THIS IS THAILAND
A Week in Review: December 4-10, 2010
The truth is out there. It’s just hard to find it in the middle of this enormous haystack of deception and lies. Help us look for it here…
The last seven days in Thailand were not so much a case of fighting for peace as lying for the truth as red shirt supporters continued to exhibit double standards while denouncing double standards, flout truth and justice in their crusade for truth and justice, and act undemocratically in the name of democracy.
The real tragedy here is that there are double standards in Thai society. The country’s legal and social systems are plagued by injustice and dishonesty. And true democracy does exist in name only. But two wrongs never made a right.
The most obvious form of inequality in Thailand is financial, and it’s a situation that is unlikely to change any time soon after the national minimum wage was finally increased to between 159 and 221 baht per day by a tripartite committee whose members have never had to try and support a family on such a meagre income.
With such an extreme financial divide in Thailand, it is not hard to see how the red shirt movement evolved. Unfortunately, far from representing Thailand’s poor, the red shirts’ wealthy leaders have done nothing more than perpetuate and indeed exacerbate their poverty by exploiting them far more than the people they are now fighting against ever did.
It may seem slightly perverse then that ‘double standards’ has become one of the red shirts’ main rallying calls. Nevertheless, after the second dismissal in two weeks of a major corruption case against the Democrat Party, it is hard to deny that they have a point.
While Thai Rak Thai and the People’s Power Party were previously dissolved by the same courts, and former Prime Minister Samak Sundravej was ousted from office for hosting a cooking show on television, the Democrats have survived dissolution in two very strong cases against them because of nothing more than minor technicalities.
No matter the motive for their release, the covertly filmed videos that recently appeared on YouTube apparently showing judges colluding to reach a satisfactory outcome for the Democrat Party in these two cases deserve greater explanation than has thus far been given.
Meanwhile, like the burglar who sues the homeowner for assaulting him in defence of his property, the red shirts continue to seek ‘justice’ following their violent protests in Bangkok earlier this year.
In particular, the red shirts are unhappy about the publicly released findings of the Department of Special Investigations’ (DSI) report on the cause of deaths during the April and May’s protests. While copies of the full report – apparently leaked by police sympathetic to the red shirts – appear to incriminate the security forces in a number of deaths, the public version lays the blame squarely at the feet of the red shirts.
Such a blatant cover up is not only ridiculous, but also completely unnecessary. The red shirts repeatedly broke the law, intimidated local residents, constantly provoked the situation, made demands and then refused to end their protest when the government accepted them, indoctrinated and incited their own supporters into a frenzy of hatred, instigated much if not all of the violence, and killed members of the security forces and the public. Of course the security forces were responsible for the deaths of some of the protesters. Denying this takes away any credibility that a truly impartial report may have otherwise had.
Where the security forces are guilty is in the tactics they employed. The protest was allowed to go on for far too long before the security forces moved in with live ammunition. The protesters should have been dispersed much earlier with the progressively stronger non-fatal methods of water cannons, tear gas, baton charges and rubber bullets.
Tragically, the fact remains that 92 people from both sides lost their lives during the protests and it is extremely unlikely that the public will ever know the full truth of what happened.
In addition to the 92 deaths, almost 2,000 people were injured, but despite not being included in these statistics and not even being in the country at the time, Thaksin Shinawatra continues to portray himself as a victim of those events. Last week, he accepted an invitation from the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe to speak in America about the alleged human rights abuses that took place during the government’s dispersal of his rioting supporters in Thailand this year.
While not actually a victim in this case, Thaksin certainly has the right credentials to deliver an address on the issue of human rights having been prime minister during human rights abuses at Tak Bai and Krue Se in Thailand’s deep south as well as during his famous war on drugs.
