Thursday, November 29, 2007

The fake, non existent documents that I didn't see (but anyway I wasn't talking about anyone)

There seems to be some confusion.

Remember those documents? The ones that the CNS said didn't exist, then said they did exist but were fake, then the (then) boss said he hadn't seen them because he didn't have time?

Well now it seems he (the former boss Sonthi) has seen them, and apparently issued the orders himself, but he hadn't mentioned any particular party. This is odd because according to Bangkok Pundit, he had!

Unless of course he was referring to the second set of leaked documents from his CNS. So may documents, so much spin.........

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thailand and the UK - polar opposite politics

In Britain this week, a man called Nick Griffin was invited to speak at the Oxford Union Debating Club to debate "freedom of speech". (The Union is not part of the university, but it is a well respected institution with many student and prestigious members).

Nick Griffin is leader of a party called the BNP (British National Party), a far right party labelled "racist" by many, but such a tag ignores the fact that they have a full manifesto and their leader cuts a very good argument over the immigration problem in England.

Such is the opposition to the BNP that when Nick's invitation to the Union became public, heavy protests and lobbying took place in an effort to stop the debate. The Union put it to a democratic vote and decided two to one in favour of allowing Nick to appear. The Union representatives explained that regardless of people's opinions on the BNP, freedom of speech had to include everybody, or it was not true freedom at all.

The far left was enraged and several prominent figures publicly lambasted the group, one senior politician and life long Union member resigned in protest.

On the day of the debate, masked and hooded far left activists such as the UAF (Unite Against Fascism) group stormed the union building and staged a sit down protest. Griffin had to be escorted in with security and police to prevent violent attacks and even when he was inside, the groups outside staged a continual howling chant to try ad literally drown out the debate.

Needless to say, this was accompanied by the usual profanity, spitting and taunts that the far left always provide to any right wing political appearance. In fact all the events I have just described are a regular occurrence.

The irony of all this was that the groups that claim to be anti - fascist had done everything they could to bully and intimidate a legally registered politician to stop him speaking his mind at a debate on "freedom of speech" and when the bullying failed, they resorted to physical intimidation and vocal bullying, many of them wearing masks all the while.

This is the state of the UK now. The left have control. Tags such as "racist" are thrown around to silence people because in the UK, multiculturalism has become such a sensitive issue that it almost as taboo as any criticism of the Monarchy in Thailand. To be patriotic in the UK is considered by many to be akin to calling yourself a bigot. To voice concern for the roots and traditions of your nation is almost a crime in itself. The UK is on verge of being lost forever in sea of liberal "freedom".

How different to Thailand. In the Land of Smiles, a picture of the King stands in every building on every soi. Thai students sing their national anthem every day. TV shows remind us of the importance to be proud of Thailand and its history, and not doing so can indeed be branded a crime in some regards. Immigration is controlled tightly and the police have no qualms or fears about "racist" accusations when rounding up immigrants of any nationality. And as for politicians being accused of bashing foreigners, well let's just say it's unlikely to raise any mass protests!!! :-)

My politics change between my two countries. In England, I am a member of a well right sided party. In Thailand, I am an admirer of Giles Unpagkorn's political group and the PAD People's Party.

It's interesting to see how polar opposite cultures and politics can be when comparing two countries. Britain may be "further down the line" than Thailand in terms of democracy, but perhaps we have made some serious mistakes that others could learn from too. I hope the day never comes when Thailand has to deal with a far left group that behaves as disgracefully as those in the UK.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thailand's Manchester trio

I'm a fan of the Thai national football squad. I first saw them live in the Beer Chang Tournament two years ago. I was impressed how the young squad held their own against the EPL teams. Their off the ball movement and overlapping play was strong. Of course though, we can never read too much into friendly games.

The next big match I watched was the second leg of the Singapore game. The squad and the Thai supporters really turned on the passion for that one, and it was gutting to see them lose.

But for all my support, I know the reality is that Thai football still has some way to go. The local league may have changed its name to include the "Premier League" moniker but the product still remains Sunday league standard.

