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2019-01-02 Bangkok Post

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Bangkok Post
ÎRead more news at bangkokpost.com
T H E N E WS PA P E R YO U C A N T RU S T
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2019  30 BAHT
King’s coronation date set for May 4
Several ceremonies to
take place over 3 days
POST REPORTERS
His Majesty the King’s coronation will
take place May 4-6, according to the Royal
Household Bureau.
The actual coronation ceremony will
be performed on May 4. After the coronation, His Majesty the King will grant an
audience to a grand gathering of royal
family members, privy councillors, cabinet members and senior government
officials.
Later that day, the assumption of
residence ceremony will be held. The
ritual marks the King taking up residence at the Grand Palace. On May 5,
a ceremony marking the inscription of
the King’s full ceremonial name on a
golden tablet will take place, after which
the monarch will bestow new royal titles
upon members of the royal family.
His Majesty will then travel in a state
procession around the palace, the details
of which have yet to be revealed. On May
6, the King will appear on the balcony
of Sutthaisawan Prasat Throne Hall at
the Grand Palace where the public will
be given the opportunity to give their
best wishes to the monarch, according
to the Royal Household Bureau. His
Majesty will then grant an audience with
the diplomatic corps in the Chakri Maha
Prasat Throne Hall.
After the coronation, the King also
plans a royal barge procession along
the Chao Phraya River during the royal
krathin (Buddhist monk robe presentation) ceremony later this year, the Royal
Household Bureau said.
On Dec 1, 2016, His Royal Highness
Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn
accepted an invitation by National
Legislative Assembly President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai to become king and
acceded to the throne as the 10th monarch of the Chakri Dynasty after King
Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away on Oct
13 of that year. The last coronation to take
place in Thailand was that of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX, on May 5, 1950.
Meanwhile, the Royal Household
Bureau opened the gates of the Grand
Palace to the public yesterday so people
could sign well-wishers’ books to wish
His Majesty the King and the royal family
a happy New Year.
Among those at the Grand Palace
yesterday were privy councillors, Prime
Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, cabinet
ministers, members of the legislature,
the judiciary, independent organisations, foreign diplomats, military leaders, government officials, politicians and
businessmen. No word was to hand on
whether a public holiday will be granted
during the coronation period.
Political chaos
tipped as NCPO keen to stay
Pundits predict more
unrest after the Feb 24
general election if Prime
Minister Prayut manages
to catapult himself
back into power, writes
Mongkol Bangprapa
ore signs of political unrest have emerged in the run-up to
the Feb 24 general election, with pundits now anticipating
further political disruptions after the poll.
One key factor is the growing belief that the National Council for
Peace and Order (NCPO) will attempt to keep its grip on power, they
told Bangkok Post when asked to predict and assess the political
situation after the election.
This has been heavily commented on since the 2016 constitutional
referendum, which won the overwhelming support of the public and
justified the charter-drafting body’s move to write a provisional clause
requiring that 250 senators must be picked by the NCPO. This is seen
as the body’s first step to secure power after the election, they said.
A number of controversial conditions were
then added to the provisional clause.
One of these says the
Senate is authorised to
vote to choose the next
prime minister, while
another grants it the
power to direct the new
government to follow the
military regime’s national
strategies and reform
guidelines, critics said.
That means the pro-regime camp will likely require 376 parliamentary seats to support its bid to choose the prime minister. However,
it has since moved to establish the pro-regime Palang Pracharath
Party (PPRP) to help advance its cause.
Four cabinet ministers later joined the party as executives, while
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s name figured prominently in
discussions of which candidate the party would pick to run on its
ticket for a democratically elected premier.
They said these developments benefit the PPRP by helping it to
attract more former MPs. However, the PPRP’s fledgling success has
sown division among various parties. They are now divided into two
camps: pro-regime and pro-democracy.
The camps are now embroiled in a political game as they try to
figure out how to win the election and what to do afterwards.
No matter which side wins, the other side is determined to lodge
a series of complaints against it and may even reject the election
results altogether, they noted.
M
The
road
ahead:
Navigating 2019
Firework fanfare ushers in New Year
Bangkok hosted a New Year’s Eve fireworks show to rival any other. The show lit up the Chao Phraya River and was part of the Amazing Thailand Countdown 2019 event by Iconsiam.
The fireworks were made from Thai glutinous rice, to send an environmentally friendly message. The show presented the history of the river and reflected people’s way of life and local
legends. PATIPAT JANTHONG Continued on Page 3
2 I
Bangkok Post I
NATIONAL
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2019
Revelry and Buddhist blessings
RIGHT
Thai Buddhists flock to Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram,
commonly known as Wat Phra Kaeo, yesterday to
worship the Emerald Buddha, seen as the sacred
protector of the Thai people. They believe this will bring
them good luck and make their wishes come true in the
year ahead. PATIPAT JANTHONG BELOW
Performers in traditional costumes pray for a prosperous
New Year at Lan Khon Muang plaza in front of the
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration. APICHIT JINAKUL
A monk uses holy water to bless the crowd at an annual prayer event marking the New Year at Wat
Benchamabophit in Bangkok’s Dusit district. PORNPROM SATRABHAYA
Buddhists attend a prayer event heralding the New Year at Wat Saket in Bangkok. APICHIT JINAKUL
Women frolic at the Love and Warmth at Winter’s End festival
in Sanam Sua Pa. PORNPROM SATRABHAYA
Revellers on Monday night pack the plaza outside the CentralWorld shopping complex for the AIS Bangkok Countdown 2019@CentralWorld event. It is one of the major
countdown events in Bangkok. PRAKIT JANTHAWONG
Thronging crowds celebrate the New Year countdown on Khao San Road. VARUTH HIRUNYATHEB
Soldiers patrol at Pak Bara viewpoint in Satun at the Amazing
Thailand Countdown 2019. WICHAN CHAROENKIATPAKUL
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2019
I Bangkok Post
NATIONAL
Abhisit rejects Pheu
Thai coalition offer
Plan was to nominate
Chadchart for PM
POST REPORTERS
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva
has rejected Pheu Thai’s offer to make a
pact with the Democrats to form a government of national unity after the Feb
24 general election.
Mr Abhisit yesterday said he saw no
reason to agree to the proposal because
such a government would be possible only
with the consent of all parties.
On Monday, a core Pheu Thai member
said the party might not win enough seats
in the next election so made the offer to
join forces with arch-rivals the Democrats.
There was a report that former transport minister and key Pheu Thai figure
Chadchart Sittipunt would be nominated
as prime minister if such a national government was formed.
The high-level party member, who did
not wish to be identified, made the comments during a visit to China by leading
Pheu Thai politicians, including Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan who heads the
party’s strategy committee.
The core leader said the new electoral
system, under which large parties are predicted to win fewer seats than in previous polls, is not conducive to Pheu Thai
having enough weight in parliament to
see its candidate become prime minister.
The Pheu Thai member said the party
stands ready to invite the Democrats, who
could win between 80-100 seats, to join it
in forming a coalition government.
Pheu Thai, the Democrats and their
allies must have at least 375 seats between
them in order for a Pheu Thai-nominated
candidate to become prime minister.
A vote in parliament for the next prime
minister from candidates nominated by
the parties will also involve the 250 senators selected by the National Council for
Peace and Order. Therefore, a total of 750
parliamentarians will vote for a prime
minister; 500 MPs plus the senators.
The core Pheu Thai member said the
party has floated the idea of allowing Mr
Abhisit to become parliament president
and allocating some “top-grade” ministries to the Democrat Party in return for its
support for a Pheu Thai-nominated prime
ministerial candidate.
Meanwhile, Mr Abhisit yesterday said
the Democrat Party has finished formulating its policies for the election, adding
that a process to select poll candidates is
expected to be concluded this week.
The party’s candidates — 350 in the
constituency system and 150 in the partylist framework — will be revealed to the
public after being formally endorsed
by the party’s executive committee, Mr
Abhisit said.
All of them will be invited for a briefing
on the party’s policies and related election
rules, the former prime minister added.
Mr Abhisit also warned the government
not to use its power and state mechanisms
to gain an unfair advantage over other parties ahead of the election.
He said that even though the Election Commission has the authority to
directly oversee the election, the current government still wields power over
the commission as it can remove election commissioners from office and can
change election rules via the invocation
of the all-powerful Section 44 of the
interim constitution.
INBrief
Flood warnings in
nine provinces
WEATHER: The Meteorological
Department has warned of heavy
downpours and possible flash flooding
in nine coastal southern provinces.
The provinces are Prachuap Khiri
Khan, Chumphon, Surat Thani,
Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala
and Narathiwat.
The storm is expected to hit southern provinces on the rim of the Gulf
of Thailand from Jan 3-5, according to
Phayao Khrueangam of the Songkhlabased Southern Meteorological Centre
(East Coast).
“Sea waves in the Gulf will get
stronger and reach two or three metres
high,” she said.
The department warned small
fishing boats not to head to sea during
this period.
Police finally nab
elderly fraudster
Keeping watch
CRIME: Police finally caught up
A Probation Department official checks an electronic monitoring bracelet placed on a
drink-driving offender on probation yesterday in Bangkok. There are 66 drink-driving
offenders currently wearing the smart-watch looking devices nationwide. APICHIT
JINAKUL FISHERIES
NEW YEAR BREAK
Trawler
conflicts to
be resolved
Holidaymakers flock back to Bangkok
PENCHAN CHAROENSUTHIPAN
Labour Minister Adul Sangsingkeo has
pledged to end conflicts with commercial
trawlers before the country ratifies the
International Labour Organisation’s (ILO)
Work in Fishing Convention, or C188, by
the end of this month.
“We will spend one month speaking with
affected groups. The permanent secretary
will handle the discussion with representatives from commercial trawler groups in 22
coastal provinces. We expect a clear solution before we sign the treaty,” Mr Adul told
the Bangkok Post.
The move aims to solve conflicts after
commercial trawlers protested against
restrictions they would face after the government signed the C188 treaty with the
ILO.
They have been protesting since December 2017, asking the government to drop
the ratification.
Commercial trawler owners even went
so far as to ask Prime Minister Prayut Chano-cha to apply the all-powerful Section 44
of the previous interim charter to revoke
the ratification plan.
Their call was unmet. “The government
will not change its plan to ratify C188 at the
end of this month,” Pol Gen Adul insisted.
However, the ministry will set up a committee to fine-tune fishery restrictions,
hoping the opponents will eventually agree
with the government before the ratification,
said the labour minister.
Among the issues concerned is the new
requirement to pay workers electronically,
instead of handling cash.
“This issue alone causes trouble to both
employers and employees,” Phubet Chanthanimi, chairman of the Pattani Fisheries
Association, said, adding payment methods
are not strictly stated in the C188.
There are not many ATM booths near
their workplaces, so they have to travel
long distances, which means they incur
expenses just to get paid, Mr Phubet said.
Opponents also raised doubts over the
idea of paying public health officials for
additional expenses concerning eye and
ear examinations for fishing crews. All
employees are already required to go for
a physical check-up every year.
The ratification of C188 is among the
state’s efforts to gain trust from foreign
importers of seafood products after the
European Union yellow-carded, or gave a
final warning to, Thailand in 2015 for illegal,
unreported and unregulated fishing.
POST REPORTERS
NEW YEAR
Traffic Tragedies
m road
road
d accidents
a id
acc
ident
nts
t
ts
Deaths and injuries from
nationwide on Day 5 of the 'Seven Dangerous
Days' over the New Year from Dec 27, 2018 to
Jan 2, 2019.
Date
Accidents
Dead
Injured
Dec 27
420 (477)
43 (51)
431 (490)
Dec 28
570 (575)
59 (51)
589 (606)
Dec 29
643 (648)
83 (79)
667 (681)
Dec 30
561 (678)
51 (76)
578 (703)
Dec 31
569 (677)
72 (75)
591 (692)
Total 2,761 (3,055) 314 (332) 2,848 (3,172)
( ) last year: New Year period casualties from
Dec 28, 2017 to Jan 3, 2018
Provinces with most accidents: Nakhon Si
Thammarat (23); Buri Ram and Suphan Buri (21)
Provinces with most fatalities: Si Saket and
Ubon Ratchathani (4); Chumphon Nakhon
Pathom, Buri Ram and Surat Thani (3)
Provinces with most injuries: Nakhon Si
Thammarat (27); Suphan Buri (24); Nakhon
Pathom, Buri Ram and Surat Thani (18)
Source: Road Safety Directing Centre
BANGKOK POST GRAPHICS
Hundreds of thousands of people thronged
provincial bus terminals, railway stations
and airports yesterday as they prepared
to return to Bangkok after a long New
Year’s holiday.
Extra buses and trains were put into service to ferry people back to the capital, while
almost all seats on domestic flights from
major cities to Bangkok were occupied.
Heavy traffic was also reported on key
provincial roads across the country.
Roadblocks were set up to examine vehicles and check drivers nationwide. Vehicles
driven by drunk drivers were seized by the
authorities and will be handed back to their
owners after the holiday is over.
According to data collected by the
National Council for Peace and Order
(NCPO), 2,729 vehicles — 1,945 motorcycles and 784 cars — driven by drunk motorists have been seized by the authorities
since Dec 27.
Authorities from Nakhon Ratchasima
said Mittraphap Road was choked with
a massive amount of vehicles. A line of
I 3
vehicles stretching more than 10 kilometres was seen from Klong Pai sub-district
to Pak Chong district.
Nakhon Ratchasima governor Wichien
Chantharanothai said he expected more
than 300,000 vehicles would pass through
his province to Bangkok yesterday.
As such, he ordered authorities to establish rest areas along Mittraphap Road for
tired drivers as a safety precaution.
On public transport, the Transport Company, Bor Kor Sor, said it expected more than
100,000 bus passengers to arrive yesterday
at three terminals in Bangkok — Chatuchak,
Ekkamai and Borommaratchonnani.
Extra buses were put into service in
some provinces as demand was higher
than anticipated.
Apart from preparing enough buses for
passengers, the company said it would
ensure that there are no intoxicated drivers operating the buses.
There were reports that more than 90%
of seats on domestic flights to Don Mueang
airport yesterday were booked.
The low-cost airlines that offered cheap
ticket prices were fully booked on flights
from major provinces to Bangkok.
Many passengers arriving at Don
Mueang airport had to wait in long lines
to catch taxis to their homes.
According to Airports of Thailand Plc
(AoT), more than 125,000 passengers
arrived at Don Mueang airport on 787
flights yesterday.
Meanwhile, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has increased its overall daily
capacity to help transport people travelling
from their home provinces to Bangkok after
the seasonal break.
Extra trains have been added on busy
lines such as Ubon Ratchathani to Bangkok,
Udon Thani to Bangkok and Chiang Mai
to Bangkok, which would enable the SRT
to handle an additional capacity of 5,000
more passengers a day.
Transport Minister Arkom Termpittayapaisith yesterday travelled to Tak province
to inspect a new passenger terminal at
Mae Sot airport, which will officially open
this year.
He also visited rest areas along the highway to give moral support to officials workk
ing during the festival.
with and arrested a woman on fraud
charges yesterday after a sevenyear hunt.
Kanlaya Wisetsiri was stopped by
immigration officers at Aranyaprathet
border checkpoint yesterday morning
as the 73-year-old was heading to a
casino in the Cambodian border town
of Poipet.
Police said she admitted she was
the person named on an arrest warrant issued by the Criminal Court on
Oct 14, 2011.
A resident of Nonthaburi’s Muang
district, Ms Kanlaya is accused of forging and cashing cheques.
Family killer had
‘issues’ with in-laws
CHUMPHON: The man who shot dead
six family members, including his wife
and two children, before turning the
gun on himself at a New Year’s party
had long-standing issues with his
wife’s relatives, one relation revealed
yesterday
Sucheep Sornsung, 41, had conflicts with the family of his wife and
this might be what led to the mass
shooting during the New Year party,
Vichit Naklod, a relative of the family
told media.
“Usually, he was polite and helpful to others. After he was released
from jail he tried so hard to be a good
person, but he was still not accepted
by his wife’s family. That may have
made him snap,” he said.
Mr Sucheep used a pistol to kill the
six members of his wife’s family before
turning the gun on himself at 10 minutes after midnight at a home in Phato
District in Chumphon province.
Police stated that Mr Sucheep was
“heavily” drunk.
Among the six dead were his sixyear-old daughter and a nine-yearold boy.
The other four victims were two
men and two women aged between 47
and 71.
Cops seek clues in
rail track death
Hua Lamphong
railway station in
Bangkok yesterday
before starting the
new working
year. VA
V RUTH
KHON K
KAEN: Police are trying to
figure out what happened to a man
who was found dead by a railway track
with a ticket in his hand yesterday.
Sanan Uppala, a Ban Phai police
investigator, said officers were
attempting to find the cause of death
of Chatbordin Phuwongsa, who was
found by local residents near the rail
track in Ban Phai district at 9.30am.
Chatbordin, 36, was found lying
face down with a train ticket from
Nong Khai to Bangkok in one of his
hands. The train departed from Ban
Phai at 8.49pm on Monday.
Pol Lt Col Sanan said the man
might have accidentally fallen from
the train, or might have been attacked
before being thrown out of the carriage
if foul play was involved.
HIRUNYA
YATHEB
From Page 1
Experts pick post-poll
strife will erupt
As a result, the Election Commission (EC) will
be dragged into the conflict and possibly made a
scapegoat, pundits say.
After Gen Prayut, as chief of the NCPO, sacked
former election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn using his special authority under Section
44 of the interim constitution, citing “inappropriate behaviour” after Mr Somchai’s comments on
the coming election, current EC members were
elected to replace the old group.
Gen Prayut’s interference in the EC earned the
new group of election commissioners a negative
reputation from the get-go.
The EC tried later to prove its independence
to the public with its selection of election inspectors, which put to bed speculation that the NCPO
would want to fill its ranks with its own people.
But while the furore over the NCPO’s speculated influence on the panel of election inspectors is fading, public distrust in the EC remains,
they said.
As soon as the new commission started out
by redrawing election constituencies, some parties began complaining about the work, saying
it would be unfair for them even before the EC
finalised the re-mapping.
But when the EC announced the redrawn
constituencies, there were no drastic changes
as some had feared.
Meanwhile, the EC failed to properly
explain why some constituencies were
‘‘
deemed problematic.
What is noteworthy is that they were all located
in areas where the Sam Mitr (Three Allies) group,
which served as the PPRP’s recruiting arm before
the two teamed up last month, had courted a
number of former MPs to defect with it, they said.
This was followed by controversy surrounding
the new format of the election ballots.
Gen Prayut’s remark at a meeting between the
NCPO and the EC that the ballot didn’t necessarily need to contain the names and logos of
The Election Commission (EC) will be
dragged into the conflict and possibly
made a scapegoat, pundits say.
parties sparked rumours that the prime minister
had instructed the EC to make the ballot just as
he wanted it.
But in the end, the EC listened and responded
to what parties, especially the smaller and less
established ones, were calling for. It decided the
ballot would contain the numbers, names and
logos of all the parties.
Most recently, the EC has courted controversy
by issuing a new set of guidelines for parties hitting the campaign trail that dictates what they can
and cannot show on their promotional posters.
This was viewed by the parties that support
ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra as an
attempt to stop several photos of Thaksin and his
younger sister Yingluck — another ousted former
premier who fled Thailand in late 2017 — from
being used to woo voters, the observers said.
The exact message from the EC regarding the
campaign posters was that the people featured on
them must be related to senior party officials, for
example, the party leader or candidates gunning
for the premier’s position, they said.
Critics of the EC’s guidelines believe the
agency intends to stop political parties from using
a photograph of Thaksin and Yingluck to curry
favour among voters.
Given these past controversies, pundits say the
EC is likely to encounter more turbulence before
the Feb 24 poll rolls around.
These episodes could also be cited as reasons
to reject the election results by some parties.
A network of organisations has been formed
to support the goals of those political parties that
oppose the NCPO. The network has made it clear
it has little respect for the election regulations
handed down by the NCPO.
It has also made a bold challenge against the
charter referendum, claiming the results lacked
legitimacy because the number of people who
voted in favour of the charter did not amount to
one-third of those eligible to vote in the previous referendum.
The same network has thrown its support
behind the campaign promises being made by
several parties to tear up the constitution after the
poll, which naturally upsets the pro-government
side as they see the charter as one of the regime’s
accomplishments. Parties that are chasing this
goal all have the word “Pheu” in their names.
4 I
Bangkok Post I
ASIA
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2019
INDIA
Death toll hits a new peak in Kashmir
Govt bracing for more
bloodshed in 2019
The most deadly year in a
decade has left Indian-controlled Kashmir
facing a grim future with militant groups
and the government digging in for an even
fiercer battle in 2019, experts say.
Indian forces say they killed two infiltrators coming from Pakistan on New Year’s
Eve and authorities still virulently blame
the neighbouring state for the three-decade-old conflict which has claimed tens of
thousands of victims.
But Kashmir politicians and independent Indian experts say the presence
of 500,000 troops in the former Himalayan kingdom and an election in India
in 2019 leaves little hope for an end to
the bloodshed.
The Jammu-Kashmir Coalition of Civil
Society (JKCCS), a rights group, listed 586
dead in its annual 2018 toll: 267 militants,
160 civilians — including 31 children —
and the rest, state police and Indian
armed forces.
Its list does not include the dozens
killed in firing across the unofficial border
between the Indian and Pakistani sectors
of Kashmir. Both sides claim the region.
The numbers of dead militants
and security forces are both the highest for a decade, as are the nearly 800
recorded clashes.
The bleak statistics all highlight the
effects of a more intense government campaign — “Operation All-Out” — to flush
out armed groups who want an independent Kashmir or merger with Pakistan.
Even the 20 recorded cases of suicide
among Indian forces in Kashmir is a
record, according to the JKCCS.
The 12.5 million population in India’s
Modi misses
target to
power homes
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government missed a selfimposed target to electrify every home,
delaying the success of a marquee $2.3 billion (74 billion baht) development goal that
his party plans to showcase before national
elections early this year.
After bringing electricity connections to
23.9 million households across 25 states,
about 1.05 million homes in four states still
lack power, the government’s Press Information Bureau said in a statement onMonday, the year-end deadline.
Power Minister RK Singh reaffirmed as
recently as late November that the government would meet its Dec 31 target, which
had earlier been moved up by three months.
Achieving full energy access has been
one of Mr Modi’s key reforms amid his
outreach to rural communities, where his
Bharatiya Janata Party has been challenged
by dissatisfaction and joblessness.
Electrification success would be a
political boon for Mr Modi and the BJP
as they face national elections in the
coming months.
The central government has set several
milestones for its rural electrification plan
since Mr Modi came to power in 2014 —
bringing connections to all villages by May
1, then to all homes by the end 2018.
After full electrification is achieved, the
next goal will be to ensure reliable uninterrupted supplies by March 31.
Mr Modi’s government in September
2017 set out to electrify nearly 40 million
homes, a target that has been shrinking and
shifting along the way.
As of Monday, the total number of
homes targeted for electrification stood
at about 25 million, more than one-third
fewer than the original plan. BLOOMBERG
NEW DELHI:
NEW DELHI:
Kashmiri youths throw stones during clashes between protesters and Indian government forces in Srinagar on June 16, 2018. AFP
only Muslim-majority state has given
strong support to the militants’ political agenda.
But the nationalist government under
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken
a hard line on Kashmir and Pakistan. With
his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seeking a
new term this year, there will be no let up
in the military showdown, experts said.
“I don’t expect anything to change in
the coming year or so. Life will continue
to be uncertain,” political analyst Siddiq
Wahid, of the University of Kashmir,
told AFP.
“An election year in India means there
will be an uptick in hardline Hindutva
politics over Kashmir. The BJP will try to
strongly align Kashmir with its muscular
Hindu nationalism,” said Wahid.
Security authorities acknowledge that
the hardening positions mean more young
Kashmir men are joining rebel ranks.
A police official, speaking on condition
of anonymity, told AFP that at least 128
VIETNAM
Kashmiri youth had joined underground
groups in 2018 — 70% more than the previous year.
“There has been no effort to engage
the opinion (of Kashmiris) in any kind of
a political process,” said Manoj Joshi from
the New Delhi-based Observer Research
Foundation think-tank. AFP
BANGLADESH
Draconian cybersecurity bill takes effect
HANOI: A law requiring internet companies
in Vietnam to remove content communist
authorities deem to be against the state
came into effect yesterday, in a move critics called “a totalitarian model of information control”.
The new cybersecurity law has received
sharp criticism from the United States, the
European Union and internet freedom
advocates who say it mimics China’s repressive censorship of the internet.
The law requires internet companies to
remove content the government regards
as “toxic”.
Tech giants such as Facebook and
Google will also have to hand over user
data if asked by the government, and open
representative offices in Vietnam.
The communist country’s powerful Ministry of Public Security (MPS) published
a draft decree on how the law may be
implemented in November, giving companies which offer internet service in Vietnam
up to 12 months to comply.
MPS has also said the bill was aimed at
staving off cyber-attacks — and weeding
out “hostile and reactionary forces” using
the internet to stir up violence and dissent,
according to a transcript of a question-andanswer session with lawmakers in October.
In response to the law, which was
approved by Vietnam’s rubber-stamp parliament last June, Facebook said it is committed to protecting the rights of its users
and enabling people to express themselves
freely and safely.
“We will remove content that violates
[Facebook’s] standards when we are made
aware of it,” the social media giant said in
an emailed statement to AFP, adding it has
a clear process to manage requests from
governments around the world.
Hanoi has said Google is taking steps
to open up an office in Vietnam to comply
with the new law. The internet giant said it
would not comment at this stage.
The law also bans internet users in Vietnam from spreading information deemed
to be anti-state, anti-government or use the
internet to distort history and “post false
information that could cause confusion
and damage to socio-economic activities”.
Critics say online freedom is shrinking
under a hardline administration that has
been in charge since 2016.
Dozens of activists have been jailed at a
pace not seen in years.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called
on the communist authorities to revise the
law and postpone its implementation.
“This law is designed to further enable
the Ministry of Public Security’s pervasive
surveillance to spot critics, and to deepen
the Communist Party’s monopoly on
power,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of HRW said.
The law comes into force a week after
Vietnam’s Association of Journalists
announced a new code of conduct on the
use of social media by its members, forbidding reporters to post news, picture
and comments that “run counter to” the
state’s interests.
Daniel Bastard of Reporters Without
Borders decried the new requirements
for journalists and the cybersecurity law,
calling it “a totalitarian model of information control”.
Vietnam wants to build a reputation as
a Southeast Asian hub for fintech.
Critics warn the new internet law, particularly the data-sharing element, will
make start-ups think twice about relocating to the country. AFP
INDONESIA
1,000 tie
knot at mass
wedding
JAKARTA: More than 500 Indonesian cou-
ples tied the knot on New Year’s Eve at a free
mass wedding held under tents in pouring
rain in the capital Jakarta.
