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:)