This raises the inevitable question: why did Manchester City purchase three Thai players? No other club was watching them, no big deals had been offered, there was not even a scouting report to speak of. With great respect to the players, I don't think they would get into the Southampton Reserves on their own merit, let alone the Man City first team.

After all, the best players from Thailand seem to be headed for Vietnam right now, and the standard there is still low compared to the top world leagues.

The reality seems to be that football was not the priority in this transaction.

But still it's good for Thai football right? It raises the profile of Thai players, surely? Not really. Foreign players sitting in the reserves is nothing new for English fans. Once the news dies down, these three players could quickly be forgotten unless they work unexpected miracles. If raising the profile of the game in Thailand is a target, then why not spend that transfer money on Thailand's first football academy instead? Even if some parties moved to block the deal for political reasons, it could be funded by a proxy pr even as a charity.

That doesn't mean that some good can't come out of it. If the City board stay true to their word and build talent schools in Thailand, it could encourage a new standard of football in the Kingdom.And if those in power in Thailand are unhappy with politics being played out in football, perhaps they should do something to improve the local game instead of just paying lip service to the world's greatest sport.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Classroom discipline

Today was one of the most unpleasant in my four years plus of teaching.

Perhaps the ominous warning of strange things afoot came when one PE teacher lost his sanity in front of onlooking parents, teachers and students during sports day practice. The teacher flew into a rage (apparently because the students had not heard him blow his whistle) and trashed the chairball equipment before storming off in front of a crowd stunned into silence.

But my problem had nothing to do with the mighty game of chairball. My problem was discipline. You see, I've been teaching for over four years and until today I had only received two complaints. One was from a girl who said that I spent too long on games in the class - apparently twenty five minutes out of three hours was too much - and I was ordered to stop. Needless to say, the girl did not win any friends amongst her fellow ten year old students! The other was from my very first adult class, who felt my lesson was too grammar focused. I took note of the constructive criticism and tried to improve.

It's notable that both those complaints came from private school students. In my two and a half years of state school teaching, I never received a single indictment. Last year, I moved to a well known bilingual school and began to teach grade seven and nine students from privileged homes. By then I was a confident and capable teacher, but a class of thirty hormonal students can test the best of us.

After a few weeks of trial and error, most classes were falling into place. However, there remained a small group students who just didn't want to know. Each day they would simply spend their time reading comic books, sending sms messages or even disrupting the other students.

In the end, I took them to the teachers' room during their lunch break to finish their work. Today, the parents of one darling little Somchai contacted the school to complain that I had "stopped Somchai from having his lunch". (Somchai doesn't look like missing a couple of lunches would do him any harm) What's more, Somchai had complained that I was showing favouritism to a female student in the class! The undertones of the second part of the complaint was what upset me.

Nobody likes dealing with complaints, especially malicious ones, but there is a strong chance they will happen to anyone who teaches long enough. In my case I knew I could rely on the full support of my admin staff and the Thai support teacher in the classroom (more on this in a moment). Somchai was eventually coaxed to admit the truth (he hadn't lifted a finger in months and the 'favoured' student had done everything). It was probably a bigger deal to me than anyone else, but at times like these, I always question my own use of discipline.

How does one deal with difficult students? Well, it depends very much on who you ask. In theory, every foreign teacher should have a Thai teacher in the room for support. The reality - as any teacher will tell you - is that Thai teacher support is a lottery. Some will be very supportive, most will do absolutely nothing and a minority will even encourage disruptive behaviour, either inadvertently or otherwise.

I always seek to strike a good rapport with my support teacher whenever possible, for they can be pivotal in the progress and behaviour of the class (not to mention the fact that they are usually asked to report on you, even if they can't understand a word of English). But again, any teacher will tell you that a minority of support teachers have decided they don't like you before you even start. You are an unqualified farang who has walked into the job and receive a higher salary for doing it. I can understand the sentiment, if not the reaction.

So let's say you have a delinquent horde of teenagers and a Thai teacher who simply wants to sit at the back and play Sudoku. What's the next step? How tough should you get?

