Monday, April 27, 2009

Chamlong falls off the wagon

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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

Update:
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?)

Inspiration - Nothing to do with Thai politics

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Update: 'Embedding disabled by request' - to view see here or here
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Little Antony singing Leonard Cohen's "If It Be Your Will"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

On Attachment/Detachment

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Have a listen to Part 2 on this page

Update: If the above link does not work, manually go to this page: http://degreesofemotion.wordpress.com/eckhart-tolle-a-new-earth-cd2/
(listen to Part 2 - actually, IMO, the whole book is very good)

Eckhart Tolle in 'A New Earth':
"How do we let go of attachment to things? Don't even try. It's impossible. Attachment to things drops away by itself when you no longer seek to find yourself in them. In the meantime, just be aware of your attachment to things. Sometimes you may not know you are attached to something, which is to say identified, until you lose it or there is a threat of loss. If you then become upset, anxious, and so on, it means you are attached. If you are aware that you are identified with a thing, the identification is no longer total. 'I am the awareness that is aware that there is attachment'. That's the beginning of the transformation of consciousness."



If only the Thai leaders were truly Buddhist!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Reform or Perish

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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:

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.

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.

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!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Thailand Lucky

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It's time for an upbeat comment, so I'm looking on the bright side, and here's my spin on things:

- The uprising of the downtrodden in Thailand was inevitable

- The Thaksin phenomenon has helped bring it on (again he is the accidental democrat!)

- Thailand is very fortunate to have Abhisit as the PM during these times, because his handling of such an uprising is likely to be much more delicate than how most (if not all) of his predecessors would have handled it

- The military appear to finally be acting in a competent manner
(time will tell just how competent they have been in either avoiding or covering up injuries & fatalities!)

- Slowly, peoples eyes are being opened (on both sides of the conflict) and eventually they will be able to see through the Newin, Prem & Thaksin's of this world

My thoughts are with all in Thailand at this time, and especially those reds genuinely protesting for a better & fairer Thailand, the soldiers genuinely trying to do their job, and those yellows and others who genuinely want less corruption, and more checks and balances.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lawlessness, Censorship, Spin and not much Common sense

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Where I am it's been raining all Easter break, so the Thai political crisis has served a purpose in keeping me from getting bored, but now I'm just sick of it.

The mainstream media is hopeless - it either has no news or just reports government spin.

The reds leaders are doing their own media management, and there seem to be hundreds of bloggers, twitters and youtubers also adding layers of their own spin.

Neither side seems to be able to admit any wrong doing by participants on their own side, and always blame the other side.
(I could insert something about thai culture and aversion to loss of face here, but the very people who need to take note don't want to know about it anyway)

To date I have seen no real sign of reasonableness or compromise from either side, both still going for winner take all after more than 3 years of conflict.

It's very frustrating to this observer (who can sympathize with the genuine grievances of both sides).

Whatever happens now, whoever is the victor in the current battle, all I can hope is that you learn some humility and show some compassion to the loser, because if you don't, then be sure that blowback will happen.




Broker needed?

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday offered himself as a mediator to broker peace talks between the government and the People's Alliance for Democracy.

Abhisit suggested that Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat personally enter into talks with thestarting last night upon his return from Peru. It is deemed necessary that Somchai should try to negotiate a settlement as soon as his plane landed, Abhisit said."I don't want to see bloodshed. More importantly I don't want to see the demise of democracy," he said, alluding to the dire situation relating to the besieged Suvarnabhumi Airport.He said he feared for the worst if Somchai failed to take prompt action by continuing to ignore the demand for his resignation.He said he conveyed his message via Deputy Prime Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul, who was the acting prime minister during Somchai's absent.Although Chaovarat was receptive to the mediation, Somchai has yet to give a formal reply whether to accept or reject the talks, Abhisit said.

The country is suffering from irreparable damage and not in a position to withstand a prolonged shutdown of the airport, he said.

The fight between the government and the PAD is spiralling out of control and society has become a hostage trapped in fractious politics, he said.

The Democrats have condemned violence involving rival crowds and the airport blockade but found it futile to assess blame, he said. The urgency is to restore normalcy in order to limit the damage, he added.

He voiced optimism that it was not too late to start talks. The political turmoil would not end even if a civil war broke out because political differences would not be reconciled by armed clashes, he said.

"Somchai owes it to the country to reason with his opponents," he said.

Should the PM be reluctant to respond to the PAD's demands, he is always free to keep his telephone open for instructions from abroad, he said alluding to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is seen as having decisive influence over the government. Abhisit warned the rival camps to settle their differences in a speedy manner, otherwise the country might risk international intervention. The prolonged disruption of international flights might be the ground for the UN to take action, he said.

from The Nation

Thaksin

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Now that the crackdown appears to have started can we expect Thaksin to arrive as promised to lead the charge?

