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A Spirited Riposte from a Thai CEO


I read "Fixing the debt mess" (Asian Business, Feb. 12) with amazement and dismay. What particularly distressed me were the insinuations made in the article about the threats to the personal safety of [Thai Petrochemical Industries' acting CEO] Anthony Norman. By nature I am a pacifist, imbued with the Lord Buddha's teachings of love and compassion. I abhor violence. However, Mr. Norman may have reason to portray Thailand as a barbaric country, as it indeed offers him a good excuse for transferring money from the company for security expenses.

Mr. Norman's comment that I was keen to force forgiveness of loans rather than restructure them perverts the truth. I have consistently maintained that the plan as conceived by Effective Planners--a subsidiary of Ferrier Hodgson, Mr. Norman's firm--is flawed and unworkable.

I object to the quote "If you get control of the company, you're going to get rid of me, aren't you?" attributed to me by Mr. Norman. It is taken out of context. My point was to highlight Effective Planners' obsession with changing the corporate structure.

Mr. Norman's comment that I own a Mercedes 500E is typical of the fudging of facts. I do indeed have a Mercedes 300SEL, but it is nine years old.

In your story, you say that I accused the Thai finance minister of conspiring with the International Monetary Fund. It should read: "with the International Finance Corp."

Prachai Leophairatahna

Chief Executive Officer

Thai Petrochemical Industry Bangkok

The case of Thai Petrochemical Industries (as Anthony Norman pointed out in the article) is not representative of the Thai way. TPI's tactic to stall and delay the debt-restructuring was wrong, but the article exaggerates the danger facing Mr. Norman. This is a peaceful country; we do not solve problems at gunpoint.

Sarunphong Articharte

Bangkok "Reinventing the power grid" (Science & Technology, Feb. 26) records useful progress in distributed power, but conspicuously omits three sources that are mainstays of other countries: co-generation, geothermal energy, and a true national grid.

Together with recent grim reports on the urgent problems of the aging water and sewer systems of many of our older cities, this underlines the imminent danger of a collapsing infrastructure. That's where our "surplus" tax dollars ought to go.

John E. Ullmann

New York


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