The city’s government organised the
event for poor families, who often do not
have official documents such as birth or
marriage certificates.
A legally recognised marriage helps parents and children access public services
such as healthcare and education, local
governor Anies Baswedan said.
New Year’s Eve was chosen so that “if
they celebrate their wedding, everyone will
celebrate it. The whole world”, he said.
Rohilah, who like many Indonesians
goes by one name, said she was overjoyed
that she was now legally married to Dahrun
Hakim, with whom she has a four-yearold daughter.
Due to financial constraints, the couple
had previously only been married under
Islamic law, having been wed by an Imam
five years ago — a union not considered
official in Indonesia.
“I am happy. I am really happy,” Ms
Rohilah said.
“Now I can make a birth certificate for
my daughter so she will be recognised by
the state,” she added.
The oldest groom at the event was a
76-year-old man and the oldest bride was
65, while the youngest pair was 19 years old.
It was the second time the Jakarta government has held a mass wedding on
New Year’s Eve but to respect the victims
of recent disasters in the archipelago, fireworks shows have been cancelled.
Towns in nearby Banten province, which
was hit by a tsunami on Dec 22, killing more
than 400 people, have also cancelled their
New Year’s celebrations to honour the
victims. AFP
Bangladeshi Prime
Minister Sheikh
Hasina interacts
with journalists in
Dhaka, on
Monday. AP
Hasina’s ‘conscience clear’
in face of poll rigging claims
DHAKA: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh
Hasina on Monday rejected calls for a new
vote after being declared landslide winner
in an election marred by deadly violence
that the opposition slammed as “farcical”
and rigged.
Having secured a record fourth term,
Ms Hasina swept aside opposition protests
over clashes between rival supporters that
left at least 17 dead and allegations of ballot
box stuffing and intimidation.
“The election was totally free and independent. There is no doubt about it,” the
71-year-old Ms Hasina said.
“I have nothing to hide. Whatever I do
I do it for the country. My conscience is
clear,” she added in comments to reporters.
The ruling Awami League party and its
allies won 288 seats in the 300-seat parliament, with the main opposition securing
only six seats.
Ms Hasina insisted she had no desire
“to remain in power” and that voters had
backed her party because of Bangladesh’s
economic growth during her decadelong rule.
The opposition alliance, led by the Bangladesh National Party (BNP), said it had
been the target of a crackdown leading up
to Sunday’s poll and called for a rerun.
“We are demanding that a fresh election
is held under a neutral government as early
as possible,” alliance leader Kamal Hossain
told reporters.
Ms Hasina has been lauded for boosting
economic growth in the poor South Asian
nation and for welcoming Rohingya refugees fleeing a military crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar.
But critics accuse her of authoritarianism. Her arch-rival and BNP leader Khaleda
Zia was jailed for 17 years this year on graft
charges that her party said were politically motivated.
Deadly violence that blighted the election campaign spilled over into voting day
— with 17 people killed — even though
authorities deployed 600,000 security forces
across the country.
The deaths brought the total number of
fatalities during the campaign and election
day to 21, police confirmed.
The United Nations called for restraint
in the wake of the violence.
“We encourage the parties to address
electoral complaints in a peaceful manner
and through legal means,” UN spokesman
Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.
“Violence and attacks on people and
property are not acceptable.”
The opposition alliance accused Ms
Hasina’s party of stuffing ballot boxes and
using other illegal means to fix the result,
and also claimed some 21,000 of its activists
were detained during the campaign.
Thirty-five of its candidates were
arrested over what they said were trumpedup charges or disqualified from running by
courts, which Ms Hasina’s opponents say
are government controlled. AFP
AUSTRALIA
Rescuers carry the body of a landslide victim in Sirnaresmi, West Java, Indonesia, yesterday. AP
Landslide kills nine, 34 missing More cracks found in tower
More cracks have been found
in a recently completed Sydney high-rise
apartment block that was evacuated on
Christmas Eve, engineers said, as residents
remained locked out of the building.
Police and emergency services ordered
some 300 people out of the 38-storey Opal
Tower in the Sydney Olympic Park and
other nearby buildings on Dec 24 after
reports of “cracking noises”.
Some two-thirds of the units were
declared safe to return to on Christmas Day,
but 51 others were declared “structurally
unsafe”. Authorities said they found a crack
on the 10th floor. Tower builder Icon on
Thursday called on all residents to leave the
building again to allow global engineering
SYDNEY:
Soldiers, police and residents
fanned out across a damaged Indonesian
village yesterday, searching in the mud
for possible victims of a landslide caused
by torrential rain that killed at least nine
people and left 34 others missing.
Tonnes of mud that rolled from the surrounding hills late on Monday buried 30
houses in Sirnaresmi village of West Java’s
Sukabumi district. Sixty people who were
displaced have fled to a temporary shelter,
said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the National
Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman.
He said more than 500 rescuers have
retrieved eight bodies from mounds of mud
JAKARTA:
and pulled out four injured people, including an infant who died in hospital. They
are still searching for 34 missing villagers.
Authorities struggled to get tractors and
other heavy equipment over washed-out
roads as heavy rain was hampering search
efforts, Mr Nugroho said. Television footage
showed hundreds of police, soldiers and
residents digging through debris with their
hands, shovels and hoes.
“Lack of equipment, bad weather and
blackout hampered our rescue efforts for
those who are still missing and feared
dead,” said Mr Nugroho.
Seasonal rains and high tides in recent
days have caused dozens of landslides and
widespread flooding across much of Indonesia, a chain of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or
near fertile flood plains near rivers.
The landslide occurred during New
Year’s Eve celebrations less than two weeks
after a deadly volcano and tsunami disaster.
On Dec 22, the Anak Krakatau volcano
in the Sunda Strait erupted and partially
collapsed into the sea, causing a tsunami
that killed 437 people on Java and Sumatra islands.
At least 16 people still missing and more
than 33,700 residents were displaced. AP
firm WSP and its majority owner, Japanese
construction company Kajima, to “comprehensively investigate and remediate
the site”.
WSP chief executive for Australia and
New Zealand, Guy Templeton, said engineers have now found two areas on level
four that “show evidence of some, but lesser
damage” compared to level 10.
“As a precautionary measure, propping
is being installed to support level four and
this will be completed by Icon Co by the end
of today,” Mr Templeton said. “The building
is structurally sound overall.”
The New South Wales government is
conducting a probe into the building’s
structural integrity. AFP
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2019
I Bangkok Post
ASIA
I 5
Kim warns N Korea’s
patience is waning
Nuclear policy change
touted if sanctions stay
Nuclear-armed North Korea
wants good relations with the US but could
consider a change of approach if Washington maintains its sanctions, leader
Kim Jong-un warned in his New Year
speech yesterday after 12 months of diplomatic rapprochement.
At a summit with US President Donald
Trump in Singapore in June the two signed
a vaguely worded pledge on denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
But progress has since stalled with
Pyongyang and Washington arguing over
what that means.
“If the US fails to carry out its promise to
the world ... and remains unchanged in its
sanctions and pressure upon the DPRK,”
Mr Kim said yesterday, “we might be compelled to explore a new path for defending
the sovereignty of our country and supreme
interests of our state”.
He was willing to meet Mr Trump again
at any time, he added, “to produce results
welcomed by the international community”.
SEOUL:
The North is demanding sanctions relief
— it is subject to multiple measures over its
banned nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes — and has condemned
US insistence on its nuclear disarmament
as “gangster-like”.
Washington is pushing to maintain the
measures against the North until its “final,
fully verified denuclearisation”.
Mr Kim’s speech “expressed his frustration with the lack of progress in negotiations so far”, said former South Korean vice
unification minister Kim Hyung-seok.
The North Korean leader “obviously had
certain expectations that the US would take
certain steps — however rudimentary they
are — after the North blew up a nuclear
test site and took other steps. But none of
them materialised.
“He is faced with this urgent task to
improve his ‘socialist economy’ — which
is impossible to achieve without lifting of
the sanctions.”
In marked contrast with Jan 1, 2018,
when he ordered mass production of
nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles,
Mr Kim said the North had “declared that
we would no longer produce, test, use or
spread our nuclear arsenal”, calling for the
US to take “corresponding measures”.
The production pledge was a “significant evolution in leadership intent, if true”,
Ankit Panda of the Federation of American
Scientists said on Twitter, but credibility
was an issue.
“All this might offer is a temporary cap
on warhead production as long as talks are
on with the US — to be withdrawn when
sanctions relief doesn’t arrive,” he added.
The line was not included in the first
English-language summary of the speech
by the North’s official KCNA news agency.
Mr Kim spoke sitting in a dark leather
armchair, in a large office lined with packed
bookshelves and paintings of his predecessors, father Kim Jong-il and grandfather
Kim Il-sung.
As he began speaking — wearing a dark
suit and blue tie — a clock behind him read
at moments after 12.
But at times during the address it was
blurred out and towards the end of the halfhour broadcast it was close to 1, suggesting
the speech was recorded in several takes.
The leader’s New Year speech is a key
moment in the North Korean political calendar, reviewing the past and setting out
out goals for the future.
The 2018 address was a crucial catalyst
for the developments that followed.
People watch a TV screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivering a New Year’s speech in Seoul yesterday. AP
It came after a year of high tensions
when the North made rapid progress with
its weapons development, carrying out its
sixth nuclear test — by far its most powerful
to date — and launching rockets capable of
reaching the entire US mainland.
The two leaders had traded personal
insults — Mr Trump mocked Mr Kim as
“Little Rocket Man”, who in turn called him
a “mentally deranged US dotard” — and
threats of war as fears of conflict rose.
In last year’s speech Mr Kim warned “the
nuclear button is on my office desk all the
time”, but also offered to send a team to the
forthcoming Winter Olympics in the South.
That opened the way for the South’s
dovish President Moon Jae-in to play the
role of peace broker.
A rapid sequence of developments followed, with athletes and a senior delegation
led by Mr Kim’s powerful sister going to the
Pyeongchang Games in February, before
Mr Kim met Chinese President Xi Jinping
in Beijing ahead of the Singapore summit
with Mr Trump.
Mr Kim also met Mr Moon three times
in 2018 — twice at the border truce village of
Panmunjom and once in the North’s capital
— and at the weekend vowed to meet Mr
Moon “frequently” this year. AFP
CHINA
Tsai warns off talks with China
Xi, Trump
vow to boost
cooperation
BEIJING: The presidents of China and the
US have exchanged messages vowing to
boost cooperation despite a bruising trade
war on the 40th anniversary of the countries’ diplomatic relations, Chinese state
media reported.
Tensions between Beijing and Washington soared in 2018 over trade disputes,
although US President Donald Trump has
frozen the latest planned tariff hike and
on Saturday reported “big progress” after
a call with his counterpart Xi Jinping. In the
messages sent yesterday, Mr Xi underlined
the importance of working with the US “to
advance China-US relations featuring coordination, cooperation and stability”, state
news agency Xinhua reported.
According to Xinhua, Mr Trump praised
the last four decades of diplomacy between
China and the US, hailing his “solid friendship” with the Chinese leader. Washington
and Beijing imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on
more than US$300 billion (9.7 trillion baht)
worth of goods in total two-way trade last
year, locking them in a conflict that has
begun to eat into profits and contributed
to stock market plunges.
Mr Trump initiated the trade war
because of complaints over unfair Chinese
trade practices — concerns shared by the
European Union, Japan and others. Since
the two leaders agreed on a truce on the
sidelines of the G20 summit meeting in
Buenos Aires, however, there have been
small signs of progress — and an absence
of new threats from Mr Trump.
China and the US established diplomatic
relations on Jan 1, 1979, with Washington
pledging to maintain only non-official ties
with Taiwan.
In the same year, late paramount leader
Deng Xiaoping met US president Jimmy
Carter in the United States.
In December, China’s major state-owned
grain stockpiler said it had resumed buying
US soybeans, and Beijing announced it
would suspend extra tariffs on US-made
cars and auto parts starting yesterday. AFP
Taiwanese treasure their autonomy from China, the leader of the selfgoverning island said yesterday, warning
city and county officials to be open about
and exercise caution in any dialogue with
the Chinese.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s remarks come
after major gains by a Beijing-friendly
opposition party in local elections in
late November.
“The election results absolutely don’t
mean Taiwan’s basic public opinion wants
us to give up our self-rule,’’ she said in a New
Year’s address at the presidential office.
“And they absolutely don’t mean that the
Taiwanese people want us to give ground
on our autonomy.’’
China and Taiwan have been governed
separately since the Chinese civil war of the
1940s, when Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists lost to Mao Zedong’s Communists. The
Nationalists rebased their government to
Taiwan, but China insists that the two sides
must eventually unite, by force if necessary.
The Nationalist Party, which in recent
years has favoured closer ties with Beijing,
won 15 of 22 major seats in the local elections, reversing an advantage held by Ms
Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party. Ms
Tsai takes a more guarded view toward
relations with China.
“What’s really needed between the two
sides is a practical understanding of the
TAIPEI:
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen speaks at the Presidential Palace in Taipei yesterday. AFP
differences between values, beliefs and
lifestyles,’’ she said.
China resents Ms Tsai for declining to
recognise its condition for dialogue: that
each side sees itself as part of one China.
Beijing has sent military aircraft near the
island, squeezed Taiwan’s foreign diplomacy and scaled back Taiwan-bound
group tourism.
Meanwhile, the Chinese official in
charge of Taiwan affairs accused Ms Tsai’s
party of obstruction and deliberate provocation. “The broad masses of Taiwan
compatriots are strongly dissatisfied with
the hostility caused by the DPP authorities across the Taiwan Strait,’’ Liu Jieyi, the
director of the Taiwan Affairs Office, said,
referring to Ms Tsai’s party by its acronym.
“To achieve the complete reunification
of the motherland and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is the common
aspiration of all Chinese people,’’ he said.
Experts say that China will likely offer
economic incentives to Taiwanese cities
and counties where officials take pro-Beijing views. Ms Tsai warned officials against
any reliance on “vague political preconditions’’ or “forced submission of secret passwords’’, a reference to giving away secrets.
“We don’t oppose normal cross-strait
exchanges, and even more we don’t oppose
city-to-city exchanges,’’ she said. “However, exchanges across the strait need to
be healthy and they need to be normal.’’
Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected
to give a speech today aimed at Taiwan on
the 40th anniversary of the “Message to
Compatriots in Taiwan’’, a pro-unification
statement from China that called for steps
to end the isolation between the two rivals.
Ms Tsai would probably condemn any
local official talking privately with Mr Xi,
said Shane Lee, political scientist at Chang
Jung Christian University in Taiwan. “She
thinks that’s not only immoral but even illegal, because foreign affairs are the power
of the central government, not the local
government,’’ Mr Lee said.
Lo Chih-cheng, who heads the international department of the Democratic Progressive Party, said Ms Tsai cannot do more
with China, because Beijing would credit
any progress to the Nationalists.
She will do nothing radical to provoke
China, but some voters are looking for more
action, he said. “People enjoy the status
quo, but it’s not enough to win the elections,’’ Mr Lo said.
Ms Tsai also announced that her government was introducing a three-year
plan to attract Taiwanese investors home
from China, where some face import tariffs
raised by Washington in the US-China trade
dispute. She said that Taiwan wants China
to share data on an outbreak of African
swine fever. AP
New Year tax protesters cite ‘yellow vest’ success
TAIPEI: A Taiwanese tax reform campaign
whose activists dress in yellow ramped up
its protests yesterday, interrupting a New
Year flag-raising ceremony attended by the
president, partially inspired by the recent
success of France’s “yellow vests”.
France has been severely rattled by
six weeks of often violent demonstrations from gilets jaunes protesters, named
after the high-visibility vests supporters
have adopted.
The movement forced French President Emmanuel Macron to jettison his
controversial fuel tax hike and announce
€10 billion (370 billion baht) in aid for the
low-paid to try to tame the revolt.
Taiwan’s yellow shirt movement —
where campaigners also wear hi-visibility
vests — predates the French campaign by
three years.
But demonstrators have taken a cue
from the recent protests in France, increasing the frequency of their rallies and taking
a more confrontational approach.
Yesterday, around one hundred demonstrators sneaked into the New Year’s
Day flag raising ceremony in front of the
presidential palace attended by President
Tsai Ing-wen.
Once the flag had been raised they
removed their jackets to unveil their yellow
vests and banners and began shouting slogans, prompting brief scuffles with security officials.
“President Macron responded positively
to the yellow vest movement in France and
initiated reforms,” said Jacklyn Chang, a
young university student at the protest,
told AFP.
“We also hope President Tsai can hear
our appeals, I know she can hear us,”
she added.
Although the Taiwanese protesters are
increasingly citing the movement in France
as something to emulate there are some
major differences between the two groups.
France’s yellow vests are a leaderless
grassroots collective, largely organised
through social media, with a varied list of
demands and deep differences within the
movement over strategy.
Taiwan’s yellow shirts have remained
peaceful and have a clear leadership structure.
They also stem from a dispute between
tax authorities and Tai Ji Men, a religious
organisation whose leader was arrested
and prosecuted for fraud and tax evasion
in 1996.
Although the courts have thrown out the
fraud charges, Tai Ji Men is still accused
of owing millions of dollars in back taxes.
Their first mass rally in 2016 centred
around calling for a reprieve of those tax
evasion fines.
More recent demonstrations, including a rally of some 20,000 supporters in
Taipei on Dec 19 last year, have called for
more general tax reforms, especially for
poorer households.
“Our main goal is for the tax bureau to
stop bullying people using tax violation
charges,” Chen Tze-lung, a retired professor and one of the founders of the movement said. AFP
JAPAN
9 hurt as car rams
into Tokyo street
Nine people were hurt, one seriously, when a man deliberately ploughed
his car into crowds celebrating New Year’s
Eve along a famous Tokyo street, police and
media said yesterday.
With an “intent to murder”, a man identified as 21-year-old Kazuhiro Kusakabe
drove a small vehicle into Takeshita Street
in Tokyo’s fashion district of Harajuku at 10
minutes past midnight, a police spokesman
told AFP.
According to national broadcaster NHK,
Mr Kusakabe told police he was acting in
“retribution for the death penalty” without
giving more precise details.
NHK footage showed a small box vehicle
with a smashed front and paramedics carrying people on stretchers into ambulances.
Local media said a container with kerosine inside was found in the rental car,
where the attack occurred. The man reportedly drove the vehicle from the western
region of Osaka.
One witness told NHK it was a “ghastly
scene”.
“I saw some guys collapsed on the street.
As I walked closer toward the scene, many
more people had fallen on the ground. By
the time I reached the exact place, paramedics were already there helping people,”
TOKYO:
he said.
Another witness who runs a clothing
shop in the area said: “I am shocked that
something like this happened on Takeshita Street.”
Police immediately cordoned off the
street, which during the day is usually
packed with tourists trying to get a taste of
Japan’s extravagant youth and food culture.
One college student suffered serious
injuries during the attack and was undergoing surgery, the police spokesman said.
Local media reports said the student was
in a coma.
Mr Kusakabe was arrested on suspicion
of attempted murder, police said.
According to local media, he hit a total
of eight people and assaulted another on
the street, which was closed to car traffic
at the time before visitors would pack the
area to celebrate New Year.
The vehicle hit its first victim about 30
metres into the narrow street before knocking down seven more over the next 100m,
according to the Sankei Shimbun.
There is no information so far to suggest
foreign tourists were among the injured, the
police spokesman said.
TV Asahi said officers were investigating
whether the suspect is fit for trial.
Name of new
era on April 1
The Japanese government plans
to announce the name of the nation’s new
era on April 1 ahead of the ascension of
the new emperor on May 1, a government
source said early yesterday.
The government is likely to make the
announcement after adopting the new
“gengo”, or era name, at a cabinet meeting the same day, a month before Crown
Prince Naruhito becomes the new emperor
in place of incumbent Emperor Akihito, the
source said.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected
to unveil the plan during a news conference
on Friday, according to the source.
Under the plan, the government on April
1 will hear opinions from experts in various
fields, as well as the chiefs and deputies of
both houses of parliament, about multiple
candidate names before cabinet approval
and proclamation by the emperor.
A gengo is used for the length of an
emperor’s reign. While many Japanese
frequently use the Gregorian calendar as
well as the gengo, the announcement of the
new era name remains of public interest as
it is widely used in calendars, newspapers
and officials documents.
The current Heisei era, which means
“achieving peace,” commenced on Jan 8,
1989 and will end on April 30, when the
sitting emperor abdicates. KYODO
TOKYO:
Police inspect a
car whose
driver deliberately
ploughed his car
into crowds
celebrating New
Year’s Eve on
Takeshita Street in
Tokyo early
yesterday morning.
Nine people were
injured, one
seriously. AFP
Takeshita Street is packed with small
shops and is considered the centre of youth
culture and fashion in Japan, attracting
tens of thousands of international tourists
every day.
Unlike in other major cities, New Year in
Tokyo is a relatively muted affair.
There is no major fireworks display and
no central point where drunken revellers
gather to see in the New Year.
Instead, Japanese people tend to see in
the New Year with families and quietly go
to a shrine to pray for good fortune in the
year to come.
By midday yesterday hundreds of
thousands of tourists had returned to the
street despite the blue tarps covering the
scene. AFP
6 I
Bangkok Post I
WORLD
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2019
UNITED STATES
Mattis bids
farewell to
the Pentagon
marked an unusual rejection of advice
from his own secretary of defence. Mr
Mattis had recommended Air Force Gen
David Goldfein for the job.
The disagreements accumulated,
and when Mr Trump decided to pull US
troops out of Syria, Mr Mattis submitted
WASHINGTON: Jim Mattis ended one
of history’s more turbulent tenures a resignation letter he had written some
as defence secretary on Monday by days earlier. His decision to quit stunned
re-emphasising a key difference with many in the Pentagon and around the
President Donald Trump and encour- world. Mr Trump himself seemed taken
aging Pentagon employees, civilian and aback, and three days later, he tweeted
military, to “hold fast’’ in safeguarding that Mr Shanahan would replace Mr
the nation.
Mattis on Jan 1, cutting short Mr Mattis’
Mr Mattis, who submitted his resigna- announced plan to stay until Feb 28 to
tion on Dec 20 and was, in effect, fired by ensure a smooth transition.
Mr Trump three days later, spent the day
When he announced Mr Mattis as his
in his third-floor Pentagon office prepar- choice to lead the Pentagon shortly after
ing to hand off his duties at midnight to his November 2016 election victory, Mr
Deputy Secretary Patrick Shanahan. Mr Trump referred to him by his nickname,
Shanahan, a former Boeing
“Mad Dog’’, suggesting he
valued an unpredictable,
executive, will be acting
intimidating approach to
defence secretary until someone is nominated for the post.
defence policy. This turned
In a written farewell mesout not to match the Mattis
sage, Mr Mattis urged all
style, which emphasised
employees to “keep the faith
respectful collaboration with
in our country and hold fast,
allies and partners.
alongside our allies, aligned
In his farewell note, Mr
against our foes’’. Mr Mattis
Mattis quoted a one-sentence
sees allies, including Nato,
telegram that former presiJapan and South Korea, as Mattis: Stay aligned
dent Abraham Lincoln sent
central to US foreign and against foes
to the commander of Union
security policy, a point on
forces, Gen Ulysses S Grant,
which he differed from Mr Trump, who on Feb 1, 1865, in the final weeks of the
denigrated allies as unworthy freeloaders. Civil War. It said: “Let nothing which is
In 711 days as defence secretary, Mr transpiring, change, hinder, or delay your
Mattis wrestled with a series of surprise, military movements, or plans’’. On that
sometimes sudden and often confusing, date, Lincoln signed a joint congressional
decisions by Mr Trump, including a July resolution proposing a constitutional
2017 presidential tweet saying he would amendment to abolish slavery.
ban transgender people from serving in
Mr Mattis said he’s confident Pentathe military. Mr Mattis also disagreed gon employees will remain “undistracted
with Mr Trump’s withdrawal from the from our sworn mission to support and
Iran nuclear deal. He counted as a victory defend the Constitution while protecting
his persuading Mr Trump to abandon, our way of life’’.
at least temporarily, his stated instinct to
Mr Mattis has not said publicly what he
withdraw from Afghanistan. Earlier this intends to do next. He has mused about
month, Mr Trump reversed himself and returning to his roots in Washington state.
ordered a partial withdrawal, overriding He was born in Pullman and raised in
Mr Mattis’ objections.
Richland. He graduated from Central
Mr Mattis also was set back by Mr Washington University in 1971 and then
Trump’s tweet on Dec 8 announcing he entered the Marine Corps, where he
had picked the Army chief of staff, Gen began as a second lieutenant and rose to
Mark Milley, to be the next chairman the rank of four-star general.
He is the first retired general to serve
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This not only
left the current chairman, Gen Joseph as defence secretary since George MarDunford, in a lame duck status until his shall in 1950-51. His Senate confirmation
scheduled retirement next fall, but it also required a change in legislation. AP
Defence secretary
says don’t ditch allies
A road lined with trash on New’s Year’s Eve in Yosemite National Park in California. AP
Shutdown takes a toll on national parks
WASHINGTON: Human
faeces, overflowing garbage, illegal off-roading and other
damaging behaviour in fragile areas were
beginning to overwhelm some of the West’s
iconic national parks on Monday, as a partial government shutdown left the areas
open to visitors but with little staff on duty.
“It’s a free-for-all,’’ Dakota Snider, 24,
who lives and works in Yosemite Valley,
said by telephone on Monday, as Yosemite
National Park officials announced closings of some minimally supervised campgrounds and public areas within the park
that are overwhelmed.
“It’s so heartbreaking. There is more
trash and human waste and disregard for
the rules than I’ve seen in my four years
living here,’’ Mr Snider said.
The 10th day of the partial federal government shutdown, which has forced furloughs of hundreds of thousands of federal
government employees, has left many parks
without most of the rangers and others who
staff campgrounds and otherwise keep
parks running.
Unlike shutdowns in some previous
administrations, the Trump administration
was leaving parks open to visitors despite
the staff furloughs, said John Garder, senior
budget director of the non-profit National
Parks Conservation Association.
“We’re afraid that we’re going to start
seeing significant damage to the natural resources in parks and potentially to
historic and other cultural artefacts,’’ Mr
Garder said. “We’re concerned there’ll be
impacts to visitors’ safety.’’
Under the park service’s shutdown
plan, authorities have to close any area
where garbage or other problems become
threats to health and safety or to wildlife,
spokesman Jeremy Barnum said in an email
on Monday.
“At the superintendent’s discretion,
parks may close grounds/areas with sensitive natural, cultural, historic, or archaeological resources vulnerable to destruction,
looting, or other damage that cannot be
adequately protected by the excepted law
enforcement staff that remain on duty,’’ Mr
Barnum said.
