Might a Storm Surge Threaten the City of Angels?


Perhaps I am wrong – perhaps I am wrong about everything, I often think so – but the re-election of incumbent Apirak Kosayodhin as Governor of Bangkok seems a terrible waste. For the past few years, Khun Apirak seems to have done little or nothing to prepare the city for the threat of global warming and environmental change. We all know the tales of the sinking of the city which, combined with rising sea levels, means that by the time I have finished paying our mortgage the house will be standing in one metre of water.

A story yesterday in the Bangkok Post discussed the possibility of increased storm surges which might affect the city and its hinterland. The Director of the National Disaster Warning Centre (NDWC) Khun Smith Thammasaroj has been pondering the possibility that such a storm surge could be felt in the Gulf of Thailand, pointing out that Cyclone Nargis, which killed scores of thousands of people in the Irrawaddy Delta region of neighbouring Burma might well be replicated. This is of course not something that government officials are willing to hear, especially when it means substantial thought and investment at a time when the country is already menaced by the international credit crisis and internally by the violent anti-democracy movement. Readers might recall that Khun Smith noted the possibility of a tsunami prior to the 2004 disaster and was roundly dismissed, in some cases as little more than a crank.

The problem is that there is still some denial of climate change, often for politically motivated reasons. There is also the problem that collecting and analyzing data concerning climate change is complex, owing to the interaction of so many variables and the fact that the short period of time in which phenomena have been studied makes analysis more anecdotal than systematic.

In any case, it is to be hoped that Khun Apirak can, over the period of the next four yers, keep himself awake long enough to oversee the various disaster management and evacuation plans that exist and devote sufficient resources to understanding and guarding against likely future environmental changes affecting the city.

Female Candidates Running for Bangkok Governor


Outside the polling stations before elections, the names of candidates, as well as their photos and some personal details, are displayed on wooden boards for voters to take a look. I can confirm, therefore, by looking at the board outside Ladprao Foodland (I did not think about them having a website – just goes to show) that there are indeed 16 candidates, of whom three are women. Polls suggest that the incumbent Apirak Kosayodhin, the Democrat candidate, will be re-elected quite handily (if you choose to believe the polls here), despite not having achieved anything substantial in his first term, so far as I can see.

The three women are Khun Leena Jangjanja, Khun Vachiraporn Aryuyuen and Khun Thoranee Rittheethammarong. If the Bangkok Post is to be believed, then: Khun Leena is running on the basis that “Women generally have more of a conscience than men. Our morals are higher.” Meanwhile, Khun Vachiraporn is running with a manifesto that includes “A finishing school for young women, a college to train young gentlemen, a playground for young street racers, a trainline running underneath Saen Saep canal, and a policy to “Plien sanam rob pen sanam rak” (change Bangkok from a political battleground to a love ground).” ‘Sanam rak’ should be something like ‘field of love,’ I would have thought – I’m assuming that prurient western thoughts are inappropriate here and she means ‘love’ as agape. The third candidate, Khun Thoranee, on the other hand, observes ““I am running because a ‘voice from above’ told me to do so.” She appears to be a proponent of the PAD mob and would bring about ‘new politics’ and put corrupt people to trial – not sure whether she would include those PAD core leaders currently wanted by the police for treason and the PAD members who murdered two pro-democracy supporters a couple of weeks ago – there has been no report of whether the police are acting on these or any other PAD crime or whether they have been instructed by higher powers to let them go free. After all, it is not as if they committed a serious offence like cooking on TV while being Prime Minister.

More and Better Information on Bangkok’s Gubernatorial Election


Coincidence or not, both English language papers have started talking about Bangkok’s gubernatorial election today (I am always ahead of the game. Well, sometimes).

The Nation takes its support of the increasingly rightist Democrats seriously by talking up the achievements of incumbent Apirak ‘rarely seen’ Kosayodhin, as follows:

“As the incumbent, Apirak has lots of advantages. He belongs to the Democrat Party, which has strong support in all Bangkok areas. He has managed his job well enough to reduce traffic jams by improving road infrastructure and extending Skytrain routes. He has initiated bike lanes, which should be extended further. He should be credited for the creative plans to transform Bangkok, to enable it to compete with cities like London, Paris or Tokyo. He has also attracted more people to public transport as a way to save energy and resources.”

These improvements seem in reality to have had precious little to do with Khun Apirak, so far as I know. What are these plans to enable Bangkok to compete with London and Paris? Compete how? People are using public transport because of high petrol prices and because the government introduced free bus rides for people – not sure what his role in that was.

Oh well. How about the other candidates? Khun Prapat Chongsanguan is running for the PPP and formerly ran the MRTA so actually does understand public transport. Dr Kriangsak Charoenwongsak is a former Democrat MP running on programs for young people – perhaps he is the guy I mentioned yesterday – one of the problems I have in not watching television or getting news information from it is that I don’t actually know what most people look like.

There is also Khun Chuwit Kamolvisit – massage parlour baron – for once I am in agreement with the Nation, which also sneers as Khun Chuwit’s insistence on appearing as constantly furious like some kind of pantomime demon king. ‘Personality’ Leena Janjanja is being treated as a bit of a joke; she is the only female candidate – coincidence?

The final candidate is ML Nattakorn Devakul (ML denotes an aristocratic title). I mentioned yesterday that he appears to be the smartest of the candidates in terms of innovative thinking and internationalization, so far as I can tell. His ratings are low, apparently and so he remains an outsider.

The poll is due to take place on October 5th.  

More and Better Information on Bangkok’s Gubernatorial Election


Coincidence or not, both English language papers have started talking about Bangkok’s gubernatorial election today (I am always ahead of the game. Well, sometimes).

The Nation takes its support of the increasingly rightist Democrats seriously by talking up the achievements of incumbent Apirak ‘rarely seen’ Kosayodhin, as follows:

“As the incumbent, Apirak has lots of advantages. He belongs to the Democrat Party, which has strong support in all Bangkok areas. He has managed his job well enough to reduce traffic jams by improving road infrastructure and extending Skytrain routes. He has initiated bike lanes, which should be extended further. He should be credited for the creative plans to transform Bangkok, to enable it to compete with cities like London, Paris or Tokyo. He has also attracted more people to public transport as a way to save energy and resources.”

These improvements seem in reality to have had precious little to do with Khun Apirak, so far as I know. What are these plans to enable Bangkok to compete with London and Paris? Compete how? People are using public transport because of high petrol prices and because the government introduced free bus rides for people – not sure what his role in that was.

Oh well. How about the other candidates? Khun Prapat Chongsanguan is running for the PPP and formerly ran the MRTA so actually does understand public transport. Dr Kriangsak Charoenwongsak is a former Democrat MP running on programs for young people – perhaps he is the guy I mentioned yesterday – one of the problems I have in not watching television or getting news information from it is that I don’t actually know what most people look like.

There is also Khun Chuwit Kamolvisit – massage parlour baron – for once I am in agreement with the Nation, which also sneers as Khun Chuwit’s insistence on appearing as constantly furious like some kind of pantomime demon king. ‘Personality’ Leena Janjanja is being treated as a bit of a joke; she is the only female candidate – coincidence?

The final candidate is ML Nattakorn Devakul (ML denotes an aristocratic title). I mentioned yesterday that he appears to be the smartest of the candidates in terms of innovative thinking and internationalization, so far as I can tell. His ratings are low, apparently and so he remains an outsider.

The poll is due to take place on October 5th.