Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Is more noise better?


Is more noise better?

E-mail: / Snail mail: 136 Na Ranong Road, Klong Toey, Bangkok 10110, Thailand

"Civic Driver" does well to draw attention to high noise perpetrators on a Bangkok street, in this case the police themselves ("Police ad hard on ears," Postbag, Jan 3). The struggle to counter the excessive overall noise level should be backed by particular protest against outrageous incidents of noise, especially in areas where children are affected. May I add to the complaint of Civic Driver the following examples of noxious noise?

The levels of sound in the game centres for children in the upper floor of shopping centres. That in Seacon Square seems the worst.

Safari Park - another noise factory in Bangkok.

The Dolphin Show, 80% young children in the audience, loud speakers and amplifier at levels of pain. Stuffed my ears with tissue paper; not sufficient, industrial ear muffs required. Left show, unable to bear. Dolphins are said to have acute hearing.



Police procedure

"A policeman who shot dead a Canadian tourist and wounded his girlfriend in Mae Hong Son's Pai district was yesterday charged with premeditated murder and attempted murder. Pol Sgt-Maj Uthai Dechawiwat was released on bail, said the chief of the Provincial Police Region 5, Pol Lt-Gen Theerasak Chookitkhun."

Did Pol Lt-Gen Theerasak buy Pol Sgt-Maj Uthai a plane ticket as well?



Forced to adapt

A global warming article in the Bangkok Post raises the alarm that climate change is causing mass extinctions of species and is expected to devastate the biodiversity of the planet ("Plants or animals begin to change or die," Bangkok Post, Jan 7).

I would like to remind the concerned individuals that there have been many epochs of climate change in Earth's history and the data in the fossil record show that in every occurrence of climate change there has been, not a reduction, but indeed an explosion in the number of species.

In fact, these data have caused biologists to revise Darwin's Theory of Evolution to include the idea that environmental stress causes biodiversity and that mutations occur in spurts when life is forced to adapt to changing circumstances.



Electoral fraud is inherently illegal

I write in response to Mads Bendix's Postbag entry of Jan 7: "Case against PPP unfit for democracy." First, I would like to state that I am a neutral party and have no interest in the outcome. As for my background, I am a US-educated lawyer currently working as a professor at a university in Bangkok. This response is written in my own individual capacity.

I object to Mr Bendix's assertion that "in a true democracy all institutions and politicians... must respect the outcome of an election". This assertion is obviously false, as no true democracy allows elected officials to represent constituents if their position was obtained through electoral fraud. It is also important to understand that very little electoral fraud is needed to change the outcome of a political race if the margin of victory is narrow.

Clearly, electoral fraud is inherently illegal as it has the effect of corrupting democracy at its very roots. In democracies, courts and administrative agencies have the power to overturn election results, under varying circumstances, if election fraud is established.

It is also proper in true democracies for the courts of a nation to retroactively intervene in the legal issues surrounding national elections.

In deciding an issue the courts not only evaluate the issue presented but also the legality of the laws the issue is alleged to be in violation of. For example, the court would not only evaluate the assertion that the election should be nullified because the PPP is a nominee of the dissolved Thai Rak Thai party, but also whether the law on which the assertion is premised is constructional under the Thai Constitution. The reason for allowing this type of judicial review is to allow for a check and balance system limiting the power and defining the law among various governmental branches.

In the end it is possible that the PPP will be successful in their defence. Please note, I make no assertions as to whether a party or candidates were or were not in violation of Thai law. Although, as the idiom goes, a boxing tile is won or lost in the ring, this cannot be said for an elected position.



End MRT checking

It has been one year now since the checking of bags on the MRT began and Thai people (God love 'em) have been obediently opening their purses and bags to show their personal belongings to strangers (sometimes rude ones) every time they enter the subway stations.

It is time to put an end to this practice. It is silly and overkill. It started last year when an irrational person, disgruntled at the military government, had a few bombs planted at various locations around Bangkok which exploded and killed a few people. Why do we justify getting harassed every day on the actions of a few crazy individuals?

Please bring back the good old days when one could casually stroll into the subway without having to lob off his backpack for a security check. It doesn't have to be like this. We don't have to live in fear any more. Let's take a chance and try again. RICHARD R Keep investigating The Indonesian government should not consider dismissing corruption charges against Suharto and Thailand should not consider dropping corruption charges against Thaksin. Corruption, embezzlement and power abuse need to be dealt with, and old age, sickness and death make no exception. Chile did not drop charges against Pinochet, even in his old age and infirmity. To dismiss or excuse these charges is in itself a travesty of justice and corruption by those in power.


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