Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Thailiban Strikes Again

Is it just me, or is Thailand becoming a less tolerant, less forward-looking place? Or is it just that there was a superfluous and misleading comma in the first sentence of the second paragraph of the news story below?

I do hope that the ICT Minister is not urging Thais to reject any technology that is not Thai-invented or developed. I hope he means only that Thais should do more to develop advanced IT products.

Still, I feel uncomfortable that he has to put the issue in terms of Thais versus nasty foreigners. But I suppose jingoism is in these days, what with the government shooting itself in the foot time and again and feeling the need to divert people's attention away from its gaffes.

But if the ICT Minister is really serious about wanting Thais to develop advanced IT products, he might want to talk to the Education Minister about revamping Thailand's education system so that it serves the needs of tomorrow's generation, not yesterday's.

Minister cool on IT
Bangkok Post Database, 21 February 2007

Comworld 2007 gave a welcome lift to IT vendors and many shops within Siam Paragon after the retail sector had been in a relatively gloomy state since the New Year bombs went off. But the event did not get such a good welcome from ICT Minister Sithichai Pokaiudom.

Speaking at the opening of the exhibition, the minister said that it was wrong of Thai people to admire modern technology, which was not developed by Thai people. "It is a fake development because the country is now getting worse as almost everything at the exhibition here is imported and nothing is made by Thais," he said.

The minister stated that "Thai computers" should mean Thais producing component parts, not just assembling, and that they should also design the products.

"It is sad that today we cannot find any Thai products. The technology show here provides foreigners an opportunity to take money from Thai people. To be truly proud, it should show technology that has been developed by Thais," the ICT Minister said.

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