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Will the SET-index reach 500?

Posted by hasekamp on 30 November 2002 at 11:53 AM
The question in the title is being answered with a full "yes" by optimistic analysts in Thailand. They say that the local stock market will hit the 500 points level next year already, given the current economic recovery. We find this very optimistic. The SET hardly ever was above 500 (except during the ICT hype around 2 years ago) so we publish this article with some reserve!
The analysts say that property, building and construction materials, hire purchase, vehicles and parts, companies in the entertainment sector are their top picks.
The four economic engines: domestic consumption, exports, private investment and government spending, are rising already. A remaining concern is how much the government can spend to stimulate the economy further. Another uncertainty is the US-Iraq situation.
If you want to read a more extensive analysis, with tips for certain stocks, go to outr source (yesterday's paper). (Source: The Nation)


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Thailand scores low in global sex survey

Posted by hasekamp on 27 November 2002 at 12:56 PM
Every year condom manufacturer Durex organizes a worldwide sex survey. This time trough the Internet. We have published some results of this annual survey in the past years, based on reports in the Thai media. This year we have consulted the original source and can report the following results, as far as Thailand (compared with some other countries) is concerned.
The Thais have sex 112 times per year, which places them almost at the bottom of the list. It is more than the poor 99 times last year, but it still is an embarrassingly low figure, with a worldwide avarage of 139. Only the Singaporeans have less sex at 110 times per year, but in Singapore people are so terribly busy that this result can easily be explained.
The word record holders are the French, with 167 times a year and our countrypeople (the Dutch) come second with 158 times a year. Then follow Denmark (152), Canada (150) and the UK (149), whereas above Thailand come India (116), Taiwan (121) Spain (121) and Malaysia (121).
The main method of contraception worldwide (65% worldwide and 64% in Thailand) still is the condom (thanks to Durex?).
Apart from that it is interesting to report that in Thailand 16% use natural methods, which is similar in surrounding countries like India, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore. Natural methods are below 5% everywhere else and 5% worldwide. "The pill" is used only by 1% of the respondents in Thailand, which is exceptionally low compared to the rest of the world. The average worldwide is 22% and here Germany is world record holder with 45%.
The Thais are more cautious than other world citizens are: According to the survey "just" 23% has had unprotected sex, which is 39% worldwide and 61% in Sweden, the record holder. Only France scores lower than Thailand with 22%.
Globally 65% say that AIDS/HIV is a problem in their country. Here South Africa comes first (99%) and Thailand is second (97%). Next come France (91%), India (91%), the US (89%) and the Netherlands (77%). In Singapore (32%) and Denmark (28%) the lowest percentage think that AIDS/HIV is not a serious problem in their country.
The survey is based on the answers of 50,000 sexually active people worldwide. The number of respondents per country is not mentioned. (Source: http://www.durex.com)


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Over 100 highway staff fired

Posted by hasekamp on 26 November 2002 at 14:11 PM
The Transport Minister yesterday sacked and transferred over 100 highway staff after the motorway toll fraud, we reported about. Apparently the problem was larger than we initially suspected.
Also the director of the inter-city motorway bureau, was transferred to his previous position as public works engineer of the Highways Department.
These are the first results of the investigations, that is to be concluded in two months.
Forty-four permanent officials of the department were transferred from the Bang Phli-Bang Pa-in and Bangkok-Chon Buri motorways to a section of the Din Daeng-Don Muang tollway, which the department also operates. They are 11 assistant managers of toll plazas and 33 toll collectors.
Also fired were 70 temporary toll collectors. They face prosecution right away.
Soldiers started counting vehicles using the motorways yesterday. The mission will last a month. Authorities will compare soldiers' accounts with tolls to be collected and calculate past losses from the number of vehicles counted.
Meanwhile traffic jams are forming as a result of the manual counting by soldiers.
The traffic congestion is also caused by the closure of two of the seven outbound toll booths and four of the seven inbound booths.
A third reason for the congestion (typically Thai) is the curiosity of motorists who slow down to look at the soldiers. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Samak hits the news again