I think he would be better served calling for a tactical retreat so that the reds can regain (maintain?) the moral high ground - they can always regroup if the current government refuses to acknowledge that political reform is an imperative and cannot be delayed.

Update: As the DTV communications seem to have been cut, I'm not sure how a retreat could be organized in any case, and who knows where the other leaders of the reds are right now.
(actually, for that matter who knows where Abhisit, Suthep, Newin & Co are right now???)


If they choose the other route and abuse their position of power there inevitably will be a backlash.
(this applies to whichever side has power at any point in time)

ASTV - Disgusting!

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Anyone else noticed the difference in demeanor of the ASTV presenters between yesterday (Sunday) and today (Monday)?

Yesterday: The thing they most reminded me of were the election night tv shows - THE ASTV presenters looked just like those representatives of the losing party as they realize they have lost the election.

Today: They are positively gloating, beaming, smiling, almost jumping out of their seats.

DISGUSTING!!!!!

If they think this is all over they are deluding themselves - Thailand and the world has changed and the choice is either more Democracy or become a Burma.
(if they want a Burma, then why dont they just go live there, and leave Thailand for the sane & sensible!)




All media is biased to some extent, but I absolutely abhor completely biased media that refuses to present the other side of the story and instead tries to distort it.

UPDATE: One of the best examples of controlled spin in the blogosphere is Political Prisoners in Thailand where they continually put their slant on political happenings, without even allowing any comments to present a different viewpoint - they would better served sticking to the political prisoners & LM side of things otherwise that will be undermined by their blatant bias in their political agenda.

On the reds side, Jakrapob is also a master of spin and distortion.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A crackdown will just delay the inevitable - DONT DO IT!

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Abhisit: My advice to you from yesterday still stands, however I would add the following:

8. Do not even attempt a crackdown, instead propose a joint interim national reconciliation government made up of Democrats and PT equally, and ask all protesters to go home pending political reform

9. Ask everyone to enjoy Songkran and have a break from all the angst

LIVE UPDATE 1:
(it's going to be a long night!)

Both Bangkok Post & Nation are reporting Abhisit says force will be used.

I can imagine the loss of face that Abhisit is feeling, and can also imagine the urgings he is getting to crack heads.
I'm appealing to Abhisits better instincts and suggest it is time to ignore the Suthep, Prem's & Newins of this world (look where listening to them has got you!)
Abhisit - please accept that this is Thai history in the making, and its your choice whether you will be on the right or wrong side of it.
If ever we need ObaMark it's now!

Maybe its unrealistic, but I'm assuming Abhisit still does have control over his own actions.

BTW, I have no idea whats really going on - I'm watching DTV, NBT and ASTV and guessing the rest.

LIVE UPDATE 2:

The regular political bloggers like Bankkok Pundit, Thai Crisis, TJTS etc seem to have been conspicuously quiet over the last 2 hours - it makes me think they have lost internet, because normally I can rely on them
New: Pundit just posted a comment here (nothings hapened) , so I guess it's just a waiting game. I will stop live blogging and leave it to the experts!

From where I'm sitting DTV is still showing the speeches on the red stage - this is the best link I have.

The most recent twitter updates are here, but I suspect, like me, they are outside Thailand

I still find it hard to imagine a crackdown due to the sheer numbers of reds, and the whole world still watching over the internet.
It is a bit of a worry that things from Thailand seem to be so quiet, and a lot will depend on what's going on at the palace - I'm not going to speculate one way or the other, except to say I'm sure this is the last thing I would want to be seeing if I was the King, especially at his age.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Abhisit: I told you so!

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The Abhisit governments handling of security matters for the ASEAN summit can only be described as a sick joke.

The need to avoid bloodshed is a lame excuse when it comes to blatant lawlessness.

The previous PPP governments were hamstrung in dealing with the PAD because they were scared of any incidents that would derail their ultimate goal of whitewashing Thaksin, and deep down they knew they had not addressed the genuine concerns of the PAD.

Now the Abhisit government has also been hamstrung by a guilty conscience about the way the coalition came about, and the fact that they know they had not properly addressed the genuine concerns of the reds.

Abhisit - mate, if only you read my blog, I could have saved you a lot of trouble!

