20 January 2023
The Economist worries today about Turkey’s slide towards dictatorship. “When Recep Tayyip Erdogan was first elected two decades ago, he brought welcome stability. For a while, Turkey was a serious candidate to join the European Union. But the longer he has been in charge, the more autocratic he has grown. Critics are stifled, courts harass dissidents, the internet is in effect censored. Mr Erdogan sits in a vast palace snapping orders at courtiers too frightened to tell him he is wrong. So his increasingly eccentric beliefs swiftly become public policy. His theory that high interest rates cause inflation is frankly bonkers, but Turkey’s previously independent central bank must act as if it were true. Hence Turkey’s galloping inflation and shrivelling living standards.
Mr Erdogan suggested this week that presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on May 14th. If the opposition unite around their best candidate and the vote is more or less free and fair, there is a good chance that Mr Erdogan will lose. Unfortunately, he seems determined to tilt the playing field even more in his favour than it already is. His government is trying to shut down one of the main opposition parties, and one of Mr Erdogan’s most plausible rivals has been banned from politics for calling an official an “idiot”.
The West must speak up. Turkey is an essential, if troublesome, ally, located in one of the most strategically sensitive places in the world. It would be a disaster if Mr Erdogan were to join the dictators’ club.”
Trying any desperate means to hang onto power is a certain sign that you should not be in power.
9 January 2023
Chiang Mai Zoo revealed plans to open a -10°C snow dome to offer guests a chilly winter experience normally unavailable in sweltering Thailand.
Zoo director Wuttichai Muangman revealed today that the zoo will gain a winter wonderland named “Snow Buddy Winter Land” in collaboration with Frost Management Company Ltd.
Wuttichai said that zoo guests can get a real ‘winter’ feeling inside the snow dome at a temperature otherwise unheard of in Thailand.
Snow Buddy Winter Land will open after Chinese New Year at the end of January, said Wuttichai.
Inside Snow Buddy Winter Land, zoo guests can play in the snow with various apparatus and equipment, build snowmen and enjoy ice sculptures.
The zoo’s Lin Hui giant pandas will make guest appearances in the snow dome, added Wuttichai.
Hmmm – let’s wait and see.
EVA just sent an Airbus A330 to Chiang Mai. Quite possibly the first wide-body into CNX for almost 3 years.
2 January 2023
A long drive down to Bangkok on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day….with for a change a stop in the now by-passed town of Singburi.
The hotel was a distaster – no sleep – but the town itself was both friendly and unremarkable.
One of those small world moments when a Thai Mum and daughter at a Chinese cake shop started speaking in perfect Australian English – back in Thailand for a one year visit – and the daughter went to Thongchai Jaidee’s school in Lopburi. “Do you know him?” they asked!
EVA Airways is back in Chiang Mai – with its daily flight to Taipei and the best connections onwards to the USA:
On January 1st, 2023, EVA Airways resumed its service for Chiang Mai-Taipei-Chiang Mai again. Operating daily, EVA Air’s flight BR257 of TPE-CNX departs at 07.15 AM and arrives at 10.30 AM. Flight BR258 of CNX-TPE departs at 11.35 AM and arrives at 4.35 PM.
Flights are not cheap.