One school of thought that is prevalent amongst TEFL teachers is to simply do nothing and ignore the disruptive kids. The rationale behind this varies but is often stated as "I'm the only that gets bothered by it, so why care?" or "Getting angry doesn't help".

Whilst I agree with both of these philosophies, I don't agree that they are applicable to good teaching. For one thing, as the person responsible for the education of the students, a teacher should be the one who is "bothered". To say "What is the point in getting bothered?" is equivocal to "What is the point in giving a monkey's about my job?". Fine if that's your attitude, but don't inflict it on those of us mad enough to actually think that even in the TEFL world one lone student might take some kind of benefit from a teacher who makes an effort.

The second line of "Getting angry doesn't help" is also correct. But again, I find some (usually new or just poor) teachers mistakenly link classroom discipline to loss of temper. This is, in fact, an oxymoron. Anyone who cannot control their rage should not teach, period. Good discipline - including a raised voice - is done in a controlled, precise and understandable manner.

Whilst many educators can and do use very laid back styles of discipline - or none at all - for good reasons, my experience has shown me that many use the aforementioned rationales as a smokescreen. That ostensible reasoning tends to hide a lack of assuredness that manifests itself as either a lack of confidence in using any kind of discipline or a fear that the kids will "hate" a teacher and see them as "serious" , the latter being the ultimate anathema for the farang.

Now I don't know about you, but even when I was a hormonal teenager, I had a well developed sense of right and wrong. Adolescent or not, I knew when a teacher was punishing me for something I had done wrong (how I wish I could track down some of those teachers and apologise for my behaviour) and which ones were just obnoxious (I recall one teacher who shook me by my ear until it tore and bled when I was ten years old. I had got out of my chair for break two minutes early).

Teenagers, on the whole, are fair. If a teacher is reasonable in warning students of their behaviour (or translating if the students' English is weak) and explains any disciplinary action and empathizes it is not personal, they will respond positively.
Indeed, many students come to respect this manner far more than the out and out clown style of teaching. I can think of at least one class where stern behaviour made me far more popular with the majority of these students who had become frustrated at the troublesome group in the class disrupting the lessons for everyone. Once the students know where the line is, you can lay back, enjoy far more jokes and games with them and have fun and productive lessons for everyone.

But just where exactly should a teacher draw the line? Is any copying allowed in the classroom? Should I ask little Jittiporn to turn that ghettoblaster down? Should I break up the boys' fight or wait until one of them is knocked out? Is an impromptu classroom football match acceptable? Should the teacher join in?

Limits and rules (if any) can only be reached through trial and error. Different teachers will work best under different circumstances. There is no single correct way to use discipline in the classroom but there are certainly some good rules to adhere by:

1) Never strike kids. Even if you have just seen a Thai teacher doing his WWE impression and smacking a kid with a chair. They can do it, we can't (and hopefully don't want or need to).

2) Always give students the benefit of the doubt. The first time you see them using their phone, give them a very friendly warning. I always give at least two friendly warnings for any student.

3) Use humour whenever you can, it takes the tension out of the situation. This works particularly well with students who are usually good but are having an off day. Instead of telling Somchai to stop or you'll give him homework, tell him to stop or you'll make him listen to Westlife singles for the rest of the week.

4) Don't ask things of the students you cannot deliver yourself. If you are late for class, it is totally unfair to punish students who do the same. Likewise, if you are delivering a lesson that is not going so well, don't expect the pupils to be on top form either.

5) Bear in mind that each class will develop its own personality, often defined by the strongest personalities or the behaviour of the smartest students. Try to get these students "on your side" whenever possible.

6) In a similar fashion, consider that different students respond to different approaches. Some need praise, some simply need attention and some will simply have behavioural problems that will not be helped by punishments.

7) Be clear and even handed when explaining punishments to students. Be calm when doing so and make a point of telling them you don't dislike them, you simply want to help them learn.

