Monday, December 28, 2009

Playing Politics or Against Democracy?

Back in 2006, the then opposition Democrat Party chose not to participate in an election - despite being condemned by many as being against the spirit of democracy, that boycott decision turned out to be good political strategy for the Democrats.

Now, the current opposition Pheu Thai Party has chosen not to participate in the Charter amendment process.
That may also prove to be good strategy for them, but IMO it is at least as much against the spirit of democracy as the Democrat boycott decision was.

If Pheu Thai Party really was interested in improving the political (& economic, social) situation in the country, then they should be a participant in the amendment process.

Instead of being obstructionist in a bloody-minded, 'win at all costs' way, I believe a responsible Opposition should argue each amendment proposal on its merits and of course they should put up their own proposals for specific amendments (instead of simply insisting on a return to the 1997 consitution).

They would be doing a good thing for the country if, instead of looking only at the prize, they worked towards getting the framework right, so the long lasting stalemate has some chance of ending.
If, in discussing and debating each amendment proposal, they find the process is flawed or being obstructed in any way, then they should publicise their decicions & the reasons for them, keep the populace informed so they can make reasoned judgements & decisions, instead of resorting to the usual appeals to base insticts (fear, envy etc).

I can understand how the PTP 'non participation' strategy might seem attractive as the quickest way to power because the plan seems to be aimed at destabilising the coalition government so that it collapses as soon as possible in the new year especially as some of the coalition members are desperate for charter changes, and the Thaksin assets case decision is nearing.
However, unlike the Democrats electoral chances in 2006, Pheu Thai Party does now have a real chance to make a lasting improvement to the political framework.

Unfortunately, all the signs are still there that no major players in the Thai political scene are able to rise above their own self interest (and that of their backers:), and it looks like the next year will be more of the same old T.I.T. bullshit.
(is it time for another coup yet? - seems thats the only easy way to change constitutions in Thailand:)

I wish my vast readership a Happy New Year.
(hopefully its not more exciting than what we can handle:)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Thaksin has tweeted four preconditions for peace talks:

1. restoration of the 1997 constitution

2. a general election and promise all parties would recognise the outcome

3. a fair trial on all the cases against him, both those already judged and those pending

4. the return of his legally acquired assets currently frozen by the government

Reasonable demands IMO, but they also look like a Pipe Dream in today's


pipe dream - a fantastic but vain hope (from fantasies induced by the opium pipe); "I have this pipe dream about being emperor of the universe"


Monday, November 23, 2009

Loose Lips, Spin, Double Standards & Aliens

Looks like things are heating up with protests & rallies being planned by both the 'reds' and 'yellows' over the next few weeks.
UPDATE: Reds have postponed their Nov 28 to Dec 3 protest rally, Abhisit is not going to Chiang Mai this week.............. the stalemate continues.

PM Abhisit is heading to Chiang Mai next week, and after the clear anti-red spin that was evident in the mainstream media from Korn's trip to Chiang Mai in July, I'm keeping an open mind about the Chiang Mai community radio host who allegedly mentioned on air that Abhisit could be assassinated if he comes to Thailand (although it was clearly a dumb thing to do)

What does concern me is that it seems the groundwork is being laid for some sort of violent confrontation over coming weeks.
Apart from the loose lips of radio host and a leader of the Chiang Mai Loving 51 Group, Phetchawat Wattanpongsirikul, we also have the following warning signs:
- Deputy PM Suthep Thaugsuban in charge of security affairs, warning that non thai's ('aliens') have no rights to protest, and the government again proposing the imposition of the Internal Secutity Act against the UDD/reds
- PAD leaders referring to non humans and the need for 'traitors' to be 'finished off'
- the intransigence, vitriol & hatred being exhibited on the various political forums, blogs & newspapers also seem to be ramping up to a new level.

It is becoming increasingly important that independent observers/witnesses are at all the upcoming protests & rallies, so that unscrupulous players and irresponsible media cannot spin things to suit their own needs while seeking the ultimate end game quick victory.

Something Against You - The Pixies live

Friday, November 13, 2009

On Thainess & uniqueness

The following appeared as a comment by N G to the Timesonline 'Siamese Spat' editorial:

"Certain circumstances are hard to believe seeing what has been going on from outside. Open discussion about anything seems acceptable in western cultures. But it may be the unfamiliar practice where act of restraint is advised to lessen the heat of certain situations. Different level of comprehension of the situation results in heated debate over the issue.

Sure, there are people who exploit and manipulate the law which exists to keep things in order but do think about different settings of the society. Every measures have pros and cons and are not applicable anywhere. There is uniqueness in every single one of us.

When overwhelmed means of exchanging ideas are prevalent, certain standard of practice over time may need to be changed. But let's not expect the change to take place basing on value and belief of those who find it difficult to understand seem-to-be unreasonable practice, who are brought up in a total different world.

Whether or not a country is up to ridicule or not, a need for discussion about the system may be required or not, lies in the eye of the beholder who obviously tends to have different appreciation level.

Human beings know very little about the world and the universe. Some people dare to claim that he knows it all, he is better, or he is even more civilised. Take a deep breath and see to it if one could learn to appreciate the differences and see from a different perspective with a different ground approaching the issue. The beauty is not what we see as stereotype but what we see with a fair mind without being judgmental."

But isn't that the crux of the Thai political problems?

- A group of people ('elites':), who think they know it all, are stifling (crushing) anyone who sees things differently than them.
There is nothing fair minded and non judgmental about the way the LM laws, the Computer Crimes Act or the Internal Security Act are imposed.

Silence = Acquiescence ???

Gouge Away - The Pixies Live

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The man speaks

The Thaksin interview with Timesonline is a hot topic at present, and so controversial that looks like its being blocked in Thailand (what a surprise:)
UPDATE: Thaksin seems to be backtracking on some of the stuff apparently said/not said about the monarchy - IMO its a disgrace whats happening in Thailand regarding discussing the monarchy - people cannot speak their minds openly and it's turned into a sickening contest of who can show the most fawning loyalty to the great one.

These are the bits I found most amusing:

What would you say to the King?

I would say, ‘Your Majesty, it's time for Your Majesty to be kind to the Thai citizens, by giving them peace. Let them stay together peacefully through the blanket amnesty and pardons. So let everyone go back to their normal life and draft the new constitution.’

They [the enemies of Mr Thaksin] tried to kill me. They had a meeting in the house of Mr Pi [Malakul], who is close to Her Majesty… General Surayud [Chulanont, former Thai army commander, and prime minister after Thaksin was ousted by the military coup] asked General Panlop [Pinmanee] to assassinate me.

Hobby: Wow - A Privy Councillor ordering an assassination !
(that should be the most contoversial aspect of the whole interview as it's a very serious accusation)

Some people in Thailand seem to have worse fears than just economic and diplomatic stagnation. You hear people talking about some kind of economic collapse, civil war. Is that possible?

