The Bank of Thailand is entering its third week operating from its backup office, as its head office at Bang Khunphrom Intersection is off limits to staff and the general public because of the "Bangkok shutdown".
Since January 13 when anti-government protesters started the shutdown, the Bang Khunphrom premises have been closed. For the first time in its history, the central bank has had to operate outside of the head office. Staff are working at the note-printing building on Buddhamondhol 7 Road.
It is a big change for all staff, particularly those who do not reside in the western part of Bangkok.
“I miss Bang Khunphrom,” said one staff member. Asked what she missed the most, she said “everything”.
It is understandable. We all know that the head office is located next to Bang Khunphrom Palace. Fronting the beautiful Chao Phraya River, it is also near Banglamphu and Thewet Market, with a large supply of delicious food.
Staff who do not have their own cars have to catch the bank’s vans from CentralPlaza Pinklao. Once they get to their location, they have to work as usual even though they are far from their fully equipped offices. We were told that BOT Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul has instructed them all that no matter what, operations must proceed as usual.
Judging by the past two weeks, he should be happy. The operations have been smooth as silk, with periodical notifications of the central bank’s releases of new data. Before this, The Nation’s Business Section rarely received weekly notifications on the foreign reserves.
Life will remain hard for all BOT staff.
But some, particularly religious persons, should be glad to be working close to Buddhamondhol, the Buddhist park. Others should know by now that peace can be at hand.
just Like humans,|Suvarnabhumi Airport ages
Suvarnabhumi Airport is celebrating its eighth anniversary this year, and general manager Rawewan Netarakavesana is striving to make the airport appealing to foreign visitors.
Last Friday, to commemorate the Chinese New Year, she stepped into a plane carrying more than 200 Chinese visitors to Thailand. She personally handed each of the visitors a bag containing two oranges. The captain was the last to receive the gift.
Straight from the plane, the visitors were also welcomed by a lion dance. It was a warm welcome indeed for the visitors who sought to find good times here at a time when many locals want to get out.
But just as people show their age, so does the airport, which opened in 2006.
Last week, one of many glass pieces on the ceiling fell down. It fell right there, at the immigration area. Luckily, there was no one below.
The only reason that could explain this is that the sealant could no longer hold the glass.
Rawewan is now thoroughly inspecting the entire premises. That would be a tough job, given that the four-storey airport is entirely covered by glass, from ceiling to floor.
Resealing it would be costly, but Rawewan knows there is no option – the problem must be fixed. Incidents on the road can be avoided, but not while you are strolling inside the airport.