16 April 2015
the Korat Post
There are two Thailands: the collective, totally under dictatorship control by the kingdom's military at the behest of elite feudal-minded wise men, and far, far below the common man who in many cases wants to make his own decisions. Rather than admit serious human rights abuses that formally came out of the closet on 22 May 2014 the day of the latest coup, the country has instead belittled and then completely prohibited even a hint of criticism of military rule and mayhem.
Self-righteous condescending approach to even its own people does not seem to be working for Thailand. Instead of being fined for its continual horrible human rights record, the country is being shunned economically – although China will somehow pick up the slack! This rice issue - according to http://www.indexmundi.com/commodities/?commodity=rice&months=60 world rice prices were about $410 a metric ton, down from over $600 back in 2011. At the prices, the reported in the Bangkok Post today Japan bought 330,000 tons of rice from Thailand over the last fiscal year. At $400 a ton that would be $132 Million U.S. If this volume were reduced by 20% which is not unreasonable, that would be a loss of $26 Million, or in terms of Thai Baht 845 million. It is not a small loss. But the Japanese have been reported to be planning to increase US purchases by some 100,000 tons, nearly 30%. This means a potential rice export income drop of $120 million U.S., or nearly 3.8 billion Thai Baht.
Uncertain weather is looming on the Thai horizon across many fronts, including political and diplomatic, cultural, economic, and more. Only some of the changes were historically fated to be. Most arise from gross interference in social management under the guise of national security and political stability, let alone preservation of Thainess. Thailand’s elites and generals can easily and accurately raise their hands to answer who was responsible if ever asked. As to this, many are hoping that in the future the ‘engineers’ who built the morass will be called to account and dealt with.
Read more at thekoratpost.com Comments are always welcome. More at Headlines. Also write to the editor via Facebook message. Ed. Comments are always welcome.
Chump, Champ, or Sham?
'Passing the Buck' Candidate Speaks - "Arf!"
13 April 2015
the Korat Post
Hillary Clinton has done the highly probable, perhaps the only probable thing, for her the only possible thing - deciding to spend a lot of money - really a lot - to satisfy her ego and set another record. Not only can she be flippant about Ben Ghazi and Iran and Israel and Yemen and European security and corruption within her perty, lt alone her household and heart, she can be flippant about our next war and dismissive approach to the very important constituent that is always involved in foreign policy - foreigners. Read ou editorial today for some no-nonsense insight into an American poison that would set records - the most more of the same. And we must ask, is that the record we want to begin in 2016? Overplayed, scratched, screechy and actually fake? From Real Clear Politics' quote of a famous song, we can see what Hiullary already means and will so much more painfully remind us as Madame President:
But now it's just another show, you leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care don't let them know, don't give yourself away…
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way…
Reuter reports: "Clinton, who begins the 2016 presidential race as the commanding Democratic front runner, entered the fray with a flurry of video, email and social media announcements that indicated she had absorbed some of the lessons of her painful 2008 loss and would not take anything for granted this time." SNL captions..."Baaaaaaaaaaaaaack!" reminding us of that great drama where a guy returns home after his wife and lover tried to kill him to bury them both under the floor and burn the house down. Hillary may not remember, and we do not need to wonder why, what she didn't do as Secretary of State, what she has not accomplished in her life, what kind of 'person' she has become and can still face in the mirror, but is this enigma, liar and fake worthy of the office of president of the United States? Read more at editoria.html and write to the editor at managing email@example.com Comments are always welcome. More at Headlines. Also write to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org Ed. Comments are always welcome.
Temple Mount:Arab-Israeli Hatred
Photo Courtesy Wikipedia
From Wikipedia - "Although freedom of access was enshrined in the law, as a security measure, the Israeli government currently enforces a ban on non-Muslim prayer on the site. Non-Muslims who are observed praying on the site are subject to expulsion by the police. At various times, when there is fear of Arab rioting upon the mount resulting in throwing stones from above towards the Western Wall Plaza, Israel has prevented Muslim men under 45 from praying in the compound, citing these concerns. Sometimes such restrictions have coincided with Friday prayers during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Normally, West Bank Palestinians are allowed access to Jerusalem only during Islamic holidays, with access usually restricted to men over 35 and women of any age eligible for permits to enter the city. Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, which because of Israel's annexation of Jerusalem, hold Israeli permanent residency cards, and Israeli Arabs, are permitted unrestricted access to the Temple Mount."
The issue of access to the site is a current irritant between Muslims and Jews regarding the Temple Mount. Generally Israel has state control of the facility, but only permits Muslims under 45 years of age to worship there in part out of fear of rock throwing from the location. Each instance of lack of access or rumored Israeli interference in a sacred place itself acts as another source of potential violence and death.
The issues involved between Zionists and Muslims and Zionists and others will continue to exacerbate global tension until extremist religious adherents find sanity toward the rest of us.
About Absolute Power
Altruism is hardly constructive in the hands of those with guns.
5 October 2014
eneral Prayuth is an honorable man, "so are they all honorable men...[Anthony's funeral oration]. So the twelve guideline Enzyme Effect principles he has enunciated, deemed by many as restatements of fundamental elitist impingement on free thought, are more or less here to stay and the Devil be damned! Will it work? Will Thailand be able to once again state, with minimal tongue in cheek, that it is once more a free country with the right of its subjects to exercise individual judgment? The answer is an overwhelming no, but who can do anything? The relationship between Thailand and many of its freedom-exposing trading partners is merely a single nation that Eisenhower warned would become an entangling alliance. Entanglement.
Dual Nationals in Thailand
27 August 2014
The Korat Post Editorial (Published in the United States of America)
Anyone who travels into and out of Thailand, and who holds both Thai and US nationality, has a travel advantage that single passport holders do not. For example, Thai passports are great for Asian travel but not for travel to the US or Europe for visa reasons. Read our editorial today to see how it's done and what to be careful of not to do.
The thing to keep in mind is what you want when you use two passports. Getting reckless can result in confiscation at worst, while failing to appreciate the ease and convenience - if you travel - that dual passports can provide. When KP was attempting to find out what the "parameters" were, I spoke first directly to a Thai Immigration official on a hypothetical case. Our friend, a dual national, held two passports and was currently in Thailand on his US passport. He has decided to reside in Thailand and wishes to avoid the 90-day reporting requirement.
The official told the Korat Post that if the person being cited was born in Thailand, that there was absolutely no problem. The person could travel out of Thailand on his or her US passport and return on the Thai passport, using it and/or Thai I.D. card to exit and enter Thailand as needed. For online references to traveling with dual passports, and how it relates to immigration, travel, ticket counters and so on, please type in "exit reentry dual nationality" in your favorite search engine. Two that we quickly found were http://foxnomad.com/2012/06/07/how-to-travel-with-two-passports-if-youre-a-dual-citizen/ as well as this other - http://www.thailandqa.com/forum/showthread.php?35679-Dual-nationality-and-passports.
Main things to keep in mind, and clear in what you intend is that passport control is not where you want to flash both passports. Also avoid it at Immigration. The general rule is to enter and exit a country on the same passport, and if you need to re-enter a country such as Thailand after having left on a US passport and wanting to reenter on a Thai passport, keep in mind that Thailand and Laos are prone to want to see exit stamps. You can avoid complications by flying out of Thailand on your US passport to a nearby country - not Laos - and then coming back into Thailand with your Thai passport. Use it to exit Thailand. If traveling to the US or Europe, you'll want to use the US passport and keep the Thai passport out of sight although it is not illegal to have it.
Airline counters are a bit special and more lenient except that they are concerned to verify whether you have a right to travel to the country your are booked to. If you are at the Bangkok airport, for example, and flying to the US a counter staff will likely ask you for your passport. Use the US passport in this case. No stamps or marks are involved here, just a check and verification of right to appear at Immigration at destination. When you are processed, then use your US passport to process all the way through. You should find yourself in the departure lounge free and clear, still holding two passports.
Now, if you plan on reentering Thailand, use the Thai passport only. Up to this point it does not matter if you have still been using your US passport to travel from the US to Europe, etc. Just keep it in your pocket when you arrive in Thailand and complete the standard disembarkation forms. At Immigration show your Thai passport.