Thailand is near to being a 'failed state'. Because every institution almost cannot function because you don't allow the rules of the game to take their course. You don't allow the rule of law to prevail and you are biased against others. You don't shine before the whole world. You just want to control power regardless. That's why I'm saying Thailand has almost become a failed state, because no one trusts each other. There's no institution that's being trusted like before.

Hobby: Oh how the worm turns:)

What about the sale of Shin Corp [Mr Thaksin’s family telecommunications company which was sold to the Singaporean government for 77.3 billion bath (£1.14 billion) without paying tax, a cause of intense criticism of Mr Thaksin when he was prime minister]. You didn't pay tax. Putting aside the legal rights and wrongs, was that a misjudgement, politically?

Even if you want to pay tax the revenue department cannot accept your tax. Capital gains tax in Thailand is not tax payable. It's exempted by law. Some countries tax capital gains, but the Thai law has been there for many years as an incentive for a company to register itself in the stock market to exempt the capital gains tax.

Hobby: What about using nominees, maids, and tax havens - did the revenue department force you to do that?

So you don't have any regrets or misgivings about the way you handled that?

Well, you know, I’m in a difficult position to say anything as prime minister because it's a family affair, it's not my personal affair. I'm in a very awkward position as a prime minister to say anything.

Hobby: What a cop out!

But speaking now as a private citizen, it was a mistake, wasn't it?

No, because it's jealousy. I am one of the very few who have so much cash. It's the jealousy of the elite. I'm a representative of the rural people who grew up and had that much cash. [My] family wanted me to be free and clear from being criticised for conflict of interest. So they thought they'd better sell [the company].

Hobby: Very hard for me to trust people who cannot admit ever making a mistake.
(btw, Jealousy of the elite, or by the elite? - both IMO:)

And now for the important bit, here's the song:)

Debaser - by The Pixies (best band ever:)


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Still Waiting

The holding pattern continues and nothing much to blog about as its all been done before - I'm so bored with the political maneuverings and am just waiting for the next 'big' event that provides some spark to the situation.

Thaksin, Abhisit, Sondhi etc etc- boring!
Now we have blasts from the past Chavalit and Chuan to add to the mix - here's a good overview by Thitinan.

Great blog and comments in this thread over at Absolutely Bangkok
I wish I had the intelligence & motivation to create such blog posts - thanks to Bangkok Dan, and all the other contributors, especially Jaded, who has taken the effort to put in writing a great outline of things, and it explains why I still keep reaching the same old conclusion - situation hopeless!
(but us farang are lucky - we can leave anytime we like - it's the Thai's who are victims of the mess, but have no hope of change, or escape, they are the ones that I really feel for)

About the 3G debacle: Personally I could not care less about accessing the internet via my phone and all the other tricks offered which IMO are a trap for the gullible - I have a 3G phone, but its still just a phone to me:) , however if it improves internet speeds in Thailand then I say 'bring it on'.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Has Dr. John got it right? (Situation hopeless?)


Dr. John and the Night Tripper crew performs Zu Zu Mamou (Warning: possible Voodoo content)

Letter to the Bangkok Post
(PAD even gets some praise in another letter:)

"The sad state of affairs starts young here
The past weeks have seen numerous navel-gazing articles littering the English-language press about the state of Thai society, what bodes for the future, all lamenting on the parlous state the country finds itself in and postulating solutions.
Sadly, the raw fact is that there are no magic solutions. The country is inherently dysfunctional and will remain so. The reasons for this are complex and manifold, but I will address what I see as the main protagonists.

It starts young; I watch the predominantly male children of friends and colleagues being essentially indulged and spoilt. There is very little corrective parenting that involves ''no don't do that, no you can't have that''. Indeed, one English father has become so exasperated by his Thai wife's constant doting on their youngest to the exclusion of all discipline, that he has detached himself from the close rearing process entirely.
This kind of over-indulgent behaviour by parents produces spoilt children who become petulant at a moment's notice. They become equally unpleasant adults that feel the world owes them and revolves around them.
I will not loiter on the educational system as it has generated reams of column inches over the past months; sufficient to say that it continues to fall substantially short of being in any way fit for purpose and offers no assistance here.

Then there is the general demeanour of Thai society and the requirement for non-questioning, non-confrontational deference if you are not the high status one. This suffocating environment not only prevents any form of growth in social society, but is the most fertile of environments for corruption in any of its forms, as those who are endlessly fawned upon grow to become arrogant and indulgent.

Then in the higher structures of society, due process is routinely interfered with so that a ''workable'' outcome can be achieved; no doubt it being paraded as the middle way. Sadly, if the middle way falls out with the law or at least natural justice, then the seeds of division are sown and those at lower levels see that as a green light to make their own ''middle'' way and thus we have the society we have today.

So, short of brainwashing the entire country and starting again, there is nothing that can be done as there is no part of the national structure that is _ save for one very striking exception _ respected. That, sadly, is the sum of it.


I'm not completely sure about the child spoiling comments, as Thai kids (including males) don't seem any worse behaved than their western counterparts - if true, I'm thinking the deference to higher authority 'rule' must counteract the child spoiling???

I hope Dr John is wrong about the rest, particularly the hopelessness of the situation.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Coup Anniversary - The cost so high the gain so low


Rise (Public Image Limited)
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be black I could be white
I could be black I could be white
I could be white I could be black
Your time has come your second skin
The cost so high the gain so low
Walk through the valley
The written word is a lie

May the road rise with you
May the road rise with you
May the road rise with you

I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be black I could be white
I could be right I could be wrong
I could be black I could be white

They put a hot wire to my head
Cos of the things I did and said
And made these feelings go away
Model citizen in every way

Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy

I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be black I could be white
I could be right I could be wrong
I could be black I could be white

Your time has come your second skin
Cost so high the gain so low
Walk through the valley
The written word is a lie

I could be wrong I could be right
Could be wrong -
They put a hot wire to my head
Cos of the things I did and said
A model citizen in every way
Your time has come your second skin
Cost so high the gain so low

Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy

I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be wrong I could be right
I could be black I could be white
I could be right I could be wrong
I could be black I could be white

Your time has come your second skin
Cost so high the gain so low
Walk through the valley
The written word is a lie

I could be wrong I could be right
Could be wrong -
The put a hot wire to my head
Cos of the things I did and said
A model citizen in every way
Your time has come your second skin
Cost so high the gain so low

Anger is an energy
Anger is an energy


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Please sir, can I fart?