In the southern Sierra Nevada in Central
California, some areas of the Sequoia and
Kings Canyon national parks were closed
on Monday evening. In Sequoia, home
to immense and ancient giant sequoias,
General Highway was closed because overflowing trash bins were spreading litter
and posed a threat to wildlife and the icy,
jammed roadway was seeing up to threehour delays, according to the National
Park Service.
Also closed was the Grant Tree Trail, a
popular hiking spot, because the government shutdown halted maintenance and
left the path dangerously slick from ice and
snow, with at least one injury reported, the
park service said.
Campers at Joshua Tree National Park in
Southern California’s deserts were reporting squabbles as different families laid
claims to sites, with no rangers on hand to
adjudicate, said Ethan Feltges, who operates the Coyote Corner gift shop outside
Joshua Tree.
Mr Feltges said he and other business
owners around Joshua Tree had stepped
into the gap as much as possible, hauling
trailers into the park to empty overflowing trash bins and sweeping and stocking
restrooms that were still open.
Some visitors have strung Christmas
lights in the twisting Joshua trees, many of
which are hundreds of years old, the Los
Angeles Times reported.
Most visitors were being respectful of
the desert wilderness and park facilities,
Joshua Tree’s superintendent, David Smith,
said in a statement.
But some are seizing on the shortage of
park staffers to off-road illegally and otherwise damage the park, as well as relieving
themselves in the open, a park statement
said. Joshua Tree said it would begin closing some campgrounds for all but day use.
At Yosemite, Mr Snider, the local resident, said crowds of visitors were driving
into the park to take advantage of free
admission, with only a few park rangers working and a limited number of
restrooms open.
“You’re looking at Yosemite Falls and
in front of you is plastic bottles and trash
bags,’’ he said. AP
BRAZIL
UNITED NATIONS
Far-right Jair
Bolsonaro
ushers in new
political era
US, Israel exit
Unesco, claim bias
Brazil entered a new chapter in
its history yesterday, embracing a far-right
president, Jair Bolsonaro, whose determination to break with decades of centrist rule has
raised both hopes and fears.
The former paratrooper and longtime lawmaker was starting his four-year mandate on
Jan 1 as required by the constitution, after
a night of New Year’s celebrations across
the country.
He was taking office with a sky-high
approval rating, fuelled by public expectations that he will be a new broom sweeping
away chronic crime and corruption, and
boosting an economy still limping after a
record recession.
“I will bring in politics completely different from that which brought corruption and
inefficiency to Brazil,” he said late on Monday
in an interview with Record TV.
The 63-year-old comfortably won an October election against Fernando Haddad, a candidate from the leftwing Workers Party which
was in power between 2003 and 2016 but
ended up marred by a series of graft scandals.
The Workers Party icon, former president
BRASILIA:
Supporters of
the Brazilian
President-elect
Jair Bolsonaro,
gather next to
the Metropolitan
Cathedral in
Brasilia on
Monday, the eve
of his
inauguration
ceremony. AFP
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, is serving prison
time for corruption. And his chosen successor
Dilma Rousseff was impeached for cooking
the government’s books.
In a ceremony marked by pomp and high
security, Mr Bolsonaro will formally take over
from center-right Michel Temer, who succeeded Ms Rousseff but made little headway
with needed fiscal reform and ended up Brazil’s most unpopular leader ever.
Bolsonaro voters hope their man will do
better. He has promised to govern for all of
the country’s 210 million Brazilians, and
campaigned on vows to eradicate graft, crack
down on crime, open up Brazil’s protectionist
economy to the free market, and put business
interests ahead of environmental protection.
In his interview, he said “we will debureaucratise to the maximum possible” and
“clean out” the government so its “weight” is
cut back. But there has been no sign of him
dropping the bluff, shoot-from-the-lip style
that has earned him comparisons with US
President Donald Trump, whom he admires.
Even before taking office Mr Bolsonaro
tweeted he will issue a decree easing gun laws
so “good” citizens can possess weapons to
deter criminals. He also said his education
minister will stop “Marxist trash” being taught
in schools and universities — a swipe at Workers Party ideology.
Mr Bolsonaro’s track record of waxing
nostalgic for Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship has stirred some concerns, as have
his past disparagements of women, gays and
blacks. AFP
FRANCE
Macron pledges more reform medicine in ‘decisive’ 2019
PARIS: France’s embattled president, Emma-
nuel Macron, vowed on Monday to press on
with his reform agenda in 2019 despite a spate
of “yellow vest” protests that have challenged
his government and extended a plunge in his
approval ratings.
Promised overhauls of France’s unemployment benefits, civil service and public
pensions will be undertaken in the coming
year, Mr Macron said in his televised New
Year message.
Confounding some expectations of a
more contrite message, Mr Macron struck
The United States and Israel
officially quit of the UN’s educational,
scientific and cultural agency at the
stroke of midnight, the culmination of
a process triggered more than a year
ago amid concerns that the organisation fosters anti-Israel bias.
The withdrawal is mainly procedural yet serves a new blow to Unesco,
co-founded by the US after World War
II to foster peace.
The Trump administration filed its
notice to withdraw in October 2017
and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu followed suit.
The Paris-based organisation has
been denounced by its critics as a crucible for anti-Israel bias: blasted for
criticising Israel’s occupation of East
Jerusalem, naming ancient Jewish
sites as Palestinian heritage sites and
granting full membership to Palestine
in 2011.
The US has demanded “fundamental reform’’ in the agency that is best
known for its World Heritage program
to protect cultural sites and traditions.
Unesco also works to improve education for girls, promote understanding of the Holocaust’s horrors, and to
defend media freedom.
The withdrawals will not greatly
impact Unesco financially, since it has
been dealing with a funding slash ever
since 2011 when both Israel and the
US stopped paying dues after Palestine
was voted in as a member state. Since
then officials estimate that the US —
which accounted for around 22% of
the total budget — has accrued $600
million 19 billion baht) in unpaid
dues, which was one of the reasons
for President Donald Trump’s decision
to withdraw. Israel owes an estimated
$10 million.
Unesco Director General Audrey
Azoulay took up her post just after Mr
Trump announced the pullout. Ms
Azoulay, who has Jewish and Moroccan
heritage, has presided over the launch
PARIS:
an unapologetic note as he urged voters to
face up to economic realities underpinning
recently enacted reforms of French labour
rules, and others yet to come.
“In recent years, we’ve engaged in a blatant denial of reality,” Mr Macron said in the
address, delivered — unusually — from a
standing position in his Elysee Palace office.
“We can’t work less, earn more, cut taxes and
increase spending.”
In a veiled attack on the far-left and hardright groupings active on the fringes of the
often violent protests, Mr Macron also decried
self-appointed “spokespeople for a hateful
mob” who he said had targeted foreigners,
Jews, gays and the press.
Almost 20 months after he became
France’s youngest president, Mr Macron’s
popularity is at the lowest level recorded in
modern French history.
It stood at just 24% in late December compared to 47% a year earlier, according to a
Journal du Dimanche aggregate of polls, as
he struggled to draw a line under numerous setbacks.
The current wave of demonstrations,
which have brought disruption and destruction to Paris and other major cities, has yet to
abate despite fiscal giveaways and a increase
in the wage for the poorest workers.
Mr Macron said efforts to bolster international controls on immigration and tax
evasion would be at the heart of European
Union proposals he plans to announce in
“coming weeks” — to be pursued in parallel
with a domestic agenda reconciling ambitious reform with France’s commitment to
social solidarity. “This coming year, 2019, is
in my view a decisive one, he said.” REUTERS
of a Holocaust education website and
the UN’s first educational guidelines
on fighting anti-Semitism — initiatives
that might be seen as responding to US
and Israeli concerns.
Officials say that many of the reasons the US cited for withdrawal do not
apply anymore, noting that since then,
all 12 texts on the Middle East passed at
Unesco have been consensual among
Israel and Arab member states.
In April of this year, Israel’s ambassador to Unesco said the mood was
“like a wedding’’ after member nations
signed off on a rare compromise resolution on “Occupied Palestine,’’ and
Unesco diplomats hailed a possible
breakthrough on longstanding IsraeliArab tensions.
The document was still quite critical of Israel, however, and the efforts
weren’t enough to encourage the US
and Israel to reconsider their decision
to quit.
In recent years, Israel has been
infuriated by repeated resolutions that
ignore and diminish its historical connection to the Holy Land and that have
named ancient Jewish sites as Palestinian heritage sites.
The State Department couldn’t
comment because of the US government shutdown. Earlier, the department told Unesco officials the US
intends to stay engaged at Unesco as
a non-member “observer state’’ on
“non-politicised’’ issues, including
the protection of World Heritage sites,
advocating for press freedoms and
promoting scientific collaboration
and education.
The US could potentially seek that
status during Unesco Executive Board
meetings in April.
The United States has pulled out of
Unesco before. The Reagan administration did so in 1984 because it viewed
the agency as mismanaged, corrupt
and used to advance Soviet interests.
The US rejoined in 2003. AP
Business
Bangkok Post
ÎRead more news at bangkokpost.com
‘‘
It’s the first time in a
decade when the economy
has expanded at 4% for two
straight years.
‘‘
For the SET, we have been
focusing on analysing
investors’ data to meet
stakeholders’ needs.
PAKORN PEETATHAWATCHAI
VEERATHAI SANTIPRABHOB
LOOKING AHEAD
‘‘
Most importantly, the
general election should be
run on a transparent, fair
and peaceful basis.
KALIN SARASIN
‘‘
The trade war is keeping
pressure on Thailand, while
our economy will not grow
as we expected.
SUPANT MONGKOLSUTHREE
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2019
‘‘
Although Thailand is in the
middle of the supply chain,
a trade war is unlikely to
affect Thai exports much.
GHANYAPAD TANTIPIPATPONG
Dusting off the crystal ball
After the jitters that accompanied the end of 2018, policymakers weigh in with their
prognostications about a year that could pose even greater challenges. By Post reporters
019 is set to mark a crucial turning point
for Thailand’s economy, with external
headwinds and domestic uncertainties
poised to spoil the new year’s celebration by potentially causing a downturn
in economic growth.
Although the much-awaited general election will
likely usher a boost of confidence and joy among
investors and consumers, numerous domestic and
external factors promise a bumpy ride for all stakeholders this year.
Thailand’s much-touted strength in its economic
fundamentals will more than likely be tested by
continuous adverse effects from the Sino-US trade
disputes, protracted Brexit negotiations and global
financial volatility induced by monetary policy
tightening and rising interest rates.
On the domestic front, exports and tourism, seen
as champions helping to propel economic growth
over the past few years, are expected to record a
slowdown as downside risks cast a shadow over
growth prospects in these lucrative sectors of the
Thai economy. Compounding domestic economic
woes are high household debt, the uncertain competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises
(SMEs) and the greying demography.
From financial regulators to chieftains of commerce and exports, here are the thoughts of prominent Thai policymakers on the economic outlook
this year.
2
VEERATHAI SANTIPRABHOB
GOVERNOR OF THE BANK OF THAILAND
With the US-China trade spat dampening global
demand and the underlying momentum weakening to some extent, the central bank remains
confident that Thailand’s economy will continue
to grow at its potential in 2019 and the external
position is solid.
Although the country’s economy is forecast to
grow at a slower pace in 2019, it can still expand
at close to potential because investment and consumption are gaining speed, Mr Veerathai said.
“It’s the first time in a decade when the economy
has expanded at 4% for two straight years,” he said.
“It suggests a stronger economy.”
After the country’s economy grew at a slower
pace of 3.3% year-on-year during the July-to-September quarter and amid the heightening trade
row between the world’s two biggest economies,
the Bank of Thailand in December trimmed its
economic GDP forecast to 4.2% growth for 2018
from 4.4% predicted earlier and to 4% this year from
4.2% previously.
The payment-based export growth projection
for 2018 was cut to 3.7% from 5.5% predicted in
September, while the forecast for this year was kept
unchanged at 4.1%.
A public investment delay will also dampen the
country’s economic expansion.
The central bank cut the growth forecast for state
investment in 2018 from 6.1% projected in September to 4.6%, and from 7.7% to 6.6% for this year.
Capital and financial markets’ wild swings are
apt to continue in 2019, due to the monetary policy
normalisation of several central banks.
Eliminating fragility on the domestic front is the
central bank’s crucial task if it wants to prevent hefty
capital outflows, Mr Veerathai said, adding that if
foreign investors view Thailand as fragile, the baht
will no longer be a safe-haven currency.
Both the state and the private sector globally are
experiencing higher leverage, while geopolitical
tensions also warrant monitoring, he said, pointing
to protests in some European countries and uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the Middle East.
On the domestic front, vulnerabilities are seen
in big companies and credit cooperatives, so the
central bank is building buffers.
Mr Veerathai said big companies have borrowed
cheaply for riskier investments.
PAKORN PEETATHAWATCHAI
PRESIDENT OF THE STOCK EXCHANGE
OF THAILAND
2019 will be another year full of challenges and
opportunities. While the US-China trade conflicts
and tighter monetary condition may continue to
dampen global economic growth and lower investors’ risk appetite, there are still opportunities for
Thailand due to the country’s strong economic
fundamentals and future growth potential, Mr
Pakorn said.
Here are the Thai capital market’s key themes
in 2019.
Amid global financial volatility, the Thai economy is well insulated given the country’s strong
domestic demand, as seen by 5% growth in thirdquarter private consumption, low public debt
and ample international reserves. A shift towards
domestic growth drivers will likely continue, Mr
Pakorn said.
Thailand 4.0 and the Eastern Economic Corridor investment plan will help enhance economic
growth and investment. S-curve industry investment in advanced automotive, aviation and robotics will bring Thailand to the fourth development
era and sustain high economic growth ratios for
decades to come.
“With improvement in growth comes investors’
confidence and risk appetite, which should help
bring [financial] capital that had flown out back
into the economy and domestic capital market,”
Mr Pakorn said.
With strong economic growth anticipated,
demand for capital for investment will increase
and become more diverse.
“Over the past five years, our market capitalisation has been expanding with new initial public
offerings at around 250 billion baht per year,” Mr
Pakorn said. “We are also expanding into family
[businesses], as well as SME and multinational
businesses, as there has been growing [listing]
demand in recent years, while promoting the
‘market of well-being’ sectors [consisting of] businesses related to agriculture, commerce, fashion,
food and beverages, healthcare, transport and logistics, and tourism and leisure, which are [segments
driving] Thailand’s competitiveness.”
Thailand plays a central role in bridging opportunities for investors and regional markets. The
SET has recently launched the first depository
receipts on a Vietnamese exchange-traded fund,
allowing Thai investors to explore Vietnam’s
growth potential.
As trade and investment become more interconnected, linking capital markets in Cambodia, Laos,
Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand seems to be the
next logical step, Mr Pakorn said.
In future, investors will want a more diverse
range of products and mutual funds. Wealth management businesses will have to prepare for the
imminent changes.
“At the SET, we have been focusing on analysing
investors’ data to enhance services and efficiency
and meet stakeholders’ needs through regulatory
reforms, transforming infrastructure into open platforms, as well as promoting investment tools and
education,” Mr Pakorn said.
“In sum, in 2019 and going forward, all businesses have to transform themselves to catch up
with challenging factors that will affect the global
economy, such as technological disruption, changing consumer behaviour, demographic and psychographic elements, and globalisation.”
The SET’s ongoing efforts to bring together all
stakeholders will bring stability and benefits to
society and the economy in the long run, he said.
loan applications.
The central bank will reportedly stick to its
Jan 1 deadline of requiring banks to use financial accounts submitted by SMEs to the Revenue
Department for loan approval, but it may offer a
three-year grace period for full compliance.
The Bank of Thailand on Dec 19 raised the
policy interest rate for the first time since 2011, by
25 basis points.
The central bank was among the last central
banks in Asia to join the rate-hike bandwagon, as
high foreign reserves, a current account surplus
and subdued inflation allowed the rate to be kept
below the US Federal Reserve’s benchmark rate to
support broad-based economic growth.
The policy rate hit a record low of 1.25% in 2009
after the financial crisis of 2008.
Mr Kalin expects active political campaigns for
the long-awaited general election, with new and
innovative policies declared by political parties.
“Most importantly, the general election should
be run on a transparent, fair and peaceful basis,
while the policies announced by the political parties should come up with implementation processes and how to execute them,” he said.
SUPANT MONGKOLSUTHREE
CHAIRMAN OF THE FEDERATION
OF THAI INDUSTRIES
KALIN SARASIN
CHAIRMAN OF THE THAI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Thailand’s economy is likely to face myriad thorny
challenges in 2019 despite continued growth of
more than 4% in 2018, according to Mr Kalin.
“The world’s economy is expected to grow on a
par with 2018’s rate or slightly lower, while the Thai
economy is forecast to grow in a range of 4-4.3% in
2019 as projected by the Joint Standing Committee
on Commerce, Industry and Banking,” Mr Kalin
said. “But still, there is a spate of uncertainties and
risk factors, be it the international political conflicts, especially among the big markets such as the
United States, China, European Union and Britain,
stiffer competition in the traditional market, higher
oil prices, or relatively low farm prices.”
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in October forecast 3.7% global growth in both 2018 and
2019, down from its July forecast of 3.9% growth
for each year.
According to Mr Kalin, other challenges include
limitations on infrastructure such as the adequacy
or readiness of airports, facilities to accommodate
tourist arrivals, effective water management, international trade/customs linkage and the readiness
of skilled workers in handling the government’s
new initiatives such as the government’s flagship
Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
Foreign exchange is another area of concern, he
said, citing the baht’s strength making Thai products less competitive.
Domestic trade, meanwhile, is also expected to
see more intensified competition in 2019, thanks
to an anticipated influx of cheap products from
China and customers’ tendency to buy more products online.
Integration of working processes, seamless collaboration among state agencies and ministries,
legal amendments to facilitate trade and ease of
doing business, and educational reforms are desperately needed to cater to changing business,
industry and trade environments, Mr Kalin said.
He also expressed concerns about the rising
policy rate and the single account scheme that
could hit the financial liquidity of small and
medium-sized enterprises.
Under the single account scheme, the central
bank requires banks to consider only financial
statements submitted to the Revenue Department
when considering SME loans, starting from Jan
1, 2019.
But the requirement has raised concerns that it
will lessen access to finance for most SMEs, which
tend to use more than one financial account and
submit the one with the least value to understate or avoid tax while turning in another for
Mr Supant said Thailand’s economic outlook is
more muted because of the trade war between the
US and China.
“The trade war is keeping pressure on Thailand,
while our economy will not grow as we expected,”
he said. “Meanwhile, the extended Brexit will affect
the global economy as well.”
The FTI forecasts Thai GDP in 2019 to grow by
4-4.3% as the country’s export sector expands 5-7%.
The federation sees an inflation range of 0.81.2% this year.
“We project that local purchasing power will
become weaker than in 2018, due to low prices of
farm products,” Mr Supant said.
He said all fragile factors will be obstacles to
any future investment flows in many countries,
including Thailand.
Moreover, the FTI is concerned about the upcycle trend of interest rates in 2019, particularly the
effect on small and medium-sized enterprises
(SMEs), because each 25-basis-point hike will be
on top of their existing financial costs.
SMEs lack the cash flow of large companies, so
the difference in interest rate is a more important
factor for them.
The rate hike will attract foreign capital inflows,
he said. Meanwhile, the Fed’s expected decision to
increase rates in 2019 will lead to fluctuations in
global currencies.
Nonetheless, the FTI sees the country’s tourism
and export sectors boosting the domestic economy
this year.
“Chinese tourists will be back to a normal situation after shrinking in the second half of 2018,”
Mr Supant said. “The sector still relies on tourists
from China, representing the largest group now.”
In addition, the planned general election in February will be a positive factor to increase overall
investor confidence.
Mr Supant said the FTI will closely monitor the election results and revise economic
figures accordingly.
The flagship EEC scheme will be implemented
in 2019 after enactment of the 2018 EEC Act.
“Investment, construction and infrastructure are
projected to expand very well as business operators gain confidence to expand operations in the
corridor,” Mr Supant said.
The EEC is a key mechanism for Thailand to
overcome the middle-income trap in the next
20 years.
GHANYAPAD TANTIPIPATPONG
CHAIRWOMAN OF THE THAI NATIONAL
SHIPPERS’ COUNCIL
Although the US and China declared a 90-day halt
to new tariffs in early December, the trade war still
needs watching in 2019.
The new wrinkles of a Chinese businesswoman
arrested in Canada and Canadian businessmen
detained in China have laid bare the risks to the
global order.
These events may have a negative impact on
Thailand’s export expansion opportunities, Ms
Ghanyapad said.
“Even though it is unforeseeable how long the
trade war will be protracted, it is expected that the
global trade economy is unlikely to fall into a serious crisis,” she said. “To cross over this challenge,
Thai exporters should alter their product lines to
have an assortment of choices to meet consumers’ consumption trend and seek other replacement markets. Close monitoring and a continuous
search for new channels to replace products that
are able to fulfil the supply chain gap among the
two giant countries are essential. This is the strategy of changing the crisis situation into marketexpanding opportunities.”
According to Ms Ghanyapad, Thai economic
growth must brave myriad challenges and obstacles, including the ongoing trade war, volatile foreign exchange, increasing trade barriers, and political and financial troubles in importing countries.
“Although Thailand is in the middle of the supply
chain, a trade war is unlikely to affect Thai exports
much,” she said. “There is only a small proportion
of Thai product items that appear in the list of USChina tariff measures, compared with total export
items from Thailand. Anyway, business operators
shall prepare for a flexible business plan, especially
for financial reserves and cash flow management to
handle either a positive or negative situation that
might occur in the future.”
One more key issue is preventing products from
being dumping from the US or China onto Thailand’s domestic market, Ms Ghanyapad said.
The image of the completely democratic system
of Thailand will unlock trade conditions in some
countries and make existing trade partners feel more
comfortable, she said. These will encourage Thai
business operators to be more proactive in trade.
“Investor and consumer confidence in the political situation after the general election in Thailand
is the key factor, as well as a number of world situations,” she said.
“Nonetheless, against all odds, the Thai economy still has structural problems that need to be
addressed, such as the shortage of skilled labour,
the ageing society and an increase in many new
laws that reduce the competitiveness of the private
sector. The world economy, which is still fluctuating
from trade wars, may lead to sluggish trade. These
challenges are likely to affect overall companies’
capacity building.”
8 I
Bangkok Post I
BUSINESS WORLD
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2019
Toyota wants to put a robot
friend in every home
The automaker envisions a proliferation of domestic bots that can help
with chores and offer companionship for the elderly. By Kevin Buckland
oyota Motor Corp has sold enough
cars to put one outside every Japanese home. Now it wants to put
robots inside.
Well-known for its automated
assembly lines, Toyota sees a not-so-far-off
future in which robots transcend the factory
and become commonplace in homes, helping with chores — and even offering companionship — in an ageing society where
a quarter of the population is over 65 and
millions of seniors live alone.
Machines have become much smarter
in the last decade or so. Yet, every attempt
to build one that can do simple things like
load a washing machine or carry groceries
encounters the same basic, physical problem: the stronger a robot gets, the heavier
and more dangerous it becomes.
“What Toyota has going for it are $29 billion in cash reserves, a new artificial intelligence research centre and a well-respected
inventor,’’ said Gill Pratt, chief executive of
the Toyota Research Institute.
“This is a company with so many
resources that you can never ignore them,”
said Morten Paulsen, a Tokyo-based analyst at CLSA Japan Securities Co Ltd, who’s
covered the robotics industry for decades.
Toyota has been experimenting with
robots since at least 2004, when it unveiled
a trumpet-playing humanoid with artificial
lips, lungs and movable fingers that could
accompany an actual human orchestra.
T
ANDROID AVA
VATAR
Since then research has become more practical. Toyota’s latest android, the T-HR3, is
a kind of avatar that can be manipulated
remotely via wearable controls, with vision
goggles that allow users to see through the
machine’s camera-eyes.
The device could one day serve as arms
and legs for the bedridden, or as a surrogate
for relief workers in disaster zones.
In 2015 the automaker spent a billion
dollars to open its AI-focused Toyota
Research Institute in Silicon Valley.
Last year the company set up a $100
million fund to invest in startups and new
robotics technology. This year it restructured its Partner Robot division to speed
decision-making and shorten development time.
“There’s internal pressure all of a sudden
to move faster,’’ senior manager Keisuke
Suga said at a recent industry forum near
the automaker’s Toyota City headquarters.
The road to robots has had its setbacks.
In 2011, Toyota demonstrated a machine
for lifting patients in and out of bed, but
engineers had only tested it on healthy volunteers. Once they discovered that the frail
and elderly required a more delicate touch,
the product was shelved.
REGULA
LATORY HURDLES
Another device, a personal scooter that
resembled a Segway, looked promising in
The T-HR3 is a
kind of avatar that
can be
manipulated
remotely via
wearable controls,
with vision
goggles that allow
users to see
through the
machine’s
camera-eyes.
‘‘
REUTERS
The idea is for the robot to be a friend.
MASANORI SUGIYAMA
Executive adviser for robotics
trials but was kept off the streets by regulatory hold-ups.
Outside of factories and warehouses, in
fact, unfulfilled promise has been the main
story for robots.
Boston Dynamics, a ballyhooed firm
started by engineers from the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology (MIT), for example,
has spent more than 12 years developing
four-legged automatons but still hasn’t
proved they can be commercialised.
Most of the $2.1 billion spent by consumers last year on household robots
was for automated vacuum cleaners and
lawnmowers — not exactly the stuff of science fiction.
Toyota says the need for elder-care will
change that.
The automaker illustrates the point
with a chart showing Japan’s inverted
age-pyramid in the year 2050, when a
third-fewer workers will have to support twice as many old people as today.
(Some 22% of the world’s population will
be over 60 by then, according to the World
Health Organization.)
Toyota’s Human Support Robot, or HSR,
is the machine the automaker sees as closest to making the leap from lab to living
room. The robot-equivalent of a Corolla
— all function and no frills — the HSR is
basically a retractable arm on wheels with
a video screen on top and two large camera
eyes that give it the rudiments of a face.
AI INJECTION
It weighs as much as a half-dozen bowling
balls, but can only lift a 1.2-kilogram payload, about the weight of a medium-sized
water bottle.
Still, loaded with the right software, the
machine can do some interesting things.
In a demo last autumn by one of Toyota’s
partners, an AI startup called Preferred Networks Inc, the robot was able to learn where
books, pens and other items belonged
on a shelf, and clean a room that looked
like it had been turned upside-down by a
three-year-old.
Using its sensor-eyes and its pincer, the
machine arranged a pair of slippers neatly
on the floor next to each other, with both
feet pointing in the same direction.
