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



UPDATE

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

Abhisin?


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

Writer: BangkokPost.com
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???

UPDATE:

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 2Bangkok.com 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:)
.

Purpose of Life: Quick Update

.
Longer term followers of my ramblings will recall I struck out in pursuit of a New Hobby some months ago, and I suppose I am now in a position to report my findings, as my recent holiday gave me the time to catch up on nearly all the reading I had planned.

In my quest, I was drawn to the following people:

- Eckhart Tolle (read "A New Earth")

- E F Schumacher (read "A Guide for the Perplexed")

- J. Krishnamurti (listened to various speeches, and read the book "Total Freedom" which is a summary of his major themes)

- Buddhadasa Bhikkhu (read "Handbook for Mankind")


Don't ask me why I chose those particular authors, as all I can say is they were the ones that appealed to me when I came across them, however perhaps the main reason was that their styles were, to me, not too 'preaching' and dogmatic, and they each encouraged the individual to consider for themselves, and not just have blind faith in them.

Overall, at this stage, I have come to the conclusion that the purpose of my life is just to be the best human I can be, and to never stop trying to improve.
For me that does not mean being rich or famous, having many possessions, being smarter, faster, more beautiful, or whatever are the usual measures of 'success', but rather (for me) it's just to be able to show as much love as I can.
When I say love its not in the usual connotations of the word, and instead I mean in in the way Krishnamurti describes love as:
- Humility, Gentleness, Consideration, Patience & Courtesy.
(I know - I clearly have a long way to go in my journey:)

For me the lasting impressions from each author were the following:

from Eckhart Tolle:
There's no point in blaming one tribe, group, nation, race, gender for evil of the present or past, and realise "There is only one perpetrator of evil on the planet: human unconsciousness"

also: If, in whatever you are doing you cannot be in a state of either Acceptance, Enjoyment or Enthusiasm, then you are likely to be doing harm to yourself and others.


from Krishnamurti:
In addition to the aforementioned concept of Love, I found Krishnamurti very helpful on the psycholgical aspects of what is happening in our minds.
How Thoughts from stored memories, knowledge (which is always limited) and experiences, create Desire & Fear (including comparisons/identifications) and how projecting to the future and back to the past keeps most of us in a state of Disorder.

I also particularly like his concept of 'Meditation', which I interpret as:
Having an attentive mind to all that is going on (that being Disorder from the stored memories/experiences)
It's not concentration, suppressing, controlling or measuring, but rather an underlying and hopefully constant awareness.


from E F Schumacher:
His 'Four levels of Being' made it clear how we should be pursuing developing our human characteristics, not pandering to our animal instincts.
Also his 'Four fields of Knowledge' clarified how we are usually only seeing half of any picture.
For a good summary of Schumachers great little book see this Wikipedia article.


from Buddhadasa:
The reality that things are Impermanent & Unsatisfactory - however I admit I am still struggling with the concept of Non-Selves/Non-Self
(the latter is hard for me to grasp because I still cannot help feeling there is more to a human than the sum of all the atoms of which they are comprised - its unlikely that any serious Buddhist scholars bother reading my blog, but if you do, can you please set me straight on this concept?)



Sorry that this post, and my conclusions, are not particularly scholarly, philosophical, intellectual, or spiritual, but I'm just not interested, nor capable, of such things at this stage of my journey, and perhaps I never will be:)
.