Lets all play follow the leader.
(I'm still holding my nose:)

If The Nation's report is to be believed, it's still all about Thaksin:
"Meanwhile, another leading red shirt said yesterday that fugitive PM Thaksin Shinawatra had cut back roles for "the trio" who have played a leading parts in violent protests by his supporters. The trio refers to Jatuporn Prompan, Nattawut Saikua and Veera Musigapong.
Thaksin decided to push for 30 new leaders to usher in a new peaceful struggle through leader-training schools to be established as a network nationwide. He wanted to produce leaders to help the red shirts achieve their goals through systematic political campaigns, according to Nisit Sinthuprai, former executive of the now-defunct People Power Party who is a director of the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship School.
Nisit said he and other supporters of Thaksin such as Dr Weng Tochirakarn, Jaran Ditta-apicha, Wisa Kanthap, Shinawatra Habunpad wrote the curriculum for the school.
He said he had consulted Thaksin on plans for the DAAD to have a group of about 20-30 people as a panel to map out strategy, evaluate situations and make decisions on their movement. This leading role should not rest with just Jatuporn, Nattawut and Veera, as it had previously"

I'm wondering if Jakrapob and Giles will be consulted regarding curriculum content?

Last week Giles said this:
"The Thai elite want us to be half-wits. They want us to do as we are told and be loyal to Nation, Religion and King. When the Leader farts, we all have to fart. If he wears a pink shirt, we must all wear one too. We must all believe that he invented everything that is of value in the country. The elite want us to crawl on the ground in front of them as though we are not human. We must smile like idiots and chant in unison that we “love our King and country”. The problem in Thai society has always been that the rulers are corrupt, brutal and barbaric, while the people are generally good. Yet ‘They’ claim the right to lecture us on being good citizens"

I also wonder whether 'How to suppress dissent via lawsuits' will be in the curriculum at the Thaksin school of democracy?

Fortunately, Thailand is well catered for in the leadership area, as we also have another leadership school which has churned out thousands of leaders over the years.
'Chamlong has been a major teacher at the leadership school, which has trained some 56,000 people over the past 22 years'
I'm pleased all that the leadership training has benefited the dogs and cats too, as their reported circmustances from 10 years previously seemed to be very dire.

People have the power:
"I was dreaming in my dreaming of an aspect bright and fair
And my sleeping it was broken
but my dream it lingered near
In the form of shining valleys
where the pure air recognized
And my senses newly opened
I awakened to cry -
That the people have the power to redeem the works of fools
Upon the meek the graces shower
it's decreed
the people rule.
The people have the power
the people have the power
The people have the power
the people have the power.
Vengeful aspects became suspect and bending low as if to hear
And the armies ceased advancing because the people had their ear.
And the shepherds and the soldiers lay beneath the stars
Exchanging visions and laying arms to waste in the dust
In the form of shining valleys where the pure air recognized
And my senses newly opened
I awakened to the cry -
The people have the power
the people have the power
The people have the power
the people have the power.
The power to dream
to rule
to wrestle the world from fools
It's decreed
the people rule
it's decreed
the people rule.
Listen: I believe everything we dream can come to pass through our
We can tun the world around
we can turn the earths revolution.
We have the power
the people have the power
The people have the power
the people have the power.
The power to dream
to rule
to wrestle us from fools
It's decreed
the people rule.
We have the power
we have the power
The people have the power
we have the power. "
by Patti Smith

However, there are some people who just dont want to listen, they only hear what they want to hear (those pesky non thai thai people, those un-americans, un-australians etc - they must be the ones creating all the problems in the world:)
"I don't want to try to convince you that I'm right. I want to try to understand you. If we are going to fix our country's problems, we need to have a conversation together"
See the end of this article for the response she got.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Reform or Revolution?

"There is no guarantee of success for the revolutionary road in Thailand. It will be a long hard struggle. But I believe that there is no longer any room for reform in order to achieve democracy. The behaviour of the elites since the 2006 coup has proved this".
Giles Ji Ungpakorn

I have come to the same conclusion as Giles - it should not be that revolution is the only way, but unfortunately the elites have set the ground rules by their stubborn resistance to change.

I did not like many aspects of Thaksin's rule, and whilst firmly in the 'song mai ow' camp, I now regret accepting the 2006 coup as a chance to 'reset' democracy - it's embarrassing how foolish that viewpoint now looks.

If a country has to be ruled by a tyrant (or tyranny), then at least let it be by the tyrant the country votes for!

For decades, the elites have had all the knowledge, all the power, all the education, and they have used propaganda, censorship, draconian jail sentences etc to try to cower the people - yet with all their advantages & 'brilliance', the country is still a political mess with no sign of any improvement.

I'm with Giles:- if its a choice between trusting the old power, or the (new awakening) masses, then I say give the masses a try.
The old mob have had plenty of opportunity to change, plenty of hints & warnings, yet they still refuse to reform and insist they know what's best, and that everyone else is either 'ngoh' or doesn't understand 'thainess'.

Giles has some further views, however at this stage of my knowledge, I cannot make up my mind about them:
- its obvious the army needs to be cut down to size, but how it can be done?
- it must be very difficult for Giles to call for the monarchy to be abolished (and not merely reform), but I can understand his thinking:- it seems there is no way the army can be reformed until it only answers to the people (elected government), instead of some 'higher' authority.
At a minimum, IMO, the Privy Council should be abolished, and an LM charge should only be able to be instigated by the palace, and the accused should never be forced to endure closed trials.
- in my heart I agree with the Socialist principles Giles champions, but in practice I cannot see how it works, anywhere in the world - the local socialists in my area place great faith in Chavez's 'Bolivarian Revolution', however I am not comfortable with the way they brush aside the many criticisms of whats going on in Venezuela - in my view Giles would be better served turning towards his father's 'social democrat' outlook.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The problem (not only in Thailand)

Very few of us listen directly to what is being said, we always translate or interpret it according to a particular point of view, whether Hindu, Muslim or communist."
(Hobby: or whatever may be our own particular ideology, conditioning, or vested interest)

"We have formulations, opinions, judgements, beliefs through which we listen, so we are actually never listening at all; we are only listening in terms of our own particular prejudices, conclusions, or experiences.

We are always interpreting what we hear, and obviously that does not bring about understanding.

What brings about understanding, surely, is to listen without any anchorage, without any definite conclusion, so that you and I can think out the problem together, whatever the problem may be."

J Krishnamurti - Bombay Feb161955


Friday, August 28, 2009

Backwards, Perverted, Retrograde, Thailand

Da Torpedo sentenced to 18 years in jail for lese majeste

Photo courtesy of The Nation

Say what? 18 years in jail!

How many years jail did the coup leaders get?

or the leaders of the invasion that closed the Airport?

If you tremble indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of mine.”
Ernesto (Che) Guevara


Understandably there has been widespread outrage at the obvious injustice, but there are some who apparently are impressed with secret trials and Thai style justice:

Here's a selection:

Wisarut says "Now, Ee Dah Torpido got 18-year imprison for LM Charge - after the Judge from Criminal Court has delivered the Verdict. Well, she has to pay heavy price for insulting His Majesty in public like this"

"IMHO, this 18--year in prison cell is still too light for such kind of action ... she deserves somethong WROSE than death sentence"

Taro Mongkoltip says "Royal disgrace? What did the royal family do to her?… Nothing at all. She’s the one who accused the King and his royal family of some craps. Well.. in my opinion she deserved the sentence. No parole or pardon.."

