Living in a Buddhist country run by the military, no not Burma, where the religion is totally in league with the greedy ruling elite, I find this talk of Buddhism being a religion of peace offensive nonsense. The Christian idea of charity appears to be absent in Buddhist circles and the crass materialism of continuous temple building deprives resources which could benefit the poor.
Looking around at the other countries dominated by the same brand of Buddhism , Theravada, what do we see? Kampuchea, which produced the genocidal Pol Pot organisation which targeted its killing especially at the Muslim and Vietnamese, Mahayana Buddhists and Roman Catholics; Sri Lanka, where charges of atrocities abound over the mistreatment of Tamils; and Laos PDR, where greed and environmental destruction by the rulers is the order of the day. Regrettably, Burma fits the mould of its neighbours all too well.
Crime and (No) Punishment
The police were completely incompetent in the Kirsty Jones case [Editorial, September 2013]. There was a suspect (in the eyes of many) who was never questioned. Andy Gill was innocent and his only crime was to be the farang manager. It should have been an open and shut case. However, having several local “PLOD” wander around the room along with loads of reporters hardly does forensics any good, does it? Oh, that was an afterthought on PLOD’s part. At the time Chiang Mai PLOD were completely and utterly inept and incompetent. A four-year-old would have done better.
No End in Sight
[Re: Editorial, September 2013]: Well said, Pim. Heartbreaking and depressing for so much time to pass for the victims’ families with no foreseeable end in sight.
The Lake Escape
Thank you for your article “Dam Awesome” in the September issue. It inspired us to leave Chiang Mai early Saturday morning, despite the dawn drizzle.
The mist was clearing when we rented a boat and by lunchtime the sun had broken through the clouds. We had a fantastic time kayaking, swimming, eating and dozing. Mountain Float may be booked up for months to come, but the lake has enough space for plenty of day-trippers.
Wonder if there is a law relating to noise pollution; probably there is but like others it is never enforced??
My concern has been the Attakawa mosque prayer calls broadcast, especially the one at 5 a.m. As a resident of the Wat Gate community, I have been quite disturbed, almost to the extent of degenerating into a nervous breakdown, being shaken awake by the loudspeaker broadcast at 5 a.m. on a daily basis. Not being able to fully rest is affecting my physical and mental health and work performance.
I am not against any religion. And Wat Gate community is multi-religious and multi-racial, with a Thai temple, a Guin-yin temple, Christian and Catholic churches as well as houses, apartment blocks and expensive condos. It is hardly a Muslim-dominated neighbourhood and neither is Thailand a Muslim country. But most live at the mercy of Attakawa mosque, whose management simply decides that the high volume of the mosque speakers is justified.
I am desperate and would like any concrete, helpful advice to get the mosque to be more considerate and understanding. Turn down its speaker volume and better still remove its many speakers perched around its minarets. I have tried to use earplugs and have explored contacts to talk to the mosque management. The latter is of the view that they have been in Wat Gate since the 60s and therefore they have the right to operate as-is: “Newcomers could simply leave if they don’t like it!” Just wonder if there is an official neighbourhood committee or police sub-station that can intervene?? Or maybe the Chiang Mai Mayor’s office??
What an incredible story [Born Twice: The Shauna Pugh Story, September 2013]. I am so impressed with how bravely and gracefully you have handled what seems to be one of the most difficult things any human being has to go through – being born into the wrong body. I applaud you for having the courage to share something so personal. You’re an inspiration not just to other transgendered people but to anyone who struggles with being considered different. Thank you, Shauna, and thank you Citylife for bringing this story to light!