Friday, May 17, 2013

The NSTDA Writes a Letter And I’m Calling BS

There is another “smear job” in the Bangkok Compost today about the current Thai government. This time they tried to discredit the Ministry of Science Technology.  The National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) said that science and technology development in Thailand is "going downhill" under the Pheu Thai government.
I’m calling “Bull Shit’ on this!
First of all, it is impossible for the Ministry of Science and Technology go any further downhill with regards to research when that ministry under the Abhisit led regime hit rock bottom.  The only way to go is up.  You would assume that the scientists at the NSTDA would know even the basics of gravity.
Of course there was not even a peep out of the NSTDA when the Minister of Science and Technology under the Abhisit regime, Kalaya Sophonpanich, made this statement to Thai students and scientists in London about those fraudulent GP200 bomb detectors the morons in the military got snookered with:

"Regarding people's beliefs, some kinds of beliefs are harmless. If these beliefs make people comfortable, we should just leave them alone, shouldn't we? Some people are happy to worship trees, for example. We don't need to disturb them, do we?"
Kalaya Sophonpanich, Science Hack
Not exactly a grand motivational message for students and scientists to go out and do research.
But that was then and this is now. The current government earlier announced a goal to raise spending on research from 0.25% of gross domestic product to between 1% and 2%, which I believe they have done.  But that didn’t stop the NTSDA in calling on people to wear black on Monday to protest against Pheu Thai's failure to keep its promises to improve research and innovation.
The NSTDA claimed in an open letter released  on Friday that policies imposed on different agencies under the Ministry of Science and Technology are not in line with the government's declaration.  One of these agencies which policies were imposed on was the NSTDA itself which is probably why they’re whining so much.
One of these polices the NSTDA is complaining about is that any project costing more than 2 million baht must be approved personally by the science and technology minister.  The NSTDA claims that this type of “political micro-management” makes conditions worse for researchers.
“Political micro-management”?! The government has a duty to carefully spend tax payers’ money and they have a responsibility to see that there is no waste or fraud.  
The letter from the NSTDA grumbles further that, it has been assigned to work on projects that focus on generating revenue for the organization instead of creating knowledge for further application.
This, to me, isn’t unreasonable. If the NSTDA can generate income on projects then they can spend that money on whatever research they like.
The bitching in the NTSDA letter only continued by claiming, “The usage of creativity and innovation had dropped due to limitations placed on researchers.” I can only assume that the NTSDA would prefer an “anything goes” policy when it comes to spending tax payer’s money. Do they really believe the government should hand them money with no strings attached when there is a current public environment expressly concerned with corruption and waste? 
Would you just hand money over to an NTSDA scientist such as the one pictured below?
NSTDA Scientist Buncha "Bat Shit Crazy" Thanaboonsombat
"We're concerned about the internal and external changes and challenges that affect our country, and the fact that our country attaches little importance to creating knowledge and innovation that will increase skills in the long run."
"The government only sees science and technology as a way to solve short-term problems or to create business opportunities.
"As a result, our country's skills and competitive edge are steadily declining."
They actually start to make a bit of a point here but by this time they had already lost most of their credibility. It would help if the NTSDA would have offered at least one example of research which would have increased the country’s skills and competitive edge in the long run but was dropped due to the Ministry of Science and Technology’s policies. But I doubt that they could.
And I also seriously doubt NTSDA could offer any evidence on a vile accusation they made about government funding being used on other activities besides research. Throwing around baseless accusations is shameful. We should expect better from the NTSDA.  

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