Anyway, I can at least take solace in the fact that the monarch is benevolent and compassionate, and has powers to grant pardons, and therefore she and Suwicha Thakhor will not be in jail any longer than he thinks they deserve.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Is it just me or is Abhisit starting to look like Thaksin.

This photo was on the Bangkok Post web site front page on Friday 21 August 2009, as the link for this article, and it looks to me as if Abhisit has morphed into Thaksin.

Maybe my eyes are gone - need glasses?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Jumping to conclusions?

From Political Prisoners in Thailand
"So despite the failure to convict these military men on the assassination attempt, that the conviction on illegal possession of explosives and firearms shows that there was a plot to kill Thaksin. The masterminds were not and probably will not ever be found, but the coup that followed suggests that the military and palace, who planned and ran the coup, probably saw the coup as Plan B after the assassination plots failed."

It seems the Political Prisoners in Thailand team are in no doubt as to what the outcome of the Thaksin Pardon petition will be.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Judicial madness?


Police deployed at Supreme Court

Published: 17/08/2009 at 12:42 PM

"About 1,000 police have been deployed outside and inside the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions ahead of the reading of the verdict in the rubber sapling case scheduled for 2pm.

About 700 police have been positioned outside and 300 inside the court. People who are not concerned with the case will not be allowed inside. Closed-circuit television sets have been installed outside the courtroom for the mass media to cover the news. Journalists are not allowed to take pictures inside the courtroom.

The nine judges were holding a secret meeting in the morning to consider charges against each of the 44 defendants before making their own verdicts. The reading of the verdict is scheduled for 2pm. As of noon, supporters of Newin Chidchob, one of the defendants, have not yet shown up at the court.

The court's verdict would be postponed for 30 days if only one of the 44 defendants failed to appear before the court."

Say what????? Lets not turn up to court ever, does that mean there will never be a verdict???
or is the report saying something different? Update: Ok, I understand now - see here
(only an hour to go till the verdict - will find out soon)
UPDATE: One defendant failed to turn up - verdict postponed to 21st September - how predictable was that !!!!

What I want to know is how come Thaksin is the only guy who seems to get convictions against him that stick, and how come he got 2 years jail time for that particular offence, when coup leaders get nothing, and also how come TRT gets disbanded for the offence of individuals, yet when The Democrats have a few individuals do shady things, it's all Ok? (Thanks to Bangkok Pundit - an invaluable resource for anyone interested in Thai politics)

(although, of course, there was a time when the courts seemed to be very lenient on Thaksin & clan - those times are sure gone:)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Predictable or what!

Thaksin petition will be thrown out: PM

See yesterday's post linking to the Red News editorial predictions - no need for inside information, the old mob are just so predictable.

They could have saved a lot of money and angst if the had simply ignored the petition like I suggested weeks ago.

All their dumb moves have achieved is a ramping up the tension, stoking the fire, and increasing the chances of blowback - was it planned that way, or was it just the inevitable, like some sort of unstoppble momentum where each party cannot help but be sucked into the abyss???


And from the poor victim himself: Thaksin calls on Govt not to block his partition

Thanks to THE NATION - keeps me blogging, but who knows if any of it is true???


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Red News spot on

Thanks to for reproducing this gem from the Northern Post Red news:
English editorial in the 8th August edition:
"The next major pro-democracy event is the 'petition' -- this action -- can be expected to be diminished by anti-democratic elements according to the Red Shirts.
They foresee that what will appear to be wise and formal processes, will seek to pre-emptively discredit the petition. This will create a face-saving cover for those who seek to criticize this populist initiative, according to the pro-democracy Red Shirts. They claim that several handpicked, sympathetic professors at Chulalongkorn University, along with some like minded politicians will discredit the petition. They will issue a 'solemn declaration' dismissing the petition along with the wishes of over a million signatories. You will read this column after the event. It is to be seen if this scenario comes to fruition."

Well we have already seen the political/military attempts to discredit the petition, including creating their own anti-petition petition, then just as the Thaksin petition is due to be submitted (on Monday 17th August), right on cue on Friday 14th August we get this: 5,000 Chula academics against Thaksin petition and 29 permanent-secretary-level officials agianst Thaksin petition

Did the 'pro-democracy' Reds have inside information, or are the 'anti-democracy' elements just very predictible?

PS. I also wonder does the farang writer of the Red News editorial also write for Socialist Worker or Green Left Weekly, as the writing style somehow seems familiar:)

I'm as uncomfortable about Thaksin as I am about Chavez - to me, they both have a shiny and a 'not so shiny' side.

Guess Who? Which colored shirt leader said this?

"The Democrat Party, the country's oldest political party, gave rise to the dominance of amart, nobles or bureaucrats, and its founders created the party only to protect their interests, he said.

Throughout its 63-year history, the Democrat Party had failed to build a wider base of supporters beyond those who shared the party's founding principles, he said".

The answer is here.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Murdoch puts Fonzi out of his misery :)

In an attempt to keep having something to write about, I have decided to try doing a weekly post of things I found interesting over the past week.

I only thought up the idea this morning, so this weeks post will be very light on.

Murdoch plans to charge for all news websites:
I have not paid for a newspaper for years, so this could present a big change to my life - I expect the change will be that I won't read newspapers, and not that I will start paying for news:)

We intend to charge for all our news websites … If we’re successful, we’ll be followed by all media.
What will Fonzi do if The Nation and Bangkok Post follow suit - surely he will not pay them?
Although, perhaps it will not apply to The Nation and Bangkok Post because as Murdoch also said:
"Quality journalism is not cheap" (that excludes many newspapers, including many Murdoch papers:)

What's happening with the Thaksin asset seizure case?
The Supreme Court hearings started on 16th July, but since then there have been no reports (in the English media).
It's obviously going to take a long time, but I'm surprised there have been no more reports.
Are they 'closed' hearings? The attached report does not seem to indicate they are closed as they referred to the initial witness testimony's.
Does anyone know what's going on?

Police reshuffles, Sondhi assisination case etc:
Its hard to keep up with the annual police & military reshuffles, which as usual seem to be much more about politics & favours, than rewards under any sort of meritocracy.
Other bloggers have been doing a good job on the matter, but one thing that really struck me was the incestuous nature of things at the top levels of Thai society and institutions.

These are just off the top of my head, and I really do hope someone already has a database of the full extent of these relationships (or are inspired to compile one - Do you still have spare time, Mr Wrigley?):
- Police General Patcharawat Wongsuwan (now on holiday?) happens to be the brother of General Prawit Wongsuwan, the Defence Minister.
- Deputy PM Korbsak Sabhavasu and his brother Prapote, who happens to be deputy director of the Sufficiency Economy Office for Community Development

Not forgetting of course the Thaksin Shinawatra & Potjaman Damapong clan:
- ex PM Somchai Wongsawat (married to one of Thaksin's sisters)
- ex Army Chief, Chaisit Shinawatra (Thaksin's cousin)
- Pol Gen Priewphan Damapong, a deputy national police chief (brother of Potjaman)

I'm sure I am only just touching the tip of the iceberg here, and this does not even include the various provincial 'strongmen' nor another often alluded to 'network', so I really would like to see some aspiring (brave) Phd student write up a complete summary as I think it would make very interesting reading (perhaps it has already been done?)