Here's a reminder of what I advised back in January and February:
"Just like the
PPP led government failed to act in a reasonable and competent manner, this current Democrat led government is doing the same.
Abhisit appears reasonable with his smooth talking, but it's actions that count in the long run.
The handling of the Rohingya issue looks bad from an outsiders perspective, but I could imagine it would have been handled even worse by a Samak or Thaksin PM.
(It should also be remembered that the initial boat people incident happened in December when the new government had just taken over, so it could hardly be Democrat policy that caused the scandal)
There are, however, other things that the Democrat led government has had more control over, and it is the handling of those matters that has shown that they are hardly any better than their predecessors:
- Kasit as FM
(his past words mean he has to go, and they have missed their opportunity to do it quietly in the interests of reconciliation)
- PAD leaders to be held accountable
(even if the airport occupation charges are still being investigated, surely there are still outstanding charges from the government house occupation that can be acted upon in the meantime - IMO, getting Sondhi L in jail will go a long way towards moving the country forward)
- Lese Majeste & Internet crackdown
(looked at on it's own, without consideration of the political realities, the Democrats handling of this matter has been disgraceful - IMO, they should be setting a positive example and leading the debate on how to have the LM laws changed so that the monarchy can be kept out of politics)
- Reconciliation, Political/Constitutional reform
(on this matter, the Democrats have again let political considerations get in the way of simply doing what's right - IMO, they should work with the opposition to get a satisfactory amnesty bill and to get a consultative process going for constitutional reform)
This is what I said when Samak was removed:
"Samak is gone - even though the cooking show trigger for his demise was nonsensical, I wont be shedding a tear for him - had his chances to be reasonable, he wasn't, so I say good riddance!"
It is not hard to foresee a day when I will be saying something similar for Abhisit.



OK, I will try again. Here's my new advice to you - assuming you are still in power as I write this, and assuming of course, that you are now ready to start listening to me :)

1. Kasit must go (you now have another opportunity to do it, in the interests of reconciliation)

2. You must agree to liaise with the opposition regarding the amnesty bill
(basically the 111 banned politicians to have their political rights reinstated, draw a line in the sand and give blanket amnesty to all protest leaders except any who can be directly implicated in any criminal activity, and also to the pending LM & Computer crime cases)

3. Initiate a complete round of political reform, including using the 1997 constitution as the starting point, but also including amendments to the LM and Computer Crime laws, looking at and concisely defining the role of the privy council, implementing a strict permit system for future protests (to put some rules in place as so that the never ending supply of gullible and bloody minded protesters can be kept in check otherwise no government will ever be able to do anything) - surely there are enough great unbiased minds in Thailand that can come up with something appropriate, but if there are still contentious items then they will need to go to a referendum

4. Set a strict, but realistic timetable for the above political reform process, including a date for the next election to be held as soon as the new rules are in place.

5. Request that all parties/sides/colors take a step back from protesting, and invite them to instead get involved in the political reform process.

6. Strictly implement rule of law without fear or favour

7. Thaksin???? - I'm thinking that he is a special case and a negotiated settlement needs to be reached with him, but who does the negotiating? Off the top of my head, the best solution I can come up with is a special act of parliament requiring say 75% approval.
(it will mainly need to be a financial settlement, however the amount might depend on whether he enters binding commitments relating to the extent of his future political involvement).


As usual, its just general rambling to get it off my chest, and the real experts would need to work out ways to facilitate the legalities.




Friday, April 10, 2009

People Power

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Just wondering out loud - where will this all lead?

A few questions I have are:

1. What will victory look like?

2. What is Thaksin's future role?

3. Why has it taken Thaksin so long to start talking?

4. Is Thaksin really into the spirit of democracy?

5. If there is a dissolution, who will be the next PM

6. How will the cycle of protests ever end?


Clarification: The above questions are posed to a hypothetical scenario under which the current 'red' shirts achieve 'victory'.

I'm really struggling to come up with the answers to #1 and #2 because it sounds like the Reds basically want to turn back the clock to 2005/06 pre coup days - Does that mean victory means more tax havens, nominees, extra-judicial killings, manipulations of the institutions, and subversion of checks and balances???


I think the answer to #3 is fairly obvious - Thaksin only started talking because he was running out of options, and saw this as his last opportunity to make a push to get back the money.

I also don't think we should discount the 'loss of face' motivation - from my observations of Thai politics over two decades, avoidance of loss of face seems to rank right up there with that other motivating force for politicians: Greed.

For some reason, amongst politicians, especially the Thai variety, loss of face is seen as a sign of weakness, when in other circles the ability to admit mistakes is seen as a strength.

If the 'greed' and 'aversion to loss of face' characteristics were not so strong, then it seems fairly obvious that Thaksin would still be in power.
(although whether he would have got there in the first place without those motivators is another question!)

Unfortunately Thaksin has taken a long time to learn that lesson (if he has at all) and his two puppet PM successors also met similar fates due in no small part to failing to concede anything for fear of losing face/appearing weak.

Now Abhisit is walking the same path, when if only he had conceded on some points (like getting rid of Kasit for instance), then Thaksin would have found it much harder to garner mass support for the current uprising.

IMO, Thaksin had no excuses - with his unassailable electoral superiority he was the master of his own destiny , but Abhisit has been hamstrung by the way he came to power, the GFC, and having the Generals, Prem, Newin, PAD, Reds, Thaksin etc all breathing down his neck has had him walking a tightrope just waiting for the inevitable stumble.