Asked when its home helpers will
be available to consumers, Toyota
wouldn’t say.
But executive adviser Masanori Sugiyama, a former top manager in the robot
programme, says the HSR could be ready
for hospitals and rest homes in two or three
years to do simple tasks like tidying up or
delivering meals.
For machines with more profound skills,
the wait will be longer.
“They need to be able to understand
what people are thinking and have empathy,” Sugiyama said. “The idea is for the
robot to be a friend.” BLOOMBERG
Sony ramps up production of next-gen 3D camera sensors
YUJI NAKAMURA
Sony Corp, the biggest maker
of camera chips used in smartphones, is
boosting production of next-generation 3D
sensors after getting interest from customers including Apple Inc.
The chips will power front- and rearfacing 3D cameras of models from several
smartphone makers in 2019, with Sony
kicking off mass production in late summer
to meet demand, according to Satoshi
Yoshihara, head of Sony’s sensor division.
He declined to provide sales or production targets, but said the 3D business “is
already operating profitably and will make
an impact on earnings from the fiscal year
starting in April.’’
Sony’s bullish outlook for 3D cameras
provides much needed optimism to the
global smartphone industry, which is suff
fering a slowdown as consumers find fewer
reasons to upgrade devices.
The Tokyo-based company has started
providing software toolkits to outside developers so they can experiment with the chips
and create apps that generate models of
faces for communication or virtual objects
for online shopping.
“Cameras revolutionised phones, and
based on what I’ve seen, I have the same
expectation for 3D,” said Yoshihara, who
has worked for more than a decade on
wider industry adoption of cameras in
smartphones. “The pace will vary by field,
but we’re definitely going to see adoption
of 3D. I’m certain of it.”
Sony controls about half of the camera
chip market and supplies customers
including Apple, Alphabet Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, although Yoshihara declined to identify them by name,
citing confidentiality agreements.
“Huawei Technologies Co Ltd is employing Sony’s 3D cameras in next generation
models,’’ people familiar with the matter
told Bloomberg earlier this month.
Sony isn’t the only maker of 3D chips,
with rivals Lumentum Holdings Inc and
STMicroelectronics NV already finding
uses for them, such as unlocking phones
through facial recognition or measuring
depth to improve focus when taking pictures at night.
TOKYO:
‘‘
Sony’s technology differs from the
‘structured light’ approach of existing
chips which have limits in terms of
accuracy and distance.
SATOSHI YOSHIHARA
Head of Sony Corp’s sensor division
Staff demonstrate an augmented-reality (AR) application on a smartphone that uses Sony Corp’s 3D camera at the company’s Atsugi
Technology Centre in Kanagawa prefecture. PHOTOS BY BLOOMBERG
“Sony’s technology differs from the
‘structured light’ approach of existing chips
which have limits in terms of accuracy and
distance,’’ Yoshihara said. “The company
uses a method called ‘time of flight’ that
sends out invisible laser pulses and measures how long they take to bounce back,
which creates more detailed 3D models and
works at distances of five metres.
“Other uses include mobile games,
which could involve creating virtual characters that interact with and navigate realworld environments, or ones that use hand
gestures for control.’’
To be sure, demand for Sony’s technology is untested and it remains to be seen if
consumer interest in 3D will be enough to
snap the smartphone market out of its funk.
Annual global shipments probably
fell 3% in 2018 with growth of just 2.6%
expected in 2019, according to International Data Corp.
Yoshihara also said there would only
be a need for two 3D chips on devices,
for the front and back, despite a trend
by smartphone makers to have three or
more cameras.
During the interview, Sony showed several examples using a custom phone with
a 3D camera on its rear.
In one app, users made specific hand
gestures to cast magic spells inside a virtual
game. In another, the phone calculated the
depth of the room and accurately displayed
a virtual goldfish swimming in front of and
behind real-life objects.
“The most important thing in the
coming year will be to get people excited,”
Yoshihara said. BLOOMBERG
The prototype
Th
t t
off S
Sony C
Corp’s
’ 3D camera module
d l iis arranged
d ffor a photograph.
h t
h
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2019
I Bangkok Post
I 9
OPINION
Established 1946
Bangkok Post
The Newspaper You Can Trust
Clues scarce
in the South
olice, the Royal Thai Armed Forces and various
security agencies have brought a huge credibility
gap to the new upsurge of violence in the deep
South. As of now, depending on which official has
taken the podium, the bombings including the
severing of Songkhla’s iconic mermaid are political and nonpolitical, either the work of separatist bandits or not, and have
either a national or local motive — but not both. Over the
weekend, the Fourth Army commander said it might be local
politicians, which seems a head-shaker.
What is known is that explosions began at 10pm on Dec 26.
The first targets were local landmarks, all the more treasured
for that. The “golden” (actually bronzed) statue of a mermaid
atop a rock at Samila Beach had survived 52 years with only
light maintenance. The initial explosion was a relatively small
bomb compared with other terroristic devices used in this
long, low-key war. It effectively cut Jitr Buabus’ creation into
two pieces, head and tail.
Meanwhile, about 300 metres away, the second explosion
occurred at the large Cat and Rat Statue. A tourist attraction
on its own and much loved by southerners, the large sculpture celebrates local legends and the small offshore islands
called Koh Nu and Koh Maew — Rat and Cat. There was
virtually no damage to this statue, which attests to the relative
weakness of the bombs.
After Wednesday night, there have been bomb explosions
in the other three provinces of the deep South — Narathiwat,
Yala and Pattani. The
targets were the same as
A full 14 years has those of separatists since
2004. They are inevitanot been enough
bly remote and tend to
to develop reliable include power poles.
While toppling the poles
sources, let alone
produces a widespread
the
usefully infiltrate the advertisement for
attackers’ achievements,
it’s also a nuisance that
enemy.
could be replicated by any
schoolboy. It only serves
to reduce what little support is left for the bombers.
The question is who they are, and at first glance some of
the official guesses are bizarre. On Sunday, Lt Gen Pornsak
Surasak, commander of the 4th Army Region, came up with
a jaw-dropper. In his opinion, “local political rivals” could be
behind the attacks. Even assuming that southern politicians
would resort to four-province bombing attacks — and there is
no evidence they ever have — the reasoning is opaque. Damaging the mermaid statue, and toppling telephone poles, do
not seem a viable method to “get even” for local feuds.
Meanwhile, directly at odds with army Lt Gen Pornsak,
Region 9 police have declared what the bomb attacks are
not: politically motivated. Deputy Prime Minister Prawit
Wongsuwon, in charge of national security, said the bombings “might” be political but definitely are not the work of
separatists. An intelligence source told the Bangkok Post news
desk it appears that the attacks are the work of the Barisan
Revolusi Nasional (BRN), the biggest and most active group
still dedicated to violence in the region.
The country deserves better explanations. It is disheartening to realise that, as the southern violence enters its 15th
year on Friday, authorities are not just grasping for explanations, they actually are totally at odds with each other.
A full 14 years has not been enough for the security forces
to develop reliable sources, let alone usefully infiltrate the
enemy. It is telling that the powerful military arm of the prime
minister’s office, the Internal Security Operations Command
(Isoc), has been almost alone in refusing to place responsibility for the past week of violence.
The government is on the verge of once again attempting
to start “peace talks” in the region. The BRN has, as recently
as November, openly refused to take part. Whoever is behind
the latest week of attacks has achieved national notoriety,
showing that security forces still can’t get a firm grip on bringing full security to the four southernmost provinces.
P
The biggest security threats in 2019
POLITICS
met Mr Xi at the G20 in December, Mr Trump
agreed to waive new tariffs for 90 days. But
time is now running out, and if such problems
cannot be resolved, a broader meeting would
feel all but impossible in the near future.
PETER APPS
EUROPE, ESPECIALLY UKRAINE
ith an ongoing trade war
between the United States
and China, Russian military
posturing in Eastern Europe at
its greatest since the Cold War
and the most unpredictable US administration
in living memory, 2019 may offer no shortage
of strategic surprises.
Here are some of the key areas to watch in
the coming 12 months.
W
A NEW ‘BIG THREE’ MEETING?
With all the attention in Washington on the
government shutdown and disputes over
border funding, President Donald Trump has
said little more on his December tweet that
seemed to advocate a three-way conference
with Russian President Vladimir Putin and
Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Such a meeting, the president suggested, might offer the
opportunity to stem a major global arms race.
What worries America’s allies — and many in
the national security community — is that any
such meeting might yield a “grand bargain” in
which Mr Trump listens to his most isolationist
instincts and agrees to a US military pullback.
The first real indicator as to whether a
Trump-Putin-Xi summit might happen will
likely come this month, when US and Chinese
trade teams meet in an attempt to de-escalate
a growing dispute on tariffs. When Mr Trump
European states have been particularly dismayed by James Mattis’ resignation as defence
secretary, and are now worried Mr Trump
may double-down on his rhetoric that Europe
has done too little for its own defence. That
shouldn’t stop US forces from continuing to be
heavily involved in Nato exercises, however —
at least unless Mr Trump orders them to.
Europe’s multiple political crises will continue to swirl. If Britain is to avoid a chaotic
“no deal” Brexit in March, it will now have to
be through a last-minute agreement. French
President Emmanuel Macron may have
blunted December’s “yellow vests” protests
somewhat by giving in to many of the demonstrators’ demands, but he is likely to face
further confrontations with an increasingly
angry populace. European parliamentary elections in May will likely see a strong showing by
right-wing populist parties. German politics
will remain volatile ahead of the departure
of Chancellor Angela Merkel, as will those in
Italy — now widely regarded as the most vulnerable nation in the eurozone.
The most likely venue for escalating conflict, however, remains Ukraine. Having now
enclosed the seized Crimean peninsula with
a fence and taken control of the entrance to
the shared Azov Sea with a bridge, some now
suspect Moscow may attempt another limited land grab, perhaps towards the Ukrainian
coastal port of Mariupol. Whether that comes
or not, increased posturing by Nato and Russian forces alike in the nearby Black Sea also
feels inevitable, particularly ahead of Ukrainian elections on March 31.
SOUTH CHINA SEA
While much of the meat of China’s confrontations with the West comes from the trade
dispute and associated issues such as the
detention of a Huawei executive in Canada,
Beijing’s ambitions may play out most visibly
in the South China Sea.
Despite a UN court ruling dismissing its
maritime claims, Beijing will continue to
build military bases on artificial islands across
the South China Sea, while US warships and
regional allies will continue to challenge them
with so-called Freedom of Navigation Operations. One particular flashpoint might be the
Scarborough Shoal, claimed by both Beijing
and the Philippines. Unlike elsewhere in the
region, China has yet to build a permanent
outpost on the rocky outcrops — although its
forces maintain a persistent presence there,
while Filipino fishermen have complained
of harassment.
Shows of force are also likely around the
Taiwan Strait, where Washington may yet
choose to send one or more aircraft carriers,
a step not taken since the 1990s. Unmanned
surface and undersea vehicles will also likely
play a mounting role in such confrontations —
on Dec 27, Beijing announced an unmanned
“underwater glider” had just completed a
record 141-day voyage in the region.
YEMEN AND SYRIA
The coming year will be critical for both conflicts, particularly since Mr Trump’s decision to
PostBag
THE BANGKOK POST
Vol.LXXII No.2
The Bangkok Post is edited by Soonruth Bunyamanee for
Bangkok Post Public Company Limited, Printer, Publisher and Owner.
EDITOR Soonruth Bunyamanee
02-616-4100x4160, soonruthb@bangkokpost.co.th
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Prem paves the way
Re: “Good advice, partly taken”, (Editorial,
Dec 31).
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha
should heed the words of president of the
Privy Council Gen Prem Tinsulanonda —
that those who have different views are not
enemies; hence they should in no way be
treated as foes.
Gen Prem gained tremendous recognition and respect among Thai people when in
1988, after having served as prime minister
for eight years, he relinquished the premiership to an elected civilian. That was a
sacrificial as well as a selfless act.
Hence, what we Thais are pinning our
hopes on is for Gen Prayut to walk in Gen
Prem’s footsteps in the near future.
VINT CHAVALA Rights pretenders
Re: “NHRC should strive for balance”, (Editorial, Dec 30).
Thailand has a ready litmus test of commitment to protecting the human rights
of Thai citizens. It is the response to how
the Thai law should treat those who click
“like” on international news articles whose
truthfulness has never been rebutted. Aspiring human rights protectors who would side
with South Korea’s award of the prestigious
Gwangju Award for Human Rights of 2017 to
the patriotic Thai citizen Jatupat Boonpatararaksa, the morally exemplary Pai Dao Din,
likely put a just respect for human rights in
Thailand above blind loyalty to the rule of
unjust law.
In contrast, human rights pretenders
who support the state locking up true Thai
patriots merely because they have been
labelled criminals by a morally corrupt law
prove themselves fakes. A basic purpose of
a human rights commission is not to blindly
follow corrupt laws merely because they are
the law, but to protect citizens from unjust
laws whilst advocating to reform bad laws
and bad customs. This fundamental protection of all citizens’ basic rights is also a duty
of any decent constitution, which should
rule out criminal and other laws that allow
human rights to be violated.
FELIX QUI
Abstract Asean piece
Re: “Sizing up the year as Asean chair”,
(Opinion, Jan 1).
This is a typical communique from the
Foreign Affairs Ministry. Where’s the beef
(or vegetable for vegans), Mr Don? I found
the article verbose, abstract and lacking
in substance. I want to know what are the
“challenges of the next decade and beyond.”
I want specific examples of the “challenges”.
Is it about China encroaching on the South
China Sea? Or is it about Asean being on the
verge of being snared by China’s debt trap,
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like Sri Lanka and Pakistan already have
been, and Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and
the Philippines are eagerly waiting in line?
To me, these are the challenges that Asean
is facing and only Dr Mahathir is aware of
(bless his heart, I wish he were our leader.)
This article is so wordy and full of gibberish that it’s not even qualified to be filler. It
makes a good example of “How to write a
1,000-word article without saying anything”,
though.
pull troops from Syria and the cessation of US
fueling support to Saudi aircraft in Yemen. In
Syria, the US withdrawal will likely be followed
by a dramatic increase in Turkish and Syrian
military action and a major land grab against
Kurdish forces, formerly allied to Washington.
In Yemen, Saudi Arabia must decide whether
to largely abide with a Western-backed peace
process aimed at stopping a war that now
threatens millions with starvation, or push
on regardless and face yet more international condemnation.
The outcome of both conflicts, however, will
tell us much about a Middle East now dominated by a struggle between several mediumpower countries — Iran, Saudi Arabia and
Turkey in particular.
NORTH KOREA
After the unexpected diplomatic breakthroughs of 2018, the coming year may be
much more challenging when it comes to
dealing with North Korea, while Pyongyang
seems unlikely to acquiesce to US disarmament demands.
Much depends on how US-China dynamics play out. If Washington and Beijing can
de-escalate their trade war, Chinese pressure
may keep the Korean Peninsula calm. But if
US-Chinese tensions ratchet higher, a return
to North Korean weapons tests could yet spark
US military action and a wider regional war.
REUTERS
Peter Apps is Reuters global affairs columnist,
writing on international affairs, globalisation,
conflict and other issues. He is founder and
executive director of the Project for Study of the
21st Century (PS21), a non-partisan think tank. “
InQuote
SOMSAK POLA
Death wish
Re: “Alcohol the worst drug”, (PostBag,
Jan 1).
It is high time to stop blaming beer
barons, drug barons or any other types of
“baron”. A person should have the common
sense not to binge on alcohol, and should
know that drinking and driving is dangerous.
Let’s stop blaming those who manufacture or sell alcohol. This is not a nanny
state. Blame instead those who are stupid
enough to think they are immune to death
and drunkenness. Blame those who fail to
educate the public to the dangers. Even this
does not seem to help because the government has been lecturing the public for years
on the dangers of alcohol. If someone has
a death wish, fine. By all means, carry it out
as long as one does not involve others in
one’s folly.
It is time to stop blaming others for what
should be a personal concern. The government, police and army go out of their way
every year to preach this but people don’t
listen. JACK GILEAD
I’m not
adept at it.
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER GEN
CHATCHAI SARIKULYA RESPONDS
TO A QUESTION FROM THE MEDIA
ON WHETHER HE IS INTERESTED IN
ENTERING THE POLITICAL FRAY.
10 I
Bangkok Post I
SPORTS
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2019
BASKETBALL
Harden lifts Rockets, Thunder bounce back
Curry scores 34 points
as Warriors sink Suns
James Harden posted a
43-point triple-double on another recordsetting night on Monday to lead the Houston Rockets to a 113-101 NBA victory over
the Memphis Grizzlies.
Harden, the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player, added 13 assists and 10
rebounds for his fourth triple-double of
the season and 39th of his career.
And with his eighth straight game with
at least 35 points and five assists he set
an NBA record — bettering Oscar Robertson’s two such seven-game streaks.
More important for Harden, the Rockets — who made a sputtering start to the
season — won for the 10th time in their
last 11 games to improve to 21-15.
“That’s a better measure,” he said, “than
individual accomplishments, as bringing
a championship to the city is the important thing.”
Harden drained six three-pointers
and made 21 of his 27 free throws and
the Rockets led by as many as 24 before
Memphis sliced the deficit to nine points
with 1:26 minutes to play.
A free throw from PJ Tucker and a
lay-up by Austin Rivers helped rebuild
the lead as the Rockets continued to win
despite the injury absence of point guard
Chris Paul.
“Offensively and defensively guys are
LOS ANGELES:
stepping up,” Harden said. “We’ve got a
long way to go, but we’re heading in the
right direction.”
The Oklahoma City Thunder rode point
guard Russell Westbrook’s triple-double
to a 122-102 home victory over the Dallas
Mavericks, a day after falling to the Mavericks in Dallas.
Westbrook, who said after his disappointing nine-point performance in Dallas
that he was letting his teammates down,
bounced back in a big way with 32 points,
11 assists and 11 rebounds.
Paul George added 22 points and
Jerami Grant chipped in 16 for the Thunder, who never trailed.
The two-time defending NBA champions Golden State Warriors closed out
2018 with a 132-109 victory over the Suns
in Phoenix.
Stephen Curry scored 34 points and
pulled down nine rebounds. Kevin Durant
added 25 points and Klay Thompson
chipped in 15 for the Warriors, who led
by as many as 30.
Curry made five of his nine three-point
attempts as the Warriors connected on
14-of-28 from beyond the arc in their 17th
straight victory over the Suns.
In San Antonio, the Spurs connected
on 76 percent of their shots in a 46-point
third quarter to put away the Boston Celtics 120-111.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 12 of his 32
points in the third and San Antonio won
for the 11th time in 13 games to continue
their rise in the Western Conference.
Derrick White contributed a career-high
22 points for San Antonio, one of six Spurs
players to score in double figures.
Jaylen Brown scored a season-high 30
points for the Celtics, who were unable to
maintain a first-half lead.
San Antonio got off to a slow start,
making just one of their first six shots from
the field. Aldridge scored just one point in
the first period, when the Spurs posted just
17 points total.
Boston star Kyrie Irving finished with 16
points. He departed briefly in the second
half with an apparent eye injury after
colliding with the Spurs’ Marco Belinelli.
Although Irving returned to the game, he
said after the game that both of his eyes
had been scratched.
The Charlotte Hornets lost two starters to injury but still defeated the Orlando
Magic 125-100.
Kemba Walker scored 24 points to lead
six Hornets players in double figures. Cody
Zeller scored 14 points before departing
with a broken bone in his right hand in
the third quarter.
Jeremy Lamb departed in the first quarter with a right hamstring strain.
The New Orleans Pelicans overcame
the absence of ailing Anthony Davis to
post a 123-114 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Julius Randle scored 33 points and
pulled down 11 rebounds and Darius
Miller scored 13 of his 21 points in the
fourth quarter for New Orleans. Elfrid
Payton, who missed 22 games with a
broken finger, chipped in nine points on
his return. AFP
Rockets guard James Harden dribbles the ball against Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson during the first quarter. USA TODAY SPORTS
AMERICAN FOOTBALL
ICE HOCKEY
Rookie Blackwood posts 2nd
straight shut-out as Devils roll
Mackenzie Blackwood continued the stellar start to his career with 25
saves on Monday afternoon to become the
first rookie goaltender in team history to
record consecutive shut-outs as the New
Jersey Devils posted a 4-0 victory over the
visiting Vancouver Canucks.
Brian Boyle and Miles Wood scored little
more than six minutes apart in the first
period as the Devils won their third straight
game. New Jersey head into a four-game
road trip on their first three-game winning
streak since starting the season 4-0-0.
Blackwood helped the Devils beat the
Canucks for the eighth straight time by
producing his second career shut-out in
just four starts. Two weeks after joining
the Devils when Cory Schneider went on
injured reserve, Blackwood became the first
New Jersey goaltender to record consecutive shut-outs since Hall of Famer Martin
Brodeur on April 3-6, 2010.
He ran his shut-out streak to 122:50
minutes since allowing a goal to Boston’s
Patrice Bergeron on Thursday and also
became the first rookie to post consecutive
shut-outs since Anaheim’s John Gibson on
Dec 29-31, 2015.
Jonathan Huberdeau scored the lone
shoot-out goal, and Florida erased a threegoal deficit to win 4-3 at Detroit. The Red
Wings took their fifth consecutive loss
(0-3-2).
James Reimer, who entered after Roberto
Luongo gave up three-first period goals,
wasn’t beaten by any of the Red Wings’
three attempts during the shoot-out.
Reimer also stopped all 12 shots he faced
in regulation and overtime combined.
Jared McCann, Henrik Borgstrom and
Jayce Hawryluk scored the regulation goals
for the Panthers. Andreas Athanasiou,
Gustav Nyquist and Thomas Vanek scored
for the Red Wings. Detroit’s Dylan Larkin
NEWARK:
Marvin Lewis. AFP
Steve Wilks. AP
Vance Joseph. AFP
Adam Gase. AP
‘Black Monday’ strikes again
Disappointed NFL clubs
have wasted no time in ringing the changes
for the new year, with four teams parting
ways with their coaches on Monday.
The Cincinnati Bengals said the departure of head coach Marvin Lewis was a
“mutual” decision.
Lewis, who spent 16 seasons in Cincinnati and earned NFL Coach of the Year
honours in 2008, was the second-longest
tenured coach in the league behind the
New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick.
“I want to thank the Bengals’ organiswation, the fans and the city of Cincinnati for their support,” the 60-year-old
Lewis said. “I regret I haven’t been able to
provide them with the No.1 goal of being
world champions.”
The Bengals started the season an
encouraging 4-1. But defensive struggles
saw defensive coordinator Teryl Austin
sacked and a slew of injuries further damaged the team, which finished 6-10 and last
in the AFC North division.
The Arizona Cardinals, who finished
3-13 and last in the NFC West, sacked
Steve Wilks on Monday after one season
as head coach.
Wilks was hired on Jan 22, 2018 to
replace the retiring Bruce Arians and in
LOS ANGELES:
his lone season Wilks presided over the
Cardinals’ worst season in 18 years.
They’ll have the consolation of selecting
first in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Wilks, 49, becomes the first one-anddone coach since Chip Kelly was fired by
the San Francisco 49ers in 2016.
Denver fired Vance Joseph a day after the
Broncos wrapped up their second straight
losing season under the coach’s guidance.
It was the first time the Broncos have
finished back-to-back seasons with a losing
record since 1971-1972.
Adam Gase is out as head coach of the
Miami Dolphins, who also announced that
executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum will no longer
continue in that role.
General manager Chris Grier has
been promoted to run the team’s football operations.
Two teams didn’t wait until Monday,
with the New York Jets announcing the
departure of Todd Bowls after four years
just hours after a season-ending 38-3 loss
to New England on Sunday.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sacked
coach Dirk Koetter on Sunday, shortly after
their 5-11 season ended with 34-32 loss to
the Atlanta Falcons.
The Green Bay Packers, whose season
ended with an embarrassing 31-0 loss to
the Detroit Lions in which star quarterback
Aaron Rodgers suffered a concussion, had
already fired coach Mike McCarthy after
a week-13 loss to the Cardinals, and the
Cleveland Browns had dismissed Hue Jackson after a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers
midway through the season.
FOLES TO START FOR EAGLES
Nick Foles will start at quarterback for the
Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles
in their NFL play-off opener against Chicago, despite being injured in the regularseason finale on Sunday.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said
on Monday that Foles would start, saying the
veteran signal-caller was “feeling good” and
diagnostic tests were “clear” after Foles took
a heavy hit to the chest when he was sacked
late in a victory that helped the Eagles secure
a play-off berth at the 11th hour.
“We’ll take care of him and make sure
he’s ready for Sunday,” Pederson said
of Foles.
The coach had no update on quarterback Carson Wentz, the team’s No.1 quarterback who has been sidelined by a stress
fracture in a vertebra. AFP
extended his points streak to 14 games with
an assist.
Frederick Gaudreau scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second period as
visiting Nashville posted the game’s final
five goals and defeated Washington 6-3 to
end a six-game losing streak.
The loss was just the second in 11 games
for the Caps, who saw their four-game winning streak end.
The Capitals jumped out to a pair of twogoal leads — 2-0 and 3-1 — but the Predators rallied and scored a fifth consecutive
victory over Washington.
Phil Kessel had a goal and two assists,
and Sidney Crosby added a goal and an
assist as Pittsburgh won for the sixth
straight time, pulling out a 3-2 victory in
Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Kessel has three goals and 10 points in
the past four games. Crosby, playing in his
900th career game, registered his fourth
straight multiple-point game and has 16
points over his past nine games.
Mikko Koivu had a goal and an assist and
Zach Parise scored a goal for Minnesota,
who are on a 1-5-1 skid with just 10 goals
in those seven games.
Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk
each had two goals and two assists, and
Sean Monahan added five assists as Calgary
defeated visiting San Jose 8-5.
Mikael Backland also scored twice and
Elias Lindholm and James Neal had a goal
apiece for the Flames, who are 2-2-2 in their
past six games after winning eight of nine.
Lindholm and Michael Frolik each had two
assists. Calgary goaltender David Rittich,
making his third straight start, recorded
28 saves.
Joonas Donskoi scored twice for
the Sharks, who got single tallies from
Brent Burns, Lukas Radil and Joe
Thornton. REUTERS
SCORES and STANDINGS
FOOTBALL
Maradona shows support
for racism victim Koulibaly
BUENOS AIRES: Diego Maradona has
given his backing to Napoli defender
Kalidou Koulibaly after the Senegalese
international was subjected to racist abuse
by Inter Milan supporters last week.
Argentina great Maradona, who won the
Serie A title with Napoli in 1987 and 1990,
posted a picture of himself on social media
holding up Koulibaly’s No.26 shirt with a
message of support for the player, who was
targeted with monkey chants by Inter fans
during Napoli’s 1-0 defeat at the San Siro
last Wednesday.
