Let's hope common sense prevails for once.
Scrap Flag Act amendment
The Nation, November 26, 2007
...The proposed amendment poses several practical problems that need to be considered.
Eyesight and hearing tend to differ from one person to the next. For example, a person with perfect 20/20 eyesight can see an object at a distance more clearly than a short-sighted person. And the level of visual ability among short-sighted people varies greatly as well. The same can be said about hearing.
Who would determine whether a person had actually seen a flag ceremony or heard the national anthem? Should motorists stop only when they can clearly hear the national anthem, or should they come to a halt upon being able to even barely discern the patriotic tune? What would happen if motorists with acute sense of hearing stop, while others, unable to hear the anthem because they have their car windows rolled up and are listening to music, do not?
In Bangkok alone there are hundreds of government offices, schools and hospitals where the ceremony is performed twice a day. At each location, individual motorists who happen to be in the vicinity of one of these locations would have to react individually based on their own interpretation of the circumstances and even their personal beliefs.
Let's face it, many people - even those who consider themselves patriotic - do not think that mandating such overt displays of patriotism is a good idea. Indeed, many find it more than a little tacky. This is not to mention how impractical the idea is in terms of the chaos it could cause on the streets, which could potentially contribute to a dramatic increase in the number of road accidents and exacerbate the already sticky traffic jams during those peak morning and evening hours.
The NLA passed the proposed amendment in its first reading and has now set up a subcommittee to vet it, as many members expressed concerns about its impracticality and how difficult the change would be to enforce. But the NLA should do more than this. It should reject the proposed amendment in its entirety. Public displays of patriotism should be encouraged, but such gestures should be limited to a few, special occasions in order to make them truly meaningful.