December 11-20, 2007
A relaxing day.
Can you tell which is the Bangkok fake ... and why?
My friend, Dan, from Shanghai and Taipei, sent these photos of a five star prison. Being built by the Lohan-Hilton group for private use?
PS: This article is from The Daily Mail. I wonder if the Pope demands the same scientific scrutiny of the stuff that rolls off the lips of his clerics?
By SIMON CALDWELL
Pope Benedict XVI has launched a surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom, warning them that any solutions to global warming must be based on firm evidence and not on dubious ideology.
The leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics suggested that fears over man-made emissions melting the ice caps and causing a wave of unprecedented disasters were nothing more than scare-mongering.
The German-born Pontiff said that while some concerns may be valid it was vital that the international community based its policies on science rather than the dogma of the environmentalist movement.
His remarks will be made in his annual message for World Peace Day on January 1, but they were released as delegates from all over the world convened on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali for UN climate change talks.
The 80-year-old Pope said the world needed to care for the environment but not to the point where the welfare of animals and plants was given a greater priority than that of mankind.
"Humanity today is rightly concerned about the ecological balance of tomorrow," he said in the message entitled "The Human Family, A Community of Peace".
"It is important for assessments in this regard to be carried out prudently, in dialogue with experts and people of wisdom, uninhibited by ideological pressure to draw hasty conclusions, and above all with the aim of reaching agreement on a model of sustainable development capable of ensuring the well-being of all while respecting environmental balances.
"If the protection of the environment involves costs, they should be justly distributed, taking due account of the different levels of development of various countries and the need for solidarity with future generations.
"Prudence does not mean failing to accept responsibilities and postponing decisions; it means being committed to making joint decisions after pondering responsibly the road to be taken."
Efforts to protect the environment should seek "agreement on a model of sustainable development capable of ensuring the well-being of all while respecting environmental balances", the Pope said.
He added that to further the cause of world peace it was sensible for nations to "choose the path of dialogue rather than the path of unilateral decisions" in how to cooperate responsibly on conserving the planet.
The Pope's message is traditionally sent to heads of government and international organisations.
His remarks reveal that while the Pope acknowledges that problems may be associated with unbridled development and climate change, he believes the case against global warming to be over-hyped.
A broad consensus is developing among the world's scientific community over the evils of climate change.
But there is also an intransigent body of scientific opinion which continues to insist that industrial emissions are not to blame for the phenomenon.
Such scientists point out that fluctuations in the earth's temperature are normal and can often be caused by waves of heat generated by the sun. Other critics of environmentalism have compared the movement to a burgeoning industry in its own right.
In the spring, the Vatican hosted a conference on climate change that was welcomed by environmentalists.
But senior cardinals close to the Vatican have since expressed doubts about a movement which has been likened by critics to be just as dogmatic in its assumptions as any religion.
In October, the Australian Cardinal George Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, caused an outcry when he noted that the atmospheric temperature of Mars had risen by 0.5 degrees celsius.
"The industrial-military complex up on Mars can't be blamed for that," he said in a criticism of Australian scientists who had claimed that carbon emissions would force temperatures on earth to rise by almost five degrees by 2070 unless drastic solutions were enforced.
BANGKOK: — No alcohol will be served to expats, tourists or local residents in bars and restaurants over the next two weekends nationwide due to the oncoming election.
The first dry days will be 14, 15 and 16 December, pre-election days for a few million Thais who registered to vote early.
Thaivisa has been informed that no alcohol is allowed to be served nationwide between Friday 14th at 6pm until Sunday 16th at midnight.
Elections on the 23rd will mean no alcohol will be sold from 6pm on the 22nd till midnight on the 23rd of December.
Practically this means two or three dry days in the two weekends ahead, although some tourist areas tend to be lenient once it's past 7pm on election day.
Stocking up at THOCBDC:
My friend Hermann Seiger (Remember him? Lots of balloon trips!) sent me these first day issue corkscrew stamps.
Kevin "Stumbled" upon this wonderful new Bible study site. I want to share it with you.