“I played for Napoli for seven years and
I also suffered from racist chants from
some fans,” said Maradona, who is coach
of Mexican second division outfit Dorados
and adored by Napoli fans.
The 58-year-old, currently on holiday in
Buenos Aires as the Mexican league is on a
break, said he feels “even more Neapolitan
today” and that he wants “to be close to”
Koulibaly.
“I hope this incident signals a turning
point to eliminate, once and for all, racism
from football.”
Maradona’s gesture of solidarity comes
after thousands of Napoli fans wore Koulibaly masks in support of the 27-year-old
during their side’s 3-2 win over Bologna
on Saturday.
On Friday, European football governing
Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood saves a shot from Canucks centre Bo Horvat. AP
Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly. REUTERS
body Uefa said its anti-racism protocol
had not been followed during the match
in which Koulibaly, who was also sent off,
was abused.
Fans were asked three times over the
loudspeaker to stop the abuse, but they
ignored the pleas.
According to Uefa’s protocol, the match
should have been suspended then but
instead the game was allowed to continue.
The Italian league subsequently ordered
Inter to play two home matches behind
closed doors as punishment. AFP
BASKETBALL
WASHINGTON: Results from Monday’s
National Basketball Association games:
Phoenix 109 Golden State 132; New Orleans
123 Minnesota 114; Oklahoma City 122 Dallas
102; Charlotte 125 Orlando 100; Houston 113
Memphis 101; San Antonio 120 Boston 111;
Indiana 116 Atlanta 108
STANDINGS
EASTERN CONFERENCE
ATLANTIC DIVISION
W
L PCT
1. Toronto
27
11 .711
2. Philadelphia
23
14 .622
3. Boston
21
15 .583
4. Brooklyn
17
21 .447
5. New York
9
28 .243
CENTRAL DIVISION
W
L PCT
1. Milwaukee
25
10 .714
2. Indiana
25
12 .676
3. Detroit
16
18 .471
4. Chicago
10
27 .270
5. Cleveland
8
29 .216
SOUTHEAST DIVISION
W
L PCT
1. Charlotte
18
18 .500
2. Miami
17
18 .486
3. Orlando
16
20 .444
4. Washington
14
23 .378
5. Atlanta
11
25 .306
WESTERN CONFERENCE
NORTHWEST DIVISION
W
L PCT
1. Denver
23
11 .676
2. Oklahoma City
22
13 .629
3. Portland
21
16 .568
4. Utah
18
19 .486
5. Minnesota
17
20 .459
PACIFIC DIVISION
W
L PCT
GB
—
3½
5
10
17½
GB
—
1
8½
16
18
GB
—
½
2
4½
7
GB
—
1½
3½
6½
7½
GB
1. Golden State
24
13
2. LA Clippers
21
15
3. LA Lakers
21
16
4. Sacramento
19
17
5. Phoenix
9
28
SOUTHWEST DIVISION
W
L
1. Houston
21
15
2. San Antonio
21
17
3. Memphis
18
18
4. Dallas
17
18
5. New Orleans
17
21
.649 —
.583 2½
.568
3
.528 4½
.243 15
PCT GB
.583 —
.553
1
.500
3
.486 3½
.447
5
ICE HOCKEY
WASHINGTON: Results from Monday’s
National Hockey League games:
Nashville 6 Washington 3; New Jersey 4 Vancouver 0; Carolina 3 Philadelphia 1; Pittsburgh
3 Minnesota 2; NY Islanders 3 Buffalo 1; NY
Rangers 2 St Louis 1; Columbus 6 Ottawa 3;
Florida 4 Detroit 3, SO; Tampa Bay 2 Anaheim
1, OT; Los Angeles 3 Colorado 2, OT; Montreal
3 Dallas 2, OT; Calgary 8 San Jose 5; Winnipeg 4 Edmonton 3
STANDINGS
EASTERN CONFERENCE
ATLANTIC DIVISION
P W L OT Pts
Tampa Bay
40 31 7 2 64
Toronto
39 26 11 2 54
Buffalo
40 21 13 6 48
Montreal
40 21 14 5 47
Boston
39 21 14 4 46
Florida
38 17 15 6 40
Detroit
41 15 19 7 37
Ottawa
40 15 21 4 34
METROPOLITAN DIVISION
P W L OT Pts
Washington
38 24 11 3 51
Columbus
39 23 13 3 49
Pittsburgh
39 21 12 6 48
GF GA
168 117
144 109
115 115
128 128
110 103
124 134
115 140
126 159
GF GA
138 112
129 119
133 115
NY Islanders
38 21 13 4 46 114 102
NY Rangers
38 17 14 7 41 111 123
Carolina
38 16 17 5 37 94 109
New Jersey
38 15 16 7 37 113 127
Philadelphia
38 15 18 5 35 111 136
WESTERN CONFERENCE
CENTRAL DIVISION
P W L OT Pts GF GA
Winnipeg
39 25 12 2 52 134 111
Nashville
40 23 15 2 48 120 104
Colorado
40 19 13 8 46 134 123
Dallas
40 20 16 4 44 108 106
Minnesota
38 18 17 3 39 110 108
Chicago
41 15 20 6 36 119 149
St Louis
37 15 18 4 34 102 123
PACIFIC DIVISION
P W L OT Pts GF GA
Calgary
40 24 12 4 52 141 112
Vegas
42 23 15 4 50 128 115
San Jose
41 21 13 7 49 140 129
Anaheim
41 19 15 7 45 102 120
Vancouver
42 19 19 4 42 124 133
Edmonton
39 18 18 3 39 111 126
Arizona
39 17 20 2 36 100 112
Los Angeles
40 16 21 3 35 92 119
Note: Two points for a win, one point for
overtime loss. Top three teams in each division
and two wild cards per conference advance to
play-offs.
(SVK) 6-2, 3-0 retired; Kirsten Flipkens (BEL
x7) bt Sachia Vickery (USA) 6-2, 6-2; Bibiane
Schoofs (NED) bt Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL
8) 3-4 retired; Mona Barthel (GER) bt Silvia
Soler-Espinosa (ESP) 6-2, 7-6 (7/1)
TENNIS
AUCKLAND: Results from the WTA Auckland
Classic yesterday (x denotes seed):
First round
Barbora Strycova (CZE x5) bt Taylor Townsend
(USA) 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3; Julia Goerges (GER
x2) bt Johanna Larsson (SWE) 6-0, 6-4; Venus
Williams (USA x6) bt Victoria Azarenka (BLR)
6-3, 1-6, 6-3; Sofia Kenin (USA) bt Petra
Martic (CRO x4) 7-5, 2-6, 6-2; Hsieh Su-wei
(TPE x3) bt Polona Hercog (SLO) 6-2, 6-3;
Amanda Anisimova (USA) bt Jana Cepelova
First round
Andrey Rublev (RUS) bt Andreas Seppi (ITA)
7-5, 6-1; Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO x5) bt
Albert Ramos (ESP) 6-1, 1-6, 6-1; Nicolas
Jarry (CHI) bt Robin Haase (NED) 6-7 (7/9),
6-4, 7-6 (7/4); Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x7)
bt Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 6-1, 6-4; Fernando
Verdasco (ESP x8) bt Paolo Lorenzi (ITA)
6-3, 6-4; Tomas Berdych (CZE) bt Philipp
Kohlschreiber (GER) 6-4, 7-6 (7/5); Maximilian
Marterer (GER) bt Peter Gojowczyk (GER)
6-1, 6-4
BRISBANE: Results from the ATP/WTA
Brisbane International yesterday (X denotes
seed):
Men’s first round
Denis Kudla (USA) bt Taylor Fritz (USA) 7-6
(7/5), 6-7 (2/7), 6-4; Jeremy Chardy (FRA) bt
Jan-Lennard Struff 4-6, 6-3, 6-4; Andy Murray
(GBR) bt James Duckworth (AUS) 6-3, 6-4;
Nick Kyrgios (AUS X8) bt Ryan Harrison (USA)
7-6 (7/5), 5-7, 7-6 (7/5)
Women’s first round
Johanna Konta (GBR) bt Sloane Stephens
(USA X3) 6-4, 6-3; Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) bt
Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 1-6, 6-3, 6-0; Anastasija Sevastova (LAT X8) bt Daria Gavrilova
(AUS) 6-3, 6-3; Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR)
bt Anastasia Potapova (RUS) 6-4, 7-5; Petra
Kvitova (CZE X4) bt Danielle Collins (USA) 6-7
(6/8), 7-6 (8/6), 6-3
DOHA: Results from the ATP Qatar Open on
Monday (x denotes seeding):
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2019
I Bangkok Post
SPORTS
I 11
BOXING
‘Money’ rakes in quick $9m
A guiding light with
almost no eyesight
Mayweather wrecks
Nasukawa in Tokyo
LISBON: In some ways, says Portuguese ex-
boxer Jorge Pina, the loss of most of his sight
was the making of him. “I didn’t lose my
sight, I just see things differently,” he says.
Forced to abandon his world title
dreams, Pina devotes his time to helping
troubled kids from rough neighbourhoods
stay on the right path by channelling their
energy into sport.
“Before, I was a selfish and troubled
person from a difficult neighbourhood,” he
says. “But now I want to help young people,
win the combat of life.”
His sight problem developed in training
in 2004 and eventually put an end to his
boxing career. An operation two years later
failed to fix his detached retina and he was
left with only 10-percent vision.
But even before he had fully recovered,
Pina was asking his doctor whether he
could run.
“When I lost my sight I needed something positive, despite my limitations,” he
said, still breathing hard from a training run
with his sighted guide on a Lisbon athletics
track. “I chose what I was best at: running
and sharing.”
The running has already taken him to
three Paralympics and he is also aiming to
be at Tokyo in 2020.
The sharing saw him set up shop in
Bensaude, one of Lisbon’s more deprived
neighbourhoods, where he operates his
own sport association for local kids.
In a spartan hall, the former middleweight contender warms up, shadow-boxing in front of a full-length mirror before
calling the assembled kids to order.
“Listen up kids, right now — or I’m off!”
TOKYO: Floyd “Money” Mayweather beat
Japanese kickboxing phenomenon Tenshin Nasukawa by a technical knockout
on Monday after just two minutes of a New
Year’s Eve “exhibition” bout that brought
the US boxing superstar out of retirement
for a big pay day.
In a mismatched contest, Mayweather
floored Nasukawa, a kickboxer less than
half his age, three times in the first round
of the three-round contest before the Japanese fighter’s trainer rushed in to stop
the fight.
“Money” Mayweather has hinted on
social media he was pocketing US$9
million for the fight, meaning he earned
around $4.5 million per minute for
the spectacle.
The American boxer at first appeared
not to be taking the fight seriously, grinning at his opponent and aiming only soft
punches at him.
But he then demonstrated his power,
launching a series of jabs and hooks to the
head of the 20-year-old Japanese fighter,
sending him to the canvas after just one
minute with a left hook.
Sensing his opponent was struggling, Mayweather stepped in for the kill,
unleashing a flurry of punches that left
Nasukawa reeling again within just two
minutes of the bout and facing his second
standing count after a huge right hook to
the head.
With the Japanese fighter clearly battling to stay on his feet, the trainer rushed
in and stopped the fight with less than one
minute of the first round remaining.
“It was all about entertainment. We
had fun,” Mayweather said in the ring
after the event.
“I’m still retired. I don’t look forward to
coming back to boxing but I did this just
to entertain the fans in Japan,” added the
41-year-old.
The rules were very strictly defined:
three, three minute bouts and boxing
only — kickboxer Nasukawa was reportedly facing a $5 million fine if he aimed a
kick at Mayweather.
There were no judges, with only
a knockout or technical knockout
Floyd Mayweather knocks down Tenshin Nasukawa in the first round. REUTERS
considered a victory in the bout, promoted
as a pure exhibition match.
Crucially, the match did not feature on
the record of either man, allowing them
both to retain a cherished unbeaten record.
“This won’t go on my record. This
won’t go on Tenshin’s record. Tenshin
is still undefeated. I’m still undefeated.
This is just entertainment for the people,”
he added.
The purse for the event was not disclosed but “Money” hinted on Instagram that he would be making $1 million
per minute.
“What if I told you I was making
$9,000,000 for nine minutes of sparring in
Tokyo, Japan,” he wrote on his official page.
“Would you do the same if you were me?
I like to call it a nine-minute walk thru,”
the post added.
Mayweather, a legend in the boxing
world, has a perfect 50-0 record with 27
knockouts. He won world titles in five
different weight divisions and was considered the best pound-for-pound boxer
in the sport.
Virtually unknown outside the kickboxing ring in his own country, Nasukawa
from Chiba near Tokyo also boasts an
unbeaten record.
He won the world junior karate championship, made his professional kickboxing
debut at the age of 16 and has a 28-0 record
with 21 wins by knockout.
Promoters RIZIN have hailed him as
“perhaps the best combat sports prospect the country has ever seen” and the
20-year-old himself had claimed he has a
“punch that boxers don’t have”.
But he hardly penetrated Mayweather’s
defences and barely made the older man
break sweat.
This is the second time Mayweather has
been coaxed out of retirement. Last year,
he knocked out mixed martial arts fighter
Conor McGregor in the 10th round of a
super-hyped boxing match.
There are also unconfirmed rumours
Mayweather could take on reigning UFC
lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who said last month any matchup would be “twice as interesting” as the
McGregor fight.
Monday’s Tokyo fight was on-off from
the start.
It was announced out of the blue on
Nov 5.
However, just as abruptly as it was
announced, it was called off just three
days later.
Mayweather said he had been “blindsided” into the contest by the organisers.
But the promoter met Mayweather and
announced a week later that the fight was
back on, saying that a “misunderstanding”
had been resolved. AFP
he growls.
Tall, lean and muscled, 42-year-old Pina
still cuts an imposing figure, and the kids,
mostly from the local gypsy community,
quieten down and listen.
Wherever he goes, the kids attach themselves to him, whether they are taking his
hand to guide him or just giving him a hug.
“Jorge taught me discipline and how to
channel my energy,” says 13-year-old Xavier
Pereira, after sessions on the punchbag and
some pad work. “Before I met him I got
into trouble at school and I didn’t go there
very often.”
Pina has been running such sessions
since 2011, also working with autistic kids.
And the success of his work has convinced the city authorities to back a new
base for his association with 60 percent of
the funding.
The new Jorge Pina Association building
will provide 1,700 square metres of space
for sport and local community activities.
Partly to help raise the rest of the money
for the centre, Pina keeps up his running,
with the help of his sighted running partner
Helio Fumo.
But he also has to stay in shape for the
next Paralympics, to make sure he can make
the qualifying times. And for that, he is up
early every morning for his training run.
At 42, Pina still feels in top physical form
and even speaks in terms of the rebirth of
his sporting career.
“As a boxer, I saw other people as
enemies. Today, I am my own adversary
and those who surround me give me the
strength to surpass myself.
“I’m happier than I was before.” AFP
Jorge Pina teaches
boxing to autistic
children at a
school in
Lisbon. AFP
TENNIS
Murray advances in Brisbane in latest comeback
Andy Murray doesn’t know
how long his latest comeback can last, so
he’s planning on making the most of it.
The 31-year-old Murray returned to
competitive tennis for the first time since
September and gradually warmed into
it, taking the last four games in a 6-3, 6-4
win over Australian wildcard entry James
Duckworth at the Brisbane International yesterday.
“It’s been really hard. Eighteen months,
a lot of ups and downs. It was tricky just to
get back on the court competing again,”
said Murray, who had a noticeable limp
between points but didn’t show many signs
during rallies of strain from his troublesome
right hip. “I’m happy I’m back out here
competing again.”
“I want to try to enjoy it as much as I can,”
Murray, a two-time champion in Brisbane,
told the crowd in a post-match interview.
“I’m not sure how much longer it’s going
to last.”
He appeared stiff and rusty to start the
match but managed to chase down Duckworth’s chips and drop shots and moved
across court well, twice manufacturing
forehand winners from defensive positions
on important points.
Murray is dealing with regular pain but
said it didn’t hamper his shot-making or
movement during the match.
“Weirdly enough, walking is actually
BRISBANE:
Former world No.1 Venus Williams. AFP
Venus edges
Azarenka in
3-set thriller
The ageless Venus Williams
launched her 25th year as a professional by
outlasting Victoria Azarenka in a three-set
thriller on day two of the WTA Auckland
Classic yesterday.
In the showdown between the two
former world No.1s, the 38-year-old Williams overcame Azarenka, nine years her
junior, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.
The two-hour, 10-minute marathon
was packed with power and precision,
and in the end Azarenka’s nine aces were
not enough.
Williams’ superior accuracy in the opening stages gave her the first set, before Azarenka took the second by blasting winners
as she moved her opponent from side
to side.
In the deciding third set there were two
breaks by each player in the first six games
before Williams opened a gap to go 5-3 up
when Azarenka was wide with a crosscourt
forehand. The American then served for
the match.
“I love my job, I love what I do but
tonight was not easy and maybe one of the
toughest first rounds I’ve ever played,” Williams said, adding it was what she needed
to start the year.
“My goal was to get past the first round,
did you see who I had to play, and we need
these matches going into the Australian
Open,” she said, referring to the year’s first
Grand Slam which begins in just under
two weeks.
“Now I’m hoping the next round will be
fruitful for me.”
Defending champion Julia Goerges
coasted through her first match with a
6-0, 6-4 win over Sweden’s Johanna Larsson, while fifth seed Barbora Strycova was
forced into a three-set battle to survive
Taylor Townsend.
Strycova raced to a 5-1 lead over
Townsend before the American lifted her
game to force the match to a deciding set
in which the Czech prevailed, to win 6-2,
6-7 (5/7), 6-3. AFP
AUCKLAND:
Andy Murray hits a
return against
James Duckworth
at the Brisbane
International. AFP
worse than some of the movements I have
to make on the court, which is odd, and
that’s something that is frustrating for me at
times, because I don’t like walking around
limping,” he said.
“Like when I see a video of myself doing
that, that’s been one of the things that’s like,
yeah, it’s got me down quite a lot because I
feel like as an athlete I should be able to do
that properly. That’s something that’s kind
of taken a bit of time to get used to.”
Winner of three majors and a five-time
finalist at the Australian Open, Murray is
playing on a protected ranking in Brisbane
after sliding to No.240 in a 2018 season in
which he finished 7-5 from 12 matches
after surgery on his right hip in January.
He missed the last five weeks of the season
with an ankle injury.
No.2-ranked Rafael Nadal is also scheduled this week to play his first competitive
match since September, but he is taking a
cautious approach after being restricted
to nine tournaments last year because
of injuries.
“After the surgeries, I don’t want to do
it a step back. I want to move forward,” he
said. “After all I suffered last year in terms
of injuries, I don’t want to do mistakes in
terms of playing without being 100 percent.”
Nadal is set to play either Jo-Wilfried
Tsonga or Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second
round tomorrow. “My goal is, of course, to
be on court on Thursday [tomorrow] and to
be on court with a positive feeling.”
Despite the disruptions last season,
Nadal won five titles, including his 11th
French Open, and reached the semi-finals
of Wimbledon and the US Open.
Nick Kyrgios fired 45 aces and needed
five match points before finishing off Ryan
Harrison 7-6 (5), 5-7, 7-6 (5) in a rematch
of last year’s Brisbane International final.
Denis Kudla beat fellow American Taylor
Fritz 7-6 (5), 6-7 (2), 6-4 to advance into a
second-round match against No.2-seeded
Kei Nishikori.
In first-round women’s matches,
Johanna Konta ousted No.3-seeded Sloane
Stephens 6-4, 6-3 and No.8 Anastasija Sevastova beat Daria Gavrilova 6-3, 6-3.
“It’s the first match of the year — I
have like 80 more matches to go,” said
Stephens. AP
Djokovic: ‘Big Four’ still the stars to beat Del Potro out
DOHA: World No.1 Novak Djokovic said
on Monday that tennis’ big four — himself, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and
Andy Murray — were still the favourites
to win Grand Slam titles in 2019.
Despite a combination of age, injury
and long-held prediction of a new generation of stars about to burst through, Djokovic insisted the four veterans remained
the players to beat.
“I think if we are healthy and playing
well, the four guys still have probably the
best chance to always win Slams,” said
Djokovic in Doha, ahead of playing in his
season opener, the Qatar Open.
Djokovic is the favourite to dominate
in 2019, having finished last season so
strongly, overcoming an injury-hit start
to the year to claim the Wimbledon and
US Open titles.
The 31-year-old also rose from world
No.22 to number one, becoming the
oldest ever player to finish the year as
the highest ranked player in the world.
His rivals, especially Nadal and
Murray, are still battling back to full fitness, increasing the chances that the Serbian could add to his 14 Grand Slam titles.
One more major win and he will overtake Pete Sampras to become third on the
all-time list of Grand Slam winners. Only
Federer (20) and Nadal (17) have more.
Novak Djokovic at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi. AFP
Since and including 2010, the “Big
Four” have won 32 Grand Slams between
them, with Djokovic top of that list with 13
of his titles coming in the current decade.
Djokovic though insisted that “the next
generation is already there” and singled
out Germany’s world No.4 Alexander
Zverev, Croatia’s Borna Coric, No.12 and
Greece’s No.15 Stefano Tsitsipas as the
main threats.
“It’s a matter of time when we will see
some of them competing in the last stages
of Grand Slams,” he added.
Another of those who might challenge
the usual suspects is Austria’s Dominic
Thiem, who is also in Doha, and the No.2
seed after the Serb.
The world No.8 admitted it was time
for the next generation to step up.
“All the guys who won Slams in previous years are on tour, so it will be very
tough,” Thiem said.
“Yes, there are four chances for us...
and we are very pumped to take one
Grand Slam and maybe it is going to
happen this year.”
Djokovic won a Qatar Open doubles match on Monday, partnering his
brother Marko.
He was due to begin his quest for a third
Doha singles title yesterday against Damir
Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In Doha, his main challenge is likely to
come from Thiem and Karen Khachanov
who ended Djokovic’s 22-match winning
streak in November.
Khachanov starts against three-time
Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka.
“I’m happy, I’m fit, I’m ready for the
season and I’m looking forward to starting it,” said Swiss star Wawrinka.
On Monday, there were wins for
Thomas Berdych, the Czech beating
Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 7-6
(7/5) and Russia’s Andrey Rublev against
Italy’s Andreas Seppi, 7-5, 6-1. AFP
of Aussie Open
World No.5 Juan Martin Del
Potro said on Monday he will miss the Australian Open starting in two weeks’ time as he hasn’t
yet recovered from a fractured knee suffered
in October.
Writing on Twitter, the Argentine said: “Recovery is going great and I will tell you later where I will
be making my comeback.
Unfortunately it won’t
happen in Australia.”
The injury-plagued
30-year-old hobbled out
of the Shanghai Masters
two months ago after an
awkward fall before doctors diagnosed him with
a fractured patella bone
in his right knee.
Since winning the
US Open in 2009 as a Juan Martin Del Potro
20-year-old, Del Potro
has been plagued with physical problems that
required four surgeries.
But 2018 had seen something of a resurgence
from a player who dropped to 581 in the world
in 2015. He beat Swiss great Roger Federer in the
Indian Wells Masters final in March and in September he reached a second Grand Slam final, but
was beaten in straight sets by current world No.1
Novak Djokovic at the US Open. AFP
BUENOS AIRES:
Sports
B
NBA
Harden’s triple-double powers
Rockets past Grizzlies
10
NFL
Four more coaches get the axe
as regular season ends
10
ÎRead more news at bangkokpost.com
k kP
‘Money Man’
Mayweather makes
$9m for about two
minutes of work
Page 11
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY
R 2, 2019
FOOTBALL
War Elephants ‘not
afraid of anyone’
Thais take on Oman
in Asian Cup tune-up
TOR CHITTINAND
The War Elephants take on Oman behind
closed doors tonight in their final tune-up
before the 2019 AFC Asian Cup kicks off
on Saturday in the United Arab Emirates.
As the Thai squad prepared for the
warm-up in Abu Dhabi, their vice-captain Chalermpong Kerdkaew advised
his teammates to concentrate on their
own game.
“We shouldn’t worry too much about
our opponents. It’ll be much better if we
remained focused on our own game,”
said Chalermpong.
“I agree that all the teams that have
qualified for the finals are strong, but we
aren’t afraid of anyone.
“Of course, we should study our opponents’ style but at the same time we should
ensure that we prepare well for every match.
It’ll make things a lot easier for everyone.”
Chalermpong, who wore the captain’s
armband during the last month’s Suzuki
Cup, added that the return of star trio of
Teerasil Dangda, Theerathon Bunmathan and Chanathip Songkrasin to the
national team has necessitated some tactical changes.
“It is good to have them back in the
squad. We are stronger with them in
the team.
“However, this means that we have to
make certain adjustments to our tactics and
we are getting used to the changes.
“The good thing is that the weather here
isn’t much different from Thailand so we
have adjusted well to the conditions here.”
Thailand have been drawn in Group A
with India, Bahrain and the host country
for the first round action. They play their
first game with India on Sunday.
India coach Stephen Constantine has
expressed confidence that his team will put
on a good show despite being drawn in a
tough group.
“Any group we were drawn in was
going to be tough but we are here by
merit the players and staff have worked
extremely hard and all deserve to be here,”
said Constantine.
“We will give a good account of ourselves
and make India proud, and as we always
do take one game at a time,” Constantine
was quoted as saying by www.the-afc.com.
QATAR’S QUEST
Qatar have what it takes to register their
best Asian Cup performance when the
continental showpiece kicks off this week,
captain Hassan Al-Haydos has said.
The tiny, wealthy Arab state will make
their 10th appearance in the Asian Cup and
Thailand vice-captain Chalermpong Kerdkaew, left, trains alongside skipper Teerasil Dangda.
will be hoping to improve on their quarterfinal appearances of 2000 and 2011.
The Maroons are in Group E alongside Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and North
Kante loving
his new role
at Chelsea
Gulf Timess daily. “We have very talented
players and an excellent coach who has
been with the team for one-and-a-half
years.” BANGKOK POST/REUTERS
Solskjaer expects Sanchez
to fit into remodelled United
After scoring 12 goals in
three games under caretaker manager Ole
Gunnar Solskjaer, Manchester United could
add another weapon to their attacking arsenal at Newcastle today, with Alexis Sanchez
set to return from injury.
The Chilean has been sidelined by
a hamstring injury for the past month,
meaning he missed the final days of Jose
Mourinho’s reign in charge at Old Trafford.
Sanchez was signed to much fanfare last
January from Arsenal on reportedly the
most lucrative contract in Premier League
history, but has so far failed to deliver on
expectations, scoring just four goals in
30 appearances.
However, Solskjaer believes the more
positive approach he has adopted in wins
over Cardiff, Huddersfield and Bournemouth to begin his temporary spell in
charge until the end of the season will suit
Sanchez’s game.