One other thing to keep in mind that by and far the immigration official at port of entry only wants to know whether you have a right to enter the country or not. If you have a foreign passport you will need a visa. If you have that country's passport you will be permitted entry. As dual nationality is legal around the world, with variations on its scope, you are not committing any crime by using one to leave and another to reenter. It depends on your purposes.
About Absolute Power
It is not just those who rule, but those who made it possible for them to do so.
13 July 2014
here is that old, old cliche about absolute power corrupting absolutely, but what it really means has not been made into a movie yet, which is long overdue. After all, corruption is bad enough, and if we casually observe Thailand’s current slash and burn democracy motif that is alleged to be all about too much corruption – but is really about corruption being taken out of traditional hands - then we observe that there are some pretty tough feelings at the moment about how to handle things and who to hate, who to love, how to hate and how to love. Nothing unusual about this movement in Thailand, by the way. Indoctrination, inculcating beliefs and attitudes has been a Thai tradition since the dawn of time.
But here we are, post 20 May 2014, being more or less told, casually, that martial law will likely remain for at least another years in the interests of the people, the nation, to protect the institution, etc. Now, what does this have to do with absolute power and that power corrupting absolutely?
Well, traditionally society, and perhaps most academics, have viewed exercise of absolute power through the telescope of how those in power become even more powerful by virtue of the corrupt influences that such absolute power provides, and eventually are caused, by power, greed, stupidity, self-righteousness, self-delusion, nationalistic nonsense, and that sole feeling only one who has such power can feel…
The telescope does not, mistakenly, also shift to the people, those whom power is usually ascribed as belonging to, or those to whom power will eventually be returned. It is the people who made such absolute power possible to begin with, for various reasons – in this sense the wisdom that people deserve the government they have becomes logical. Why focus on the people at large? Because depending on how much they hate, how greedy and fearful they are, how nationalistic they have been conditioned to be, how short-sighted they have been kept and indeed, often keep themselves, it is important to see how absolute power corrupts them and how they succor that power. In Thailand, at this time, such absolute power is by the second corrupting those who claim to support current dictatorship because of a phrase not unheard of in history around the world, “necessity of the moment.” It is tragic that the generals and the general populace to a large extent accept the fiction that dictatorship is somehow benevolent, that the ends will be justified by the means. But we are not merely discussing philosophy here, we are speaking of a people, a culture, a nation, its institutions and its…shall I say…image and reputation being at stake. Or, some might say, still totally false and seeking penance?
The lack of resistance to absolute power is an unfortunate reality, often brought out by justified fear and personal reluctance to pay the price of liberty. Let someone else make the sacrifices. But also in the mix is the social ramifications of attitudes and prejudices and ancient rites and mental, spiritual and emotional conditioning that causes people to lose the compass point of decency and instead apply horrible pressures, and often physical punishment including imprisonment and death, upon those who insist on the right to be different. This is, under absolute power, the absolute madness of society in general, the righteous will to do unto others before they do unto you, the will to remove those who would deviate, but more especially those who would advocate the will to deviate. Such absolute attitudes can create horrible injustices and yet, most will never be shown the light of day given propensity to justify doing wrong for grand principles.
This is the greater tragedy of absolute power: not only does it corrupt those who rule, but those who made that rule possible.
"Tellin' it like it ain't"
Foreign civilian and military guests of the kingdom may be forced to listen, but they
do not have to agree. As well, they usually have civilian counterparts supervising them and
to whom they must report, so unlike Thailand.
1 July 2014
From Khao Sod 26 June 2014 - dated but relevant please see Korat Post editorial shortly
COUPS IN THAILAND ARE DEJURE CARTE BLANCE FOR THE COUNTRY'S MILITARY. THIS TIME THEY WENT FURTHER THAN BEFORE, AND NOW PLAN TO REFORM THINKING! SEE OUR EDITORIAL Can the military withstand the tide of history, if Thailand is susceptible to it, or can Thailand somehow keep lurking in the darkened corners of mandate?
A senior US official has asked for support from the US Congress to help move Thailand back to a democratic system of government. “The coup and post-coup repression have made it impossible for our relationship with Thailand to go on with ‘business as usual,’” Scot Marciel, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Asian Affairs, said in a congressional hearing yesterday. “Strong, enduring, bipartisan Congressional support for our efforts to move Thailand back towards its democratic tradition and to preserve our long-term friendship and interests are essential for a successful outcome.” HEADLINES. EDITORIAL. Comments to the editor via message to his Facebook page or to email@example.com. Alternatively contact personally to receive direct email.
It's not an easy road to travel...this taking over of a kingdom time and time again. People get upset, they become angry, some violent, most, surprisingly, accepting the action...at least most in Thailand. Those same people also become indignant when reminded that coups are an outdated mind set, devoid of ethical and moral substance, and that Thailand is old enough now to place its military firmly and permanently under legitimate sustainable government control. See our survey on this subject at survey .html.
On 22 May 2014 the Thai military did what it does best, taking over the reins of state control and declaring martial law, then a coup. It arrested hundreds, told millions that they no longer had ay rights, contradicted themselves by insisting that rights were not being violated, and subsequently held attempted "attitude adjustment" sessions with foreign chambers of commerce and diplomats to defend what was clearly the wrong thing to do.
Now conservative Thais who were and remain in support of the coup rightfully emphasize that leading up to the coup the country was basically at a standstill as far as governance is concerned, and that someone had to do something. Fair enough. The logical step would have been to have more elections but this was objected to, even pre-empted, because it was felt that elections would only lead to more inability of governance. Perhaps. But the one thing that was not looked at was the drive for change that produced the so-called divisiveness plaguing Thailand. People want change, were even demanding it...
But not enough people were demanding it. More than not just wanted to get back to square one, that idyllic euphoria that mixes sakdinahood and Thainess in a mesmerizing falseness of happiness and easy going that never really existed. This is part of the real problem. Enough people were still being inculcated with stupidity that they supported more of the same. this time around, in this coup, however, the military and elites beside them realized that it was no longer true that enough people were being inculcated, and indeed, that inculcation was falling behind the times and losing grip of what people think and what they would do after they had time to think. So "attitude adjustment" time was declared, thanks to Captain Bob, where people were forced to have some quiet time to reflect and by default accept going along wit the will of the elite.
Rumors Driving the Exodus
NCPO deputy spokesman Col Winthai Suvaree said migrant labour problems had accumulated for
a decade and the NCPO only wanted all migrant workers to be registered and work legally without
having to hide from authorities.
17 June 2014
the Korat Post online (US-based independent of Korat Post).
TOW MANY OF US HAVE EVER TRIED TO DO THE RIGH TTHING ONLY TO END UP DOING THE WRONG THING? Probably most of us, certain those who can read this editorial. So none of us is perfect, but then does it become a question of who we are and why we claim legitimacy? What of the consequences of our actions?.
As of the time of this writing, there is a reported toughly 100,000 Cambodia workers fleeing Thailand allegedly in advance of perceived clampdown by the military authorities. The latter states that all of the fleeing is self-imposed and that the military has no plans to do anything punitive to the foreign workers. But the military also denied it would effect a coup, and look what happened!
What are Cambodia's concerns? This is from the Phnom Penh Post dated 9 June, a week ago:
See full article here.
" Cheang Sokha and Laignee Barron
Thousands of Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand are rushing back across the border, voluntarily repatriating themselves in the face of increasingly hostile rhetoric towards undocumented labourers.
In the wake of Thailand’s coup d’?tat last month, army chief General Prayuth Chan-o-Cha urged better regulation of the workforce and warned illegal workers of their tenuous and unwelcome status, last week outlining ways “to prevent [an] illegal work force from entering into the country and give more work opportunities to Thai nationals”.
In response, many undocumented and unregistered Cambodian workers are deciding to show themselves the door. Border officials said groups of workers are cramming into military trucks, opting to be sent home rather than incur potential punishment. “They are scared and decided themselves to come back. One day, around 100 or more came with Thai military transporting them to the border,” said Colonel Chin Piseth, deputy director of the Cambodian-Thai border relations office in Poipet."
So there are at least two sides to the story. Is keeping Veera, the social activist opposted to Thaksin part of the equation in this latest stand-off between the two Southeast Asian neighbors?