And that last point is what it all comes down to. After all, even if you believe you are just a hired clown, don't you want the kids to be watching when you do your tricks?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Symptoms of an undeveloped democracy

1) Coups

2) Frequent formation of new parties and dissolution of old ones.

3) Vote buying

4) Politicians are actually business men or military men. (Choose a politician and search for them on google)

5) Politicians are alleged gangsters

6) Nobody is surprised that alliances change by the week.....

7) .....and politicos defect just as often (see "end of the old guard?" half way down)

8) Freedom of speech restrictions.

9) Money is the only form of justice

10) People behave like this and get away with it.

11) The coup leader grants himself any job he wishes

12) All the TV channels are owned by the government or the military or one and the same.

We still have a long, hard way to go people. Bear with us.......


The YAF debate clock

It's coming up to a week since YAF Watch received and deleted y request for a sensible debate to their slanderous and dishonest reporting.

I bought new web addresses today, stay tuned!

Friday, November 09, 2007

The YAF Watch clock

24 Hours after the challenge. Still no response from Philip Rodney Moon. Instead he has written a nother piece describing the leader of the BNP as "Holocaust Denier, racist, and anti-Semite".
Bloggers, like all people, are legally responsible for what they write.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The sort of people involved in Thai politics Pt.2

Is Samak , read what he did today here.

Not to compare him with TSOPITP number one, but he is still indicative.

Samak shows us then when you the press actually ask you a difficult question, you can be rude and ridiculous back to them. Even when you are a fat, ugly, boisterous old man and the reporter doing her job is a young woman.

And this is the man who could be the next PM? Buddha help us. Whatever people think of Abhisit, he is above this kind of mental guttersnipe.

UPDATE: No remorse from Samak.

Challenge to YAF Watch

Philip Rodney Moon - who seems to be the sole writer for YAF Watch- had the good grace to actually respond to something this week.

Mr Moon - who has posted a barrage of misleading articles concerning the Griffin MSU speech - points to another blog that...shock! horror!...states an alleged member of Storm Front attended Nick's speech! Both YAF Watch and said blog profess this to be evidence of how bad Nick and his party are.

I replied, pointing out that such a linear line of logic - i.e. the audience reflects the speaker - would tell us Nick is an abusive, violent Communist, since that represents the individuals we saw in attendance at the speech.

Just two people with undesirable Storm Front allegiances attended this speech of about eighty people.

How many politicians from any party never have any undesirables attend their meetings? Not a single crook in the Labour camp? No tax fraudsters or convicted arsonists on the left in the US?

I sent this message to Philip and as you can see he replied by telling me my comments contained "factual inaccuracies". He declined to say what they were but "set the record straight" by obfuscatingly informing me "YAF Watch did not organise the protest". Who said they did, Keith?

I told (re-typed from memory) Moon that his logic was wrong and I wanted to challenge him or any of his leftist colleagues to a debate on the Griffin issue. Surprise, surprise, rejected comment!

So let's do it right here shall we Philip? And maybe I can spread the word a bit too!

I hereby challenge Philip Rodney Moon or anyone of his nomination to debate. I say that Nick Griffin is not a Nazi, BNP are not a racist group, Nick was not treated fairly at Michigan MSU, the left group there were disgraceful in their behaviour and those who condemn the speech have completely lost the debate, the argument and the moral high ground.

I also say YAF Watch have offered one sided, bias and illogical articles on the issue in an attempt to inflate their own fragile sense of self importance and purpose.

I trust PRM dissents, so we can debate on any neutral site of our mutual agreement. I suggest "Debatepedia!". We appoint a mutually agreed, impartial judge and we concord a set of rules e.g. no personal abuse, each debate piece not longer than 200 words, etc.

We can let impartial readers decide who made their point better and more evenhandedly.

So Philip, what do you say? You've spent a lot if time on your site giving "information to interested parties". Surely you do that fairly and justly? Let's let neutrals decide!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Just received this, looks like I could be in trouble!