Religion and Politics:
Interesting articles and comments here and here over at New Mandala.
My only comments are
- I think the Santi Asoke people really are in seige mentality, they think they are doing the right thing, but IMO they, and those of the red shirts who are dyed in the wool Thaksin supporters, are actually made from the same mould.
- Regarding the southern situation, due to the way some of the killings have been carried out, I am still wary that the religious aspect not be completely downplayed as merely Islam being employed as a 'resource that the militant movement mobilizes for political ends'.
- Regarding the ongoing "Red' v "Yellow' situation, despite reports of Abhisit's government being about reconciliation and harmonization and putting out political fires, I still think its a powderkeg, as robbing masses of their votes, repressing dissent, having closed secret trials, and handing out draconian jail sentences, will inevitably have consequences, no matter how much education the people receive from the military about democracy.
Overall I think the hero worshipping of Thaksin by some (many?) red shirts is misguided, but I still have sympathy for the reasons why they continue to choose to vote for him and his proxies.

In the meantime, I'm just gonna cross my fingers and hope sanity and humility somehow will gain credence and popularity, in Thailand, and in the world:)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Petition madness

The Nation reports that the establishment feels the Thaksin pardon petition is "miring the monarchy in a political game"

ROFLMAO 5555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555555

Fonzi at Thailand Jumped the Shark has an excellent analysis of how the Democrats are hypocrits in this matter.

The whole situation is surreal to me:

- I have not seen the petition, but understand that a pardon is requested, yet that seems legally impossible because Thaksin has not served any time and fled the country to avoid jail.

- The Government is now going gangbusters employing television, military, police & government resources to criticize the petition, and they have the gall to accuse the reds of being divisive!

Here's my simple advice to the government: - Just ignore the petition, and let the palace representatives explain the legalities of why it cannot be acted upon.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Dr T.

Some pictures of Chiang Mai supporters celebrating Thaksin's 60'th birthday on Sunday night.
First few pictures are a couple of hours before Thaksin's phone-in, when speeches were being made by local radio DJ's.

Looks like they were going for some sort of record for the most number of cakes - there were lots - I didn't stick around to see who got to eat them.

There were also a large number of birthday messages being written on a large sheet - by the looks of the size of the sheet being rolled up, they might have set some sort of record for longest birthday card too:)

The crowd was much thicker when the man of the moment made his phone-in. My translator was AWOL, so I did not get all of what he was talking about, but I understand he made some announcements of projects, and at times he seemed quite emotional. The crowd listened intently and there were fireworks after the speech ended and they had sung Happy Birthday to Thaksin.

I spoke with a few in the crowd and these people are definitely not paid to attend such events, nor do they need to be paid to vote for a Thaksin party as they genuinely believe Thaksin has good policies.
They grumbled about the economy, which makes me think that perhaps Thaksin and his nominee party are somewhat fortunate they are not in power during the worst of this worldwide economic downturn as they don't have to cop the flak, and can look like saviours when they are inevitably elected.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Spin??? You decide

Veera Prateepchaikul in a Bangkok Post opinion piece:
"Niyom was released on bail the next day, but the red shirt mob remained unperturbed and went on with their protest against Finance Minister Korn at Chiangmai University, apparently urged on by hate statements from their community radio. Violent confrontation ensued as the red shirt thugs tried unsuccessfully to break through a police cordon to get into the campus. During the clash, huge firecrackers were allegedly lobbed at the police by the protesters. But as always with all the violent incidents perpetrated by Chiang Mai's red shirt mob, not a single red shirt was arrested at the scene. Police said they were collecting evidence to seek the arrest of the troublemakers. But will that ever happen? I doubt it".

I now cannot believe anything I read in in the Bangkok Post, and its depressing to think that The Nation is generally considered worse than the Post!
(btw, I am not claiming that there are no violent elements withing the Rak Chiang Mai 51 group, but the Friday lunchtime protest continues to be misreported, and I am confident the vast majority of the people at the Rak Chiang Mai 51 events are just peaceful protesters, disenchanted and disillusioned at how their votes have been taken away from them.

Bangkok Post report
Ch. Mai red-shirts march against Korn
Published: 17/07/2009 at 02:19 PM
At least 200 red-shirts marched to Chiang Mai University on Friday afternoon to protest against Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij, who was briefing local officials and businessmen on the government's economic stimulus projects, police said.
Mr Korn called a meeting of representatives from the private sector and leaders of local communities in Chiang Mai for a briefing on the 18.6 billion baht budget allocated under the government’s Thai Khem Khaeng (Strong Thailand) scheme for the development of the northern city.
The minister said the budget, the second largest after Bangkok, was for the development of education, transport, tourism and irrigation systems in the province.
The march began about 1pm from the protesters' base at Grand Waroros Palace hotel in Chiang Mai. About 1,000 police were deployed to maintain order and to prevent the demonstrators from storming into the university.
(Hobby: They never even looked like attempting to storm the Uni)
Police using loud hailers asked the red-shirts to comply with the rule of law and return home, but they did not. The red-shirts tried to force their way through the police lines to go the meeting hall, but they failed.
(Hobby: IMO, that's a lie)
After being pressured by police for more than half an hour, the red-shirted supporters of Kon Rak Chiang Mai (People Who Love Chiang Mai) 51 group dispersed and the regrouped at the Grand Waroros Palace hotel.
One police officer was injured by giant firecrackers thrown at police by the red-shirts during the confrontation. He was rushed to a hospital.

The Nation report
Some 200 red-shirt protesters blocked from reaching Korn in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai - Some 200 red-shirt protesters were stopped by police from reaching the auditorium of Chiang Mai University where Finance Minister Korn Chatikavenij was holding a meeting Friday afternoon.Some 1,000 policemen blocked the roads that lead to the auditorium, preventing the red-shirt protesters from storming inside. (Hobby: There was no attempt to storm the building, nor did it ever look like that was intended)

Korn was holding a meeting of officials from banks owned by the Finance Ministry at the university's auditorium.

Eyewitness report
The red shirted protesters, numbering approximately 200, left the gathering point near the Grand Waroros Palace hotel in a well organized convoy and made their way peacefully to the Chiang Mai University site. They caused little disruption to traffic, and were watched by the lunchtime crowd, many of whom offered encouragement to the protesters.

Upon arriving at the Chiang Mai University site where they believed Korn was in attendance, they were met by a large formation of police in riot gear and carrying shields & batons.
The protesters formed into a group about 30 metres away from the line of police, who appeared to greatly outnumber the protesters by about five police for every protester.

