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Tips in Suburbia
I live in the San Sai District near Meechok Plaza in one of the major housing developments. The residents of my village are composed of farang and upper middle class Thais. This photograph is of the soi leading into my village. As you will note there is a large pile of rubbish along the side of the soi. A small bit of this rubbish appeared there overnight about three months ago.
It is disturbing in and of itself that someone dumped the rubbish there in the first place but what is even more disappointing is that I have observed some of my own Thai neighbours from relatively affluent families brazenly stopping their cars, opening the boot and adding their own rubbish to this pile in broad daylight.
On one occasion I had the temerity to ask the daughter of one of my neighbours, who I caught in the act, why she was dumping her families trash alongside the road. She surprisingly, and quite honestly, replied that her father didn’t like to pay for the trash pickup fee in our village.
I know this isn’t an isolated incident. What is it about relative affluent and well educated Thais that makes them think this behaviour is acceptable?
Beautiful Beautiful City
My wife and I have been to Chiang Mai. We took holidays on a couple of occasions and are returning again in March, we select Chiang Mai for a couple of reasons, your fabulous people who put themselves out for anyone, nothing is too much trouble for them, their smiles are incredible, the food is out of this world, the tours in and around the city are more than anyone could hope for We travelled all around Asia and my wife keeps bringing up your beautiful city, so what can I say. Your publication Citylife is fantastic, you have been so kind to send me a copy every month for the past 3 months at no cost, that is what I mean by nothing is to much trouble. Keep up the good work and I will be seeing your Beautiful City in March-April once again. Can’t wait!
In the last two issues of Citylife my Retiring Attitude column discussed what to do in case of emergencies. I mentioned that a call to 191, the police emergency number, might not result in the quickest of responses. Something happened last night that impels me to write this retraction.
My wife and I were riding down Canal Road at around 7 p.m. when we saw a young girl passed out right on the edge of the highway. We pulled over and discovered that she was completely unconscious and unresponsive. Our first thought was to try and protect her from getting run over in the dark. Luckily just at that time a young man, who happened to be a security guard from a nearby housing complex, stopped to help. He got out his phone and called 191, told the operator where we were, and the situation we had encountered.
In a little over 5 minutes, an ambulance from Klaimor Hospital, the nearest one to us, came by with lights and siren blaring. Out jumped a nurse, an EMT, and a driver. They expertly picked up the girl, still unresponsive but breathing normally, put her on a gurney, and less than ten minutes after we had discovered her, she was off to the hospital.
It would appear that the response to a call to 191 is different for a typical house break in than for a medical emergency. Last night, 191 was the right call. We were very impressed.
War and Penance
I am responding to Valerie Deakin’s letter in the January edition about David Hardcastle’s November feature on the Japanese War Memorial Service near Sanpatong.
He commented that Japan’s post-war assistance to disadvantaged people in Thailand and elsewhere was, in his view, more valuable than a formal apology. Ms Deakin criticised this and (missing the whole point, I think) said that Hardcastle should write to the Emperor of Japan and demand an apology.
Last week I took a photo at the Japanese shrine in Kanchanaburi, near the infamous ‘Death Railway’. It’s not an apology, but comes very close, and was placed there promptly after the war. It was a great deal more than the apology of the Allies for the thousand bomber raids over Hamburg – and especially the fire bombing of Dresden – which had NO important war installations. That is, the Allies gave no apology at all!
If the outcome of the war had been different, both Churchill and Roosevelt would have been accused of war crimes over these, and other, heavy bombing raids of purely civilian areas.
Please don’t misunderstand me, but you have to look at history without sunglasses. Both sides committed atrocities but, as always, it’s the victor who writes the history.
The Germans bombed London, Coventry and many other places, but one atrocity does not excuse another. Then, the victims are no better than the attackers.
As Ms Deakin is British, would she think of writing to Queen Elizabeth requesting an official apology be sent to the citizens of Dresden?
A Neutral Observer