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  • OPINION

    Deliver us from apathy

    Life, Pichaya Svasti, Published on 10/12/2018

    » It became the talk of the town when social-media posts last week unveiled a sign saying: "Using the postal service of Thailand Post means repaying the debts of gratitude that you owe to your country". The message led to widespread negative criticism. Many people were upset and complained the state enterprise should not have demanded people's gratefulness when it offers a poor service.

  • OPINION

    Construction destruction

    Life, Pichaya Svasti, Published on 09/07/2018

    » Problems commonly faced by Bangkokians living in small alleys in Bangkok include the lack of footpaths, danger and vibration caused by running lorries and big buses, and the mushrooming of high-rise buildings. To me and my relatives, we encounter most of these problems.

  • OPINION

    Empathy and difficult choices

    Life, Pichaya Svasti, Published on 17/04/2017

    » That skinny woman clad in a sari carrying an infant in her arms waited for me in front of the bus door. A few small children wearing dirty torn clothes gathered around my legs looking up at me. Like robots, they repeatedly uttered words "Sawasdee, Maharanee [meaning a queen]. Khob khun kha", begging me to give them money. These sights and sounds were common at all pilgrimage sites in India I visited recently. Initially, I felt pity for them until I asked the guide and friends if I should give them money. They warned me against more beggars' arrivals.

  • OPINION

    Debunking myth, retelling history

    Life, Pichaya Svasti, Published on 28/10/2015

    » History or patriotic myth? When I first heard of a new book, The Thai History, I thought of nothing but another government effort to build a sense of nationalism among Thais. The 208-page book was written by the Fine Arts Department and launched last Thursday at the National Book Fair.

  • OPINION

    Slaying the beast of human-elephant conflict

    Life, Pichaya Svasti, Published on 23/07/2015

    » A Thai proverb says, "You can't hide a dead elephant with a lotus leaf". This means a guilty conscience needs no accuser. It is absolutely true. The consequences of last week's brutal killing of a family of three wild elephants at a meditation centre in Hua Hin district, Prachuap Khiri Khan, prove the rule of karma does exist. The tragic deaths made headlines and raised public concerns. Officials later found the three pachyderms were electrocuted. An employee of the meditation centre was finally arrested for erecting the electrified fence that killed the elephants. He was charged with hunting protected animals and faces up to four years imprisonment and a 40,000 baht fine under the Wildlife Conservation Act if found guilty.

  • OPINION

    A matter of land and rights

    Life, Pichaya Svasti, Published on 08/08/2014

    » Last month, I received a letter from a representative of more than 700 residents of five villages in Non Dindaeng district, Buri Ram province, complaining about being evicted from their homes without compensation. According to the letter, the villagers have been living on degraded forestland of Dong Yai Forest for more than four decades and have an official document permitting them to stay on it. They say a number of state officials have been trying to evict them, destroying their crops, cutting their rubber trees and threatening to destroy their rice plants and demolish their houses. The group later petitioned for royal assistance and is awaiting a response.

  • OPINION

    Age is more than a number

    Life, Pichaya Svasti, Published on 02/05/2014

    » Many say that age is just a number. Yet, such numbers can hurt you if your physical and psychological health has become poor and does not allow you to live as happily as before. My deteriorating memory, my excuses about being “a senior” and my referring to the young generation as “people these days” are among the signs of ageing. These “ageing indicators” and my increasingly grey hair make me admit I am already old and must by now prepare myself to ensure my well-being after retirement.

  • OPINION

    Time to impose controls on hazardous e-waste

    Life, Pichaya Svasti, Published on 28/06/2013

    » A few days ago, I read that the Thai Social Enterprise Office had to extend its deadline for accepting donations of old mobile phones from the general public due to the poor response to its appeal. The donated phones were to be given initially to a sample group of 100 needy disabled people under the One Stop Service for the Disabled Project organised in association with the 1479 Call Centre.

  • OPINION

    Food for thought

    Life, Pichaya Svasti, Published on 23/05/2013

    » One evening last month, I went to a cinema on Sukhumvit Road to watch a Thai ghost movie. While waiting for the movie, I decided to have a quick dinner. Stepping into a fast-food restaurant and queuing up in front of a woman cashier, I was taken by surprise to see a young couple awkwardly using sign language with her. At first, I thought the couple was mute, but I was wrong.

  • OPINION

    Opening our eyes to the plight of the blind

    Life, Pichaya Svasti, Published on 15/03/2013

    » Never before had I experienced and understood the difficulties faced by the blind until last week. My left eye became badly infected and had to be covered with a dressing for four days. Technically, I was temporarily half blind except when I sometimes felt so uncomfortable I tried to peek at things through the gap between the gauze and my cheek. To relieve some of the embarrassment about wearing a big gauze pad over my eye, I donned big sunglasses, even at night, during those four days.

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