Islamophobia Inspection:

I regret to inform you that this webblog and some of its comments have been identified as potentially Islamophobic. Under EU Directive DCLXVI it is compulsory for all contributors to take the following Islamophia test immediately:


(1) You refer to the midwinter holiday as 'Christmas'.

(2) You save loose change in a p***y-bank.

(3) You allow your children to read unexpurgated versions of Winnie the Poo.

(4) You doubt whether it's politically correct to stone rape victims.

(5) You believe that the earth is round.

(6) You think there's something weird about a 50 year old man marrying a six year old girl.

(7) Your children have Barbie dolls or Teddy Bears

(8) You object to being a second class citizen in your own country.

(9) You fail to celebrate cultural diversity when your daughter is gang-raped for not wearing a headscarf.

(10) You think government policy should be determined by your elected representatives rather than a howling mob.

(11) You object to your taxes being used to support people who are plotting to kill you.

(12) You aren't convinced that 'Jihad' means 'Inner Spiritual Struggle'.

(13) You don't understand why the Jews must be exterminated.

(14) You allow your children to play with LEGO.

(15) You aren't married to at least one of your cousins.

(16) You sometimes have doubts about BBC reporting.

(17) You occasionally wonder what's inside those walking tents.

(18) You realise that taqiyya is not a Mexican beverage.

(19) You believe moderate Muslims ride unicorns.

(20) You don't appreciate the multicultural need for Methodist grandmothers to be body-cavity searched before boarding aircraft.

(21) You claim to understand the words "Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them", even though you don't speak Arabic.

(22) You object to taxpayers' money being spent for terrorists to hold a festival to commemorate the anniversary of their massacres.

(23) You have reservations about 'faith schools' where the kids will be taught that you and your family are najis (excrement), at public expense.

(24) You don't understand why flying your country's flag has become a hate-crime.

(25) You don't appreciate why it is so insensitive and offensive for the police to prevent oppressed minorities venting their frustration by mass murder.

How many of the questions did you answer 'YES' ?

On a scale of 0 to 25

0 you are a Dhimmi
1 to 5 you are a Najis Kaffir
6 to 10 you are an Islamophobe
11 to 15 you are a Thought Criminal
16 to 20 you are an Enemy of Allah
21 to 25 you are a Zionist Crusader offspring of pigs and monkeys.

Fatwas are automatically awarded for all scores above 5

Fatwas will been posted in plain brown paper envelopes in a choice of laminated or embossed styles, generously sprinkled with ricin, anthrax, sarin or cobalt-60.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Economist has a decent piece about "Thaksin the Indestructible". However, I think TE are overlooking the fact that a third player will not allow Thaksin to return. Also, the army will use military force if necessary to ensure he stays out. Thaksin's only hope is that compared to those who want him out, he is young and he can wait.

Real Life Thailand on.........

(Adapted from "Take a stand" on facebook. Political Psychologists argue that context and perception of environment form as crucial in our political behavior as our values. Looking at my different stances for my two beloved countries, I can see that the above statemet is true.)

2008 Prime Ministerial Candidates:

UK:Nick Griffin or at least the UKIP party. Failing that, David Cameron.

: Abhisit Vejajiva. He has his faults but he is the only remotely clean, remotely progressive politician.

UK: I support the right to abortion. Morally, I do not believe that a fetus is yet capable of feelings or thoughts. Statistical studies have shown that allowing abortion reduces crime. The emotional, financial and mental strain if raising an unwanted child can wreck lives and damage society.

Abortion is a grey area in Thailand. It is still illegal except in cases of rape or life threatening births however abortion clinics do exist.

Affirmative Action:
UK: Affirmative action/positive discrimination is despicable. It is a political football used to pacify groups who otherwise unsettle the government. It is, in essence, a form of bribery.

Thailand:The concept of affirmative action really does not exist in Thailand.

Capital Punishment:
UK: Yes, for crimes such as terrorism, child murder or rape that are verified by DNA evidence. Capital Punishment is not used in the UK.

Thailand: Capital Punishment is in force but rarely used. Many Thais do not support capital punishment in Thailand as they believe police and law enforcement agencies are not mature, clean or efficient enough to deliver justice.

