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Xenophobia unhelpful

Re: Foreigners are not stakeholders here", Letters, May 2.

Vint Chavala usually makes a constructive contribution to the letter pages in English language newspapers. It was therefore surprising to learn from a recently published letter that he considers foreigners as outsiders with no stake in Thailand. Many of us resent such remarks as we are aware of the true situation. One therefore feels obliged to make the following remarks.

In many ways, foreigners have a controlling stake in Thailand. Without foreign technology there would be no planes in the sky, no modern road system, no cars or motorcycles, no computers or smartphones and none of the benefits which the country now enjoys. There would be no foreign investment and nobody with whom to trade. Resident foreigners all pay indirect taxation and usually come with a deal of capital whilst being denied ownership of capital goods such as houses and land. Foreign tourists also buy baht and their spending contributes to tax revenue. All this may possibly induce some resentment in Thai society.

It is sad that Vint Chavala is not alone in his opinion. There is a xenophobic attitude, which while usually quite latent, does exist. The countries of the world are increasingly interdependent, and while patriotism is healthy, xenophobia is both hypocritical and self-destructive. A measure of a modern country is its ability to think internationally.

Foreigners do have a rightful place in Thailand, worthy of respect, as do Thais in other countries where they are welcome members of other societies.

J C Wilcox

Bangkok


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