“He’s a player that would benefit from
the rotation [of positions] and movements,
and the more chances you create, the more
times you get the ball into the final third,
he’ll be an asset for us,” said Solskjaer.
“I think he’s looking forward to it. It
certainly looked like it yesterday [Saturday] in the [training] session because
he scored quite a few nice goals, so
that’s encouraging.”
Solskjaer has been credited for restoring United’s principles of attacking football
after two-and-a-half seasons with Mourinho’s more cautious approach.
Shunned by Mourinho for his final three
league games in charge, Paul Pogba has
roared back into form by scoring four goals
in his last two games, while Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial also appear to be
flourishing with more freedom to attack.
However, Solskjaer insisted he is only
implementing what he learned for 11
MANCHESTER:
LONDON: N’Golo Kante insists he is finally
growing into his new role in Chelsea’s midfield as the France star prepares for today’s
clash with Southampton.
Kante earned a reputation as the world’s
best defensive midfielder after playing a
key role in Chelsea and Leicester’s Premier
League title triumphs, as well as France’s
World Cup victory.
But the 27-year-old has had to adapt to
a change of position this season under new
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri.
Sarri, who replaced Antonio Conte in
the close-season, brought Jorginho with
him from Napoli to play the pivotal midfield
role in front of the defence that used to be
Kante’s domain.
Sarri believes Jorginho’s superior passing makes him more suited to launching
Chelsea’s attacks than Kante, who is now
operating in a slightly more advanced role
on the right of midfield.
Kante has sometimes looked out of
sorts in his different position this season,
but he showed signs of getting to grips
with it on Sunday, scoring the winner at
Crystal Palace with a well-timed run and
cool finish.
“This role is something I am enjoying
and in a game I try to make that run sometimes,” Kante said. “David [Luiz] gave me a
good ball and I am happy to score with my
left foot and give something to the team.”
Away wins at Watford and Palace made
it a happy Christmas for Chelsea.
But with the Blues still trailing 11 points
behind leaders Liverpool, their title ambitions have been put on the back burner
as they focus on securing a place in next
season’s Champions League via a top
four finish.
Korea — the only side below them in the
Fifa rankings.
“I think we can go beyond the quarterfinals in the UAE,” Al-Haydos told Qatar’s
Chelsea’s N’Golo
Kante celebrates
with Ross Barkley
after scoring
against Crystal
Palace. REUTERS
Currently in fourth place — five points
ahead of fifth placed Arsenal — Sarri’s side
will be expected to consolidate that position
against a Southampton team struggling to
avoid relegation.
Yet Chelsea shouldn’t be complacent
after some inconsistent displays of late,
including a surprise 1-0 defeat in their last
home match against Leicester.
They could be hampered by fitness
problems, with Olivier Giroud, Cesc Fabregas, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Pedro and
Callum Hudson-Odoi all suffering injuries
over Christmas.
Sarri has questioned Chelsea’s mental
strength and cutting edge this season and it
would be no surprise to see new faces arrive
in the January transfer window.
Blues defender David Luiz admits
Chelsea are still a work in progress, but
he believes Sarri’s philosophy is starting
to take hold.
“It’s the connection, training together
every day, understanding the philosophy
and trying to improve,” Luiz said.
Southampton are outside the bottom
three only on goal difference after losing
successive home matches last week.
They will be without suspended captain
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg at Stamford Bridge
after his red card against Manchester City.
“We will miss him, he’s our best midfielder at the club,” Southampton manager
Ralph Hasenhuttl said. AFP
FIXTURES
(kick-offs 2.45am Thai time unless stated)
Today
Chelsea v Southampton, Wolves v Crystal Palace,
Bournemouth v Watford, Huddersfield v Burnley, West
Ham v Brighton, Newcastle v Man United (3am, Thu)
Tomorrow
Man City v Liverpool (3am, Fri)
STANDINGS
Liverpool
Man City
Tottenham
Chelsea
Arsenal
Man U
Wolves
Leicester
Watford
Everton
West Ham
Bournemouth
Brighton
Crystal Palace
Newcastle
Cardiff
Southampton
Burnley
Fulham
+XGGHUV¿HOG
P
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
W
17
15
15
13
11
10
8
8
8
7
8
8
7
5
4
5
3
4
3
D
3
2
0
4
5
5
5
4
4
6
3
2
4
4
6
3
6
3
5
L
0
3
5
3
4
5
7
8
8
7
9
10
9
11
10
12
11
13
12
GF
48
54
43
38
42
41
23
24
27
31
27
28
22
17
15
19
21
19
18
GA
8
16
21
16
30
32
23
23
28
30
30
37
27
26
27
38
38
41
43
Pts
54
47
45
43
38
35
29
28
28
27
27
26
25
19
18
18
15
15
14
United star Alexis Sanchez. REUTERS
seasons as a player under Alex Ferguson
at Old Trafford.
United’s decline in the past five years has
coincided with Ferguson’s retirement and
Solskjaer said he invited the club’s most
successful manager to visit his players and
coaching staff, which includes one of Ferguson’s former assistants Mike Phelan, at
United’s Carrington training ground.
“I do keep him informed. He visited
us yesterday [Saturday] and I think he
enjoyed his time at the training ground,”
said Solskjaer.
“We had a nice few chats and he encouraged us. He knows we are Man Utd through
and through and we want to do whatever we
can up to the last second we are here.” AFP
Emery fined £8,000 for Brighton bottle-kicking incident
TODAYon TV
Arsenal manager Unai Emery
was fined £8,000 on Monday for kicking
a water bottle into the crowd during his
side’s Boxing Day draw at Brighton after
admitting to a Football Association charge.
“Unai Emery has been fined £8,000
after he admitted an FA improper conduct
charge and accepted the standard penalty,” English football’s governing body
announced said in a statement.
The FA had announced last Thursday
that the Spaniard had been charged over
the incident — which took place at fulltime of the Gunners’ 1-1 draw on the south
Basketball
LONDON:
coast — although Emery himself had initially hoped his apologising to the home
supporter would have been enough to see
him escape punishment.
“I hope so, yes,” the former Paris SaintGermain boss had said when asked whether
his apology should be the end of the matter.
“But I have to respect the decision because
it is a circumstance of my action but not
another intention from me with the supporter. I say to them my apology.”
Former Manchester United manager Jose
Mourinho was given a one-match ban after
being sent off for kicking a water bottle down
the touchline during his side’s Premier
League game against West Ham in 2016.
NASRI JOINS WESTT HAM
Former French international midfielder
Samir Nasri returned to football on Monday
following a doping ban by joining English
Premier League side West Ham.
Nasri will reunite with West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini, with whom he
won one of his two Premier League titles
at Manchester City, after joining the Hammers on an initial contract until the end
of the 2018/19 season with an option to
extend his stay.
“Coming back to the most competitive league in the world, with a team full
of ambition with a manager that I know...
I’m really excited about it,” said Nasri.
Nasri, 31, is free to play again from Jan
1 after being suspended in February while
playing for Turkish side Antalyaspor for
taking a multi-vitamin booster in contravention of World Anti-Doping Agency
(Wada) rules.
An initial six-month ban was extended to
18 months by Uefa in August, but backdated
to July 1, 2017. AFP
09:00 NBA — Portland Trail Blazers v Sacramento Kings NBA TV
08:00 (Thu) NBA — Detroit Pistons v Memphis Grizzlies NBA TV
Football
Arsenal manager Unai Emery. REUTERS
CR7 ‘not obsessed’ by individual trophies
Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo
has insisted that he is “not obsessed” by
individual trophies, having missed on this
year’s Ballon d’Or after winning it five times.
The Juventus striker also missed out on
Fifa and Uefa’s player of the year trophies
as former Real Madrid teammate Luka
Modric, a World Cup runner-up with Croatia, swept all before him.
“I’m not obsessed by individual
prizes,” Ronaldo told Portuguese sports
daily Record.
“The most important thing is to win collective trophies and help the team. The rest
comes naturally.”
Ronaldo added: “I don’t think all the
time of beating records. I work above all to
help the club and be at my best level.
LISBON:
Juve forward Cristiano Ronaldo. REUTERS
“The technical, tactical and physical
level of all teams is better today,” he said.
“It’s increasingly tough to win so I have to
keep working hard to stay on top.”
Having missed the start of Portugal’s
Nations League campaign to better adjust
to life with Juve, Ronaldo said that in 2019
he “envisages being at the disposal of the
national coach”.
Portugal will host the inaugural Nations
League finals in June, meeting Switzerland
in the semi-finals.
In the wide-ranging interview, Ronaldo
also dubbed as “revolting” allegations of
rape made against him dating back to 2009,
something he strenuously denies. He added
that he had a “calm conscience” and was
“confident that everything will very soon
be clarified”.
LEWA
W NDOWSKI’S
O
PLANS
Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski says he envisages finishing his
career with the Bavarian club after this
summer’s talk of a possible transfer for the
prolific Pole.
“I’m not thinking of changing club. I
admit it, this summer it could have been
a subject for debate but that’s now all finished,” Lewandowski said in an interview
with German sports daily Bild.
“It’s very likely that I’ll stay here for a
long time. I identify totally with Bayern,”
added the 30-year-old who joined Bayern
in 2014 but who was on the radar of both
Real Madrid and Chelsea in the summer.
Bayern bosses, however, averted a transfer, insisting that last season’s top Bundelsiga scorer, with 29 goals, was not for sale.
“I have the feeling that since all these
rumours and problems were buried, I am
once again with all my heart with Bayern,
at 100 percent.”
Lewandowski, however, did urge Bayern
to sign up some stars to help their bid for a
first Champions League trophy since 2013.
The German champions have been
linked with a big money move for French
World Cup-winning defender Lucas Hernandez from Atletico Madrid.
“It would help us more if one or two
world class players join us rather than five
good-level players,” he said.
Bayern face a tough draw in Champions
02:45 (Thu) EPL — Chelsea v Southampton
beIN Sports 2
02:45 EPL — Wolves v Crystal Palace beIN
Sports 3
02:45 EPL — Bournemouth v Watford beIN
Sports 4
03:00 EPL — Newcastle v Man United beIN
Sports 1
Tennis
08:45 Hopman Cup — France v Germany
Fox Sports 2
16:15 Hopman Cup — Australia v Spain Fox
Sports 2
08:45 (Thu) Hopman Cup — Britain v USA
Fox Sports 2
SPORTS EDITOR
Wanchai Rujawongsanti
wanchair@bangkokpost.co.th
SPORTS DESK
sportspost@hotmail.com
phone 02-616-4000 ext 4103
fax 02-616-4085
League last 16, where they will play Premier
League leaders Liverpool, away on Feb 19
and home on March 13. AFP
The Bangkok Post’s lifestyle, arts and culture section
LIFE
Bangkok Post
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2019
A note on Thailand Biennale
The beautiful Andaman province allows travellers to
combine vacation with art appreciation
STORY AND PHOTOS: KONG RITHDEE
O
ne recent morning at Nopphrat Thara beach, the high
tide flooded the lower part of a
strange, interwoven structure.
Rising from the blue water of
the bay, it looked like an island, a new,
unmapped island of Krabi visible from this
popular spot where tourists visit and board
tour boats to outlying islands.
In the evening from the same spot, the
structure stood on slushy sand as after the
tide had ebbed. We entered it, this domelike, porous, asymmetrical shape constructed from castaway sticks and fishing
nets found at sea. This isn’t an island, or
not a real one, though in the real and imaginative worlds they’re the same: The structure is Ghost Island,
d an installation piece
by duo artists called Map Office. It’s one of
the highlights of the Thailand Biennale, a
major provincewide art show in Krabi that
began in November and runs until the end
of February.
Thailand Biennale, organised by the
Ministry of Culture’s Office of Contemporary Art and programmed by Chinese curator Jiang Jiehong, is an expansive, ambitious
visual art project that involved almost 60
Thai and international artists, with artworks
placed in various environs — beaches,
caves, cliffs, waterfalls, forests, deltas,
national parks, traffic roundabouts, a whole
island — and which yields mixed results.
The theme for this inaugural biennale is
titled “Edge Of The Wonderland”, and there
are several dramatic, effective site-specific
pieces that maximise the geography and
history of their surroundings. There are
also reluctant works that one could easily
miss; then there are pieces installed in
obscure spots which required a visitor to
hunt down and inquire a series of security
guards, boatmen, volunteers, waiters and
hotel staff for direction, like a quest for a
treasure island. And there’s also one video
work that got censored and removed.
After hours of driving around in sticky
Andaman weather trying to spot contemporary art, you’re sometimes tempted to
mistake a random crab figure on a footpath for a conceptual sculpture, or some
garlanded roadside shrine as an abstract
piece. But maybe that’s the point: art placed
in an everyday setting, the mundane and
the aestheticised in vague unison, the highminded and the barnacle-encrusted juxtaposed, their meaning at once heightened
and blurred. “What’s it for?” A Chinese tourist asked
innocently as she waded the toe-deep water
to approach Ghost Island. “Is it used to trap
fish,” she said, “or to live in?”
ART AS A QUEST
Krabi has never been known as an art destination, and the decision to pick it as the
venue for the first state-funded Thailand
Biennale is curious and yet welcoming.
One would assume that beside Bangkok,
Chiang Mai or Khon Kaen, places with
artistic enclaves and propensity, would be
natural candidates for the event, though
again that would have been too predictable — too easy. To spread art around is a
form of decentralisation that, in principle,
should be encouraged.
Did You Leave Your Islandd by AK Dolven, a bungalow constructed on
the edge of Noppharat Thara Beach, inspired by the Norwegian artist’s
conversations with Thai people living in Norway.
You’re tempted to
mistake a random
crab figure on
a footpath for a
conceptual sculpture
Spreading around is the right way to
describe this biennale: One believes that
promoting art in Krabi is deeply wedded
with promoting tourism. Most of the pieces
in the Thailand Biennale are grouped at
popular tourist neighbourhoods, namely
Ao Nang, Noppharat Thara beach, Krabi
town, Koh Klang village, Khao Khanab Nam
Cave, Phranang Cave and Railey Beach,
Poda Island, Thanbok Khoranee National
Park, and a couple more spots. Many of the
pieces are easily accessible, out there in
the open, and many demand your effort
to find them (and to drive around as well
as to hire a boat). Some of them become a
quest — you need to consult the GPS and
ask the locals, who’re helpful and knowledgeable. Some of them can even interpret
the meaning of the work for you.
And some quests yield satisfactory
returns. There are a number of outstanding pieces at the Thailand Biennale,
Ghost Islandd by the duo artists Map
Office, made from sticks and fishing
nets, rises like an artificial island in
high tide and welcomes visitors to
explore when the water recedes.
of Poda, where a lot of people missed it,
thinking it was a forgotten anomaly (sometimes it is put in the shallow water). Amid
half-naked tourists and whiffs of sunscreen,
the phone-log stands in solitude, in jest, in
vain and — as a favourite mode of contemporary art — in irony .
NATUR
A
AL HISTORY, HISTORICAL
NATURE
A
No Sunrise No Sunsett by Kamin Lertchaiprasert and Suriya Umpansiriratana is an aluminium container perched on a
cliff on Ao Nang, a postmodern ‘cave’ with graffiti and mysterious drawings.
RIGHT
Two Visions Of The
Wonderland
d by
Kamol Tassanachalee.
LEFT
Giant Ruinss by Tu Weicheng puts a skeleton
of a prehistoric giant
in Khao Khanab Nam
Cave, confounding fact
and fiction, real and
made-up history.
mostly site-specific, contextualised works
conceived with local history and tourism-heavy characteristics of Krabi in mind.
Map Office’s Ghost Island, a man-made
geographical addendum assembled from
ocean trash. Tran Loung’s About The Hiding
Of The Jellyfish is a sly, amusing, unobtrusive piece that creates a mock promenade
next to the real concrete one — as tourists
walk along the beachfront footpath, they’ll
step on this artwork, which will sink and
bob under their weight as if they’ve treaded
upon an underground jellyfish. Norwegian
artist AK Dolven’s Did You Leave Your
Island?? is a blue bungalow snuck against a
rock, a typical lodging for beach travellers
looking out at the scenic beach while voices
from a small loudspeaker read out snippets
in Thai, English and Norwegian, based on
the artist’s conversations with Thai people
who live in Norway.
Vong Phaophanit’s and Claire Oboussier’s Gilding The Borderr sees a small rock
outcrop near the heavily-visited Phra Nang
Cave covered with gold, tampering with the
natural scenery and questioning the meaning of the horizon. Adam Barthroll’s The
Perfect Beach, on Phra Nang Beach crawling
with day-trippers, is a bright, ultra-vivid
HD print of a tropical beach scene, and the
superimposition of this mirage beach on
the real, popular beach has an unsettling
impact (it was moved away from the main
beach while I was there).
These pieces look at how tourism and its
overwhelming sense of voluptuousness —
the crowded, inclusive, sunburned humanity — also beget loneliness and fatigue. Out
on Poda Island with its beautiful beach 30
minutes from Ao Nang, a gimmicky, selff
ie-ready and shrewd work by Leung Chi-wo
called Monuments Of Solitudee features a
phone booth with a log on its shelf instead
of a phone — it was set right on the beach
Besides the touristic quality of Krabi, other
artworks train their focus on history and the
natural setting of the province.
Kamin Lertchaiprasert’s and Suriya
Umpansiriratana’s No Sunrise No Sunset,
t
hidden behind a low rocky cliff on Ao Nang,
takes the idea all the way. A rectangular aluminium container whose surface reflects
the seascape surroundings, creating a mirror-house refraction in broad daylight, this
is a stunning set piece from first glance.
Approaching it, you enter the oblong space
and find a phantom staring at you: a figure
of an old woman, set as if she was walking
on water, the sea as her blue screen (she’s
Grandma Sa, awaiting her husband who’s
left to search for “ultimate truth”, according
to Kamin’s description).
The walls of the container are covered
with graffiti — random gibberish and
drawings, including that of Phi Hua Toh,
a mysterious red figure that appears on a
cave wall littered with 3,000-year-old drawings and one of Krabi’s historical attractions. Kamin’s and Suriya’s postmodern
cave brings it all together: myth, folklore,
futuristic time-capsule, and a yearning for
something that has been lost. This stark
structure looks like Noah’s Ark at the edge
of the wonderland.
Less conspicuous, seamless with nature
and yet equally intriguing is a sound installation by French artist Felix Blume. At Klong
Muang beach, we walked out on a scenic
pier jutting into the sea, at the end of which
a few dozen bamboo sticks rose out of the
water where faint, whistling notes drift
around in a sweet echo. Rumour From The
Sea is an installation inspired by a fishermen’s sea wall, but Blume has attached
locally-made flutes on the tips of each
stick and the wind produces the notes. This
could well be one of the most popular works
in Thailand Biennale for its simplicity and
ingenuity — and for the setting that doesn’t
scream out “art!”
z
Continued on page 8
life t HAPPENING
2 | WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2019 | Bangkok Post
TODAY
SIAM NIRAMIT SPECIAL PROMOTION
Offering a New Year package priced at
2,562 baht including show tickets and
buffet dinner for two to be used at Siam
Niramit in Bangkok and Phuket before
Jan 31.
Visit siamniramit.com or call 02-6499222 or 076-335-000.
BETREND GIFT FEST 2019
Featuring a wide array of gifts and
decor items for all lifestyles, at Betrend
at all branches of The Mall (except
Ramkhamhaeng), Emporium, Paragon
and BluPort. Until tomorrow.
Call 02-310-2082.
IKEA YEAR-END SALE
Featuring attractive prices on a huge
number of quality home furnishing
items, at Mega Bangna and Bang Yai
branches. Until Sunday.
Visit Ikea.co.th.
JIM THOMPSON FARM
F
TOUR 2018
Featuring Isan culture through tasty food
amid beautiful nature under the theme
Zap Nua Huamuan — Happy Flavors, at
Jim Thompson Farm, Pak Thong Chai,
Nakhon Ratchasima. Until Jan 6. Tickets
cost 180 baht (130 baht for children) on
weekdays and 220 baht (160 baht for
children) on weekends.
Visit jimthompsonfarm.com.
APOCALY
L PSO EXHIBITION
Featuring 17 oil paintings by artistwriter-filmmaker Ing Kanjanavanit, aka
Ing K, at Galerie Oasis, Sukhumvit 43.
Until Jan 13.
Call 02-258-7376.
ONEIRISM, DRAMSCAPES
An exhibition of dreamlike photography
THAIITA
An exhibition of large-scale paintings
by Italian artist Massimo Catalani, at
Photographer’s Gallery, 2nd floor of
River City Bangkok, Charoen Krung 24.
Until Jan 15.
Call 02-237-0077.
PEARADA’S DAY
A OUT EXHIBITION
Featuring a collection of watercolour
paintings by talented Thai artist Pearada
Cheepsatayakorn, at Gallery 36, Pullman
Bangkok Hotel G, Silom Road, from
10am-5pm. Until Jan 15. No admission
fee.
Call 02-352-4000 ext 1419.
PHOTO: NETFLIX
MONTRA OF STARLIGHT
Featuring up to 70% discounts at
participating shops, at Future Park
and Zpell, Phahon Yothin Road. Until
Saturday.
Call 02-958-0011.
by Italian photographer Antonio Saba,
at Photographer’s Gallery, 2nd floor of
River City Bangkok, Charoen Krung 24.
Until Jan 15.
Call 02-237-0077.
UN AI RAK KHLAI KHWAM NAO - THE
RIVER OF RATTANAKOSIN
The second winter festival to take
visitors back in time to the Rattanakosin
period, on the grounds of Dusit Palace
and Sanam Suea Pa, from 10am-9pm.
Until Jan 19. No admission fee.
Visit facebook.com/UnAiRakFanpage.
PAINT WITH MY HEART ART
P
EXHIBITION
Featuring 99 portraits of the late
King Bhumibol Adulyadej by Surindr
Sonthirati, at Sky Lobby, 23rd floor
of Centara Grand at CentralWorld,
Ratchadamri Road. Until Jan 22. No
admission fee.
Call 02-100 1234 ext 6753—6.
BENCHARONG JOURNEY
Y - FROM
CHINA TO SIAM EXHIBITION
Featuring more than 150 pieces of
Bencharong and related objects made
exclusively for Siam in the 18th and 19th
centuries, at RCB Auctions, 4th floor of
River City Bangkok, Charoen Krung 24.
Until Jan 25. The fee is 100 baht.
Visit rivercitybangkok.com or call
W
BAKI HANMA
RETURNS IN
NEW NETFLIX
ANIME SERIES
ell-known among fans around the
world for its hot-blooded, epic martial
arts battles and out-of-the-world
muscle-bound fighting, Baki, one of Japan’s
most iconic action mangas, is celebrating the
franchise’s 25th anniversary with the return of
the brand-new show for a new Netflix anime
series. The anime premiered in Japan in the
summer of 2018, and now Netflix is releasing it
worldwide with a total of 26 episodes, split into
two seasons.
The Netflix series is called Baki, based on Keisuke Itagaki’s popular manga Baki The Grappler.
It’s one of the most entertaining and bizarre martial arts series and has been popular among fans
for almost three decades now. The series started
in the early 90s in manga form and consists of
several main story arcs. The manga previously
received two TV anime adaptations.
The story is centred on the life of fictional
professional fighter Baki Hanma, who seeks to
UP & COMING
become a better fighter, primarily to surpass his
father who’s being hailed as the strongest fighter
on Earth.
The new show will be adapting the second arc
of the manga series, Most Evil Death Row Convicts. The storyline pits Baki Hanma against five
of the world’s most violent and brutal death-row
inmates, none of whom has ever lost a fight and
all of whom crave the exciting embrace of defeat.
Their unmatched strength and skill have led them
to grow bored of life itself, and they now seek out
Baki in the hopes that he can overwhelm and
utterly crush them.
The five individuals break out of their respective prisons and head to Japan, forcing Baki to
fight in the ring once again in an underground
mixed-martial-arts tournament under the Tokyo
Dome, in the second of four instalments.
— Tatat Bunnag
Email: life.events@bangkokpost.co.th
PHOT
PH
PHO
PHOT
HOTO © LIVE
HO
IVVEE NATIO
IV
ATIO
AT
T ON BEC
C---TTERO
ERO
ER
RO
Years & Years.
Visit bectero.com.
PHOTO © KATHMANDU PHOTO GALLERY
LONDON SYNTHPOP BAND TO PLAY
CENTRALWORLD
Years & Years, a synth-pop band from
London, will be flown in to give a debut
concert in Bangkok at GMM Live House,
CentralWorld, Ratchadamri Road, on March
9 at 8pm.
Renowned for its pop dance, the electro-pop trio released its first album, Communion, in 2015. It topped the UK albums
chart and became the fastest-selling debut
of the year from a UK-signed band.
Hits include King, which topped the UK
singles chart and was on the top 10 charts
in many countries throughout Europe and
Australia, and Shine, which peaked at No.2
on the UK singles chart.
Their second album, Palo Santo, released
last July, features the singles Sanctify and If
You’re Over Me, the latter of which reached
the top 10 in the UK. The concept album
tells the story of a parallel universe where
traditional notions of sexuality and gender
no longer exist, and has been praised for its
deep emotional resonance.
Years & Years is comprised of Olly Alexander (vocals), Mikey Goldsworthy (bass)
and Emre Turkmen (keyboard). They are
currently on their second world tour, to promote their second album, in more than 60
shows around the world.
Tickets cost 2,500 and 3,500 baht and will
be available for public sale on Saturday at
10am from Thai Ticket Major (visit thaiticketmajor.com or call 02-262-3838).
A set of images taken by Thamarong Wanarithikul.
The days that make a year of work
It all started on the way to work along a
pedestrian overpass one morning when
Thamarong Wanarithikul pointed his
camera lens over the road below and captured an image of some workmen in the
back of a pickup truck stuck in the normal
rush-hour traffic of Bangkok.
Inspired by the image, he went out to
photograph the truck every morning after
that throughout the year of 2017. The result
is a series of 84 photos that look more like
social-realist paintings, to be displayed
at Kathmandu Photo Gallery from Jan 12
until Feb 23. Titled “8 a.m.”, the exhibition
portrays the daily repetition of images on
the same truck photographed every morning, and viewers can see the full details
in each photo — the clothes, the faces,
the attitudes, the props of life like water
flasks and food baskets, alongside work
equipment and supplies. The photos are
divided into seven sets. Some sets took 30
days to photograph.
Thamarong graduated with a master’s
in IT from Queen Mary’s College, University of London. This is his first solo exhibition, and it reflects all working people’s
lives — whether indoors or outdoors,
whether you ride trains, a car or a truck
— and the fact that they share the same
“mouth and stomach” concerns. “The blue
basket that never changes, even as different workmen surround it, represents the
poor man’s constant anxiety over whether
he has made enough to sustain his life,”
he said.