UK: None. Censorship is a form of thought control. Even web sites used by terrorists should be unrestricted, censorship simply forces them to go underground, makes them harder to monitor and allows them to disguise their behaviour. Certain media should carry warnings and watershed times should be used for TV .

Thailand:Censorship is rife. Paranoid junta and rich people at the top have a lot to hide. The masses must be kept uninformed and under mind control. The struggle continues.

Current Administration:
UK: It's time to go Mr Brown. Labour did do some good things for the economy but they are looking like tired old men. Battered over the Iraq war, battered over immigration and battered over lack of NHS improvement.

Thailand:Surayud and Sonthi claim to be working for the good of the nation. Sonthi has done little except serving his own interests and ensuring the military remain in control visibly or otherwise. Suryud has worked hard but like all the self appointed government, he is old and out of touch.

UK: Should be free (and is). At university level, should be heavily subsidised. It should not be totally free. A high number of graduates provides benefit for the state, but totally free education can simply encourage lazy freeloaders. We must produce intelligent, productive and educated youth but we must also inject responsibility into them.

Thailand:Education is free by constitutional law up to age twelve. Government schools are damaged by corruption and class sizes are usually over forty. Many believe that Thailand would benefit from smaller classes, modernisation of schools and training and monitoring of teachers. Of course this all costs money and time.

Foreign Policy:
UK: More pressure must be applied to Burma. North Korea must be pressured by all peaceful means possible. We should continue to work closely with all nations in the fight against terrorists.

Thailand:Similar to the UK, except for spats with Singapore.

Free Trade:
UK: Benefits us, may not benefit other countries, particularly less developed ones. We should be careful not to exploit.

Thailand:The previous regime was accused of signing self serving FTAs with America, but little action has been taken since.

Gay Rights:
UK: I have no problem and do not feel at all threatened by what a gay person is, does or wants. The gay community should respect the same laws of decency that hetro couples do, there is no difference. I guess I go against my rightist peers on this one.

Thailand:I believe the age of homosexual consent in Thailand is 18, as with hetrosexual sex . Social attitudes are very tolerant. We could learn from Thailand on this one. (Beware any foreigner who tells you different concerning ages of sexual consent).

Global Warming:
UK: Let's stand up and take responsibility. One day there will be no oil. Start looking for alternatives and find a way to undo this mess. The state should fund government and independent research tanks.

Thailand:Lip service only. Government spokespeople barely concealed their petty jealousy when UN workers visited Thailand to offer their opinions.

Gun Control:
UK: If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. However, control should be tight. Full background checks, a waiting period and thorough licence checks. Violent criminals lose the right. It is not necessary or desirable to have the same gun culture as America.

Thailand:Contraband arms deals do happen. At street level, availability of weapons is obvious to anyone walking past a street market but firearms slightly less so. Carrying any form of firearm or explosive without licence is an offense. Laws are strict but enforcement is not. Perhaps changes are needed?

UK:For all its faults, the NHS is a good thing. A country should not make its people pay for basic health care. Drug companies should all be subject to compulsory licensing, they do not have the right to hold sick people to ransom.

Thailand:The 20 bhat health care scheme has ostensibly been made free, in reality funding has been cut. Thai government hospitals are under staffed, under funded and under trained. Private hospitals are booming. What will the next government do to help?

Illegal Immigration:
UK: A big problem in my country. They should be rounded up and sent home.The issue of human rights does not come into it. Our tiny country is full and we are known as the "soft touch". All claims of asylum should be scrutinised and checked for fraud.

Thailand:A problem in trafficking and in presence. Neighbouring nations have a number of illegal immigrants, however local authorities are not shackled by political correctness and happily send immigrants back. Thai people put themselves first and are proud of it. How different to Britain.

Marijuana Legalization:
UK: Yes. If we can legalise alcohol, we can legalise weed. Take the money from the dealers and put it towards something worthwhile.Save the police time. There is no evidence to show marijuana use encourages experimentation with other drugs.