Posted by hasekamp on 25 November 2002 at 12:49 PM
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is planning to start two major projects next year, worth combined 7 billion Baht, Bangkok Governor Samak Sundaravej said yesterday.
The first project includes the construction of a new public park to be called Sanam Luang 3, and a new Bangkok Zoo. This project will be worth 3 billion Baht, Samak said. Many Bangkokians have opposed the Samak plan to move Dusit zoo, including we, and we still hope that this mega plan will never be effected. Dusit zoo is being modernized at the moment and the work makes good progress. Or is Samak planning a second zoo in Bangkok?
The second plan is the 4 billion Baht plan to build Bangkok Tower. It is intended to become the world’s fifth tallest tower.
BMA officials are examining possible sites for the projects and studying their feasibility. Sanam Luang 3 and the Bangkok Zoo are planned to come in Saphan Sung district.
Bangkok Tower is planned to be built on a derelict tobacco factory near Queen Sirikit National Convention Center. Bangkok Tower is planned to become 90 meters high and should be used as a business convention center. Antennas for all kinds of signals will be installed on its roof. BMA does not seek Cabinet approval, because private investors will pay the bills.
The projects are hoped to be finished in two years, in time for the Queen's 72nd birthday celebrations. (Sources: The Nation, Public Relations Department)


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New book By His Majesty

Posted by hasekamp on 25 November 2002 at 12:49 PM
His Majesty the King has written a book about the life of his favorite pet dog, Khun Tongdaeng. This bilingual book will be on sale from tomorrow on. It is te be expected that the book will become a huge success. The price of the book will be 299 Baht and the title will be "The Story of Tongdaeng". The book is intended to bring readers closer to the dog that once became a fashion trend. Polo shirts with a picture of Khun Tongdaeng and her family sold like hot cakes after HM the King and his children were spotted wearing them earlier this year.
The book will contain the most accurate stories about Khun Tongdaeng, who has already been the subject of many stories. will also include pictures of HM the King with Khun Tongdaeng and –as said- an English translation by HM the King. (Source: The Nation)


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Soldiers will check toll collectors

Posted by hasekamp on 21 November 2002 at 12:25 PM
A total number of 250 soldiers will be posted at the four toll plazas on the Bangkok-Chon Buri motorway, to count the number of vehicles passing through and help prevent embezzlement by toll collectors. The checks will begin on Monday and continue for four weeks. This as a new reaction to the corruption, of which we reported yesterday, in which many millions Baht have disappeared in the pockets of toll collectors. The soldiers will work round the clock in three shifts of eight hours each, until 24 December.
The ministry will also try to use another 900 soldiers to count vehicles at all 88 expressway toll booths. They will receive a daily duty allowance of 60-90 bath from the Transport Ministry.
The contracts of 122 temporary employees had been already terminated, but others suspected of corruption are still working under strict supervision. "If I sack them now, we would be short of staff," the Ministry said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Bangkok underground delayed

Posted by hasekamp on 21 November 2002 at 12:17 PM
The underground railway system in Bangkok, which is time after time has been said to open in July 2003, will be postponed after all until (the earliest date of) May 2004. Earlier we already had predeicted a delay until 5 December 2003.
The Bangkok Metro Company Limited or BMCL stated that the cause of the postponement was due to the delay in the signing of an agreement with the Mass Rapid Transit Authority, who owns the subway network, that is currently under construction.
The agreement was originally set for July 1999, with the services to start in July 2003, however, the pact was not approved until August 2000, further delaying the process of construction.
According to the BMCL Managing Director, once the 20 trains ordered from the German manufacturer Siemens are delivered in November 2003, it will take another six months to test the system. (Source: Public Relations Department)