HEADLINES. EDITORIAL. Comments to the editor via message to his Facebook page or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively contact personally to receive direct email.
Unconstitutional? - So What!
Little things like martial law proclamations made outside the authority one is invested with in
the national charter are really not so little, but do tend to pale when put side by side with issues
that tear the nation asunder, or that threaten to create ancient divides that will do so
22 May 2014
From the Nation, Bangkok Post, Thai Rath and other agencies and edited for grammatical correctness- See our editorial today (why a so-called neutral government is a pipedream, nightmare and far removed from a solution to Thailand's ills).
APPARENTLY IF AN AUTHORITY IN THAILAND SAYS IT'S SO, IT'S SO. Such noble persons never heard the saying "Sayin' it's so don't make it so." Or if they did hear it the message didn't reach the upper floor. Just why Thai society and its major institutions are compelled to rationalize so much and belittle even more lies in the centuries of sakdina inculcation that developed - with much push and shove - into Thainess. [Editorial comment].
A great deal of debate and conjecture surrounds what is, and seems to be, happening in the Kingdom of Thailand these days as national elections, originally scheduled for 2 February 2014, were ripped to shreds by screaming and whistling mobs inciting fear and hatred throughout Bangkok. As a result of the ex-Democrat Party senior leader Suthep Thaugsuban's personal efforts and assistance provided by tens of thousands of like-minded Southerners and other "Thaksin system" haters, Thailand faced yet another national crisis when it spent over two billion Baht on a process doomed to fail.
At this point those responsible for the mess don't want to be held liable, and they have either convinced the powers that be or we already in sympathy with them to the point where those who hate democracy and its ultimate threat to Thai sakdina and class separation will be able to do almost anything, and prolong elections to any point in the future, until they either destroy the will of those who aspire to become self-empowered, or to the point here a horrible clash will result. Knowing Thai society and its culture might have been one piece of the jigsaw puzzle that allowed and forced, in a sense, Thailand's Supreme Military Commander General Prayuth to go ahead and circumvent a clearly-written constitutional article 188 that reads, "Section 188. The King has the prerogative to declare and lift the martial law in accordance with the conditions and manner under the Martial Law. In the case where it is necessary to declare the martial law in a certain locality as a matter of urgency, the military authority may do so under the Martial Law." Nitirat, the Enlightened Jurors group in Thailand that seems to call spades nothing but, has produced a commentary citing this constitutional provision that totally agrees that General Prayuth's action was not permitted under the 2007 Constitution. So the general may have violated, according to this logic, several articles of the constitution to the point of criminality. Whether he did or not, however, is a moot point at this moment because none of the players in this farcical circus is willing to open up the topic of legitimacy of the Martial Law declaration.
Not being in attendance at the current conference table chaired and directed by General Prayuth may not be such a loss. After all, what is it that they are discussing and will it have any relationship to what is actually played out? The answer is, in a sense, that it depends, but sadly in another, more fatalistic sense, it may mean that it really doesn't matter what the substance of discussions is overall because what will be done shall be done regardless. Whether the standoff goes on for five more days or five more months or even a year or more is part of the issue. If the Big Cogs determine that in their personal view Thailand cannot live without a government, one that is proclaimed legitimate even if it is not, then such a government will be created via by hook or by crook. The by crook aspect has already been demonstrated with this Martial Law announcement. The Constitution does not give that right to the Thai military except in certain localities.
Feel free to email us with your questions or comments. HEADLINES. EDITORIAL. Comments to the editor via message to his Facebook page or to email@example.com. Alternatively contact personally to receive direct email. We thank the editor of The Nation for visiting the Korat Post, albeit many years ago, and lend appreciation to our cause through joint coverage.
Mobocracy - Thailand's Solution to Democracy
Thailand's temporary prime minister and pro-government rep. Nirat Thamrongboonsong Phaisarn
(นิวัฒน์ธำรง บุญทรงไพศาล Pushing from the powerful well-healed elites and disenfranchised southern Muslim factions, as well
from the Yellow Shirt anti-politician maniacs, forces in Thailand are at the gates of
instanity waiting to rip to shreds any hope for Thai democracy, or more properly, democracy
10 May 2014
The Korat Post online.
ABSOLUTELY AMAZING THAILAND - is it not? As Thailand appears on the edge of destruction from within - as usual - will anti-politician and anti-election factions rule the day and take over a country where they have told the press not to publish the other side of the story?.
Intelligence circles are becoming more and more circles as the ultimate conclusions seems to be taking shape in front of one analyst after another - Thailand is gone as far as democracy is concerned. The current absolute monarchy mentality, reactionary anti-election mobs that have taken over Thai sanity - what was left of it - and continued unrest and threat to burst into open violence are all combining to pose a rather scary picture for western powers and global democracy advocates. Thailand, for centuries considered a friend and close ally of the west, and there democracy, has become a cacophony of mixed voices, and for the most part, in general are calling for a semi-permanent suspension of elections and reform until things get on the right track - being, of course, the way they have always been in the past.
Yellow Shirt leader and media tycoon Sondhi Limthongkul appeared on his ASTV stage last night here in Thailand to scream, "We do not need politicians. We do not want politicians. Thailand does not need politicians." This is an indiscreet if not indiscreet way of saying to hell with democracy and elections. Adding to the horror that may now be perched on Thailand's doorsteps is the added impetus, also misguided, from the Suthep fringe - actually a powerful group backed by powerful financial, military and royalist factions - has also indicated that the country's political system needs to be reformed before elections. Contract that to Sondhi's "We do not need elections at all" and you get a smattering of the crap delivered onto the doorstep of every single Thai and fearful advocates of democracy in the country. The promises made are solutions - but the promises mean further misery and dictatorial mind-bending in the name of loyalty, reform and Thainess. HEADLINES. EDITORIAL. Comments to the editor via message to his Facebook page or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively contact personally to receive direct email. We thank the editor of The Nation for visiting the Korat Post, albeit many years ago, and lend appreciation to our cause through joint coverage.
Both to Blame...Coup Tomorrow?
Thailand's current protest pontif, Suthep Thaughsuban, has not yet had to deal with any
meaningful investigaiton of treason and threatening national security, thanks to those who
are most responsible for supporting his unique approach to restoration of national unity -
AKA national cloneicity.
18 April 2014
From Khao Sod and agencies
THIS MAN HAS SET NEW STANDARDS forThailand's migratory shift from complete dictatorship to modified complete dictatorshiup. Or is that really the way it is? Doesn't Thailand really deserve special consideration because of its unique nature, unique institutional relationships and unique logic? We think not.
Pontificating is such an easy game to play, and as long as it's other people who lose out, and damn those who happen to lose out because they disagree or oppose you, then that's just too bad. As well, if those people claim to be Thai and happen to disagree, opposed and even actively campaign in private and public against you and your sacred cause in defense of sacred institutions and sacred culture, so much the better. Then we can ensure you are tarred and feathered and run out of the country whether you are Thai or not. We hate you, we despise what you stand for, and most inmportantly, we fear what you represent and what might happen to our entrenched positions in society and on the national front if change should occur and alien concepts like democracy, free speech and empowerment take over. My God! What will we do?
The PDRC and supporters act in a kind of unision cemented by fear, hatred, self-doubt and worship of the worst kind. May God help Thailand.
Sliding Toward Civil War" - BBC
Just after Red Shirt leaders meeting at the Suwat Liptapanlop political headquarters
in Korat announce beat of war drums, a grenade attack outside Big C supermarket
in Rajaprasong, Bangkok kills two. Photo courtesy of the Nation.
24 February 2014
the Korat Post Online editorial
ivil war? Not yet or not ever? This is the question many, even many of those who never asked it in the past, are now asking one another as what appears to be escalating violence resulting in multiple fatalities takes place in Thailand. Are Thais so fractionated that they won't be able to retain a stable government? And given the plethora and scope of corruption, endemic in Thai culture, can such a thing as a stable government really last for a meaningful period? Thaksin's full term in power and then landslide re-election was a sign that stability might be possible, but given the subsequent events and disclosiongs of corruption and conflict of interest, and number of unfulfilled promises, was that stability much more than an illusion?
