improvements on a scale measured in multiples of generations. Irrespective of the money spent on education, the general I.Q level of the country needs to rise first.

Again using the Orwellian analogy, as 1984 (are Thais allowed to read the book?) demonstrated that establishment mandates a language that suppresses freedoms to dissent and Thai nicely fills that role. Those at the top of the food chain on the patronage system, the establishment, don’t want a proletariat with a mental capacity to question their self-serving edicts. It’s not good for (their) business or pockets.

A very brave and challenging interview, which needs to be read in conjunction with Pim’s own experience expressed in the June Citylife editorial.

Thank you both.

I couldn’t help but bristle upon reading Mr. Leong’s article last month titled Shoeless and Painless Dentistry and reminds me that one must look long and hard for knowledgeable dentists in Chiang Mai, for my story is the opposite of Mr. Leong’s.

I developed a huge and angry looking boil over a pre molar. Went to a nice dentist who told me it was ‘normal’ a ‘bone formation’ she called it. No charge. I didn’t believe her, went to another dentist. Just a ‘bone formation’ was told again, don’t worry. No charge. Wrote to my Canadian dentist, was told it was an ‘exostosis’, very unusual but not unheard of. No charge. All dentists in Chiang Mai said OK to travel. Off we go for 3 months.

Back home to Chiang Mai. Huge angry bone formation has now been draining purulent discharge for 2 months. Read on the www how a dental infection can lead to blindness. Find yet another dentist in Chiang Mai who actually had the wherewithal to take an X-ray. It’s a fractured root with serious infection, I lose the tooth, bummer, but I didn’t go blind.

Nice young friendly dentists yeah but nice doesn’t cut it. Look long and hard for good dental/medical care here in your newly adopted country. Good dental care does exist…somewhere.

Congratulations to this very well written interview, it gives a great insight into this colourful person who somehow is just part of Chiang Mai. Thanks for making Citylife such a joy to read, also for those who do not read that much.

Keep up the good spirits and I hope to welcome you soon to the Legend in Chiang Rai again.

In response to your call for concerned citizens to bring pressure regarding the toxic waste problem in Mae Rim, perhaps the following suggestions will be useful to you:

As a follow-up to your expose, I think it would be more effective to interview the responsible individuals at the Industrial Office, publish their names (and pictures?). Anonymity is a major impediment to change.

Although well intentioned, perhaps Citylife could have more impact if you could collaborate with a more influential publication/news service to bring this story to the public.

Given that a policeman owns the factory, it probably would be ineffective to write letters and make phone calls. If you could get Thai citizens of some influence (and wealth) to champion this cause there would be a better chance of reversal.

[Ed. I am pleased to report that one of the two English dailies have shown interest in the story and we have passed along all of our notes and information. Local businesses in the area have also read the story and are planning to take action.]