For the next half hour or so the protesers gathered peacefully, holding signs up, chanting slogans, led by a speaker with microphone & loud speakers on top of a platformed vehicle.
Whilst the police had blocked off Nimmanhaemin Road themselves with barricades and their riot formation, the traffic on busy Suthep Road was still just flowing (slowly), and most motorists seemed to take the protest in good humour, with many still offering encouragement to the protesters.

Suddenly the police formation crossed the 30 metres of road intersection space, and advanced on the protesters in close riot formation and confronted the protesters. After a stand off lasting less than a minute, the police maintained their formation, and used their shields to force the protesters back to the sidewalk, or down Suthep Road.

There were a few shouts of anger at the sudden move by the police, and some plastic water bottles & firecrackers were thrown into the police formation.
After the police had forced the protesters off the road, they kept them barricaded on the sidewalk, until some light rain fell and most of the protesters dispersed, apparently heading back to the Grand Waroros Palace hotel meeting point.

NOTE: Today's protest came after more serious clashes last night at the Chiang Mai Airport for Korn's arrival, and at Phuphing Police Station after one of the red shirt leaders was detained for having an unlicenced pisol in his car at the airport.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Too 'hot' for Bangkok Post and Prachatai

I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the translation, or whether there even was an such an article in "Deum Ampil", but as it has now disappeared from the Bangkok Post forums, I'm saving it here for posterity, and a bit of a laugh :)

Thailand Suffers Massive Loss of Face at UNESCO Meeting

by Domrei on Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:32 pm

A high-ranking Cambodian government official source told “Deum Ampil” on 23 June 2009 that the UNESCO World Heritage committee has decided to reject the request made by Thailand’s prime minister who attempted to obtain a joint listing of Preah Vihear temple between Cambodia and Thailand.
This rejection by UNESCO brings a loss of face to the Thai government, and especially Thailand’s PM who came to power through a constitutional coup with the help of Thailand’s royaaal palaaace and a group of Thai generals.

This loss of face clearly points to the serious defeat of Thailand’s ministry of Natural Resources and Environment which was tasked by Abhisit Vejjajiva, Thailand’s PM, to take this issue to the 33rd meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage committee in Seville, Spain. Thailand wanted to obtain a review of the listing of Cambodia’s Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site.

The current defeat brings up Thailand’s shameless ambition to the world’s attention, and it also shows Thailand’s attempt to violate Cambodian’s sovereignty and Cambodia’s Preah Vihear temple.

According to report from Bangkok on Tuesday, Thai deputy-PM Suthep Thaugsuban indicated that he will perform an official visit to Cambodia on Saturday to confirm to Hun Sen about Bangkok’s opposition stance to the listing of Preah Vihear temple.Suthep said that “he and Thailand’s defense minister, General Pravit Wongsuwan, will visit Cambodia to meet with Hun Sen to explain to the latter and to clear up a number of misunderstandings about Preah Vihear temple between the two countries.”

Even though Suthep confirmed his trip to Cambodia this Saturday, Kuy Kuong, the spokesman of Cambodia’s ministry of Foreign Affairs, indicated that up to now, his ministry did not receive any diplomatic communiqué from Thailand about this trip yet. He added: “Up to now, we received information indicating the official visit of Thailand’s deputy-PM and its minister of defense to Cambodia, but as of Tuesday, the Cambodian embassy has not received an official communiqué about this trip yet, and neither does the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok.”Suthep added: “Thailand and Cambodia shared the goal of avoiding continued border dispute in Preah Vihear area, and the current dispute is not between Thailand and Cambodia, but rather between Thailand the UNESCO World Heritage committee.”

Suthep added that he hopes to be able to get Bangkok’s point across to Hun Sen.Information about Suthep’s visit to Cambodia under the order of Abhisit was reported following Hun Sen’s sharp reaction to the issue raised by the unlawful leaders of Thailand, including Abhisit, Thailand’s bitter (“Phler Lvea”) PM, and Kasit Piromya, the rude Thai Foreign Affairs minister with a big liver (“Thloeum Thom”), who dare ask UNESCO to review the listing of Preah Vihear temple and a joint listing of this temple.

This issue is raised by dumb-like persons, as if they were ghosts who lead a country with a population of 7 million. This is why Samdach Akok Moha Sena Bat Dey Dek Cho Hun Sen, the intelligent prime minister who is full of wisdom, expressed his strong regret about the issue raised by these retarded people.

Hun Sen told reporters at the ministry of Foreign Affairs: “I believe that these are his words as the PM of a country that disturbs the sovereignty of another country, and I regret his comments and his desire (Thai PM). During his visit to Cambodia, he did not raise this issue with me, but I believe that his goal will not be successful.”

For more of the Cambodian perspective I recommend the Khmerization blog as a good source.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thaksin visits Coup leader

Thaksin has paid a visit to Fiji's coup installed PM, military commander Frank Bainimarama, as reported in The Australian:
Fugitive former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra's secret Fiji talks

"The subject of their discussions, held in Mr Bainimarama's office in Suva on Monday, is unknown, but informed sources in Fiji say Mr Thaksin is considering investing $300million in the country.
In return, he would probably be assured safety there from extradition, if he should choose to use Fiji as one of his bases in exile. Thailand is seeking to return him to Bangkok, where he faces two years in jail for abuse of power

Surely those reports about Thaksin looking to do a deal with the the coup leader are incorrect, and the real purpose for Thaksin's visit must have been to advise Bainimarama about the principles of democracy and how to quickly return power in Fiji to the people.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Violation of privacy, and safety valves

Warangkana Chomchuen has an interesting piece in msnbc contrasting the way the Thai press covers things like David Carradine's death with the way it covers matters regarding the Thai monarchy.

I like that article, she makes some good points and it is refereshing to see it come from a Thai journalist (even though the 2006 Fullbright grantee seems to be based outside Thailand), however I found some of the comments even more interesting, including these gems:

  • "One should probably think a bit before putting themselves into a situation that could bring them unwanted attention, even after death.Who are we as Americans that should enforce OUR laws and customs on the Thai people?"

I wonder how 'K-Dub of Oklahoma' would feel if it was his/her family's privacy being violated in the thai press?

  • "The king of Thailand acts as a safety valve; when politics here reach a point of explosive imbalance he acts to stabilize the situation. If you doubt this, look around SE Asia at the countries who have lacked such safe guards. No Thai, red shirts included, would want to live in *those* countries. They have suffered terrible hardships (ex: Cambodia). That safety valve *must* be outside the influence of political control and be free to operate, therefore attacks on the monarchy can not be tolerated.It is sad to see someone compare the proper functioning of a political system to the questionable actions of an actor".
Interesting (read: non-sensical) argument that stifling discussion (not even dissent), is seen as the 'proper functioning of a political system'.