Thailand has yet to experience a civil war, anything like the conflict its American ally had back 153 years ago, which lasted four years and took the lives of over 600,000 soldiers, let along civilians and civil property and the southern infrastructure that made the south the south. And of course, few want any such conflict, save those who are now convinced that it is the only road toward freedom and justice. And that is dangerous. If such men are convinced that an armed struggle with resulting chaos and loss of life and property is the only way out for the kingdom, we have many days of horror being etched in blood coming to our attention.
While some might laud Suthep Thaugsuban's veracity, determination and organizational skills to so confront the Thai government with the kind of challenge no Thai government in the past has ever faced - coup by virtue of mass intimidation - it may well be that he has precipitated the likelihood of civil war occurring by bringing up tens of thousands of supporters from the south to bolster his cause to oust the Thaksin government machinery. He may have further precipitated a civil war by making class division an undeniable part of the problem of political division in the country. Suthep's connections with the elite are established, and yet his organizational acumen has allowed him to garner support from farmers in the southern and even northeast region of Thailand to join protests against the government he so loathes.
Everyone is wondering about the army - and with good reason. In the past, at the behest of "certain interests" it has stepped in and taken over the government, all, of course, to "restore power to the people." The latter is a known fabrication as power has never been in the people's hands before. Each time they tried to take it they were mercilessly gunned down and killed in actions that were later forgiven. Almost no one has ever been prosecuted, let alone convinced, for exercising elitist force on lower classes. No surprise there, either.
If one were to prognosticate about the army and what it might or might not do in the coming weeks and months, there are several things to toy around with. The army might just remain aloof and let slaughter increase to the point where civil war does break out. The army might independently and without formal declaration take over certain aspects of government and regional areas during which tentative behind-the-scenes machinations would take place, most of them guided by anti-government coalitions of one color or another. The army might be directed by an interim appointed prime minister to re-establish order.
Reds Feel They Have No Other Choice
No hypothetical scenario really makes people comfortable, and with good reason. Uncertainty is bad enough, continued instability another. Like an ox cart with a loud and wobbly wheel Thailand continues down a path that seems like the same one but which is changing just ahead of the cart. HEADLINES. EDITORIAL. Comments to the editor via message to his Facebook page or to email@example.com. Alternatively contact personally to receive direct email.
Politics and Business - Bedfellows?
Indian national Satish Sehgal, photo above courtesy of The Nation, has lived in Thailand for half a century. As a direct result of demonstrating against the Thai government, he has been singled out for deportation. The racial prejudice issue in Thailand is one that makes this case sensitive, alarming and perhaps sadly, hopeless.
10 February 2014
The Korat Post Online - on a USA Server
Been there, done that. We've been in tight positions in the past where the voice of conscience speaks out and tugs at purse strings. When 9/11 happened, I rushed a check for no small amount to the Red Cross in the US to help support rescue and recovery. That is a human tragedy and in most cases we respond in whatever ways we can to help or make a contribution of some kind. But when we address the issues of national security, business connections that are replete with potential conflict of interests and residing in a country that does not make secret its frequent dislike of foreign interference in Thai affairs, then the question of wisdom over valor arises.
The India-Thai Chamber of Commerce was recently involved in its own FTA negotiations with the Thai government that, in its estimate, will boost mutual trade from the current annual $9 billion to $15 million, or 40%. There is then a real potential in some diminishing of this possible gain in trade given the chamber president's alleged support of the PDRC both by financial donations and through public appearances.
At this point in time, Satish has, according to the press, declared that he is no longer part of the protests, but even admitting that provides further evidence (supportable or not) to those who wish to prosecute him that he was involved in a revolt against an elected government, and in part, causing or supporting threats to national security. It all depends on what the DSI, the Thai caretaker government, the prosecutor and courts decide - how they view this situation. For Satish, however, the cat is already out of the bag. Good luck.
That said, however, many Thais, particularly those with business and upper echelon connections, are going for broke in backing the right of Satish to remain in Thailand and be free to express his opinions. They have even banded together to approach the Indian Embassy for assistance. To this we ask what good the Embassy can do? It's the same kind of futility in the PDRC soliciting understanding from the Obama administration while the former revolts against the government. Or is it? Thailand does not get its "Amazing Thailand" moniker for nothing, and strange things have happened here and can yet happen. Is it justice that Satish needs or is it justice that he is now facing with deportation? Depends on your point of view.
Democracy Given 'F' aka "Fake"
Opposition leader Suthep Thaugsuban may have gotten what he was looking for, a complete failure of the 2 February 2014 national parliamentary elections, boycotted by the opposition Democrat Party and by anti-vote activists under his leadership. Giddy with joy on TV last night, Suthep could not help but guffaw and grin uncontrollably as the ashes of Thailand's government and very possibly any remnant of democracy scattered around his feet..
3 February 2014
The Korat Post Online - on a USA Server
Complete failure - per Suthep, partial victory - per the caretaker government. Whom do you believe? The parliamentary elections held in Thailand yesterday to refit the kingdom's House of Representatives went very poorly in our book, and not unexpectedly so. Over the last several months not only increasing resistance by the Democrats and government opposition supporters led by ultra-nationalist (many cite them as fascists) coalitions but growing anger and antipathy by rubber farmers in the south and rice farmers in the northeast have created a fertile background for what may become an overpowering consensus in the country that the Shinawatra machine is dead - insofar as its ability to run the country is concerned.
This was not always a question, and indeed in the past could never have been imagined. As corrupt as the Shinawatra machine was considered, it was also considered a good thing for Thailand, able to marshall foreign investment and propel strong economic growth - albeit of questionable nature...again not unexpectedly.
If we accept opposition allegations, indeed charges in some cases, that the Thaksin/Yingluck government has been so corrupt that it has pilfered national coffers to the point where they may not even exist anymore - with some hyperbole - then it is natural that people will be pissed off and reactionary and won't vote for the party leading the coalition caretaker government. People who don't like, rather, hate, Thaksin, Yingluck and friends are smiling and laughing and patting themselves on the back today given what must be viewed as a nearly-complete election fiasco.
But it's a fiasco engineered by more than one plotter. On the suspect side is the degree and scope of dissatisfaction arising from corruption in government beyond a scale hitherto not experienced. On the certain side its because of the Democrat boycott of elections, vile anti-government campaigns by the Suthep-led mobs, and rejection of the government by the entire southern region of the country.
How Do You Spell 'Revolt '?
The guns and bayonets have not yet appeared for the most part, but pretending that this is a reform movement in Thailand instead of the insurrection it is is irresponsible. Editorial.
28 January 2014
The Korat Post Online - on a USA Server
While there is a growing domestic and international clamor for "Enough is enough!" Thai insurrectionists, under the PDRC banner and Suthep Thaugsuban leadership, and with what close observers report as financial and organizational backing by the country's Democrat Party, seem ready to keep plowing down common sense and any remote chance of mutual accord in the country over which way the compass of the Thai political and social future will point. Toward Mecca? Washington? Bangkok? Is the massive number of people not part of the PDRC genre so ignorant as to not understand the dangers involved, some of which will surely follow, in this mad rush to curtail elections until voters can be equipped with the right knowledge, the right way to vote with the right voice, democracy in Thailand is taking yet another kick in the face by ultra-nationalists and ultra-royalists, grouped together may, as some say, be called a collective chaos.
It's impossible to know exactly what took place at the top and middle echelons of the Democrat Party leadership here in Thailand, but one can hypothesize as to who said what and what occurred. It might have gone like this...
"They don't pay any attention to us in Parliament anymore. We have no effective way of stopping anything they want to do."
"We know what has to be done, so we will first have to map out the strategy and then put it into effect."
"First thing after we decide what needs to get done our top party members who volunteer to go along with the game plan will have to resign to protect the party."
"What?....uh....no...we really don't have a lot to worry about in terms of being dissolved by the courts. We are the GOP Thai style and it's foolish to think that any national institution would ever find us at fault to where we were dissolved. So basically, nothing to worry about there."
Later on, after the resignations and Suthep puts the plan into effect, various parts of the country are experiencing the impact of protests and abrogation of voting rights, etc. Yet party members are still talking (let's not use the 'C' word - conspiring...oops!).
"Where's Suthep getting all that money to keep up the show?"
"Well, in public you can see him walking down the road and given money by strangers."
"It will never be enough."