If my answer to question #3 is correct, then the answer to #4 is also obvious.


Who will be the next PM if there are new elections? - you would think it would be a small field with the 111 still banned, but it seems to me the next PM will have to be a puppet of one or other of two prominent members of that banned list.
Whether it is a puppet of Thaksin or Newin will probably depend on how well their respective nominee parties do in the next election.


That leaves the big one: How will the cycle of protests ever end?

If we can extrapolate the motivating forces for the majority of politicians across to the military, business & royalist elites, then neither side will give up unless:

(a) they are adequately compensated under some sort of deal, which also needs to allow them to save face,
or
(b) they suffer such a crushing defeat that they are obliterated and have no hope of fighting back for decades (if ever).

This time it is unlikely to be the 'reds' that are obliterated, but dismantling the old network without replacing it with a new one, is not what I think Thaksin has in mind.


The above is all my perception of reality, so now here's something to dream about:

- Abhisit realizes that the majority of the Thai electorate want change, and he (they) also realize that going back to Thaksin is a dead end, so he (the Democrats) fully acknowledges the problems and goes to the electorate seeking a mandate to bring about that change, and is rewarded by the electorate (in good faith).

That dream can be added to the one I have about the succession where:
- Having acquired wisdom with maturity, the prince recognizes that his past actions make him unsuitable to be king and he withdraws in favor of his sister. Brother and sister work together to groom the prince’s children for the role after the princess’s reign ends.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thaksin embraces Sufficiency Economy

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In addition to being a strong supporter of Democracy, my new guru is also a strong advocate for Sufficiency Economy:

'Deposed premier Thaksin Shinawatra last night phoned in to extend moral support to the demonstrators and asked them to stay put for three more days.
"Tell your children to come," he told the crowd. "There is something here. Stop going to the mall for a couple of days and lay the foundation for future generations.
"I do not care whether I can return, I do not care. I cannot allow the country to go on like this.
"Let me be the last victim of the brutality of the bureaucratic polity."Thaksin also spoke in English to appeal to the international media, saying the fight was not about him but about the country and democracy for the people and future generations.'

At the sime time it was widely reported that Thaksin's own children had left the country - hopefully not to go shopping!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Kasit confirms he is an embarrassment and a disgrace

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Kasit elevates Thaksin to Dalai Lama status - it seems like I've been looking in the wrong direction for my spiritual and philosophical guidance!

Thaksin's status to be clarified
By: BangkokPost.com
Published: 6/04/2009 at 02:11 PM

Foreign Affairs Minister Kasit Piromya plans to clarify the status of outlawed former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to foreign ambassadors to Thailand on Wednesday.
Mr Kasit said on Monday that he felt uncomfortable that Thaksin was allowed to use some countries as a base to criticise Thailand.
The government had continually liaised with with Cambodia to find out if Thaksin could be residing there, he said.
Mr Kasit likened Thaksin's case to the Dalai Lama's, as the Chinese government does not want him to use other countries as a base to criticise Beijing.
The minister also instructed Thai ambassadors abroad to explain what Thaksin had done to Thailand to countries without an extradition treaty with the kingdom.
Mr Kasit said many countries already refused to allow Thaksin to use them as a stage to attack Thailand.



Saturday, April 4, 2009

Above politics, and without compassion???

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We all know the mantra:
- Constitutional monarchy should not (and does not) interfere in political matters.

That’s very commendable, and they are correct to leave politics to the politicians and the people who elect them.

However, here’s something to ponder:

Does the inaction (silence) by the monarchy, whilst people are being jailed in their name, actually amount to a political act?

In my view, continued silence whilst a Thai citizen is jailed for 10 years for distributing photos about them (reduced from 20 years because he pleaded guilty!) must surely put a nail in the coffin of any argument that the Thai monarchy is benevolent and above politics.

I don’t know what the photos were, but the only way I can see that the distribution of them would warrant a 10 or 20 year jail sentence would be if they involved child pornography or paedophilia – surely no one is suggesting the monarchy would be involved in such matters!
Suwicha Thakor is not the only person facing lengthy jail sentences for allegedly offending the monarchy – here’s a list from PPT.

If they continue to remain silent about these injustices, it could be argued that it is the monarchy who is offending all those who believe in their great institution.

PS. I wonder how many years jail this blog post deserves?

UPDATE: The other conclusion that could be reached is that the monarchy are powerless, helpless, captives unable to do anything about the injustices being committed in their names.
Which is the actuality is unknown, and the reality could even be some where in between both extremes???
It reminds me a bit of why I don't believe in the christian God - if 'he' really did exist then 'he' would have to be one sick bastard to allow some of the shit that happens in this world.