Showing posts from September, 2014

Nuclear Energy Is Not A Viable Option by Dr. Ronald McCoy - 16th August 2014

A speech last week by Dato' Mah Siew Keong, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, at an event organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI) was reported in Malaysiakini. The minister urged critics of nuclear energy to keep an "open mind", as the government had decided to table the Atomic Energy Regulatory Bill in parliament later this year. According to the Oxford advanced learner's dictionary, to be open-minded is to be willing to listen to, think about or accept different ideas. It is the opposite of narrow-minded which is to be unwilling to listen to new ideas or to the opinions of others.

The report left me open-mouthed. The dictionary defines ‘open-mouthed’ as having your mouth open because you are surprised or shocked. When I got to the part where the minister claimed that the nuclear debate revolves around three groups - those who are vocally for it, those who know absolutely nothing about it or those who believe in it as long as it…

A Dark Pensive Reflection

Times are darker than before the political conflict during the reign of the fallen Yingluck Shinawatra. The period of uncertainty was met by applauds, of Bangkok middle-class and those who cherish moments without that complicating ideology called democracy and Thaksinism. 
Then the military drew the lines, halting the urban trendy political deadlock, one that the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) and its ultra nationalists wanted, anticipated. The coup, with its martial law and the rumbling of its machinery, declaring how without its intervention that its dream of a peaceful Thailand would be dragged into further violence. Despite its contradictions, the military lacked the ability to grasp the whole country, thus it focused on what it knows best: cities.
Urban population depends on the educated for governance, and the simplicity of censorship and the mechanics of history. Thailand has an incredibly high occurrence of coup d'etat, one that even some regimes in the re…

Movement of People from the River to the Streets

I try, I fail. Repeatedly. Its challenging not to peek at the local news, creeping on the screen or plastered on the news-stand, and ones that people eagerly. Thailand has a habit of showering me with moments of solitude, and often the flood of news, gossips and half-baked stories reach my ears and eyes.

Despite it all, I travel beyond borders of Bangkok's uncountable districts, from the concrete ornamented landscape to the crowded communities. I wander, pausing in between steps, and then I wonder whether a city this mighty has felt the impact of the new order, the political gaffe, and perhaps the error of social engineering. But then again, Bangkok has a habit of forgetting its roots, as it depends heavily on the nectar of dreams... and fancies.  

Unemployment: Cycle within Cycle Without End

The ringing, didn't have to wait long for him to pick up the phone.

"Assalamualaikum, Zahir." Smiling, I greeted my Muslim friend from south Thailand.

"Walaikum salaam, Abang Z." Zahir replied. Just like many in Thailand, my name is difficult to pronounce, that being the same in Cambodia and my own country, Malaysia. "Abang Z sihat?" (Brother Z, are you well?).

Conversation translated to English.

"Yes, though I'm getting physically tired often nowadays. The packing, the travelling, the usual." I chuckled. "Hope you and family are fine."

The exchange of pleasantries continued for about 3 minutes, from polite inquiries of whether one has eaten to a quick exchange about the weather. Non-compliance to such code of courtesy is often seen as bad-manners in Muslim-majority ThaiSouth, and in most parts of Malaysia - almost as rude as showing your foot to a Thai.

"So you're planning any trips to Malaysia when you're done wit…

Dear Tech Diary, I Have a Problem

Incredibly challenging weeks, with what's happening with my work, life and the exhilaration of a city that seems to be, somewhat, returning to its rhythm, or lack of it. Rain season, or more accurately "flood" season has just arrived according to mainstream media, though in reality, its been brewing up north for weeks, and that most in Bangkok have been overlooking the build up of the flood -- after all, politicking and the usual cycles of indifference are just a few that causes such behaviour.

My misfortune, the accident that caused the Blackberry Q10 screen to shatter, had caused much apprehension; me and the odd moments of being in the state of vexation. Days later, a second-hand BB, a 2800-baht 9790, fitted with a clone battery; patiently conducting multiple resets and installing the OS7.1 software upgrade, a determining factor to the excitement, and in this case mixed anxiety. It has held up well under pressure, although I could do without the annoying Blackberry Me…

500,000 People with HIV. Now What, Thailand?

UNICEF latest report says 70% of all sexually transmitted HIV infection cases in Thailand are occurring among people between the ages of 15 to 24. It also goes to say that despite a gradual drop in the overall prevalence in the country during the past two decades, new infections are now rising. Thailand, once (almost) economically dominant in the region, and now with unexplained road-maps for development, is facing another round in a yo-yo up-and-down health crisis.

What's visibly absent from the current regime is its national strategies on HIV/AIDS, be it a multi-sectoral approach or its financial plan in meeting the specific targets as expressed in the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals. Nor do the mechanics of HIV/AIDS prevention, intervention programs have rights-based fundamentals. The MDG deadline is just around the corner, 2015 in fact. Similar to ASEAN's over-confidence for the creation of a "drug-free" region by 2015, the MDG itself is somethin…