  • "The negative comments on Thailand are very improper and likely based on little personal experience in the nation. Thailand is a beautiful nation with an amazingly sophisticated and proud culture. The King is a great man who's done many things to help the poor in his nation and to allow democracy to flourish. I've lived in Thailand and found it to be a majestic place with a very bright future. Long live the King of Thailand!"

It's hard for me to believe that 'James of Forth Worth, TX' has ever been to Thailand, let alone ever lived there. Perhaps he is one of those Three Wise Monkeys - did not hear or see any evil, and cannot speak of it?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Next time, hand out condoms, not towels.

From today's The Nation:

EC to file charges against Suthep
Commission will file a charge of electoral fraud against Deputy Prime Minister and Democrat Party secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban for handing out towels carrying his and the party's name.....
A similar charge would also be filed against Democrat politicians Chumpol Kanchana and Praphon Ninwatcharamanee for handing out towels with their and the party's name to people at a Songkran celebration last year, the commissioner said.

Call for cheap access to female condoms
The government was urged Thursday to make more effort to help women get access to female condoms, which were described as an important tool to reduce the risk of HIV/Aids and other sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhoea and syphilis.
"The government should work hard to increase alternative options for women to protect themselves from HIV/Aids infection," said Tissadee Sawangying, the coordinator of a health and opportunity network....
She said female condoms were important for women who had limited capacity to get their husbands or partners to wear condoms during sexual intercourse.

I'm not sure if the actual condoms will be able to carry the party's name, (and I doubt anyone will be reading it anyway:), however I wonder if the EC would object to the packet being emblazoned with something like:
"With compliments from Chamlong, Saeng Thien Haeng Dharma Party"

Its all for a good cause:)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Thai Politicians, Military, Police, Business, Academic & Bureaucratic Elite Manipulators

I hope Karma exists
(in other words, if you don't change your ways, may you all rot in hell!)

Reform or Perish (originally posted 15/4/09)

Its all been said before, back & forth we go about Prem, Thaksin, uneducated masses, corrupt, selfish, manipulative, greedy elites & military, police, politicians, third hands, thainess, aversion to loss of face etc etc etc.

Hopefully I have the self control to make this my final comment on Thai politics:
Update: Please, Please, Please let this be my last word on fucking Thai politics!

Now is the time for Abhisit to decide how he wants to go down in history - it's his choice whether he is seen as another in a long line of elite manipulators, or a true reformer.

Update: I put too much emphasis on Abhisit, who in reality may have little real power - So it's not only Abhisit who has to decide, it's also the Privy Council, Thaksin, the Generals, the Yellow & Red leadership, the old style Local/Regional Lords, and the Monarchy.

Whichever route he chooses, he is unlikely to win a fair election in the short term, but if he chooses reform he at least will eventually be fondly remembered by the majority
(and he is actually young enough that he might one day win an election fair & square, once the masses realize that no one is semi-divine, not HMK nor Thaksin)

Choose wrongly, and blowback is inevitable.

Obviously, there are quite a few others who also could make a difference, but I still think the most important players are still Thaksin, Prem & Abhisit.

Thaksin & Prem have already had ample opportunities to change and have shown no sign of doing so - time is not on Prem's side and his successor is unlikely to have nearly as much clout, so unless they are bloodyminded & stupid enough to go the Burma route, change is inevitable.

Update: Unfortunately, from what I have seen from the leaders on both sides, change for the better looks very remote.

Thaksin is in a lot of hot water now, but I dont think it is too late for him to change - if he started to show some remorse and humility, he could be back sooner than expected - and I don't mean grovelling to Prem, rather he needs to be honest about the good and the bad of his own past actions - if he can do that there is probably no need for the yellow shirts to even exist.

Whether the red shirts need to exist will depend on what Abhisit does, but he has had enough warning from events over this Songkran, that if he chooses wrongly then the next uprising will be much bigger and harder to quell (especially if the reds have dropped the blind allegiance to Thaksin by then)

It's up to the Thais to sort the mechanics of the reform, but obviously the constitution rewrite needs to be an inclusive consultative process, and any remaining contentious items will have to go to a fair referendum, with all sides having an equal opportunity to present their arguments.

Before that reform can even happen, the first obstacle to be tackled is whether to prosecute all leaders on both the yellow and red sides, or to grant amnesties all round - whatever they choose, both sides need to be treated equally, otherwise there will be blowback one way or the other.

I wish them good luck in sorting this political mess out, so they can then move on to resolving the Southern Thailand insurgency.
Make the wrong moves and the south wont be the only place where there is an insurgency.

Thailand needs change, the genie is out of the bottle, and the old ways to put it back in will no longer work - heed the warnings!

Update: In addition to the powerful elite needing to change, there are others who can also contribute to positive change:

1. Academics, bloggers & political activists on both sides of the fence could try to be less partisan, stop playing for a team and wanting your team to win at all costs, and instead be more honest about the deficiencies of your own team, at the same time as pointing out the deficiencies of the other team.

2. Newer, lower ranking 'moderate' politicians & bureaucrats could reach out to those on the other side, forget old allegiances, and instead work towards improving the rules of the game, instead of relying on hanging off the coattails of a puu yai, warlord or demagogue.

3. The people (rich, middle class & poor masses) all could try to wise up, do the right thing and reject all old ways of doing politics, and reject any politicians who still want to do things that way.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Rethinking Strategy

I've never really been a student of wars, civil wars, peace outcomes and such, however I was listening to a radio conversation about the Sri Lankan situation where the concepts of just war, premature peace, and lasting peace were considered.

The contention is that peace is more lasting if one side has an overwhelming victory, and civil wars that settle through compromise have a greater chance of re-erupting (30% from memory, compared to 12% for the wars resolved with an overwhelming victory to one side)

That got me thinking to the Thailand political situation, and made me ponder the following questions:

- Is there a chance that a smoothing of tensions now would be a premature peace?

I suppose it would depend on what form the smoothing (compromise) took - if it was a mere settlement with Thaksin, then it is fairly obvious the conflict would inevitably return as the underlying inequalities would remain.

- Is either side capable of an overwhelming victory?

I think this time the old guard cannot win unless they go the Burma/Nth Korea route, in which case there would be NO real winner

Without Thaksin as their leader, the reds (presumably the masses) have a just cause, and if Thailand wants to remain part of a globalized world, then it is clear they are the only side that is capable of ultimate victory.

- Who is reading this long game correctly?

Abhisit and the Democrats seem to be throwing olive branches on aspects of political reform, but at the same time are imposing more draconian measures on dissent.
To me it looks like they are still trying to win the war using the old methods that have been succesful in previous battles, just refined a little for the current times - IMO, those methods will no longer work unless the country has very large resources that the rest of the world wants, a very large population (closer to billions than tens of millions) or nuclear weapons.

On the other side there are conflicting signals:

Thaksin (whether of his own volition or that of his 'paid advisers' :) lately is distancing himself from the role of leader of the revolution - he seems to be reading the long game, and obviously hopes to regain the spoils from the expected ultimate victory by the masses.