Kathmandu Photo Gallery is on Pan
Road (near the Indian Temple on Silom)
and is open from Tuesday until Saturday,
11am-6pm.
Call 02-234-6700.
SOCIAL SCENE
HOSTING ANNOUNCEMENT: Artit Krichphiphat, centre, business support manager
of Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production, Kullaprapa Navanugraha, third
right, vice-president of the National Science and Technology Development Agency,
Ganigar Chen, third left, vice-president of the National Science Museum, and
Chaimongkon Sanasu, second right, director of Bureau of Vocational Education
Research and Development, announced their hosting of Maker Faire Bangkok 2019
on Jan 19 and 20 at The Street Ratchada.
INVESTOR AWARD: Ekachai Nitasanajarukul, second left, chief financial officer of
Robinson Public Co, represented the company in receiving the Outstanding Investor
Relations Award from Pakorn Peethawatchai, second right, CEO and president of
the Stock Exchange of Thailand, at the SET Awards 2018 presentation ceremony,
held at The Stock Exchange of Thailand.
FUNDRAISING LAUNCH: Alistair Taylor, president, and Phattaraporn Phenpraphat,
executive vice-president for marketing and PR at Central Food Retail, together with
Prof Dr Prasit Watanapa, dean of Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, launched
the 20 Baht for Siriraj-Kanchana fundraising project for the construction of Golden
Jubilee Medical Center. From left, Assoc Prof Dr Teera Kolladarungkri, Asst Prof Dr
Chatchai Kunavisarut, Assoc Prof Dr Visit Vamvanij, Prof Dr Prasit, Mr Taylor, Ms
Phattaraporn and Charoensri Osathanukuor.
Send pictures to life.social@bangkokpost.co.th.
life t HAPPENING
Bangkok Post |
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2019
|
3
PHOTO: CHINA STRINGER NETWORK
Professor names beetle species
after HBO’s Game Of Thrones
A Nebraska entomologist has named three
of his eight newest beetle discoveries after
the dragons from the HBO series Game Of
Thrones and George R.R. Martin book series
A Song Of Ice And Fire.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor Brett Ratcliffe named the new scarab
beetle species drogoni, rhaegali and viserioni, The Omaha World-Herald reported.
The names are Latinized versions of
Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion, three dragons owned by Daenerys Targaryen’s character in the fictional work. Ratcliffe said he’s
a fan of the series, but ultimately chose the
names to draw attention to biodiversity and
the amount of undiscovered species.
“When you create names like these,
you do it to gain a little bit of notoriety and
bring public attention to it,” Ratcliffe said.
“We’re still discovering life on Earth. One of
every four living things on Earth is a beetle.
We haven’t discovered them all. We’re not
even close.”
Ratcliffe said he’s named hundreds of
species over his 50-year career and creating new names becomes difficult. Naming
rules recommend against using humour or
insults, and are particularly useful to avoid
having duplicate names, he said.
Ratcliffe said he went with the pop culture reference to have a little bit of fun.
“I’ve often thought that scientists take
themselves too seriously and this is a way
to circumvent that,” Ratcliffe said.
Drogoni and viserioni can be found in
Colombia and Ecuador, while rhaegali is in
the French Guiana. All three have orange
features. AP
PHOTO: AP
People dressed as characters from the animated series ‘Peppa Pig’ take part in a parade in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China.
China to mark Year of the Pig
with Peppa Pig movie
Entertainment One, which currently produces the series for the BBC.
The film includes the entire Peppa Pig
cast and two new characters named Jiaozi,
or dumpling, and Tang Yuan, or glutinous
rice ball — two popular Chinese New
Year items.
The series, introduced in the mid-2000s
in China, has become extremely popular
through episodes dubbed into Mandarin.
The fervour intensified at the end of
2017 among a young adult audience. Many
internet users including stars sported
temporary Peppa Pig tattoos in selfies,
and cups, watches and clothes appeared
bearing the image of the heroine. But several media outlets affiliated to the Communist Party lampooned the series earlier
last year, saying the playful pink pig had
become a “subversive” icon for slackers
and anti-social youth in China.
People who upload videos of Peppa
Pig tattoos and merchandise and make
Peppa-related jokes “run counter to the
mainstream value and are usually poorly
educated with no stable job”, state-run
Global Times said in May. “They are unruly
slackers roaming around and the antithesis of the young generation the [Communist] party tries to cultivate.”
Some online memes featuring the
beloved children’s character also took on
dark undertones, occasionally veering into
violent or pornographic territory. Pornography is illegal in China and laws banning
it are strictly enforced.
The state media backlash led to a Chinese internet platform giving Peppa Pig the
chop in May although there was no official
ban enforced by censors.
At least 30,000 clips of the British cartoon were removed from the popular
Douyin video-sharing platform, while
the #PeppaPig hashtag was banned from
the site. AFP
Pooey Puitton prompts Louis Vuitton lawsuit
REUTERS
A California toy company has sued Louis
Vuitton to stop the French luxury goods
maker from interfering with its sales of a
slime-filled, poop-shaped toy purse for
children, Pooey Puitton.
In a complaint filed on Friday in Los
Angeles federal court, MGA Entertainment
Inc said no reasonable consumer would
mistake Pooey Puitton, which retails for
$59.99 (1,940 baht), for costlier Louis Vuitton handbags.
MGA called Pooey Puitton protected
parody “designed to mock, criticise, and
make fun of that wealth and celebrity”
associated with Louis Vuitton products
and rejected what it called Louis Vuitton’s
claim of trademark infringement to an
MGA customer.
“The use of the Pooey name and Pooey
product in association with a product line
of ‘magical unicorn poop’ is intended to
criticise or comment upon the rich and
famous, the Louis Vuitton name, the LV
marks, and on their conspicuous consumption,” the complaint said.
Jim Fingeroth, a spokesman for Louis
Vuitton, on Monday said the unit of LVMH
Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE had no
comment on the complaint.
Many luxury goods makers file lawsuits
or threaten litigation to stop companies
from piggybacking off their names and
customer goodwill. MGA is seeking a
court declaration that Pooey Puitton does
not infringe Louis Vuitton’s intellectual
property rights, and is protected parody
and fair use.
The Van Nuys, California-based company said Pooey Puitton, whose contents
include “slime powder” for making a “rainbow of poop” when water is added, is part
of its Poopsie Slime Surprise line launched
in 2018.
Other products sold by MGA include
L.O.L. Surprise and Bratz dolls.
PHOTO: AP
JONATHAN STEMPEL
Louis Vuitton headquarters on Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris.
Former House Of Cards star Kevin Spacey
must appear in a Massachusetts court on
accusations that he groped a young man in
2016, a judge ruled on Monday.
The 59-year-old Oscar-winning actor
had argued he should be excused from
attending his Jan 7 arraignment at the
Nantucket District Court because his presence would “amplify the negative publicity
already generated in connection with this
case”. But Judge Thomas Barrett denied
Spacey’s request.
Spacey has said he will plead not guilty
to felony indecent assault and battery.
The allegations were first brought in
November 2017, when former Boston TV
anchor Heather Unruh told reporters that
Spacey groped her teenage son during a
chance encounter in the crowded bar of a
Nantucket restaurant.
An attorney for Spacey, Juliane Balliro,
had argued that Spacey’s presence at his
arraignment would only “heighten prejudicial media interest in the case” and increase
the risk of contaminating the jury pool.
Emails seeking comment on the judge’s
ruling were sent to Spacey’s attorneys
and the district attorney’s office handling
the case.
Neither Spacey nor his lawyers have
addressed the allegation publicly, but the
actor released a video last week in the voice
of Frank Underwood, his character on Netflix’s House Of Cards in which he said, “I’m
certainly not going to pay the price for the
thing I didn’t do.”
It was unclear whether he was addressing the criminal charge.
Spacey’s attorneys have also questioned
the evidence against him.
Los Angeles-based attorney Alan Jackson noted during a hearing that Unruh’s
son did not report the allegations to police
right way, lied about his age saying he
was 23, and said he was so intoxicated he
may have blacked out shortly after Spacey
allegedly groped him, according to an audio
recording of the hearing obtained by The
Boston Globe.
Unruh told reporters that her son didn’t
report the assault at the time because he
was embarrassed and scared. Her family
decided to come forward after others went
public with allegations of sexual misconduct against Spacey and other celebrities,
she said. AP
PHOTO: AP
Aquaman still rules, and others see a post-Christmas bump
LINDSEY BAHR
AP
A scene from Warner Bros’ Aquaman.
Judge denies Kevin Spacey’s
request to skip court date
PHOTO: AP
China is set to mark the Year of the Pig with
a film starring Peppa Pig, despite a backlash against the popular British cartoon
character earlier last year.
A government document listing upcoming movie projects shows a new film in the
works titled Peppa Pig Celebrates Chinese
New Year to be released in February 2019
during the Lunar New Year holiday.
The film includes Chinese New Year
customs such as a dragon parade and
fireworks, state-run China Daily reported.
It is co-developed by Alibaba Pictures — part of the vast Alibaba technology
group — and Canadian media company
From left, Gymnetis drogoni, Gymnetis rhaegali and Gymnetis viserioni beetles from
South America.
In the final weekend of 2018, Aquaman still
led the pack at the box office, but other films
like Mary Poppins Returns, The Mule and
Second Act enjoyed post-holiday bumps
too, even amid an onslaught of new Christmas offerings like Vice, Holmes And Watson,
On the Basis Of Sex and the Netflix phenomenon Bird Box.
Warner Bros said on Sunday that Aquaman added an estimated US$51.6 million
(1.7 billion baht) in North American ticket
sales over the weekend to take first place
again. Down just 24% from its domestic
debut, the DC Comics pic, which has been
No.1 internationally for four weeks, has now
grossed nearly $748.8 million worldwide.
Although other films in theatres were
left in Aquaman’s wake, more than a few
in the top 10 experienced an uncommon
uptick in returns this weekend. Disney’s
Mary Poppins Returns ended the weekend
up an estimated 19%, in second place, with
$28 million, while Bumblebee, down only
5%, settled in third with $20.5 million. Up
11%, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse got
fourth with $18.3 million, and The Mule, up
24%, took fifth with $11.8 million.
The Jennifer Lopez-led Second Act,
which got off to a slow start last weekend,
also found itself up 11%, with $7.2 million
in seventh place. But the biggest bump of
all came for Disney’s Ralph Breaks The
Internet, which was up nearly 40% in its
sixth weekend in theatres, with $6.5 million.
“There is a bit of a lull on the weekend
leading into Christmas. People are busy
and distracted,” said Comscore’s senior
media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “But
the weekend after, most of these films in
the top 10 got a bounce.”
This so-called “catch-up” weekend
made it a little difficult for the Christmas
newcomers to make a huge impact, however, especially when the big wide releases
this time were either politically charged
(the Dick Cheney movie Vice) or poorly
reviewed (Holmes And Watson, which is
in the single digits on Rotten Tomatoes and
got a deathly D+ CinemaScore).
Annapurna’s Vice, starring Christian
Bale as the former vice-president, came
out on top for the new films, grossing $7.8
million from the weekend and $17.7 million
since its Christmas opening.
A leading contender at the Golden
Globe Awards this coming Sunday, the film
earned mixed reviews from critics and a
C+ CinemaScore from audiences. “That a
movie with that subject matter can ride a
wave to sixth place is really indicative of
how interested people are in this movie,”
Dergarabedian said. “This is required
viewing for anyone studying the awards
season race.”
Driven by the star-power of Will Ferrell
and John C. Reilly, Holmes And Watson
managed to take in $7.3 million despite
the negative audience and critic reviews.
The Sony film has grossed $19.7 million
since Christmas Day.
And in limited release, the Ruth Bader
Ginsburg film On The Basis Of Sex starring
Felicity Jones grossed $690,000 from 33
locations, for a total of $1.5 million since
its debut.
The Laurel and Hardy film Stan & Ollie,
also with Reilly, opened on five screens
to $79,674, and Destroyer, starring Nicole
Kidman and directed by Karyn Kusama,
earned $58,472 from three locations.
The box office year as a whole is barrelling toward a record $11.9 billion in returns,
as time runs out on 2018, although final
numbers won’t be in from all the studios
until midweek.
“This is the perfect way to end a record
box office year,” Dergarabedian said. “This
weekend represented everything that this
year was about: Diversity, escapism and
the moviegoing experience in the theatre,
once again proving that the movie theatre
can take on all competition and come out
a winner.”
Estimated ticket sales for Friday
to Sunday at US and Canadian
theaters, according to Comscore.
1. Aquaman, $51.6 million.
2. Mary Poppins Returns, $28
million.
3. Bumblebee, $20.5 million.
4. Spider-Man: Into The SpiderVerse, $18.3 million.
5. The Mule, $11.8 million.
6. Vice, $7.8 million.
7. Holmes And Watson, $7.3
million.
8. Second Act, $7.2 million.
9. Ralph Breaks The Internet, $6.5
million.
10. Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, $4.2
million
life t TECH
4 | WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2019 | Bangkok Post
CURRENTS
JAMES HEIN
What does
2019 have
in store?
W
e’ve made it to 2019. There are a lot of
buzzwords being touted for this year; top
of the list are artificial intelligence, Blockchain and, once again, the internet of things (IoT).
Yes, it’s that time of year where I don my pointy hat
of stars and guess what the year ahead might bring.
T
he most interesting area for me this year is what
will be occurring in the realm of social media
and commentary, and more specifically in the area
of freedom of expression. I’m predicting a further
rift that splits the landscape into two groups, loosely
defined as “activists” and “freedom lovers”. There
have been some recent attacks on alternative services like Gab and a switch in policies from those
like Patreon, which has now begun to block those
not on the activist side. This is driving the creation
of even more alternatives that will drastically reduce
the all-in-one approach social-media platforms are
supposed to represent. Watch for an alternative set
of services to be set up this year that will cater to
those no longer welcome on the more traditional
platforms.
T
he driving force behind the alternative platforms will be the intellectual dark web, whose
members include Sam Harris, Dave Rubin, Joe
Rogan, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro and others.
Grab the popcorn because it is going to be an interesting ride.
A
rtificial intelligence, or AI, is a term that, as
it is currently being used, really just refers to
machine learning. The term no longer directly
means an approximation of natural human intelligence. Instead, it has morphed into a marketing
term, which we can all expect to be inundated with
even more in 2019. I do expect to see more automation-based support tools developed in organisations
this year, with the aim of reducing reliance on a
help desk. This will be particularly true with the
whole Chatbot field. Expect some kickback from
employees.
One giant step for a chessplaying machine
The stunning success of AlphaZero has exciting real-world implications
STEVEN STROGATZ
NYT
B
lockchain is another favourite term that will
rise in prominence. I predict, however, that
the problems with blockchain, often ignored, will
be highlighted more clearly this year. IoT devices
will continue to be released but the security issues
and different protocols will remain, so the IoT will
continue to be talked about but not really make any
ground. The desire to implement any simplification
or standardisation of the IoT will have to wait until
a later date.
W
e will also see some growth in the area of
so-called big data and data lakes. Some
organisations, both private and government,
have been convinced that Hadoop technologies
will handle all their data needs. For unstructured
data and business intelligence questions, theses
are excellent, but it will be interesting to see how
many organisations figure out that in the area of
business transaction applications, they don’t work
all that well. The technologies won’t yet be able to
meet all of their business needs.
W
e will see some regulation introduced in a
more coordinated manner for cryptocurrencies of all kinds. With an unregulated market, it is
very difficult to raise business equity for investment,
but if the market is regulated, then digital-currency-based start-ups become a more attractive option.
The traditional financial instruments will fight
against the platform but eventually end up adopting it themselves for part of the portfolio. There may
even be a country or two to adopt cryptocurrency
as an alternative to the regular option.
C
loud computing will continue to make some
ground but not as much as the platforms might
hope. People will still be clinging to their business-centric models for a while yet. Automated,
driverless cars will not appear this year, as they still
have too many issues when it comes to the unexpected. Cybersecurity has no chance of beating all
the hackers. Digital marketing will continue to grow
and more information will be collected on all your
digital-footprint habits to provide a more targeted
experience, whether you want it or not. Virtual reality still won’t quite be there yet this year, either in
technology or in consumer pricing. There will be
some improvements in the mobile-phone space
but not yet in the higher-end products.
I
n early December, researchers at DeepMind, the artificial-intelligence company
owned by Google’s parent corporation,
Alphabet Inc, filed a dispatch from the
frontiers of chess.
A year earlier, on Dec 5, 2017, the team had
stunned the chess world with its announcement
of AlphaZero, a machine-learning algorithm that
had mastered not only chess but also shogi, or
Japanese chess, and Go. The algorithm started
with no knowledge of the games beyond their
basic rules. It then played against itself millions of
times and learned from its mistakes. In a matter
of hours, the algorithm became the best player,
human or computer, the world has ever seen.
The details of AlphaZero’s achievements
and inner workings have now been formally
peer-reviewed and were published in the journal Science last month. The new paper addresses
several serious criticisms of the original claim.
(Among other things, it was hard to tell whether
AlphaZero was playing its chosen opponent, a
computational beast named Stockfish, with total
fairness.) Consider those concerns dispelled.
AlphaZero has not grown stronger in the past 12
months, but the evidence of its superiority has. It
clearly displays a breed of intellect that humans
have not seen before, and that we will be mulling
over for a long time to come.
Computer chess has come a long way over the
past 20 years. In 1997, IBM’s chess-playing programme Deep Blue managed to beat the reigning
human world champion Garry Kasparov in a
six-game match. In retrospect, there was little
mystery in this achievement. Deep Blue could
evaluate 200 million positions per second. It
never got tired, never blundered in a calculation and never forgot what it had been thinking
a moment earlier.
For better and worse, it played like a machine,
brutally and materialistically. It could out-compute Kasparov, but it couldn’t outthink him.
In Game 1 of their match, Deep Blue greedily
accepted Kasparov’s sacrifice of a rook for a
bishop, but lost the game 16 moves later. The
current generation of the world’s strongest chess
programmes, such as Stockfish and Komodo, still
play in this inhuman style. They like to capture
the opponent’s pieces. They defend like iron. But
although they are far stronger than any human
player, these chess “engines” have no real understanding of the game. They have to be tutored in
the basic principles of chess.
These principles, which have been refined
over decades of human grandmaster experience,
are programmed into the engines as complex
evaluation functions that indicate what to seek
in a position and what to avoid: how much to
value king safety, piece activity, pawn structure,
control of the centre and more, and how to balance the trade-offs among them. Today’s chess
engines, innately oblivious to these principles,
come across as brutes: tremendously fast and
strong, but utterly lacking insight.
All of that has changed with the rise of
machine learning. By playing against itself and
updating its neural network as it learned from
experience, AlphaZero discovered the principles of chess on its own and quickly became the
best player ever. Not only could it have easily
defeated all the strongest human masters — it
didn’t even bother to try — it crushed Stockfish,
the reigning computer world champion of chess.
In a hundred-game match against a truly formidable engine, AlphaZero scored 28 wins and 72
draws. It didn’t lose a single game.
Most unnerving was that AlphaZero seemed
to express insight. It played like no computer ever
has, intuitively and beautifully, with a romantic,
attacking style. It played gambits and took risks.
In some games it paralysed Stockfish and toyed
with it. While conducting its attack in Game 10,
AlphaZero retreated its queen back into the
corner of the board on its own side, far from
Stockfish’s king, not normally where an attacking
queen should be placed.
Yet this peculiar retreat was venomous: no
matter how Stockfish replied, it was doomed.
Tellingly, AlphaZero won by thinking smarter,
not faster; it examined only 60,000 positions a
second, compared to 60 million for Stockfish.
It was wiser, knowing what to think about and
what to ignore. By discovering the principles of
chess on its own, AlphaZero developed a style
of play that “reflects the truth” about the game
rather than “the priorities and prejudices of programmers”, Kasparov wrote in a commentary
accompanying the Science article.
The question now is whether machine learning can help humans discover similar truths
about the things we really care about: the great
unsolved problems of science and medicine,
such as cancer and consciousness; the riddles of
the immune system; the mysteries of the genome.
The early signs are encouraging. Last August,
two articles in Nature Medicine explored how
machine learning could be applied to medical
‘‘
The question now
is whether machine
learning can help us
discover truths about the
great unsolved problems
of science and medicine
I
n the more mundane space, the 12TB hard drive
will move to the sweet spot in price per baht this
year. As usual, printers and monitors will not change
at all in any appreciable way. Graphics cards will get
more powerful and more models will come with
no monitor ports, to be used for cryptocurrency
mining.
S
till too far away for this year are brain-to-machine interfaces and, as much as I hope otherwise, revolutionary new battery-storage technology.
Have a great 2019.
PHOTO: AFP
James Hein is an IT professional of over 30
years’ standing. You can contact him at
jclhein@gmail.com.
Journalists watch live
footage of the Google
DeepMind Challenge
Match between Lee
Se-Dol, one of the
greatest modern
players of Go, and the
Google-developed
supercomputer AlphaGo,
in Seoul in 2016.
diagnosis. In one, researchers at DeepMind
teamed up with clinicians at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London to develop a deep-learning algorithm that could classify a wide range of retinal
pathologies as accurately as human experts can.
(Ophthalmology suffers from a severe shortage
of experts who can interpret the millions of diagnostic eye scans performed each year; artificially
intelligent assistants could help enormously.)
The other article concerned a machine-learning algorithm that decides whether a CT scan
of an emergency-room patient shows signs of
a stroke, an intracranial haemorrhage or other
critical neurological event. For stroke victims,
every minute matters; the longer treatment is
delayed, the worse the outcome tends to be.
(Neurologists have a grim saying for this: “Time
is brain.”) The new algorithm flagged these and
other critical events with an accuracy comparable to human experts — but it did so 150 times
faster. A faster diagnostician could allow the most
urgent cases to be triaged sooner, with review by
a human radiologist.
What is frustrating about machine learning,
however, is that the algorithms can’t articulate
what they’re thinking. We don’t know why they
work, so we don’t know if they can be trusted.
AlphaZero gives every appearance of having discovered some important principles about chess,
but it can’t share that understanding with us.
Not yet, at least. As humans, we want more than
answers. We want insight. This is going to be a
source of tension in our interactions with computers from now on.
In fact, in mathematics, it’s been happening
for years already. Consider the long-standing
maths problem called the four-colour-map theorem. It proposes that, under certain reasonable
constraints, any map of contiguous countries can
always be coloured with just four colours, such
that no two neighbouring countries are coloured
the same.
Although the four-colour theorem was proved
in 1977 with the help of a computer, no human
could check all the steps in the argument. Since
then, the proof has been validated and simplified,
but there are still parts of it that entail bruteforce computation, of the kind employed by
AlphaZero’s chess-playing computer ancestors.
This development annoyed many mathematicians. They didn’t need to be reassured that
the four-colour theorem was true; they already
believed it. They wanted to understand why it
was true, and this proof didn’t help.
But envisage a day, perhaps in the not-toodistant future, when AlphaZero has evolved into
a more general problem-solving algorithm; call
it AlphaInfinity. Like its ancestor, it would have
supreme insight: it could come up with beautiful proofs, as elegant as the chess games that
AlphaZero played against Stockfish. And each
proof would reveal why a theorem was true;
AlphaInfinity wouldn’t merely bludgeon you into
accepting it with some ugly, difficult argument.
For human mathematicians and scientists,
this day would mark the dawn of a new era of
insight. But it may not last. As machines become
ever faster, and humans stay put with their neurons running at sluggish millisecond time scales,
another day will follow when we can no longer
keep up. The dawn of human insight may quickly
turn to dusk. ©2018 NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE
life t TECH
Bangkok Post |
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2019
Got a Nintendo
Switch? Here’s
how to set it up
properly
The new
Nintendo Switch
games console.
FP
PHOTO:: A
A simple guide to help you get the best out of
your new hybrid console
ELI BLUMENTHAL
USA
A TODAY (TNS)
W
ell done! You got a new Nintendo Switch and have now
won the holidays.
Before you go play Fortt
nite, Super Smash Bros. Ultimatee or Mario Kart,
t however, you will need to
set up your new game system.
The good news: this process has got a lot simpler than game systems of the past, and with the
Switch’s built-in touchscreen it is even easier
than other systems. So whether you are playing
on your TV or gaming on the go, we’re here to
help get you started.
THE “BASICS”
The Switch includes everything you need to play,
regardless of how you want to play, in its box.
The included docking station allows you to play
on a big screen, so feel free to take that out, plug
the included HDMI cable into the back of it and
your TV and set it aside. For the rest of set-up,
we’re going to focus on the main console, which
of course has that touchscreen built in.
Take out the two Joy-Con controllers and slide
them onto the sides of the Switch. The one with
a “+” sign goes on the right, the one with the “-”
sign goes on the left. This is also how you will
charge the controllers and how you can pair
additional Joy-Cons.
To remove the Joy-Cons later, click on the
little button on the back next to the trigger and
slide up.
Power on the Switch. If needed, plug in the
included power cable to charge your device
(when done with this process, plug the USB-C
cable into the back of the dock next to the
HDMI cable).
Follow the instructions on the screen and
connect to Wi-Fi.
As the Switch has a touchscreen, you can fill
in these details by using the controller or just tapping as you would on a phone or tablet. You may
be prompted to download a software update.
Do that, go make a cup of tea and come back.
Set up a profile and you’re good to go.
USING THE “STRAPS”
You’ll notice in the box that there are a few
adapters for the Joy-Cons including a more traditional controller module and two wrist straps
that make pressing the “SL” and “SR” buttons
easier.
They aren’t necessary, but when turning the
Joy-Cons into two controllers for two people to
play together, one of the Switch’s best features,
they are welcome for games like Mario Kart.
You’ll want to make sure that you slide the
bumper onto the Joy-Con properly or else it’ll
get jammed the wrong way. To do this, make
sure the “+” icon on the strap is slid onto the
“+” Joy-Con and likewise for the “-” Joy-Con and
strap. Both straps are reversible.
To release the straps, unlatch the little
white latch with the string pressed down in
the “unlock” position. Then press that same
“button” on the back of the Joy-Con by the trigger and slide up. You may have to use a little
force, but it should slide off.
Now if you put it the wrong way, don’t worry.
It happens. Find a flathead screwdriver and grab
a flashlight and check out this YouTube video
from YouTuber My Mate Vince. It does a good
job walking you through how to do it.
GOING ONLINE
With the Switch, Nintendo has a stronger rival
to Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Sony’s PlayStation
Network in Nintendo Switch Online (clever
name, we know). This service is what you will
need to play games online.
The good news is that Nintendo currently
only charges $19.99 (650 baht) for a 12-month
subscription. You can download games like Fortt
nitee and sign up for Switch Online by going to
the Nintendo eShop, the shopping-bag icon on
the home screen.