"Well, some of those strangers are given thick envelopes with party money and money from party members to give to Suthep as he passes by. Who is the wiser?"
"What about auditing?"
Lots of laughs around the room, where Abhisit sits at the head of the table listening and contributing when needed.
"But what about when this is all over?"
"That's the great thing about this reform act. We get to direct how power is reestablished, we get credit for saving the nation, and we keep our elitist ways intact."
"That's why reform is such a sham. It does not exist in Thailand."
Reform? A Sham? Really?
Determined To Have a Voice
Video posted on Facebook of one valiant Thai who demanded to know why Suthep's blocked election office gates and then gained entry to vote by climbing over fence!
27 January 2014
The Korat Post Online - USA Server Served
Tempers are flaring and rightly so. If you have a government so corrupt that it takes a revolt to oust it you would be uptight. If you have a gang of mobs denying your access to voting stations and shouting at you and blaring whistles you would be upset.
This in-you-face Thailand we are now witnessing is something new in a way, but not something unique. Thai society has always been divisive, except it's been well hidden under illusions of singularity that misrepresent Thai society as a unified entity, an unexplainable and non-understandable to the non-Thai characteristic that only Thais can know and understand, appreciate and benefit by. Of course such a long period of hiding something like this means a lot of indoctrination and if it were a recognized term in Thailand, hypocrisy in the extreme. But Thailand does not seem to recognize hypocrisy. Otherwise how could people remain silent in the face of their ripping away the rights of fellow Thais to vote because one willing group of Thais feels, rightly or wrongly, that the Thai government must fall, and that if it doesn't use soft violence that the fall will not occur?
Soft violence is the physical confrontation of having a person come face to face with another who has a legitimate reason for being where he or she is and doing what he or she wants but being informed, and physically prevented, form exercising constitutional rights. The justification used is that it is in a cause greater than the temporary loss of rights the individual is experiencing, and that at some later date when things calm down and the new cadre takes power that the general public will perhaps not all understand but will come to appreciate the valiant things that were done to get rid of an oppressive and corrupt regime.
In the past, one common theme seems to ring throughout preludes to one coup after another - a corrupt government has to be ousted and power returned to the people. That last phrase, returning power to the people...well...it is part of the problem. Some of the people never had power and want it. Some of the people who never had power think they deserve some, and that it be equal. Opposing them is an ultra-loyalist cacophony of people who cannot care less whether anyone votes or not. They just want to take over the government, get things rearranged the way they think is needed, and then they will possibly release power to Parliament. This is untenable.
As to how things will work out, it depends - great conclusion, no? Actually, it does depend. Thais do have a way of working themselves out of situations they created. But this one emanates from a society that is so corrupt that it led to what was possibly the country's most corrupt government. Can Thailand seriously pursue reform, with all of its institutions, agencies, organizations and personnel from one end of the social spectrum to the other corrupt? EDITORIAL. Comments to the editor via message to his Facebook page or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively contact personally to receive direct email.
"We'll Violate Them All [orders]"
Suthep's Blue Sky carried proclamation yesterday that the caretaker government was not a government, it was meaningless, any proclamations it issued were meaningless and even lawless and illegal, his urging all Thais not to pay any attention to anything the government ordered...means the situation IS serious.
24 January 2014
The Korat Post Online - USA Server Served
Lead-in: It is obvious to all of us today who observe the Thai situation as it has developed that this one is different than others in the past. This time the military are biting their lips, not wanting to become involved, letting "the people" resolve their own differences peacefully. Which is, of course, a myth. The ripping down of the Royal Thai Police national headquarters sign by Suthep's mobs was hardly peaceful, and his occupations of public buildings is illegal outside illusory Thai land..
Land Destroyer's Tony Cartalucci got pretty good praise by anti-democracy [rally, anti-corruption?] mob leader Suthep Thaugsuban onstage yesterday as he read over and highlighted in Thai for the crowd many of Cartalucci's criticisms of Thaksin and the way he corrupted Thailand, as well as details on how the foreign press generally misreports the Thai situation - in his view. Cartalucci is a well-known anti-capitalist writer with strong views on western interference in foreign nations, including their economies. He has also followed the Thai situation and has reported extensively on it. His writings are worth reading only if to gain another perspective and perhaps, in some instances, to gain a more accurate balanced view without swallowing hook, line and sinker from any particular "side." Cartalucci's minions include those actively campaigning against imperialism - the western one, of course.
As to the current Thai situation and the latest PDRC statements that any regulations the government issues are to be ignored and that he will violate them all is bravado at its best - if there is such a thing in a society with such diverse opinions on whether right is wrong and wrong is right. Thailand's social matrix has been, is, and will likely remain hugely nationalist for some time, and it is fruitful for anyone with a cause to appeal for support in the kingdom based on that factor as well as voicing strong support for the monarchy. This combination is a wise one.
However, even those who really know the Thai situation are having difficulty predicting when Round 10 of this slugfest will ring in and what the judges' final decision will be. Will democracy lose or win? Will the Thai people be satisfied or cast into further conflict? As a foreigner in Thailand will you, your family and property remain safe? Why doesn't the military step in? And how can soft violence - intimidating mass crowds occupying public and state buildings - be legitimately claimed as justified in the greater cause of liberation from an exploitative and corrupt government that just won't go away?
Most of us who believe in constitutionalism and who are not socialists or rapid anti-imperialism adherents will cringe at the degree of corruption that the anti-government crowds are citing as part of the Thaksin system of government. We certainly cringe at the idea that these maddened crowds are likely to win in the end and actually take over national governance and postpone elections until their version of reform is implemented to the point where they are comfortable with an elected government that will do things the proper way. Which is, of course, the way they deem things should be done.
In his book Ameritopia, Mark R. Levin, a staunch constitutionalist and top-rated conservative radio talk show host, addresses Plato's Republic to highlight the perfect structure of perfect ideas that lead to living hell for those living under those poorly constructed dreams. Says Levin regarding Plato's perfect City, "First, Plato states that the City would only be possible when the true philosopher-kings are born in a state..." Plato also proposed 'Guardians' who wise men of unquestionable honor and bearing who would run the City, or in Thailand's case, run the country. Of course, for such guardians to run things they also have to prohibit other things, such as criticism, music and free thought.
The message is that while democracy, even republics with democratically formed governments are themselves exploitative in many ways, they are not as exploitative or as repressive as are other forms of government including socialism and communism, etc. Most critics of what is cited as western democracy are quick to identify and point out to us the many errors of their ways but ignore even worse historical track records of socialists and communists. As exploitative as western democracy is it is not the fault of the system per se (profit motive is not an inherent evil), but of the people within that system. This is an elementary error inherent in the part of Suthep's proposed reform process and in general the objections of anti-capitalist activists worldwide who cite democracy's pitfalls that are subject to man's imperfections, yes, but do not permit the kind of oppression and repression inherent in other forms of government.
Suthep and the PDRC claim to want reform. Their public statements about such a policy is identical to many Thai government's policy statements (including the current caretaker government) in that little to nothing has been put on the table to prove that their proposed program is worthy, that it is viable, that it is open for review and reform before being made law. This paper's questions, then, to Suthep and anyone supporting him are:
Where is your game plan for reform? What are some of its details in terms of who, what, when, where, why, how? Why is your proposed political reform going to work for Thailand when over the last eight decades your political cohorts and party organizers have failed to identify the very things you claim today need reforming? Why is it that you think you can reform Thai politics without reforming society? How are you going to eliminate class division and allow the Red Kwai and Isaan folks to have a legitimate say in local governance and projects that affect them?
The answers to the above are time-consuming and complex, hardly the property of a given political persuasion such as that of the PDRC which is by intent and nature an offshoot of the old guard and Democrat Party. While there are many justifications for change, demanding possession of power so you can then force reform the way you want it is dubious in the extreme. We'll grant you that the old fool and figurehead governments that have been in place since 2007, and even before, have had some pretty poor quality heads and followers. But spending the next eighty years making sure that is the kind of opposition you always face is not an honorable or Buddhist way to develop the country. HEADLINES Comments to the editor via message to his Facebook page only. Alternatively contact personally to receive direct email
Emergency Law & Expats
The Thai government's announcement of Emergency Law on 21 January 2014, going into effect on 22 January and lasting for an interim of 60 days, is a response to continued interference with government agencies and rule of law. Read editorial now.