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Tollgate corruption

Posted by hasekamp on 20 November 2002 at 13:14 PM
Last week a corruption scandal was discovered, in which a highway toll booth officials were involved. We did not report about this incident. However, since then similar scams have been reported at three more tollgates, a highways official says. So this might be a much wider problem. 50 million Baht in expressway tolls had gone into the pockets of corrupt officials in last week’s scam. Now investigations are almost complete into suspected corruption at three other tollgates.
Disciplinary and criminal proceedings will be initiated against 42 tollgate officials pending the completion of fact-finding probes. Toll collectors have interfered with computerized detectors at each gate by shielding them with metallic objects such as soda cans in order to skew vehicle counts, the interim report shows. (Source: The Nation)


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Samak wants to smoke

Posted by hasekamp on 20 November 2002 at 13:13 PM
As we reported earlier, from 8 November on smoking in all kinds of air-conditioned public places, like restaurants, is forbidden by law in Thailand. Bangkok governor Samak Sundaravej –famous for his silly plans- is not happy with the law and now he would like to see "smoking restaurants".
Mr Samak said he discussed the idea at a meeting in Phnom Penh recently (it is not clear to us what Phnom Penh has to do with the Thai legislation), and he found it made sense.
"If Don Muang airport can have smoking sections, surely we can have smoking restaurants,", is what Mr. Samak thinks. If you have been at Don Muang airport recently and have noticed the size of the smoking cabins there, we wonder if anybody would be happy in a restaurant of that size or in a restaurant with smoking cabins of that size.
Mr. Samak has discovered that a lot of smokers, particularly Japanese tourists and even Thais, find it hard to deal with the new restrictions (that have been made to respect the health wish of the vast majority of Thai people) on smoking in public places, Samak said.
Mr Samak said restaurants should have a choice whether to serve smokers or to have some branches reserved for smokers. However, he said he had not yet considered whether his idea could be legally implemented. And that is the weak point in his senseless plan. He wants to make the law he wants it, and not the way the legislator wants it! But, if Mr. Samak really wants to smoke in restaurants, he can go to a non-air-conditioned restaurant. Sadly smoking is still allowed in non-air-conditioned restaurants. The legal ban only goes for air-conditioned ones. Maybe Mr. Samak did not read the law properly before he commenting on it? Anyway, we hope that the Thai legislator will soon extend the smoking ban to all restaurants. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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New cholera vaccine under test

Posted by hasekamp on 19 November 2002 at 10:03 AM
Wanpen Chaicumpa, professor emeritus of Thammasat University's Allied Health Sciences Faculty, has developed a more efficient cholera vaccine.
Doctors have always told us that an effective cholera vaccine does not exist, but here there might be some hope. Nevertheless the words "more effective" in the fist sentence are not without meaning!
After dedicating more than 30 years of her life to researching tropical diseases, Wanpen, now 60, is recognized all around the world for her rapid-diagnosis tests for diseases like cholera, typhoid and salmonella. Now she hopes that an effective cholera vaccine will be added to her list of achievements.
Ms Wanpen is about to begin clinical trials of her new cholera vaccine. She has been working on it since 1969, when she won a scholarship to study for her PhD at the University of Adelaide in Australia. The new vaccine will be able to be administered in the form of a pill.
Final testing is needed to make sure the vaccine works well and does not cause any side effects. (Source: The Nation)


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His Majesty's personal doctor dies

Posted by hasekamp on 18 November 2002 at 13:30 PM
Dr Rungtham Latplee, His Majesty the King's personal physician (a neurologist), died last night in a car accident near Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan province. The doctor, 57, was on his way to Klai Kangwon Palace, where His Majesty is in residence. He was driving a car belonging to the Royal Household Bureau and tried to overtake a 10-wheel truck. Reports said the truck suddenly changed lanes and Dr Rungtham's vehicle ran into the back of it. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Cha-am hospital.
Dr Rungtham recently retired from Siriraj Hospital. We report this news as reported in our sources. (Sources: the Bangkok Post, The Nation)


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Phi Phi islands should come under control