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29 Jul 2014, 18:00
Koh Chang Whatever Happened to this Paradise Island ?March 17, 2009
b7Happy Saint Patricks dayIt is a rather uanfrtuonte fact of life that the
vast majority ofvisitors to Thailand do not appear to have any real
concerns abouttheir environment and the effects that tourism is having on
all theislands of the Kingdom. Koh Chang is a classic case of
unregulatedtourist development gone mad!. I first visited Koh Chang around
5years ago, and have been back regularlysince. My first visit wasaround the
time that the government was trying to promote thedevelopment of the island
and was rather disturbed by what I foundand even more so about what has
happened in the subsequent years.Thailandâ€™s record of preservation and
conservation is best describedas flawed and Koh Chang is showing the
classic signs that nothing hasreally been learned from the past lessons
(Phuket, Pattaya, Hua Hin &Koh Samui) and that it would appear that nobody
really cares. KohChang is the second largest island in Thailand. It is
located on theEastern seaboard of the Kingdom some 5-6 hours by car from
Bangkok.The island was given an unexpected boost by the
post-tsunamiunpopularity of the west coast namely Phuket & Krabi, having
got thislucky break there are now ever increasing numbers of western
touristsheading for the island, uanfrtuontely completely to the detriment
tothe natural beauty of the island that existed just a few years ago.The
fundamental problem with Koh Chang is that itâ€™s being developedvery
badly, itâ€™s overpriced compared to its services & facilitiesversus
Phuket, Samui & Krabi, and it appears to be going downhillrather quickly
!!. If youâ€™re arriving on the island from either Europeor the United
States youâ€™ll find that the cost of living is stillrelatively cheap, a
room is still less than half what you would pay athome, but it is no so
cheap when you compare it to other tourist spotselsewhere in Thailand.
Sure, you will love the sunsets and the lovelywhite sand, and you wonâ€™t
wonder or worry where all the sewage isgoing and whatever happened to all
the mangroves, farmland or thefishing industry that gets smaller catches
every year, or the fishingvillages being turned into souvenir
arcades-cum-hotels. Thefundamental probem appears to be that just as soon
as Koh Chang wasearmarked for development as the â€śnew Phuketâ€ť large
swathes of landwas all bought up by the â€śpriveleged, rich & famousâ€ť at
rock bottomprices, leaving it almost impossible for the average
bussinessman tobuy land and set up a business, as they now have to pay
through thenose for it. Almost all the west coast is now covered with
badlydesigned & executed â€śluxuryâ€ť self-contained resorts, built
withoutconsideration for the environment, conservation or
islandinfrastructure. Apparently, unlike Koh Samui & Phuket there are
nobuilding codes harmonizing construction with the natural
surroundings.They are also allowed to restrict access to the beach for
others. Theyare for the most part badly designed and ill conceived.
Appearance isall, the places are little more than decorated concrete
blocks.Healthand safety has simply not been heeded or addressed some of
the pooldesigns look positively lethal. Slippery tiles adorn pool-sides
andbathrooms throughout. And building work never appears to stop,
quiteoften guests will find that their rooms are within audible distance
ofa building site. All these new resorts are now greatly restricting
theamount of good beach that is accessible to the public; it can only bea
matter of time before all the good sandy beaches/sea fronts becomeresort
owned or dominated. This goes against the principle that EVERYbeach within
the Kingdom is owned by the King and is therefore free tobe accessed & used
by EVERYONE. The other area of concern regardingthis kind of concrete
construction is that it leaves a huge carbonfoot-print as it inevitably
requires lots of air-conditioning to keepthe it cool, uses lots of power
for hot water,and uses ever increasingamounts of fresh water for showers
and toilets, and drains etc, etc.The centre of Koh Chang is a dedicated
national park, but unlike allof Thailandâ€™s other National Parks, it is
not open to visitors, youcan get a guide who will take you in but strictly
speaking thatâ€™sagainst the law. There is virtually no effort made to set
up a goodsystem of eco-tourism or even trials in the park as you might find
incountries such as Australia or North America, even other NationalParks in
Thailand make an effort in that direction. There is only oneroad around the
island of Koh Chang and even that doesnâ€™t go all theway around, itâ€™s a
horse-shoe shape, there was a dirt track thatconnected the two ends but it
wasnâ€™t for the fainthearted and nowimpassable as parts have been
constantly washed away. The roads wereoriginally built for the logging &
construction traffic.The main roadis barely more than an asphalted single
track but cannot cope with theever increasing load of cars trucks, pickups
and Song Taews pouringonto the island. Patchy attempts have been made at
road widening inparts. Most of the bridges have been washed out and are
replaced bydrains covered over with rubble, please beware of hitting these
atnight or on a motorbike. In short the roads are just not
substantialenough for the volumes of traffic that attempt to navigate them.
