Mobi is back, folks.
I won’t bother to apologise for last week’s non-appearance, as by now I guess it is pretty obvious that my blog has become two-weekly affair, at least for the time being. Certainly this will continue until my latest novel is done, dusted and published.
What has been going on in the world of Mobi over the last fortnight?
For starters, I’m pleased to report that the temperature and humidity out by the lake have dropped considerably and we’ve even had a few thunderstorms. Over the past week or so, we’ve seen very little sun and the weather has been much more tolerable – much of the time, it has been overcast, with dense cloud.
But we are still getting more ‘promises’ of rain than is actually delivered and the level of water in the lake is still very low. The weather apps on our phones tell us every day that the chances of rain are between 80 – 100%, but very rarely do these predictions turn into meaningful amounts of rain.
However, other parts of Thailand are now enjoying a lot more rain, especially the north and northeast, so hopefully this is the end of what was becoming a very worrying drought.
I am soldiering along with my novel.
Since I returned to Thailand on 1st July, I have been flat out on the edit stage. So far I have been through the entire text, line by line, twice and am now half way through my third edit. I am hoping that there will be one more revision after this one, but I will keep going until I am satisfied that every word of every sentence is as good as I can get it.
This work can be soul destroying, for as you may imagine, I’m getting pretty fed up with the sight of my own words. I have spent far more time revising my text than I have ever done in my previous novels and I am hoping that it will eventually pay dividends. Hopefully, I will be finished within the next week or two.
Yesterday, I received a visit from my French landlord who informed me that he was putting the house up for sale. He asked me if I was interested in buying it, but I politely declined – I can barely afford the rent, let alone buying it outright.
This means that my long tenure here, (I am into my 5th year), is coming to an end. We shall have to look around for alternative, hopefully cheaper accommodation.
The TIP of Tier Three?
There were typical displays of outrage from Thai officials when the USA released their latest Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) in which Thailand had been relegated to the lowest tier (three), along with the likes of Iran, North Korea, and Nigeria.
The report states that:
“the majority of the trafficking victims within Thailand, (tens of thousands, by conservative estimates), are migrants from Thailand’s neighbouring countries who are forced, coerced, or defrauded into labour or exploited in the sex trade. A significant portion of labour trafficking victims within Thailand are exploited in commercial fishing, fishing-related industries, low-end garment production, factories, and domestic work; some victims are forced to beg on the streets.”
Several high-ranking government dignitaries and civil servants complained that the report was unfair and inaccurate. They claimed that the government had taken firm action to stop human trafficking and that many of the ringleaders have now been charged with these crimes.
This was a predictable reaction by the ‘establishment’ to any outside criticism of Thailand, but it was quite refreshing to hear that the P.M. General Prayuth was of a more realistic mindset. He is quoted as saying:
“… Thailand should focus on improving its record instead of shifting blame…
…I think it is best if we don’t blame them at all. Don’t blame them and say they did it because of politics, or whatever. It won’t do us any good,”
“Haven’t you noticed what I have said to you? I told you we have to accept it. These things are wrong because we have done wrong. [The US] already set the rules, but in the past we have not fixed our problems. Now that they want to punish us like this, they can punish us. We have to do our best.”
In other words, you can’t ‘defend the indefensible’….
Clearly, Thailand has much still to do to eliminate this insidious crime, but at least they have started to take action, and the PM sounds like he means business. Fingers crossed.
But dare I suggest that the USA is being a tad hypocritical in compiling the TIP list in the first place?
According to Federal government reports, as many as 17,500 people are trafficked into the USA annually, and these estimates do not include the number of individuals trafficked within the country’s borders each year.
Even more disturbing is the news that the trafficking of children in the USA has now reached epidemic proportions. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the average age for a girl to enter the commercial sex trade is just 12-14 years, and only 11-13 years for boys.