Posted by hasekamp on 18 November 2002 at 13:29 PM
A plan will be drawn up to save the environment of Koh Phi Phi and its surrounding islands from uncontrolled tourism development. In recent years one resort after another has settled there and now (at last) the Thai government discovers that it is too late to turn things back. On top of that the island were irreparably damaged by the filming of the not really successful film "The Beach".
The minister of natural resources and environment now said that the deterioration of the environment of the islands asks for a new master plan. "The problem of most concern is that the natural resources which have attracted large numbers of people to these islands each year are degrading, yet continue to be exploited by uncaring business operators,", the minister said.
Phi Phi and five surrounding islands were declared part of the national park in 1983. The problem of over-exploitation for tourism resulted in them being declared a pollution control zone in 1993. The government invested 14 million Baht four years ago to build a water treatment plant and another 18 million Baht on a garbage incinerator, both still unused.
A barbed wire fence was erected around the water treatment plant after a boy fell into it and died last year.
A number of 218,564 tourists visited Phi Phi last year, earning Krabi province an estimated 1.59 billion Baht. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Is the Thai Crown Prince remarried? (Editorial)

Posted by hasekamp on 16 November 2002 at 12:29 PM
This news item has no written source, but was brought to our attention by relatives in Thailand during our recent visit to Thailand. So, on one hand we cannot be certain that it is true, but on the other hand, if it is true, we are the first news medium to publish it.
There is a strong rumor in Thailand that His Royal Highness the Crown Prince has been re-married. HRH was married twice before, but both marriages ended in divorce.
Of course there is nothing wrong if a person (even if he is the Crown Prince of Thailand) marries for the third time, but the strange thing in this case is, that the (possible) marriage has not been officially made public.
As our readers know, the Thai Royal Family gets all the possible attention in the media and is respected highly. Every news bulletin on TV has a special section about Royal activities. So one would expect from the Royals an open communication towards the public too.
Our private sources say that the third bride of HRH is about twenty years his junior and of around the same age as his daughter.
On Her Majesty the Queen's official visit to the US last month, Her Majesty was accompanied by (among others) the Crown Prince. On none of the official pictures of that visit any companion of the Crown Price can be seen. Our private sources are disturbed by this uncertain situation and the popularity of the Crown Prince has not risen after these rumors that seem to be based on facts. The Thai public feels a right to be informed about important issues of the Royal Family. We consider it highly unlikely that His Majesty will make this the unexpected issue of his birthday speech!


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Prisoners to be released

Posted by hasekamp on 16 November 2002 at 12:26 PM
About 8,000 inmates (but only those, who were imprisoned for not paying fines) will be released to commemorate the 75th birthday of His Majesty the King on 5 December, the Justice Minister said yesterday. The Finance Ministry will pay the 100 million Baht for the fines of these inmates all over the country. The lucky prisoners will be released on 4 December, the eve of HM the King's birthday, and so they will just be able to see the birthday speech of His Majesty.
Inmates eligible for release are those who committed minor offences, were fined less than 50,000 Baht and are classified as disadvantaged.
On 3 December, all inmates will listen to sermons by leaders from their respective religions. Then on 4 December, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will chair the release ceremony at the Thai-Japanese Convention Center in Bangkok, while provincial governors will chair parallel ceremonies in each province. (Source: The Nation)


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Styrofoam or banana leaves?

Posted by hasekamp on 14 November 2002 at 15:23 PM
Bangkok governor Samak Sundaravej is a fierce promoter of foam krathongs, instead of krathongs made of natural materials (Krathongs are the small boats, lit with candles and joss sticks, that are put into the water during the Loy Krathong Festival, this year 16-18 November). We have reported about this in the past.
"I can't believe people still lack experience on styrofoam usage," Mr Samak said. He says that it is easier to clean up the river if people use krathongs with styrofoam inside. Styrofoam retrieved from the river will be sent to a recycling factory for making lifeboats to rescue people during flooding.
Krathongs made of banana leaves will sink faster and decompose, making the water dirty, Mr. Samak says. For your information: In Bangkok there are at least 150,000 krathongs picked up by City workers every year.
Environmental activists say that the use of styrofoam is harmful for the environment. The chief of the Environmental Quality Promotion Department says that natural materials are better than non-degradable foam. The Environmental Quality Promotion Department head says that the department supports natural materials, because recycling styrofoam is hard. Only 2% of foam garbage created in the past two years is being recycled, since the rest is too dirty and there is only one factory to accept it for recycling. So, who is right? (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thailand wants to save Burma