22 January 2014
The Korat Post Online - USA Server Served
Editorial lead-in: Various diplomatic missions, including the United States Embassy, have sent increased caution messages to expats in the kingdom. Most recently the Embassy warnings were over the 21 January 2014 declared emergency degree for Bangkok and selected neighboring provinces. The intent of the messages was to ensure caution is practiced by nationals and that a sense of awareness is present to prevent any undue incidents or potential harm, etc.
One can conclude at least one thing after the Emergency Degree declared by the Thai government on 21 January 2014 which takes effect today and is valid for a 60 day period. That thing is that the Thai military have now made it 1,000% clear that they do not support civilian governance in Thailand. Clouding this issue is that there are many warranted and as-yet unclear accusations of monumental corruption against the government, perceived by many as a puppet regime for the ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. As in cases past, although government officials often escape any accountability for actual corruption and other crimes, Thailand has traditionally resolved the current problem by taking over the government, using the military, declaring a state of emergency, rewriting the constitution as an interim charter, forcing a demographic into place that redrafts another constitution, then appears to step out of the picture as a more palpable, or less objectionable, election process takes place and another government, its back always against the wall facing another military/elitist led coup in the future, takes power. Surely this penchant for risk cannot lead to a sustainable stable government of any kind.
We've received phone calls and questions from expatriates, no Thais yet, about the situation and the frequent diplomatic station messages coming out warning foreign nationals to exercise caution, sometimes extreme caution, sometimes to avoid travel to specific areas, etc. While concern is valid and should rule the roost, so to speak, alarm is another matter. Alarm is fright, emotional reaction to what is perceived as impending danger or harm. Obviously on a larger stage, potential impact to short-term present and future situations or personal status is a legitimate area of concern. No one can tell the future and everyone has to make up his or her own mind and act or not act accordingly.
Given Thailand's track record over the past, this kingdom's charter being its eighteenth and with almost as many coups taking place since 1932, the naysayers about national stability are having a heyday citing the history and making pessimistic comments about Thailand's future. On the other hand, every country in the world has its own way of dealing with things, including dealing with internal dissent and security matters. Even the United States fits into this general description. In fact, the US is at this time wrestling with many of the very same problems Thailand is - fair representation, unfair governance, corruption in government, commerce and society in general, financial difficulties and poor economic times, erosion of traditional ethical and moral standards, etc. It is thus highly vexing to Thai society at large, and particularly extreme nationalists, when the American government issues a statement of any kind that is perceived to support the government. With its own record hardly lilly white in terms of bad governance, corruption, exploitation of "the masses," ignoring legitimate appeals and overstepping the bounds of constitutional provisions, any official American comments on the Thai situation will be seen in a general sense as interfering and offensive, and individually more often as American intrusion against Thai sovereignty.
The Thai situation as it is and has been is vexing for everyone, Thais and foreigners alike no matter what their station in life if they are familiar with Thailand or have connections here. And as we can witness today around the world, a lot of countries have problems. Some of these are being ascribed to capitalist exploitation of the masses, not an unfamiliar term to us. But with the introduction of central bangkok back in the Roosevelt administration and its global reach today, countries who balk at western central bank intrusions backed by great economic and sometimes military pressures share other countries' dislike of what they perceive as western/American imperialism. Add to this the global Islamic Fascist movement and inroads it has made, largely as a result of unwise American/Israeli actions in the Middle East and elsewhere, and the presence of thus potential volatile Islamic communities in individual nations, including Thailand, there are several worrisome issues for policy makers and obviously for nationals of all persuasions who live in any nation.
There are several good places to consult for Thai and English language input into the Thai situation, Thai culture, American interventionism, Islamization, and so on. As these pertain to Thailand, readers might want to drop by Facebook to see the pages of David Streckfuss, Andrew McGregor Marshall, Ratchaprasong News, etc. On websites Prachatai, New Mandala, Political Prisoners Thailand, Manager Online, Thai Rath, etc. will all have their own editorial slant to the news and interpretations of events. In the interim, your personal approach to "the situation" should be just that, your own personal approach. Only you can know where you are and what you are possibly planning to do. That does not preclude you from calling the embassy or fellow expatriates for advice and comment, however. Just keep in mind that there will be extremes, from alarm verging on horror to nonchalance verging on ignorance. Your task is to sift out the important stuff and throw the rest aside, use reasonable cause in thinking, speaking and acting. Be aware that xenophobia exists in Thailand and that hate speech, some of it directed at foreigners, at you or me, is more easily stirred up than it is to quell. HEADLINES Comments to the editor via message to his Facebook page only. Alternatively contact personally to receive direct email
Prayuth Should Not Be Puzzled
Really sad or just pouting? Thailand's army chief recently lamented the army being criticized, defending inaction against the insurrectionists by claiming they are acting in accordance with democratic principles.
21 January 2014
The Korat Post Online - USA Server Served
Editorial - The Thai mindset never ceases to amaze. That the kingdom's top general could even entertain announcing in public that the Suthep-led and southern-supported insurrectionists are anything similar to democracy in action is phenomenal That he actually said it is itself sad. See editorial.
What do you say to a general, in charge of the nation's entire army, who tells us don't do this and don't do that, then tells us the anarchy going on in Bangkok these days is democratic? Certainly not a genius. General prayuth, bless his heart of hearts, has the nation's interests at heart just as do those who are now acting actively against them by impeding, as much as possible, the electoral process, the democratic process and indeed the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness process. The New Yellow Shirts, A Democrat-Southern Dissatisfaction alliance, have invaded Bangkok in the best tradition of localized colonialism and created havoc for the very people supporting them - Bangkokians!
We are creeping up quickly now toward the 2 February 2014 election date, and the nation is still uncertain whether there will actually be one to begin with, and if there is, how quickly it will melt away in the face of impracticality. After all, you can't democratically govern a country when its entire southern region has refused to vote, and adding to that, taken steps to make sure no one else in the area either votes or runs for office. So the prognosis for post-2 February is that elections will proceed but are likely to be either set aside or more likely, held in abeyance until some kind of interim compromise is reached. However, making even this alternative more uncertain is the PDRC/Suthep/Democrat/Southern alliance's assurances that it will do whatever is needed to ensure reform comes before elections. HEADLINES. EDITORIAL. Comments to the editor via message to his Facebook page only. Alternatively contact personally to receive direct email.
What Next For Nuts?
Apparently if extended public campaigns do not work, use your masses to kidnap public officials
. Welcome to Thailand. Photo courtesy MCOT.
15 January 2014
The Korat Post Online - USA Server Served
Editorial lead-in: Anyone wondering whether this man has lost his mind or not? Is he Thailand's latest version of the Supreme Leader, a person abandoning any semblance of legality and morality to suit his needs? It's tough at times to deny it.
Frankly it's getting difficult these days to think rationally given the extremist directions the anti-democracy protests in Bangkok have been taking as of late. As of yesterday, 14 January 2014 major public figures are threatened with possible kidnapping to force them out of government! What's next?
Another disturbing aspect of this threat, very viable given current madness, is that those who are held above all others to be responsible for public statements and action, the courts and revered institutions that include the Buddhist clergy, are totally silent about this kind of inhumane tactical dealing in the dirty Thai world of perverted politics. As well, why the international community isn't coming out with a decent statement condemning Suthep and crowd is revolting. HEADLINES. EDITORIAL. Comments to the editor via message to his Facebook page only. Alternatively contact personally to receive direct email.
Subjects and Democracy
hailand has been ruled under four separate kingdoms from Sukhothai, Ayuthaya, Thonburi to the present Rattanakosin where the Rama dynasties began. That stretch of dynastic history began in AD 1238 with Pho Khun Sri Indraditya (Pho Khun Bang Klang Hao), and has thus lasted for 776 years, and encompasses ten dynasties. While one can argue that under each a measurable level of development and advancement has occurred, but at the same time ancient traditions, always involved with social hierarchy and limitations on human freedom and freewill, pervaded daily life and personal concepts on rights and duties of the individual, the collective and the sacred institutions of the kingdom.