Thailand:Unlikely. Some believe that powerful politicians make money from keeping it illegal.

Media Bias:
UK: Fine, as long as we have a truly independent media watch dog with teeth. Politicians and groups with lobbying power or funds should be forced to publicly disclose any investment, payments or conflicts of interest with media groups.

Thailand:All TV channels are owned by the military or the government. Enough said.

Right to Die:
UK: Yes. I don't want to see someone I love go through endless pain and I don't believe any other sane person would either.

Thailand:Murky area. Not specifically addressed in Thai law so therefore treated as murder or suicide. Euthanasia also goes against Buddhist principles.

School Prayer:
UK:Yes but not compulsory. We do not have the right to force children to follow a religious path and we should encourage them to choose for themselves.

Thailand:Compulsory at state schools, at least morally and socially. Private schools tend to be guided by the religious beliefs of the owner. Unlikely to change due to the Thai religious psyche. Does this encourage freedom of thought?

Social Security:
UK:The UK is rife with benefit fraud. Social security should be monitored with independent bodies running random checks on scroungers and freeloaders. Unemployed adults in good health should be given a deadline to find work or be forced to explain why to an independent adjudicator. However, SS is an essential part of state care.

Thailand:Exists in theory. SS funds must be paid by the company and for registered workers only. Most poor people in Thailand cannot register or afford to pay. Can any government take the big step to true universal SS?

UK: British taxes represent about thirty percent of a middle class worker's salary. VAT is 17.5% This is high and is used to fund the NHS and benefits. Such taxes would be lower or expanded in scope if such a portion of them was not used to finance freeloaders, immigrants who have not been approved to reside in the UK and minority groups.

Thailand: Tax returns are complex and usually required to be calculated by the individual. Question marks exist over their usage as the government is not transparent.

UK:Should not be given to much power. The Conservative government were right to strip them down. Unions have the right to form and lobby, they do not have the right to enforce socialism on weak governments.

Thailand:Unions exist and have been known to create stirs, but rarely so. They are a force however and are unlikely to go away. In Thailand, this is probably a good thing as unions can pressurise corrupt governments.

War in Iraq:
UK: Pull out. Too many have died. Whilst the war was noble in its intentions, the prospects for democracy between warring Muslim factions is unlikely to improve. We should go on a one year drive to provide security and infrastructure to Iraq before pulling out completely.

Thailand:Thailand sent 443 non-combatant soldiers to Iraq for one year. Two were killed. Few have argued against the withdrawal.

UK:Yes. Honest people have nothing to hide and the state have a duty to be pro active in protecting its citizens. A warrant should be issued however.

Under the Telegraph and Telephone Act, B.E. 2476. authorities can tap after receiving a warrant. Others face up to five years in Jail. Wiretapping is opposed by many in Thailand as they do not trust the authorities to use it for good.

Friday, November 02, 2007

No free speech from YAF Watch

OK, sorry for this diversion from the usual topic of my blog. What I am about to say has been blocked on other sites, so I will say it here.

Last week, Nick Griffin from the British National Party (BNP) went to the US. As the BNP are a party that dare to cast concerns over Islam and immigration, they are often branded as "nazi" or "racist". This is hysterical, slanderous nonsense. The BNP are nationalists, not racists.Your humble blogger right here has a half Asian son.

Admittedly the BNP do have some murky past and have struggled to shake off members with racist views, and Griffin once (foolishly) cast doubt about the numbers who died in the Holocaust in a magazine article. He has since accepted this was wrong and has categorically stated that the Holocaust happened and that Holocaust deniers are not welcome in the BNP. Indeed, the BNP now has Jewish members. (Note that General Sonthi recently expressed admiration for Mao Ze Tong, and no uproar happened. To me this shows the difference between the Thai and British psyches.)

Under Griffin, the party has become modern and progressive. Their manifesto includes re-introduction of grammar schools, a halt on green area building for houses and economic protectionism. However, left wing groups brand the BNP with hysterical tags such as "hate figure" and "racists" to silence them. By using such slurs, the mainstream parties discourage anyone from considering them as the highly viable choice they are. BNP members have responded with intelligent debate and diligent campaigning.