Posted by hasekamp on 12 November 2002 at 22:36 PM
We have criticized the positive attitude of the Thaksin government towards Burma more than once. We believe that Burma should not be supported in any way as long as its military government does not respect the outcome of democratically held elections and actively supports the drugs trade.
Nevertheless the Foreign Ministry of Thailand now says that Thailand is ready to be a coordinator for all parties concerned for the sake of the success of the national reconciliation in Burma.
The Thai government wants to support the development of democracy and national reconciliation in Burma, as it seems to all cost.
Thailand therefore is ready to be a coordinator of all parties concerned, including the Burmese military junta, the opposition led by Ms. Aung San Su Kyi, armed ethnic groups and representatives of the United Nations, in efforts to achieve the planned national reconciliation in Burma.
We believe that Mr. Thaksin and his government want to try to accomplish the impossible.
The junta in Burma, as said, has shown time after time that it does not have any democratic attitude and has shown not to be afraid to earn money from the drugs trade, at the cost of its neighbors, in the first place Thailand. So, however noble the idea, the Thai government should be realistic.
We believe -however- that Mr. Thaksin should become a candidate for the Nobel Prize for Peace if he should succeed in this impossible mission. (Source: Thai News Agency)


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One tambon, one product site

Posted by hasekamp on 12 November 2002 at 17:17 PM
Thailand, and the Thaksin government in particular, has time after time tried to walk ahead of other countries, as far as Internet applications is concerned. We have reported about several of these projects. We must say that it is not fully clear how many of these projects have been realized as planned. Some examples from the recent past are: Every province should have a website, every Thai should have a free email address, provided by the government, on a government owned server, and so on.
Now a website about Thailand's 6,000 tambons and more than 1,500 of their special products has been set up and is on-line, a government spokesman said yesterday.
The site: http://www.thaitambon.com offers information about the products of the tambons, in the Thai and English languages. It is a kind of portal where one can click the type of product one likes, and information appears on the product.
The spokesman said Cabinet members are recommended by the government to visit the site for their New Year gift shopping. This site is an aspect of the Thaksin policy "One tambon, one product". (Source: The Nation)


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Monkeys looking for food

Posted by hasekamp on 11 November 2002 at 12:23 PM
A shortage of food has driven more than 1,000 hungry monkeys from a community forest to the paddy fields and poultry farms in Yasothon province. Paddy fields were damaged by a herd of monkeys from the nearby forest, residents say, adding that some monkeys had raided poultry farms at villagers' houses at night for eggs. A member of Yasothon provincial administration said the monkeys normally ate rice donated by villagers and tourists. As their food dried up, the animals raided paddy fields. Now it is to be hoped that the villagers will not start to shoot the monkeys. It is not their fault that they cannot find food. It would be a better solution to feed the hungry animals. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Bali investigation also in Thailand

Posted by hasekamp on 11 November 2002 at 12:23 PM
Indonesian investigators said yesterday that they have contacted police in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore in search of other possible suspects in the 12 October bombings on Bali.
Investigators said the interrogation of a prime suspect had helped them identify five locations where the Bali bomb attack was planned.
An Indonesian police spokesman refused to confirm what locations were meant, saying only they were somewhere in the world. But when asked if he had contacted law enforcement authorities in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore to help with inquiries, he confirmed this.
The prime suspect of the Bali bombing is identified only as Amrozi, 40 years old. Amrozi was arrested last Tuesday in a village in Indonesian East Java province. Police took him to Bali on Wednesday for further questioning.
He is the first suspect in the bombings. If found guilty, he could face the death penalty as he is charged under new government anti-terrorism regulations.
We would be curious to know if any Thai locations were involved or considered to be possible targets of the terrorists.
Meanwhile the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Internal Security Operation Command (ISOC) strongly stated once more that no terrorist groups were using Thailand as their operation base.
The statements from the two agencies is considered as a response to the recent report by the Asian Wall Street Journal newspaper that terrorists have used Thailand as the base for staging violence in Bali. The Foreign Minister said that he has instructed the Information Department to send a protest letter to the newspaper and has kept close contact with the Indonesian government.
He said he felt upset with the reports published by the Asian Wall Street Journal while there was no confirmed report from the Indonesian government on which groups were involved in the Bali bomb blasts.
Thailand meanwhile keeps doing what it can to prevent possible terrorist attacks. The Interior Minister said after his visit to Malaysia that a committee will suppress dual citizenship which has been used by criminals on both sides of the border to escape punishment. (Source: the Bangkok Post, Public Relations Department)