80% of the people trafficked are women and children, bought, sold and imprisoned in the underground sex service industry
Average life span of a victim is 3 to 7 years (often dying from physical attack, abuse, HIV and other STD’s, malnutrition, drug overdose or suicide)
The largest group of at-risk children are runaways, ‘thrown-aways’, or homeless American children who use sex to acquire food, shelter, clothing, and other things needed to survive on the streets.
1.3 million runaways and homeless youths live on America’s streets every day and 5,000 die each year. It is thought that the number of children trafficked in the United States is actually much higher than the official estimate of 300,000….
Three hundred thousand!!!
It really beggars belief.
On second thoughts, I think the USA should continue to publish the TIP list, but make sure they put themselves on tier three, along with Thailand and North Korea.
The Killing of Cecil
Talking of hypocrisy, I have never seen such a hue and cry about the killing of a lion. Cecil the lion was killed in Zimbabwe by a rich American dentist, and the bleeding heart liberals of the USA have really gone to town .
While I don’t for one minute condone the killing of any wild animal, and I strongly suggest that the lion-hunting dentist should find something more worthwhile to do with his spare $50k; but the hue and cry is out of all proportion to the crime.
I really doubt whether the dentist knew he was doing anything illegal. Sure you can condemn him – as I do – for participating in such a cruel activity – but he was doing no more than thousands of very rich people do every year in Africa. He unknowingly killed a lion that happened to be famous. If it had been any other lion, nobody would have said a word.
I do give some credence to the claims that by allowing properly controlled, legal hunting of big game, it can provide desperately needed funds to preserve overall wild life populations. Without the interest in big-game hunting, there would be no money for poor African countreies to pay for preservation.
But just where are the American bleeding hearts when it comes to the dying and starving children of Zimbabwe, and of Mugabe’s cruel and ruthless regime? Isn’t the life of a child more important than that of a lion? When is Jimmy Kimmel going to cry about the dead and dying children of Africa?
But here’s the rub. It really is American hypocrisy at its worst. These outraged Americans are happy to condemn the killer of Cecil, but fail to protest the barbaric slaughter of mountain lions in their own country.
A few nights ago I watched a nature documentary about the mountain lions in Wyoming, USA. Researchers have been tracking these lions for years and we were treated to some unique and fascinating footage of the lion families living (and dying) in their natural habitats. The reason for the research was to establish the reason in the dramatic decline in numbers in recent years.
The researchers concluded that the drop was partly due to the reintegration of wolves into the area, (they killed some of the lions’ young), but far and away the main reason for the decline was due to the killing of these beautiful animals by American lion hunters.
At the current rate of killing, the cougars will soon become extinct in many parts of the USA, yet when questioned about the chances of getting the authorities to throttle back on the number of ‘permitted kills’, a government official admitted it would be a very, very difficult task.
In fact, The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) has drastically increased quotas and finalized plans that will effectively eradicate lions in their portion of the Black Hills to enrich a few greedy ranchers.
WGFD has authorized the death of approximately half the lions in the region so that local ranchers can carry on lucrative mountain lion hunts long after the Black Hills lion harvest quota has been reached on public lands.
The new mortality quota for the region — 61 lions — represents over a 50 percent increase in the already excessive quota, and could raise the mortality rate to 49 percent of the lion population.
A 1991 study demonstrated that even mortality levels as low as 27 percent were irreversable if that level of mortality persisted year after year – as they have been in this case.
Unfortunately, both Wyoming and South Dakota have stated that they want to suppress the Black Hills lion population. For the current trophy season, both states increased their quotas by fifty percent and created special “unlimited zones” that allow for an unrestricted number of lions to be killed.
Why don’t all you outraged Americans, who are so sad about the death of Cecil, flood your twitter and Facebook accounts with protests about this cruel and selfish crime being committed in your own backyard, without any regard for the survival of endangered species?
I guess it is easy to go after a single, ‘innocent’ dentist than take on the evil gun lobby and your fellow countrymen’s obscene obsession with guns and the killing of wild life.
Was it ever thus?