Back to the issue at hand: Nick was invited to speak at several venues, including Michigan MSU (Michigan State University) by a group called Young Americans for Freedom (YAF). One would think that Americans of all people would welcome free speech, sadly this was not the case.

Before Nick even arrived, far left groups - including some group called "YAF Watch" had designed an pinata of him as a Nazi and publicly destroyed it with a cane. As Nick arrived in the speech hall, the MC said "All we ask is that you show our guest some civility". Instead, Nick was greeted with chants of "f**k you!" amongst other equally witty salutations. (From now on, please remember YAF organised the event, "YAF Watch" are a different group who oppose YAF)

Griffin's response was "I will start with some quotes, I hope that you at least won't howl those down". He was wrong. The students - mostly female for some reason - continued their barrage of cursing and delinquent taunts like "Do we shag now or shag later?". (video link here)

Two other students held signs - both with the "f" word on them - and blocked a fellow student who was simply trying to film the students asking questions for the entire one hour. (see the video link before)

Mr Griffin gave an insightful, logical and informed speech on the threat of Islam to Europe. As usual, he made a point of saying the threat was about Islam, not about race. Some students asked some excellent questions (such as: "What about Muslims who simply want a quiet life and to fit in with their society?") which Nick answered clearly. But it was not enough , the students had already decided that Nick was the villain and they wanted to feel important by doing something oh so rebellious.

At a set time, the students walked out as they chanted about "Nazis and KKK". The funny thing was that despite their walk out, the children still needed attention. They stayed outside and continued to chant so the remaining audience could not hear or talk with Nick. Another student pulled the fire alarm. Although the YAF Watch group say they do not condone this, not a single one of them saw who did it despite the fact the outer building was full of them at that exact time.

Nick barely batted an eyelid as he continued his speech and called students towards him so he could hear them and answer their questions.

After the speech, YAF members were attacked by the far lefties.

Why I am writing this? Well, I sent a message to the YAF Watch blog politely explaining some of my points above, telling them they damaged the reputation of the university and have only proved that they could not win a debate. My comment was not accepted. I sent the main blogger Phil a message politely asking reply.

Click here to see my initial message to YAF Watch. Remember it was rejected but strangely, another comment was accepted by YAF Watch from an anonymous blogger who had just signed up moments after my message was sent. He was referring to the alarm incident and vigorously suggesting it was not the YAF Watch who had done it. It was almost as though someone read my message, was worried that YAF Watch looked dishonest when it claimed not a single one of them saw the alarm get pulled, and decided to reject my message and write their own instead. The brand new messenger also declared reports of attacks on YAF members to be lies. This is serious, since the YAF have filed a police report on that issue.

Remember, YAF Watch is the group declaring that others are fascists.

Well, you might not like it guys but freedom of speech is hard to stop. So I'm telling you Phil Moon (pic here) and the guys at YAF Watch right here and right now that you are a disgrace. You may be young and do dumb stuff, that's what being a student is all about. But you should know better than to use violence, abuse and just downright savage behaviour when defending your cause. In the land of the free, you guys just showed that when you can't win an argument with a sensible , logical debate, you spit your dummy out. I speak for nobody and no group but myself when I say you should be ashamed.

I posted my thoughts on a Michigan MSU facebook section and received gems such as this from Dylan Anderson (note the creative use of grammar):


who died and made you a fucking intellectual? you obviously have no clue what you are talking about. james madison at MSU is one of the premier colleges in the US for political science. you have no clue what the hell you are talking about. get back to hanging out with your wal mart scUM fans and get the hell out of here.

Apparently the capital 'UM' is because Dylan thought I was a student at the rival Michigan University.

University spokesman Terry Denbow simply said:

“I think the event went off without disruption that would preclude two-way communication.”

“I think the behaviors were appropriate for a heated discussion."

Which makes me wonder what the hell he thinks is inappropriate.