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Tourism crisis in figures

Posted by hasekamp on 7 November 2002 at 5:36 AM
The October 12 terrorist attacks in Bali and warnings against travel in Southeast Asia by the governments of many countries are damaging tourism in Thailand, as we reported.
The Thai Hotels Association (THA) now repors that cancellations of 32,000 hotel room-nights are expected to cost the industry at least 120 million Baht. The figure clearly shows the negative impact of the bombing in Bali and -even more then that- the warnings issued by many countries against travel in the region.
More than 30 hotels have reported large-scale cancellations, while others have reported no impact at all since the attacks in the Indonesian island. The association haS gathered the figures from 90 member hotels nationwide.
The Association of Thai Travel Agents recently sent letters to many leading European travel agents to clarify the situation in Thailand, but as it seems to no avail.
The THA urged the government to do more than just issue press releases, saying it should also move to allay the concerns that citizens of foreign countries have about travelling in Thailand.
TAT has allocated 50 million Baht for public relations activities overseas in a bid to improve the country's image.
We have given our opinion clearly: Thailand is a safe destination. Terrorist attacks in Thailand are as likely as anywhere else. (Source: The Nation)


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Another drug deal from prison

Posted by hasekamp on 5 November 2002 at 10:12 AM
Some time ago we reported that a drug deal was made from a Thai prison, using a mobile phone. This wekenmd the same thing happened again. A mobile phone was used by a prisoner to organise the smuggling of heroin and methamphetamine overseas. It has been found in a search of Khlong Phai prison in Nakhon Ratchasima.
About 200 police, soldiers and correction staff, aided by sniffer dogs, combed the prison on Sunday night.
This was a follow-up of Saturday's arrest of Katawut Pattanawongsarikul, 24, in Bangkok with 1.8 million speed pills and 31kg of heroin. He now faces thge death penanlty, being charged with drugs trafficking.
It appears that a long-sentence prisoner, Sitthichai Sukhathip, known as Asen sae Li, 32, is accused of having arranged the deal.
Corrections Department director-general Khwanchai Watsawong said it was illegal for anyone, including jail staff, to take mobile phones into prisons. We wonder then how this could happen for the second time! But maybe the next sentence gives us the clue:
The justice minister said many prison officials were involved with drugs, but at this stage there was no hard evidence against them. A better investigation might ring up some hard evidence after all. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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ASEAN leaders are angry

Posted by hasekamp on 5 November 2002 at 9:59 AM
ASEAN leaders are angry with Western countries that have been issuing travel warnings against traveling to Southeast Asia, especially Thailand. The ASEAN leaders say that cautioning holiday-makers about the possibility of terrorist attacks in Southeast Asia is undermining the region's economic recovery. They believe the warnings to be groundless.
We have written before that we too do believe that warnings against traveling to Thailand are as useless as warnings against traveling to the moon.
It is true that there has been violence in the (deep) South of Thailand, but now that some of the actors have ben cauht, it appears that these actions in the South of Thailand have nothing to do with terrorism, let alone with attacks aimed at Western tourists.
ASEAN is also facing the threat of a possible increase in fuel costs in the event of an Iraq war. This, together with the declining number of tourists is very bad for the economy of the ASEAN countries.
Sources said Brunei in particular was highly concerned about warnings of terrorist attacks in the region and war against Iraq because of the negative impact on the economy.
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra agreed with Indonesian President Megawati and Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah that Asean needed to strengthen cooperation and not to advise their citizens against travelling to neighbouring countries.
he recent travel warnings by Western countries are simply a fad, Mr Thaksin said.
Yesterday the ASEAN leaders declared that they would jointly combat terrorism in all forms, including piracy, computer crime, and trafficking in drugs and people.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprises Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Best of the World