In later political development, the institution of the state became more formalized and from it came rules and practices for civil governance. The role and power of government, then, was and remains closely affixed to the dictates of the state. If and when the roles or powers of the two fall into contention, the fallout has traditionally fallen in favor of the state, largely through its intricate affinity with society where the individual as subject is defined and limited by the localized traditional roles of a subject in a given monarchy. It is important to appreciate the differences between a subject under a monarchy and a citizen in a democracy. In the former case, the Thai word for subject or citizen is either prachakorn or alternatively prachachon. The Thai Royal Institute defines each so closely as to exchange definitions but other sources occasionally delineate the differences to mean subject for the former and citizen for the latter.
It is in English that the differences then become vital as contemporary usage for citizen would involve only those countries without a monarchy, or republics. If monarchies then the inhabitants of the given nation are called subjects. The United States then must be seen not as a democracy per se, but as a republic. The pledge of allegiance makes this clear although the average citizen may understand that the country is what it is not – a democracy. The form of government may be democratic or possess most of the characteristics of a democracy but not actually be a democracy in the strictest sense.
The current political crisis in Thailand (as of this writing on 14 January 2014) is tainted with conservative, royalist and traditionalist fears that republicanism, as reflected in the 20th/21st century Red Shirt phenomenon, is targeted to remove the monarchy. This is a very sensitive issue and is enhanced in mostly irrational ways by its advocates. While there are certainly isolated corners among not just the Red Shirts but in limited other areas where the monarchy is seen as no longer needed for Thailand, most of the republican movement - despite its discoloration from contemporary Red Shirt leaders who clearly lack basic prerequisites for implementing and maintaining a national government or alternative form of state – is fine with the continuation of monarchy albeit in a modified form.
The anti-government lobby now holding Bangkok, and as a result, Thailand by the proverbial short hairs has the resources to shape a new government and organize a viable alternative to the one currently on the ropes. The question is, however, whether this lobby has the right to grab power as it has nearly done to date by virtue of any of several qualities:
1. Does it have the will of the majority of the Thai people behind it? This is in great contention. On the one hand, given the huge geographic and local demographic components of the protesters, it might appear that overall more sectors than not of Thai society are in favor of getting rid of the current government, itself seen as a dynasty unworthy of rule. On the other hand, continuation of what is seen as ancient rule of thumb rule based on ancient hierarchy precepts is also not seen as acceptable by the opposing lobbies whose constituents are part of the equation but seemingly impossible to quantify or qualify. Of the millions in this group, how large a proportion are they to the contemporary protesters? Are they able to make informed decisions on government in a responsible manner? The government opponent lobbyists argue no, that the latter need training and must be held from grabbing power until they are able to make reformed decisions.
2. The demographics are confusing but have been often cited as clear and distinct which they are not. For instance reformists (the anti-government protesters) claim that the population in the north and northeast where support for the current government has its roots is generally ignorant, under-educated, easily influenced by evil men and need an interim period of indoctrination before they are ready to vote in a proper manner.
3. Item 2 above brings up the argument of any moral imperative nature of such an opposition movement that claims to represent “the people” to overthrow an unjust government. Even in the Unites States at early stages of the republican/independence movement opponents to the crown were in the minority but were able to persuade fellow colonists that independence was the only alternative. Most of those who remained loyal to the crown felt that divorcing themselves would lead to surrender of protections and benefits largely associated with the British monarchy. There were, of course, other concerns just as there are in Thailand at the moment but overall the initial phases of the independence movement were largely governed by a minority of colonists – who were, allegedly, in possession of wiser judgment, more noble ambitions and greater moral fiber than the colonial government that then ruled.
4. Following this then is the issue of just what was the nature of the Thaksin Dynasty and what is the nature of the PDRC movement. One can ask what is the overall nature of support for the contemporary call for reform and is it intrinsically a genuine need that dictates temporarily or permanently putting aside others – such as voting – in order to be justly resolved, or is it an aberration founded in part of just cause but by nature merely another quick fix that will not lead to future stability and moral governance?
5. Intense hatred, pent-up anger and willingness to resort to violence if needed. The PDRC Reformists are not alone privy to these unpleasant human emotions but certainly the potential to direct them into violence should be observed. There are several citations from military and non-military observers that indicate the southern/Muslim composition of the opposition masses in Bangkok to be well above the 75% level. As stated earlier it is difficult to quantify several aspects of the movement. But from observations it is reasonably concluded that the largest share of activists involved as either from the south or are students who have a dislike for the Thaksin Dynasty.
The question arises as to where all this hatred and rejection of the Thaksin Dynasty came from. Was it the result of unjust, corrupt, prolonged self-interest that led to various huge financial losses to the kingdom and even more ignoring of human rights than in political dynasties past including the military, or was the hatred and determination to rid the country of Thaksinism more or less the accumulation of years of incitement and one-sided PR that was nationalistic in nature?
Thailand-based historians will not be able to produce a credible account of how this all began, why, who was responsible and the moral issues that encompass different political viewpoints in the kingdom. But Thai and expatriate experts some inside but mostly outside the kingdom are well capable of drawing a line from Point A to Point B and their accounts will make informative and interesting reading. And until the country’s unjust defamation laws are null and void, will continue to produce more victims of exercising free speech.
Wiggle Room and Revolts
8 January 2014
the Korat Post Online
That Thailand's Army chief general Prayuth Chan-ocha has once again failed to make a limp-wrist ed effort to ascribe even a modicum of support to the civilian government isn't much of a surprise. The Yellow Shirts, ultra-royalists, nationalists and fascists are all mad at him for not coming up with a reason for a coup already, while the Red Shirts are themselves rightfully uneasy that this could change at any time and the army could step in to take over the government again.
But Thailand itself is even getting sick of its own record, it seems. No one wants a coup. Everyone is trying to avoid one except hardline fascists who don't care what happens and just want another victory against a government that it feels does not listen to the people or serve their interests in any way. The plutocracy that is seen has also not shown a lot of sympathy for the people other than the usual lip service. One wonders in the moral sense, then, whether the army in fact does not have the obligation to take over and set things straight. Except it can't be done. Thailand will never be straight and never has been. Illusion after illusion has governed the kingdom for centuries, and those who benefit from seeing such illusions, or more accurately who benefit from others seeing them, do not want change.
January 2014 Countdown
7 January 2014
the Korat Post Online
Sewing up Bangkok and putting it in your pocket used to be a thing of imagination, perhaps a phrase a tourist braggart would use to describe a runaway spirit gone wild in a city of unrestricted pleasures. But today, just six days before the announced deadline of Shutdown Bangkok things seem to remain pretty uncertain. Will the government actually do anything to stop the illegal insurrection, or will it jut keep playing Russian Roulette with the tens of thousands of protesters to see how far things will go before they get really fatal?4
The kingdom's tourist industry is already feeling the shock of a clearly illegal occupation of state, private and public buildings and venues by the many who either feel or have been convinced to feel that the Thaksin-friendly government must be ousted no matter what the sacrifice. That the insurrectionists, yes that is what they are, insurrectionists, have been able to remain gathered for so long and with such determination does spell out clearly that things in the Land of Smiles are not, and frankly have never been, what they seem to be. It is not, either, that the protesters and their leadership are tired of illusion. It is another illusion, in fact, that they now pursue - the illusion of being able to reform the kingdom to bring justice and Buddhist ethics and morality and balance to all the country's institutions and its social infrastructure. The main method they are trying to use is ouster the existing cabal and put in their own, one of just men and women who are honorable and loyal and good and well-intended.
Such minions of nirvana will be chosen by insurrectionists, who have demonstrated little respect for the constitution and laws they accuse the current caretaker government of not paying attention to. In times past one of the main foundations of reform that this editorship cited as being necessary to really change Thailand to become a democracy, or at least a nation where freedom of choice actually means something, was for something worse that Thaksin to take over for a while to demonstrate relative evil. Hopefully the forecast was wrong, but for the time being it does look as if what is being offered has mostly pitfalls rather than merit.
Thai Civil War not likely...
4 January 2014
the Korat Post Online
The apathy-minded and empty-minded and the return-to-square-one minded features of this kingdom which was and hardly remains homogenous have begun making it relatively clear that civil war is not going to happen. Factors that lead to this conclusion include but are not limited to:
1. Funding and organization are not there.
2. Spontaneity needed for such an event is unlikely given the scope of national identity centered on royalty/loyalty and being Thai.