Asthe second largest island inThailand, walking around it in a day isnot an
option. Koh Chang is also very mountainous and the roads arevery windy and
hilly and the resorts can be a long way from any shops,night-life etc, so
you will typically have to rely on the baht taxiservice (songtaews) but
this is still very haphazard, so itâ€™s reallyuseful to hire a motorbike or
a car,but you will find that this istypically 50%+ more expensive than on
the mainland. It might even beworth hiring a vehicle on the mainland and
driving there. Koh Changdoes not have its own airport,so if you want to
fly, you will have toland atTrat airport which is on the mainland quite
near (20 minutes)to the ferries to Koh Chang. Get a taxi to the ferry it
will onlycost you a few baht. A more comfortable alternative is to take
theairport minibus to any resort on Koh Chang a convenient way to getto
your hotel with the minimum baggage re-handling. Ferries run every30-45
minutes from 6.30am around 7.30pm. There are several ferrycrossings, they
take from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on which ferryyou take. The ferries
can now be very over stretched during the highseason and week-ends coming
back from the island to the mainland, eventhough there is a new car-park
the queues can still extend back up thehill for quite a long way. The ferry
services are reasonably pricedand are among the best organised aspects of
the islands touristindustry. Once you arrive on the island where do you
stay ?. The bestknownâ€ťtownâ€ť that most people arrive at is White Sands,
which isprobably the largest conglomeration of buildings on the island,
itâ€™san increasingly crowded long strip of hotels, resorts,
restaurants,gift shops, tailors and motley bars about 3 km long built
between thesea and the mountains. The construction work that has taken
place overthe last 3 years has completely filled the space between hills
and theshore. The developers have now started to dig away at the hills
behindand are erecting buildings wherever they can between the
mudslides.One wonders how long it will be before a cliff collapses and
takes abuilding or two with it. Take a look at the land above and behind
thebuildings to see evidence of where the landslips are occurring.
Forfamily resorts with a beach, Klong Prao Beach is probably as good asit
gets, there are several resorts there actually with beach frontage,The
Paradise is all nicely built new concrete bungalows, very tightlypacked,
Coconut and Royal Coconut are next to that and Klong PraoResort has a long
beach front and good pool beside the sea. All areconstantly redeveloping to
increase the density of accommodationwithin the available strip of beach.
If you are looking for a moreisolated place with less frantic development
you need to go round toâ€śLong Beachâ€ť on the far South-East side of the
island. This side isfar less developed but there are limited beaches of any
significance,the best one being Long Beach itself, but even it is not that
good.Itâ€™s accessible by dirt road sections of which get regularly
washedaway every rainy season, but its quite a pleasant drive with lots
ofgood views. Accommodation is basic & laidback. Booking ahead isdefinately
suggested especially on beach resorts during the highseason Christmas,
New Year and Songkran (mid-April) You might thinkthat I actually do not
like Koh Chang, that is completely wrong, Ireally LOVED the natural,
unspoilt island that I first visited onlyliterrally just a few years ago,
what I find so frustrating is thatALL Islands only have limited resources
water, space and naturalhabitat are always at a premium, they cannot
survive unregulateddevelopment, the like of which is taking place on Koh
Chang. Theecological ramifications of this development are now beginning to
showin such things as sea-water quality, damage to coral air pollutionfrom
roads and traffic and encroachment onto the national park. Thiswill spell
the end for the wildlife there. The massive increase in useof electricity,
and water by the hotels and other businesses areputting a huge strain on
the infrastructure and the extra traffic tocarry both people and goods is
more than the road system was everdesigned to cope with. I just hope that
the lessons learnt from KohChang, Koh Samui & Phuket are heeded, but
somehow I donâ€™t think so,what do you think ?.
30 Jul 2014, 07:53
Thanks for helping me to see things in a <a
01 Aug 2014, 11:09
This shows real exesetirp. Thanks for the answer. http://gawgccy.com
03 Aug 2014, 17:49
I <a href="http://awenrfqa.com">di'ndt</a> know where to find
this info then kaboom it was here.
05 Aug 2014, 15:02
Good points all around. Truly apedacietpr. http://savjwrtat.com