Posted by hasekamp on 4 November 2002 at 14:31 PM
This is not the latest news, but we would nevertheless like to report about it. Thai Airways International (THAI) had shortly set as its target to become the best airline in the region (Asia and the Pacific), which would be a tough target already, with internal problems like regular changes at the top, the aftermath of 11 September 2002 and more.
But for the Thai government this is not yet enough. The Transport Ministry has told THAI that it wants the airline to become the best of the world, and nothing less!
We have always been strong supporters of THAI and we still are. The service is very friendly and the planes are in perfect condition. Nevertheless we had to choose a different airline for our trip to Thailand earlier this year, as we reported on this page, and we still regret this.
From our country -the Netherlands- the price had suddenly risen prohibitively between last year and this year. We hope that THAI will correct this "error" soon.
But then we believe that the best airline of the world should also fly on Amsterdam, being an international center of business and tourism. The last few years we had to travel via Frankfurt or Copenhagen to be able to fly THAI to Thailand.
Can the best airline in the world permit itself not to fly to the home of the International Court of Justice and other International institutions? We will wait and see. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Walking street nearing its end?

Posted by hasekamp on 4 November 2002 at 14:30 PM
About one year ago Silom Road, probably the busiest road in Bangkok, was pronounced a walking street on Sundays, with much fanfare. Now the number of visitors of Silom on Sundays is falling. This might even lead to the end of the experiment by the end of this year. Some of the vendors that came especially to Silom on Sundays have moved already to other parts of the country. Also the restaurants in the walking area are complaining about the number of visitors.
Whatever is behind the whole idea and the poor enthusiasm, our opinion is that a project like this can only become a success if it is on a (relatively) large scale. If one looks at the few hundred meters that are part of the experiment one hardly can expect a success of the project.
When we wanted to go to Silom on a Sunday for the first time, we were unable to find the walking area without asking for it!
We hope that others, who have more to say within Bangkok, will agree with us and loudly plead for a complete closure of Silom Road on Sundays. If then the public still stays away, the project can be stopped, but -having seen the micro-scale of the project- we have never had any confidence in it! (Source: the Bangkok Post)


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Paradorn can do no bad any more

Posted by hasekamp on 4 November 2002 at 14:29 PM
Thai tennis player Paradorn Srichapan has become a national hero in Thailand during the past weeks. He wins one match after another and is fast approaching the world top 20 of tennis players. At the start of this year he was just number 120.
Therefore the Thai government wants to give him a diplomatic passport now, so that he can easier pass the customs in the many countries he visits (France at the moment).
We are not aware that a sportsman has received this honor in Thailand before and we hope for Paradorn, that he will continue to play as well as he did during the past time. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Lopburi monkeys to hospital

Posted by hasekamp on 4 November 2002 at 14:28 PM
The famous macaques from Lopburi have a skin disease. That is, many of them. As there are about 3000 macaques in Lopburi, there is a lot of work for the vest there. The symptoms are loss of hair, and the vets think it has to do with insufficient food.
This means that the (around 2000) monkeys at the Kala Shrine should be OK, because there is always more than enough food there, and also of good quality.
The monkeys that need treatment are shot with an injection gun and taken to Lopburi zoo, where they get all the medicines they need, hidden in bread.
In Lopburi the monkeys are very high on the social ladder. Whoever causes the dead of one of these monkeys will get a terrible fate in his or her next life. If you watch the traffic around the Kala Shrine you cannot get loose of the idea that monkeys crossing the street there are safer than humans doing the same. (Source: The Nation)


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