Saturday, December 31, 2011

Let's show world our smiles again

After political problems and a natural disaster, Thailand aims to bounce back in the new year with renewed energy and optimism that better times lie ahead.

United we stand

Yingluck Shinawatra
'I would like to give to Thais the gift of confidence in our ability to recover from the floods. We will give our all to the flood recovery.
We will galvanise all available resources to solve problems stemming from the flood, which caused concern for people throughout the country. We will work with all the experts. The government will not let this happen again.
As for my wish, I want Thais to be happy, especially those who suffered in the floods. I thank all of you for your patience, and the perseverance to get through the troubles.
I wish to see the return of the Thai smile. I wish to see Thais united under the grace of Their Majesties the King and Queen.
As for my brother [Thaksin Shinawatra], I would like to see him in good health, physically and mentally. I would be happy with that much.
Since our country has been so bruised with both political conflicts and the flood, I really want reconciliation to happen so that our economy can improve. We will start with the economic recovery _ rebuilding infrastructure and investors' confidence _ in the first quarter of next year. It will be a year in which I have to ask for help and cooperation from everyone to foster an atmosphere of reconciliation.
Although we had wanted to amend the charter in our first year, we are not going to focus on that at this moment. Our priority is the economy _ it is first and foremost."

Thaksin Shinawatra
'We [Thai people] suffered a lot in the past year _ both from political conflicts and the floods. I wish for the bad luck to end and the New Year to be the dawn of a new era for Thailand. I would like Thais to smile at each other, be friendly and proud of being Thai.
I would also like divisions in society to end. Differences in opinions are normal in the democratic system, but they should not be turned into conflicts.
I also wish for people who have been stuck on issues concerning my life to move on, ignore me, and they will find happiness in their lives."

'I wish to see real democracy in which all Thais can have differing views and think differently and the differences in opinions will not become a cause of further disunity.
If different opinions still lead to conflicts and disunity, that is not democracy. Thailand and its people are now being plagued with that.
We've lost a lot of time and I want Thais to try to accept someone else's opinions and learn to drop their stubbornness so they can see the public interest over their own.
It's difficult to move on to national reconciliation as long as people always think about their own interest first.
We have been talking about reconciliation for a long time and all sides seemed to agree with the idea. But since they are still influenced by their stubbornness and desire to protect their own interests, the reconciliation they are talking about is not what is actually on their mind."
Somsak Kiatsuranond,
House speaker

Help the children

'We have had problems with politics for a long time already so I would like our society to maintain its long-standing culture of generosity and helping each other.
I am concerned the new generation of children will not realise and appreciate the words 'spirit of sportsmanship', and if this is neglected it might cause disruption in society, followed by other stressful issues.
I also would like to see economic recovery and cooperation between the public and private sectors."
Payungsak Chartsutthipol,

Nandor von der Luehe
'Corruption is one of the main roots of the many problems we are facing and it has put Thailand at disadvantage.
As a New Year's wish we would like to see the government put proper mechanisms in place to fight corruption. Many laws and procedures leave too much power with individuals. Often regulations can be easily bent since they depend on the interpretation of the government official in charge.
Procedures which are too difficult to understand lead automatically to corruption so an overhaul of procedures, regulations and laws are needed to ensure a modern, well-functioning and competitive Thailand.
This is no time to put aside essential reforms. We hope the government will recognise the need to develop the under-performing service sector and to liberalise many key service sectors where development can have a multiplier effect on the economy.
We need much better inter-ministerial co-ordination to ensure harmonised policies across ministries.
Everybody agrees the least fortunate people living on the minimum wage should be given a better living standard. At the same time we have to recognise salary changes brought in by the government will not only affect the minimum wage earners but it will have a domino effect on salaries at all levels.
Many factories were destroyed by the floods and have to be rebuilt. Investors will look at the options including a possible relocation either within Thailand or even to neighbouring countries.
Nandor von der Luehe,
chairman of the Joint Foreign Chambers
of Commerce in Thailand

Culture of peace

Rosana Tositrakul
'The country has experienced two years of political crisis and natural disasters. Next year, although these problems may be with us again, I hope we won't leave everything to chance. We have the ability to choose our own destiny.
I wish for 2012 to be a year of cooperation when we resolve problems with a macro-vision rather than concentrating on solving problems for individuals. I also hope the crisis we have gone through in the past two years will be the seed that grows into a culture of peace."