Then there is Jakrapob sniping away talking about revolution including possible new strategies using violence & weapons....he too seems to be reading the long game, and seems set on trying to forge a name for himself - I still am having trouble foretelling how he will go down in history: It could be as a great freedom fighter, a paid lackey of a master manipulator, or even a well intentioned fool - only time will tell!

I think the question of premature peace is an important one in the Thailand political situation, and hope my shallow thoughts here can give the deeper thinkers something to ponder.
Sorry, no deep analysis from me as that's somehing I am not capable of - too intellectually lazy, and am in awe of my fellow bloggers on the Thai situation (the only thing we have in common is that we blog, and the fact that they are capable of analysis shows the real difference between an 'opinionated nobody' and a good blogger or an academic)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Chamlong falls off the wagon

I thought Tavivoot was having problems, but Chamlong must have been on a real binge.
(sorry, but Tavivoot has removed his book as it was deemed too dangerous - trust me, it was a great read!)

Interview with Chamlong in The Nation:

The PAD is to set up a new political party. What will "new politics" be like?

The new political party will not be a copycat of the now-defunct Palang Dharma Party (PDP) that I founded 21 years ago, but will be established on principles based on lessons learnt by the PDP. A grand PAD meeting on May 24 and 25 will discuss the new party's set-up.

The new party, which has not been named, should command a majority of MP seats after the next general election, and will be a coalition member in the next government.

Hobby: Does he know something we don't?

Palang Dharma actually practised the so-called "new politics" which has been heralded by the PAD, even back before 1988, when the party was established. In 1990, an American professor who did his doctoral thesis at London University, later wrote a book entitled: "Chamlong Srimuang and the New Politics". I guess it was then that the new politics was first recognised.

Hobby: I wonder what Duncan McCargo thinks of that statement?

The new party will be successful because of three factors that Palang Dharma did not have at that time: The Election Commission will watch out for and punish vote-buying, the support of PAD members across the country, and cable channel ASTV.

Hobby: Sure sounds like a winning combination to me.

It is important that the new party lead the coalition in the next government, otherwise it will be no different to all the "old politics", with its vote-buying, mud-slinging and money politics.

Who attempted to assassinate Sondhi Limthongkul, a core PAD leader?

I don't know, but there two motives behind the murder attempt: PAD has tremendous support from the masses across the country and ASTV's success as a mouthpiece for the PAD, which is known as the core of the anti-Thaksin Shinawatra movement.

Why was Sonthi the first target, as a leader of yellow-shirted people, instead of those in red shirts?

The people who gave the order didn't care who they killed, first or later. But the current political turmoil dictated the order of kills. More importanly, there are known leaders of yellow-shirted people, who are even classsified as prime and secondary leaders, while there are no known leaders of red-shirted people. Should Thaksin be killed first? He stays abroad now.

Was there really an effort to lure yellow shirts and red shirts on to the street to fight one another?

Yes, but we did not walk into that trap. Somebody may use the ensuing violence as an excuse to oppress both yellow and red shirts, citing himself as a knight on a white horse. It's the government's duty to deal with lawless protesters, not the PAD's.

As you have confirmed, there was an effort to stage a coup on April 12 and 13, a day before the red-shirted supporters' busiest activities and street protests. Why was it aborted?

A coup was seen as essential to bring peace - and secondly, it may have been used as bargaining power in exchange for a law to pardon [Thaksin], to promulgate a so-called Reconciliation Act, or even to amend the Constitution. Yet, I don't know why it was aborted.

Hobby: Coup by who??? Does the following response provide the answer?

What did the people behind the coup and the assassination attempt want?

They wanted power. They wanted to pardon some wrongdoers so they could escape serving prison terms and asset seizure. Or they wanted more and more power to become bigger in the country.

Does the ideology of some die-hard communists still exist? Was there any effort to revive it along with other tactics [used by the red shirts]?

Some die-hard communists who became Thaksin's allies will still pursue their ideology despite the collapse of Soviet-era communism and the capitalism now adopted by China. But it is very difficult for them to achieve their goal. They came up this time with a clear stance against the monarchy - a policy they never stated clearly during their armed struggle then. And they are complaining about the PAD using their anti-monarchy policy as the main goal in our campaign. It's clear to everyone now that PAD always tells the truth.

Hobby: No comment necessary!

Was Thaksin part of the communists' anti-monarchy movement?

Some of them - but we don't know clearly who is who - may view Thaksin as their ally.
It was the government's duty to uphold and enforce the lese majeste law, as the anti-monarchy doctrine has been spread out and is now widely accepted by people who are highly-respected lecturers, who are admired by their like-minded students.

The anti-monarchy doctrine was a threat to national security and the government must take responsibility for its inaction in dealing with the widespread violation of the lese majeste laws. I can't tell whether the PAD would "take action" to tackle the problem, if the government proved incompetent or was inactive in dealing with the issue.

Hobby: Wonder what action the PAD are planning? I thought they were forming a political party?

What factors would prompt the PAD to launch a new round of rallies? Would the amendment of the Constitution and the pardon law be one of them?

I don't know. We must wait and see.

The PAD staged rallies against two previous governments over plans to amend the Constitution and the pardon law. Why should it be different this time?

We cannot set up such preconditions. We need to analyse the situation because the time and circumstances have changed. The PAD doesn't own the country and cannot tell the government what not to do.

Why do the same conditions not apply like they did during the two previous governments?

We do not know what articles in the Constitution are set to be amended. It's wiser for us not to talk about it in advance.

Will the PAD rally to oust the government if it does nothing to deal with people who want to pursue an anti-monarchy stance?

It's a threat the government has to deal with. It just cannot let these people get away.

How much time should the government be allowed [to act]?

Oh. We don't own the government. We are not that big or powerful. We campaigned against the Samak and Somchai governments because they clearly acted as nominees or puppets of the Thaksin regime.

Hobby: Anyone else see a contradiction with earlier statements?

Even the Abhisit government is practising the old politics at a certain point - by kowtowing to certain groups of powerful people. For example, it has changed its stance on relocation of Thai Airways' operations from Don Mueang to Suvarnabhumi Airport, and it eventually decided to draw back from a ban on alcohol sales during Songkran, under influence from liquor companies.

I don't think the Abhisit government has the actual control, or the Asean Summit in Pattaya would have proceeded and there would have been no attack at the Interior Ministry.

Hobby: I used to like Chamlong, and could symathize with his stance on corruption and moral issues, but this interview shows he is way past it (or should be!)

And no, this interview did not come from Not the Nation

On reflection, there is a positive of sorts, in that PAD at least appear to be prepared to contest elections and let the people decide whether they want their policies or not.
(BUT if their history is anything to go by, it is doubtful they would ever abide by those election results should things not go the way they want - I suppose they will then morph from a political party back into a protest group, or maybe they will go the Irish way and have a political and a military wing?)