The Switch includes
everything you need
to play, regardless of
how you want to play,
in its box
Note: Fortnitee does not require a subscription to Switch Online to play. Games like Mario
Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Smash Bros. Ultimatee and
Splatoon 2 will need a subscription, however.
OTHER APPS
PHOTOS: BLOOMBERG
Super Smash Bros. Ultimatee video game for Nintendo Switch
Unlike the PS4 or Xbox One you won’t find
Netflix, Spotify or HBO on the Switch. You can,
however, download YouTube for watching on
the go. Both are available for free to allow you
to watch videos on your Switch.
GAME ON!
You’re all set up. Switch on!
Nintendo Switch.
NEW GADGETS AKIN
LENOVO THINKPAD
P
X1 EXTREME
The ThinkPad X1 Extreme introduces a 15-inch
form factor and is the first to include NVIDIA
discrete graphics. The X1 Extreme is
designed for advanced users who
seek a thin, light Windows
10 laptop that reflects
their personality as well as highperformance computing needs.
GOPRO HERO7 BLACK
The Hero7 Black is waterproof
without housing to 10m. The
digital-action camera has
touchscreen 4K HD video that you
can control with voice commands.
You can share your story as you
live it with video streaming to
Facebook Live, and save your
streamed videos to an SD card in
high resolution. It shoots 4K60
video and 12MP photos.
TECNO MOBILE POP 2
Tecno Mobile’s POP 2 is packed with
features, including a 5.5-inch full
display and 5MB rear camera with
dual flash and an 8MB front camera
for stunning lowlight selfies, plus AI
Beauty mode. Powered by a 1.3GHz
quadcore processor, the POP 2 comes
with 8GB ROM and 1GB RAM.
SDXC/
C SDHC 700S SERIES
The Transcend SDXC/SDHC
700S series is capable of a
reading speed of up to 285MBps
and writing speed of up to
180MBps+, with UHS Speed
Class 3 and SD Speed Class 10
performance. The cards are UHS
Video Speed Class 90 (V90)compliant, making them ideal
for smooth, interrupted 4K video
capture and post-production.
|
5
life t DIVERSIONS
6 | WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2019 | Bangkok Post
HOROSCOPE
ANDY CAPP
ANIMAL CRACKERS
BLONDIE
THE BORN LOSER
FRANK & ERNEST
GARFIELD
INSANITY STREAK
PEANUTS
THE WIZARD OF ID
WUMO
JERALDINE SAUNDERS
CAPRICORN
Dec 22-Jan 19
Shine as an example of success. When
others see your ambition at work, they
are inspired to follow your lead. You
shouldn’t be shy about showing others
the way. Put extra energy to good use and
get organized.
AQUARIUS
Jan 20-Feb 18
The answer is right in front of you. You
may be pulling your hair out trying to
solve a pesky problem. However, if you
step back, take a deep breath, and relax,
you’ll find a very simple but ingenious
solution.
PISCES
Feb 19-Mar 20
Don’t give in to wishful thinking too
easily. Take everything with a grain of salt
until you’re sure it’s true. Don’t be afraid
to embrace the cynic inside you and use
to it to keep you from making foolish
mistakes.
ARIES
Mar 21-Apr 19
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound
of cure. Prepare for contingencies and
analyze situations in order to prevent
future mishaps. You may have a greater
understanding of scientific applications
than usual.
TAURUS
Apr 20-May 20
Prepare before you proceed. There’s no
task too tough for you to tackle if you are
adequately prepared for it at the onset.
Remember that there is no rush. Travel at
your own pace to obtain optimum results.
GEMINI
May 21-June 20
Fantasies are fine, but reality pays the
bills. You can reach any goal you set for
yourself, if those goals are down to earth
and realistic. You are better off listening to your head rather than your heart
today.
CANCER
June 21-July 22
Take your time without wasting your
time. Accept your limitations as you lay
in a bed of your own making but then get
up and go through routines. Keep your
promises and remain respectful towards
your superiors.
LEO
July 23-Aug 22
Being ambitious can be attractive to some
people. You may be cool as a cucumber
but that won’t prevent someone from
thinking you are hot as a firecracker. Use
your charm to make some wonderful new
business contacts.
VIRGO
Aug 23-Sept 22
Sometimes it is pointless to attempt to
cure something that must run its course.
Step back from a lingering misunderstanding and just let it slide. The irritating
stone in your shoe will fall away by the
week’s end.
LIBRA
Sept 23-Oct 22
There is a light at the end of the tunnel
even if you can’t see it yet. Some problems will evaporate if you will leave
things alone and avoid meddling. You are
at your best handling advance planning
and project coordination.
SCORPIO
Oct 23-Nov 21
If you want something, you only need
to ask for it. You can ask for guidance or
a favor from a friend or colleague and
be assured that you will get it. Your love
life sparkles and you sparkle in social
settings.
SAGITTARIUS
Nov 22-Dec 21
Compliments cut through crassness.
Sometimes a small white lie can be more
beneficial than telling the truth. You may
need to give a less than honest opinion
to maintain a pleasant and congenial
relationship.
CONTENT AGENCY
ON RADIO
CHULALONGKORN FM 101.5
After Dinner Musicale (10.00-10.45pm)
Corigliano Promenade Overture (8:28)
Albinoni Oboe Concerto In D Minor, No.2, Op 9
(12:49)
Haydn Symphony No.49 In F minor La Passione
(21:35)
Music of the Masters (10.45-11.55pm)
Sandor Veress Four Transylvanian Dances (14:26)
Ravel Vocalise In The Form Of Habanera (3:09)
Strauss Sinfonia Domestica, Op 53 (42:56)
SUDOKUPACIFIC©UCLICK
TARGET
Use the grid with the cryptic or the easy clues, but beware: The answers are different.
How to solve Sudoku:
EASY CLUES
Place a number from 1-9 in each empty cell so that each
row, each column and each 3x3 box contains all the
numbers from 1-9. (This means that no number can appear
twice in any row, column or 3x3 box.)
How many words of four letters
or more can you make from the
letters shown here? In making
a word, each letter may be used
once only. Each word must
contain the large letter, and there
must be at least one nine-letter
word in the list. No plurals; no
foreign words; no proper names.
ACROSS
1 Struggle (6)
7 Rebuke (8)
8 Prima donna (4)
10 Loves intensely
(6)
11 Thin candles (6)
14 Encountered (3)
16 Roofing slabs
(5)
17 Elm, say (4)
19 Meat in rashers
(5)
21 Helicopter blade
(5)
22 Senior member
(5)
23 Tented area (4)
26 Bee substance
(5)
28 Droop (3)
29 Stadia (6)
30 Picture house
(6)
31 Corrosive
substance (4)
32 Strong
affection, loyalty
(8)
33 Fashions (6)
DOWN
1 Despot (6)
2 Private evening
party (6)
3 Epochs (4)
4 Originator (7)
5 Auctioneer’s
hammer (5)
6 Board game (5)
8 Curved roof (4)
9 Animal doctor
(3)
12 Narrow brooch
(3)
13 Kingdom (5)
15 Friends (5)
18 Shaving
implement (5)
19 Young male (3)
20 Swindle (3)
21 Kings, queens,
etc. (7)
22 Lair (3)
23 Doglike (6)
24 Elderly (4)
25 Shallow round
dishes (6)
26 Robust (5)
27 Courage (5)
28 So or thus (3)
30 Bevel (4)
TODAY’S TARGET: 19 words, good; 29 words,
very good; 38 words, (or more) excellent.
YESTERDAY’S SOLUTIONS
CRYPTIC CLUES
ACROSS
1 Supplies of
flowers (6)
7 Guns possibly
heard around,
when there’s
a war (8)
8 Pool game?
(4)
10 Vessel involved
in a storm? (6)
11 A flight can get
one among
the stars! (6)
14 Did the
spadework (3)
16 A small dry
area (5)
17 Mother joins
the saints in a
church service
(4)
19 See a flier as
a villain! (5)
21 Derivatively,
today’s his
day (5)
22 It never made
strong chains
(5)
23 Dairy suppliers
in a Moscow
suburb (4)
26 He had the
golden touch,
one imagines
(5)
28 Name shared
by Karajan and
Janacek (3)
29 Praises an
old salt shaker
(6)
EASY SOLUTIONS
ACROSS: 1, Aside 6, Ousts 9, Eastern 10,
Trust 11, Cider 12, Light 13, Lanolin 15, Cot 17,
Emit 18, Dreary 19, Riled 20, Ocelot 22, Acre
24, Nor 25, Filches 26, Habit 27, Duvet 28,
Aesop 29, Let down 30, Snaps 31, Ether
© SOLO SYNDICATION
If today is your birthday:
The next two to three weeks can challenge you to display high standards and
take your responsibilities seriously. Start
nothing new, stick to the rules and take
care of any problems quickly before
they blossom into something unwieldy.
During late February and early March,
you can successfully launch important
plans, beneficial relationships can be
formed and your ability to think clearly
about the future reaches new heights.
You might be given an opportunity to
show off your abilities or rewarded for
your past performance. Your gullibility
can land you in hot water in May. TRIBUNE
CROSSWORD
30 Coal miner’s
dog? (6)
31 Looking nasty
enough to plug?
(4)
32 The number
of trees
associated
with Covent
Garden (4,4)
33 Where to learn
how to get out
of a car? (6)
DOWN
1 Though orderly,
can get messy
around the end
of August (6)
2 A reptile to us,
a flower to you
(6)
3 Possibly posh
emporium (4)
4 Published
erudition with
the rude bit cut
out (7)
5 Raise
objections in
numbers about
midday (5)
6 Eat a lot too
quickly out of
hearty greed
(5)
8 In cricket, they
go to leg (4)
9 Pull some plugs
out (3)
12 Demand when
you finish
work (3)
13 Make newer
somehow (5)
15 Method of
making gold
turn red! (5)
18 Stick to fax,
if possible (5)
19 Member of the
San Francisco
police (3)
20 Over five
missing (3)
21 Layabout
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
30
offering a treatment for warts
to a key figure
(7)
As a correspondent, needs a
pen (3)
Visitor at bingo?
(6)
But ahead,
finishing early
(4)
On which
playmates have
their ups and
downs (6)
Suggests it’s
nasty, being so
loveless (5)
Boy with an
Irish air (5)
Just beginning
to go back
for a bit of
exercise (3)
On the billiard
table, a resilient
all-rounder (4)
DOWN: 2, Stream 3, Despot 4, Eat 5, Stain 6,
Orchard 7, Unit 8, Tremor 12, Licit 13, Lemon
14, Niger 15, Catch 16, Types 18, Debit 19,
Rotates 21, Column 22, Accent 23, Remote
25, Finds 26, Help 28, Awe
SCRABBLE
CRYPTIC SOLUTIONS
ACROSS: 1, Fro-St. 6, Earth 9, Wearily 10,
A-gain 11, Gears 12, P-ours 13, Reactor 15,
Rip 17, Itch 18, Scrap-e 19, Bean-O 20, F-lower
22, Silt 24, Sir 25, Some day 26, Plump 27,
Video 28, For-t-e 29, Twister 30, O-gles 31,
Daddy
DOWN: 2, Reg.-ret. 3, Switch 4, Ten 5, Prior 6,
El Greco 7, A-yes 8, T-u-rnip 12, Power 13,
Riffs 14, Actor 15, Rap-I’d 16, Petty 18,
SN-OO-P 19, Bellows 21, L-I-king 22, Se-no-R-a
23, Laste-d 25, Smash 26, Pet-e 28, Fed
TARGET
acid acne cadi candle cane
caned canine canned cape
caped clad clan clap clean
clip dace dance decal dice
epic iced lace laced lance
lanced nicad nice pace
paced panic panicle panicled
pecan pelican pencil pica
pinnace pinnacle PINNACLED
place placed placid plaice
life t MOVIES
Bangkok Post |
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2019
|
7
REVIEW
PHOTO © NETFLIX
The end of the world is
riveting ... sometimes
AISHA HARRIS
NYT
T
he enigmatic title may be Bird
Box, but in the first flashback of
this occasionally riveting sci-fi
thriller, the banter between sisters Malorie (Sandra Bullock)
and Jessica (Sarah Paulson) keeps returning
to horses. Jessica, a breeder, chats enthusiastically about her stud as she drops by to
visit Malorie, a pregnant recluse who spends
her days painting in her studio. During Malorie’s checkup at the hospital, Jessica even
imagines how great it would be if she herself
existed in equine form.
There’s probably a would-be metaphor
waiting to reveal itself in these scenes —
maybe it is screenwriter Eric Heisserer’s
way of clearly contrasting Jessica as the
free-spirited sibling and Malorie as the cynical one who harbours zero desire to become
a mother. (Malorie grumpily describes her
own pregnancy as having a “condition”.) But
like much of the characterisation found in
this movie from Danish filmmaker Susanne
Bier (After The Wedding), the horse-related
theme is severely undercooked.
Bird Box, an adaptation of Josh Malerman’s novel, jumps between two timelines
under the premise: “What if M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening, in which people
mysteriously begin killing themselves, had
blindfolds?” The opening scene is the present, with Malorie brusquely instructing two
children, Boy (Julian Edwards) and Girl
(Vivien Lyra Blair), about the treacherous
journey on which they are about to embark
down a river in a canoe. Once outside, they
must never take off their blindfolds, or They.
Will. Die.
‘‘
Too often, Bird
Box walks right
up to the edge of
pure suspense and
disappoints
Bullock, accustomed to playing no-nonsense characters on life-threatening
missions, effectively conveys the sense
of urgency.
The second timeline unfolds five years
earlier, with the sudden arrival of a mysterious entity taking the form of the worst fears
of any person who locks eyes with it, leading
the victim to commit suicide. Leaving the
hospital, Malorie finds mass hysteria — car
crashes, fires and explosions in the streets
— and seeks refuge with other strangers in
a house on the corner.
The house is a hodgepodge of types: John
Malkovich is Douglas, the crotchety homeowner whose only priority is himself; Lil Rel
Howery (Get Out) is Charlie, a supermarket
employee who just so happens to be writing
a novel about the end of humanity; and Tom,
Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight) is the strapping, sensitive war vet who connects with
Malorie. Danielle Macdonald plays Olympia,
a woman who, like Malorie, is pregnant, but
extremely happy about it. Jacki Weaver and
BD Wong are here, too, though they have
even less to do, with barely any backstory
or distinguishing traits. As the survivors hole
up in the house, the usual end-of-the-world
Apocalyptic thriller has its
moments, but can’t quite
realise its vision
conflicts arise: do they let in others suddenly
banging on the door for help? Can anyone
be trusted?
Is surviving actually living? (Non-spoiler:
Nope.)
Some saving graces: the disturbing set
piece in which the creature first descends
upon the city and, later, a genuinely unnerving scene in which Malorie leaves Boy and
Girl behind in the canoe so she can replenish supplies.
Yet too often Bird Box walks right up to
the edge of pure suspense and disappoints
— the need for characters to be blindfolded
or otherwise limited in sight presents the
perfect opportunity to put audiences in
their shoes and really dig into the threat
of the unknown, à la The Blair Witch Project. Instead, those moments are chopped
up anxiously, the camera frequently cutting wide to reveal what the characters are
up against.
By the final act, there are birds instead of
horses, and Malorie’s purpose as an individual is explicitly realised in the most obvious
of ways. The squelching of promise is not
my worst (cinematic) fear, per se. But it’s
still disappointing.
NOW SHOWING
Mia And The White Lion
In this coming-of-age drama, a young girl moves with
her family to an African country. In the wild and a new
environment, she forms an unlikely friendship with a
white lion. Directed by Gilles de Maistre.
Mary Poppins Returns
Emily Blunt plays the legendary role once portrayed by
Julie Andrews. Mary Poppins, after decades, returns to
help the Banks children — now grown-ups with their
own children — through a difficult time in their lives.
A lot of songs and many spoonfuls of sugar to be
expected. Also starring Broadway star Lin Manuel
Miranda. Directed by Rob Marshall.
Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy
From the famed fight choreographer Yuen Woo-ping,
this Hong Kong action film tells the story of Cheung
Tin Chi, who has been defeated by Master Ip Man.
He gets into trouble after getting in a fight with a
powerful foreigner. Also starring Thai action star
Tony Jaa. Directed by Yuen Woo-ping.
The Wife
Glenn Close is earning praise for her role as Joan, the
wife of a famous novelist (played by Jonathan Pryce)
who’s just been named as the Nobel Prize winner in
literature. During their trip to Stockholm to receive the
award, Joan and her husband are forced to confront the
dark secrets of their marriage. Directed by Bjorn Runge.
Bumblebee
This Transformers spinoff tells the story of Bumblebee,
the yellow robot whose Volkswagen disguise endears
him to viewers of the franchise. The film goes back
to 1987 when Bumblebee is on the run and finds
refuge in a Californian beach town, where he meets
an 18-year-old girl who’ll become his best friend.
Directed by Travis Knight.
Aquaman
Roma
In this luminous black-and-white Mexican film by the
director of Gravity and Children Of Men, a live-in maid
at a family in the Roma district of Mexico City witnesses
the upheavals in the household and the city.
Directed by Alfonso Cuaron. At Scala and House RCA.
Sing-Su (Reside)
In a remote residence on a hill, an occult centre led by
Madam (Tarika Tidathit) is invaded by malicious stray
spirits determined to take the members’ live and possess
their bodies. Also starring Ananda Everingham.
Directed by Wisit Sasanatieng.
Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo from Game Of Thrones)
plays Arthur Curry, a man who finds out that he’s the
heir to the kingdom of Atlantis. With a threat from
Vulko (Willem Defoe), Arthur aka Aquaman has to dive
deep and try to save his underwater world.
Also starring Amber Heard. Directed by James Wan.
Mortal Engines
Ten Years Thailand
Time Freak
An omnibus of four short fiction films that looks
at the political and social challenges of Thailand.
Directed by Aditya Assarat, Wisit Sasanatieng,
Chulayarnnon Siriphol and Apichatpong
Weerasethakul. At SF cinemas.
In this post-apocalyptic story adapted from a sci-fi novel,
a young woman teams up with a dangerous outlaw to
lead a rebellion against a rogue ruler who uses a huge
machine on wheels that eats up cities for resources.
Directed by Christian Rivers.
Asa Butterfield and Sophie Turner star in this sci-fi
romantic comedy. Butterfield plays a genius teenage
boy who’s still in love with an ex-girlfriend. To make up
with her, he invents a time machine and goes back a year
earlier to fix the break-up. Directed by Andrew Bowler.
Bird Box
Starring Sandra Bullock, Trevante
Rhodes, John Malkovich
Directed by Susanne Bier
life t ART
8 | WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2019 | Bangkok Post
with them, I understood the situations of migrate
workers. Covering the face isn’t only fashionable,
but is also about protecting themselves from dust,
sunlight, toxic gas, and maybe sometimes to cover
their identities because they are migrant or underage workers.
BUILDING
THEM UP
Is there any particular portrait that gallery
visitors shouldn’t miss?
For me, the green lady on the banner at BACC is
quite a strong portrait. It is one of my favourite
pictures of the series, though it is so simple. I took
this picture somewhere in a Bangkok suburb where
workers built a luxury pool villa.
Ralf Tooten reveals
another side of
Asian construction
workers in his
photography series
Construction companies
weren’t keen to have a
photographer on their sites
STORY: SUWITCHA CHAIYONG
C
onstruction workers are usually overlooked even though their work is fundamental to the building of cities. To
shine a spotlight on them, German
photographer Ralf Tooten exhibits construction-worker portraits in his exhibition “A.W.C.
— Asian Workers Covered”, as a reminder of how
and by whom Thailand’s cities have been built.
To create public impact, images of working-class
people in colourful masks staring directly at viewers and other poses have been displayed on large
screens at several venues in downtown Bangkok,
including on LED screens on both sides of Patpong
Road, at two shopping malls — Siam Square One
and CentralWorld — as well as VGI screens at three
BTS stations — Asoke, Siam and National Stadium.
There is also the 14x14m portrait of a female worker
covered with green cloth and wearing a green hat
in front of the Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre
(BACC). And more than 20 portraits are demonstrated at Le Link Gallery. “A.W.C. — Asian Workers Covered” was originally shot between 2006 and 2009 in Thailand, Laos,
Cambodia and Myanmar. In 2012, Tooten shot the
second series of portraits, called “R.C.A. Ratchaburi
Construction Workers Open Air”, in Ratchaburi.
And this year, he decided to bring back the A.W.C.
collection as part of the Bangkok Art Biennale. Lifee spoke to the photographer about his exhibition series.
Was there any difficulty while working on the
project?
Yes. A major problem was that construction companies weren’t keen to have a photographer on their
sites. They didn’t understand our work. In one case,
while we were shooting at the construction site of a
housing estate, staff of the company found out and
kicked us out. I used film and they wanted to have all
my photograph materials. I gave them a roll of film
which hadn’t shot and left. A foreman who helped
me to come to this construction site lost his job. We
supported him financially for eight or nine months
until he got a new job.
Some photos are from a project in Ratchaburi.
Why did you want to shoot a project there?
At first, I wanted to exhibit photos all over Bangkok,
but we couldn’t get permission. I then was invited
by [award-winning artist] Wasinburee Suphanichvoraparch, who has a gallery and network in Ratchaburi. The mayor of Ratchaburi welcomed the idea
and supported us a lot. And it was easier to see the
exhibition there because you could go around by
tuk-tuk
k or boat to see all portraits in a short time. If
you were in Bangkok, it probably took you a whole
day to see everything. Have any of your models or the workers ever
seen the exhibitions?
In Ratchaburi, some of them came at the opening
day. Most of them felt good about being a part of
it. One of them said he liked the exhibition. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a Spanish internet TV
programme that brought the workers to original
locations and interviewed how they felt.
Why did you decide to bring back “A.W.C. —
Asian Workers Covered” to Bangkok?
The Bangkok Art Biennale re-creates completely
new audiences. It makes senses to show my works
in the gallery and on big screens and big banners
at BACC at the same time. This is what the main
curator, Prof Dr Apinan Poshyananda, called the
“Tooten Attack”.
Should artists reflect society through their
works?
It depends on the message of the artist. In this exhibition, yes, it is. But I had a project before (“Eyes Of
Wisdom”), for which I travelled around the world
and photographed holy people, includingthe Dalai
Lama and Pope John Paul II. The project doesn’t
reflect society, but reflects culture.
Is there any difference between this latest
exhibition and the previous ones?
There are different selections. We also use different
framing and presentations.
What was your inspiration for making “A.W.C.”?
First, I was attracted by the colours, shapes and
creative moments of workers covered. As a foreigner, I had never seen them before. And as a
photographer, I really love it. Second, after talking
z
“A.W.C. — Asian Workers Covered” will be
exhibited at Le Link Gallery until Feb 3.
Continued from page 1
M ume
Mon
meents
ntts Of
n
Of So
Solit
litude
lit
udee by
Leuungg Chi
Chi-wo
-wo on Po
Poda
da Isl
Island
and
nd..
A note on Thailand Biennale
Adam Bartholl’s The Perfect Beachh is placed near Phra Nang Beach, a popular spot
crawling with tourists.
LIFE
Nature and history — real or fictional,
actual or imaginary — take a more solemn
tone at a group of installation works at Khao
Khanab Nam, a mangrove forest dotted
with rocky grottos, couched under the
towering limestone outcrops 15 minutes
from Krabi town by boat. There at Khao
Khanab Nam Cave, a giant lies in a dirt pit:
Taiwanese artist Tu Wei-cheng has created
an “excavation site” in which a giant — outsized skull and bones — has been dug out
of oblivion. This “historical find” comes
with a glass box showing ancient stones
and coins that were supposedly buried
in the same period — one of them, you
have to look closely, is a Hello Kitty figure.
Again it’s the setting that lends an air of
sombre authenticity to this high prank,
this fictitious historical discovery — a lot
of unknowing visitors might mistake the
giant as real — especially because the cave
features an actual, permanent exhibit about
Japanese soldiers who fled and hid here
during World War II.
This bit about Japanese soldiers led us to
another non-existent work — a black spot
that scarred Thailand Biennale. Chulayarnnon Siriphol’s video work The Birth Of The
Golden Snaill — another fictitious account
telling the origin tale of the snail princess
and her shenanigans with Japanese soldiers — was supposed to be projected onto
the cave wall. But the authorities banned
it because the film contained some nudity
Acting Editor: ARUSA PISUTHIPAN | arusap@bangkokpost.co.th
(very innocuous), and the strangest thing
is that an official letter ordering the filmmaker to remove his work is posted on a
sign outside the cave. In the world where
everything can be art, is this a freaky conceptual piece, an artwork that kills the
existence of another artwork? It is not; it is
bureaucracy, which in a way is an antithesis
to art. We hope Chulayarnnon, an upcoming artist with a strong following, will find
another venue for his short film.
THE BOTTOM LINE
As an inaugural event, Thailand Biennale
has enough showpieces to attract enthusiasts. As a long-term project to promote
contemporary art outside Bangkok — to
put Thailand on the map of the world’s
oversupply of art biennales — it still has
a lot of philosophical and organisational
work to do: Art, tourism, community participation (is this biennale for visitors or
locals?), local ownership of an international
event (there are Krabi artists involved, and
schools have brought their students to see
the pieces, but is that enough?). Apparently
these issues have been taken into account,
but the struggle to find the right balance is
always challenging.
Perhaps choosing Krabi is the trump
card: Because of this beautiful Andaman
province, it’s possible to combine vacation
with art appreciation. And if nothing else,
the locals, from boatmen to stall vendors,
enjoy having more people coming down
there, either for the art or the beach.
Ideally, you need at least three days to
visit all the sites and see all of the 50-plus
pieces. And you shouldn’t feel hurried —
take your time, if you have time to take.
During my visit in late December — nearly
two months after the event began — most
installation artworks still stand in their
intended condition, while quite a few had
deflated or were unmaintained. To look at
two art pieces located in Thara Park in Krabi
town that week, I had to walk through a boy
scout’s camp that had occupied most of the
space. A video work called The Ambassadors, a 10-minute film recounting a visit
Travel Editor: PONGPET MEKLOY | pongpetm@bangkokpost.co.th
of a Siamese envoy to London in the early
20th century by Anocha Suwichakornpong
and Ben Rivers, were being installed at the
Krabi Public Library while I was there even
though the artists’ names have been listed
from the beginning.
The Thailand Biennale website has a
map with GPS markings of all the artworks,
which are mostly accurate. At some sites,
there are volunteers to help you (if not, ask
the security guards, who always do their
best). A yellow sign marking an artwork is
something you’ll have to constantly look
out for, in order to pick your way through
the trap of reality to find this imaginative
wonderland.
Motoring Editor: RICHARD LEU | motoring@bangkokpost.co.th
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