And, every so often I'll post from it a quote-of-the-day from its Evil Bible Quotes section. Here is the Evil Bible Quote for December 15:
The Talking Ass
That night God came to Balaam and said to him, "If these men have come to summon you, you may go with them; yet only on the condition that you do exactly as I tell you." So the next morning when Balaam arose, he saddled his ass, and went off with the princes of Moab. But now the anger of God flared up at him for going, and the angel of the LORD stationed himself on the road to hinder him as he was riding along on his ass, accompanied by two of his servants. When the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing on the road with sword drawn, she turned off the road and went into the field, and Balaam had to beat her to bring her back on the road. Then the angel of the LORD took his stand in a narrow lane between vineyards with a stone wall on each side. When the ass saw the angel of the LORD there, she shrank against the wall; and since she squeezed Balaam's leg against it, he beat her again. The angel of the LORD then went ahead, and stopped next in a passage so narrow that there was no room to move either to the right or to the left. When the ass saw the angel of the LORD there, she cowered under Balaam. So, in anger, he again beat the ass with his stick.
But now the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she asked Balaam, "What have I done to you that you should beat me these three times?" "You have acted so willfully against me," said Balaam to the ass, "that if I but had a sword at hand, I would kill you here and now." But the ass said to Balaam, "Am I not your own beast, and have you not always ridden upon me until now? Have I been in the habit of treating you this way before?" "No," replied Balaam.
Then the LORD removed the veil from Balaam's eyes, so that he too saw the angel of the LORD standing on the road with sword drawn; and he fell on his knees and bowed to the ground. But the angel of the LORD said to him, "Why have you beaten your ass these three times? It is I who have come armed to hinder you because this rash journey of yours is directly opposed to me. When the ass saw me, she turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away from me, I would have killed you; her I would have spared." Then Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, "I have sinned. Yet I did not know that you stood against me to oppose my journey. Since it has displeased you, I will go back home." But the angel of the LORD said to Balaam, "Go with the men; but you may say only what I tell you." So Balaam went on with the princes of Balak. (Numbers 22:20-35 NAB)
Normally THOCBDC does not visit churches even when it is a Sunday. Today necessity took me to the Holy Redeemer Catholic church on Ruam Rudi as I was trying to find the former location of the International School of Bangkok and I knew from my map that the school was once located near this church.
You ask: "Why your interest in the school?"
Reader David from New Mexico many years ago went to high school at the International School. After he read about my search for Kevin's house in Bangkok he asked me to take some photographs of his old school. He promised that he would dig around in his own photo albums and in his memory for some dated images and words describing his teen years in Bangkok.
Anyway, before I had a chance to locate the school my search was interrupted by a wedding that was taking place in the church.
Any guesses as to why people who park their cars in the church lot are asked to keep their transmissions in "Neutral"?
Do you know what these cloth covered baskets with stick handles are for?
On Sunday, December 23rd, Thais will go to the polls to choose a new government. The party expected to win the largest number of seats is the People's Party (in the eyes of many this party is really the former Thai Rak Thai party in new clothing). [*] Today's thinking is that the People's Party will not have a majority of the seats, thus a coalition of sorts is probably in the cards.
Anyway, for the past couple of weeks Bangkok and the whole country have been plastered with political posters touting the various candidates. These photos were taken along the short section of Wireless Road that borders on Lumpini Park. My car drives on the left side in this election, though the steering wheel is on the right.
[*] The Thai Rak Thai party governed Thailand for the five years before the September 2006 coup that ousted it and Taksin from power.
My friend, Dan, from Shanghai and Taipei makes the cover of a Texas magazine.
Late this morning we drove about 160 kilometers out of Bangkok into the Korat area of the country. We were aiming for the Kirimaya Resort and Spa which is located on the edge of the Khao Yai National Park....a somewhat hilly region of mid-Thailand.
PS: Our suite is fabulous and it is gifted with a wonderful view.
PPS: Our first meal the Kiramaya Resort and Spa was lunch.
A lazy afternoon and evening: naps after sunset followed by dinner (all at the Kirimaya Resort and Spa).
Extending the laziness of our stay Watcharee and I had a room service breakfast.
Yesterday we spent the morning at the Khao Yai National Park and its Visitor Center.
Next: Part III