Phongsak Assakul
'I wish to see an end to destructive floods. This year's flood hurt businesses and international trade and brought terrible hardship to people.
I also want the government to put in place speedy measures to help flood victims and also small and medium enterprises who have lower liquidity and require cash flow for their operations.
The Strategic Committee on Water Resources Management must restore the confidence of investors. The 21 public agencies with responsibility related to water management should be integrated into one organisation chaired by the prime minister.
"What is happening now is customers are asking whether we will have another flood. We have no answer for them."

'Iwould like to see the drafting of a new constitution. The process may trigger a new conflict. But I am still hopeful we will see rational discussions and for all sides to respect the results of a referendum on the charter.
My wish may not come true as it is more likely the 2007 constitution will be amended instead.
Regardless, I still wish to see a new constitution with the power to override the instructions and court rulings made after the Sept 19, 2006 coup. This will come as a big lesson to the coup makers who issued a law to ensure an amnesty for themselves.
Our country usually ends up with a constitution that allows unconstitutional power to interfere with democracy, which has hindered us from moving head."
Worajet Pakheerat,
member of the Nitirat Group

Successful transition

Pattera Dilokrungthirapop
'The coming year will see the full liberalisation of Thai securities, both in terms of brokerage licences and commission fees. My hope is we can pass through this transition well, with the industry as a whole ready to develop further. And I would hope investors receive a good return on their investments, regardless on what type of securities they invest in.
In terms of industry competition, I hope competition is constructive, with importance given to service quality and prices set at suitable levels.
I would like to see the government support the sector with tax incentives, whether it be for listed companies or incentives for investment in mutual funds.
The Thai capital market needs more institutional investors, and tax incentives are critical for meeting this goal."

Jaded Kamjorndet
'I wish for mindfulness for everyone in society.
Political problems and the recent floods have taken away mindfulness from all of us. We are dragged in every different direction yet unable to make sense of anything.
Only with mindfulness can we see clearly and thoroughly.
As a writer, I wish the government would subsidise the cost of book publishing so that books will become more affordable.
At the other end, I wish Thai writers would receive a bigger pay cheque.
I have no wishes for myself as my family and I are self-content. But if any New Year's wish may come true, I wish for more energy to write."
Jaded Kamjorndet,
2011 SEA Write laureate

Living in harmony

Sombatsara Teerasaroch
'I hope that in 2012 I'll find myself surrounded with new energy from which I can draw inspiration for work or for making good things happen.
I'm also looking forward to seeing more young people who can make a difference, to create something new for the country.
Since 2011 has been a very tough year for Thailand, I wish the year 2012 will bring prosperity to the country. I hope to see Thais living in harmony. No matter what people think or say, I personally believe Thais have been very lucky and we'll get through everything."
Sombatsara Teerasaroch,
Event organiser and founder of Tue Co Ltd

Encourage our youth

Phanya Nirunkul
'I don't have great expectations about the Year of the Dragon. Whether it will be a good year for us will depend on how we take responsibility for doing our best in whatever we do.
So for me and the Workpoint team, I wish everyone enjoys good health so that we have the physical and mental power to create quality work for the entertainment industry and society.
In 2011, we faced the flood crisis, which taught us that no matter how big the obstacle, we have to handle it.
I wish for Thailand to be a stronger and united nation so that we can handle any problems smoothly. I would also like to see more projects for the nation's youth that will give them opportunities to express their creativity and talent. We need to give them more support since they are the future of Thailand."