Thursday, September 29, 2005

Thailand headlines

Yesterday was consumed with flights so I am just catching up on postings now. I flew from Brussels to Frankfurt to Bangkok and finally to Phuket, Thailand where I am participating in a free market think tank conference focused on Asia.

As is my practice I read one of the local newspapers, "The Nation," , in this case a daily English language newspaper. So I thought I would provide a review of the local news stories:

"Minister Ordered to Review Reshuffle" -- an article on Thailand's Public Health Minister's attempt to change the job duties of 10 senior health officials

"Low Cost Clay Homes win over judges" -- an article on a group of Sri Pathun University students who designed a model home for "people currently living in slums" which would be built from -- clay, sand, chaff, straw, and cement.

The news story which caught my attention was an article outlining the Thai government's plans to make learning Mandarin Chinese a requirement for students. Since there are daily stories in the American and European media outlets that I read and watch this Thai angle was not a surprise given the "neighborhood geography" of Thailand and China. However, what I am reminded of is my country's general lack of interest in learning foreign languages. NO, of course I not advocating a new US Department of Education program requiring American students to learn any given language but I am highlighting this lack of "multi-lingual infrastructure" we have in this very globalized economy but more on this subject in a future posting.

I am off to see Phuket's beaches and Thai restaurants now so stay tuned for future postings.


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