Friday, August 22, 2008



Consider, m'lud

As a European lawyer living in Asia and coming often to Bangkok, I would like to state the need for any European nation to show respect for the rule of law abroad. As substantive evidence shows, nothing leading to the prosecution of Thaksin Shinawatra or the conviction of his wife is demonstrative of any sort of judicial corruption in Thailand.

If anything, the judiciary of the Kingdom of Thailand has shown a level of integrity and independence in its procedure that is quite unparalleled in the world. It is clear to anybody with some legal training and full knowledge of the facts that what we have in front of us is a shrewd politician and his criminal convicted wife, using their excessive and allegedly ill-acquired means to avoid justice.

It is imperative for those in the political spheres of any country to help in the preservation of justice in the world and not to allow the political process to meddle in the sovereign rights of foreign institutions to do their job on behalf of their people.

At stake is not only the entitlement of the people of Thailand to see justice done regardless of class or socio-economic position, but also the economic well-being and development of the country.

Thailand has been suffering from lack of confidence from investors, local and foreign, who fear that the political situation is unstable and that investing in Thailand at this time is risky. Granting political asylum to a convicted criminal and to someone who is clearly and objectively suspect of criminal wrongdoing will send a message to the investment community that anyone with sufficient means in that country will be able to escape justice from illegal activities by fleeing to another country and seeking protection under false and self-serving claims.




An insult to refugees

Political asylum is guided in principle by international law. The 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees) defines refugees as persons who flee their homes for fear of persecution on protected grounds.

Protected grounds include race, nationality, religion, political opinions and membership in any particular social group or social activities.

Fear of persecution. Not fear of prosecution. For Thaksin and his wife to apply for political asylum is an insult to all people who suffer from persecution for their beliefs, race and ethnicity.

The billionaire businessman and politician stands in line to seek asylum with refugees from the former Yugoslav republics, Sri Lanka, Somalia and Afghanistan.

Shame on Thaksin. Again.



Games coverage lacking

It is surely common knowledge that track & field athletics is the prime and dominating sport at any Olympic Games. In fact, without track & field, there simply would not be an Olympic movement.

But the people responsible for coverage of the Games on Thai television seem unaware of this. Of the Olympic action in Beijing, they have somehow managed to almost completely ignore events taking place in the Bird's Nest Stadium.

All we have been allowed to see (in between hours of football, swimming and boxing) thus far have been the finals of the men's 100 and 200 metres, plus finals of the women's 100m and 100m hurdles.

I realise that Thailand's main medal hopes lie in weightlifting and boxing, and it is natural to feature these events on TV, but to almost completely ignore the athletics events demonstrates a total lack of just what is significant in this sport - and how important it is to the Olympic Games.

Thai television's coverage (or lack of it) regarding track & field can be summed up in one word: abysmal!


Hua Hin


Divining offerings

As an expat in Thailand, I have no time for superstitious mumbo-jumbo like lucky charms, auspicious days, fortune tellers and most other decidedly dodgy practices and beliefs.

But of late, I've been sorely tempted to consult a wizened soothsayer in order to divine the evening's TrueVisions smorgasbord of TV treats and ages-old repeats.

After all, not only is the printed guide more wrong than right these days, but the on-screen guide is often wildly inaccurate even during programmes being shown. As an example, I was watching Blackadder and Stableford recently on BBCE when, on-screen, True told me I was watching Not Going Out and The Weakest Link. So now, I just guess and hope for the best, which, by coincidence, seems to be exactly True's approach.




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