3. The upper crust of the Red Shirt movement does not have the talent to govern or conduct any such theater movement.
There is so much going against resources on the Red Shirt side that it seems appropriate to assume defeat for elections and democracy at this time and then to ponder, on that basis, what WILL happen.
No one knows for sure. But given the realities of the moment, as they appear, any of the follow could happen:
1. The insurrectionists lead the Democracy Monument, as announced, and head to take over Government House. This would be THE fait accompli of taking over the Thai government. The deed would be done.
2. Interim "People's Council" administrators, probably already being identified and chosen as we speak, are assigned to various posts. Some or many of these might well come from the Constitution Drafting Committee assembled back in 2006/2007.
3. The issue of legitimacy comes to fore. Thailand is not immune from being totally independent on a broad range of issues, and having to answer to anyone for what takes place in the country is certainly in this category. Official statements post-takeover might merely consist of blah blahs about sovereignty and dissing of international complaints, etc.
4. Now, the BIG Issue of promulgation of the new government comes to mind. We know what they would mean. So to avoid this embarrassment, the country might chose to merely abide by the reality and not make it official. There will be dozens of proclamations and legal papers and so on, but avoidance of admitting the extra-legal nature of the entire gestalt will rule.
Put this in your pipe and smoke it...
Xenophobia and Caution
30 December 2013
First, Happy New Year tomorrow evening. The Korat Post hopes that you and your friends and loved ones have an enjoyable holiday and entry into 2014. Drive safely and remain aware of surroundings. Don't drink and drive but assume that some others driving and coming your way are and take extra precautions
On to "remain aware of surroundings."
Given latest reports that Hong Kong has told all tour operators there not to see New Year countdown travel tickets to Thailand because of the ongoing insurrection and lawlessness taking place, a special note of caution might also be extended to westerners in general, but most especially Americans who may feel a need to be a bit vocal or get down and dirty with the protesters to find out what the situation is...
Generally speaking, it is probably safe in principle to be near protesters as long as they are not actively engaged in a standoff with others, it is worth noting that in the past a foreign reporters, Italian, was shot and killed and in the recent protests other foreign reporters have been roughed up or injured. The mood of the protesters is out and out one of anarchy. They have been so incensed and inculcated with hatred from back in 2000 when Thaksin first took power to today seven years after he fled the kingdom that they are not sensitive to any wrongdoing that they might commit in the name of what they see as "reform." This obviously means that if you are among the protesters you could be caught in the flow on the one hand or on the other, seen as an unfriendly and punished.
Currently Thai society is beset by two major forces - yearning for change and demand to use reason, versus demand for restoration of conservative royalist loyalty and conformity with preconceived notions of Thainess. Put more simply, it's a "Do it our way" versus "The monarchy and nation will be destroyed is you don't." There were, in fact, never any middle grounds in the conflict. For decades and decades the false doctrine of happy unity and monolithic Thainess has been drummed into the very soul of the average Thai to where he or she can no longer differentiate between what is legitimate thought and what is sheer stupidity. It sounds harsh to say so but when one tries to address the other side's complaints with its opponents there is an immediate recognition that the argument is being dismissed and what follows will not be given much heed.
There is also the ends and the means to consider. Suthep Thaugsuban, leader of the insurrection, and backed by powerful and well-financed Democrat Party machinery and southern region coffers, has absolutely dismissed any possibility of elections taking place as early as February 2, 2014 when they have been scheduled. He advocates reform of all basic assumptions on democracy in the kingdom until they meet his standard. With the deep intensive hatred that southerners feel toward Thaksin and his prime minister sister, and urban-oriented royalists from around the country, Suthep has poured further gunpowder on the ground and is not afraid to light it when it suits his fancy. This is what we must be aware of. He is ready to go down with the ship, but is confident that the ship is not going to go down.
Chaos Coming - Not Enough Now?
Just when you thought things might not get much worse after the new year, insurrectionist leader Suthep Thaugsuban promises a total shutdown of all roads in Bangkok and to hell with anyone except those supporting his noble motives that have totally destroyed any democracy ethic in the country.
The Korat Post Online - USA server/served
29 December 2013
HAPPY NEW YEAR? Imagine a tropical paradise run by an elitist cabal who have unleashed the dogs of anarchy and allowed a group of insurrectionists to take over the country's infrastructure. Imagine that it is only two days before the New Year clock strikes 2014 and the world is watching as opponents to the de facto fascist coup cower and traditional elites smirk, confident that the near future will restore the Old Order - relabeled with a "It's Thai Democracy!" sticker and proudly paraded for the opposite of what it is - murder of differences.
We can't hold the Red Shirts and anti-elitists totally innocent from a huge role in the current imbroglio in the Land of Similes (no typo). Their reservoir of talent includes some of the worst characteristics of the Thainess motif - condescension, aloofness, self-infatuation, dismissal of the rights of others to know, make inquiries and be told the truth...and add on to this a propensity to trust a leader and his appointed serfs who have direct connections to thousands of deaths in the kingdom relating to two major issues - the war on drugs and southern disaffection. As we listen to the calls by mainline Red shirt leaders it does not take an Einstein to appreciate that there is a lack of substance whether the other side, the Insurrectionist Fascists, at least have an argument to make albeit twisted and in many ways identical to the faulty ones they claim to be fighting.
Some have argued that Thai would be a wonderful place without the...but we will not go that far. A blanket statement like that might well be said of any country where the current culture has made a mockery of humanity. They say as ye sew so shall ye reap, a Biblical reminder that when you mess something up it is going to come back to bite you in the proverbial ass. And this time it has bitten Thailand deep and hard. This time the overflowing hatred and incensed determination to eradicate any supposed remnants of a hated regime wrongly perceived as being a byproduct of capitalism. In fact capitalism is being blamed, as it has been blamed in the past for causing Thailand present chaos and problems. But little has yet been said of the innate nature of Thainess, so inculcated into the social ethic for centuries, and of its role in the road to ruin.
Election = Southern Ejection?
With some democrats not running in 2014 ...Not certain, like everyone else, what will really happen between now and 2 February when elections are slated to go ahead. With PDRC leader always turning up the heat when he feels like it, will be ask for and get southern province cooperation to isolate itself from the kingdom even if temporarily?
The Korat Post Online - USA server/served
21 December 2013
South pause? Prognostication is not always a lot of fun. So why do it? Because we need to do need to look ahead in today's turbulent times to try to find out whether will be safe, even tenable, for us to continue staying in Thailand. That's the extreme side except for those who are not coming here now until the current political problems have subsided.
To date Election Commission officials and all caretaker government ministers, especially the Minister of Justice who recently assured all that elections would be held on 2 February, have expressed confidence but also said in a footnote that if registration of candidates were made impossible through protests or other means then the election date may slip. Given the extent and strength of anti-government protests from early November to today, can observers give credence to government claims that there will be no slipping of election date?
Follow the Money Trail
The Democrat's/pseudo-resigned Democrat leader Suthep Thaugsuban demonstrated astute awareness of diplomatic niceties by inviting the foreign diplomats in Thailand to their insurrection stage. No great crowd showed up. This is the coalition that is going to save Thailand from corruption.
The Korat Post Online - From a USA server
19 December 2013
Funding for criminal activity is a serious business these days with information technology and legal statutes binding shut one loophole after another. The regulations make it much more difficult to hide money, amounts, sources, payees, dates of transfer, association of the funds with vested interests including politicians and political parties. Thailand's election laws leave a great deal to be desired in dealing with misuse of money for elections, but it is gradually adopting more modern measures and probably, in our view, within twenty five years will catch up with today's international standards in the area.
That said, even "as we speak," the Department of Special Investigation, one of the special police agencies that insurrectionist Suthep Thaugsuban wants to dissolve, by the way, has its eyes on the protest leadership. The DSI is seeking evidence and witnesses to determine whether or not the country's election laws have been violated. We add to that the need to check money laundering laws as well, which will probably be done anyhow. The possible links between the Democrat Party and its members in the present revolt against elected democracy is not an unlikely reality. It is viewed, in fact by many as immature to think there is no connection. The question is the nature of that connection and its contribution to funding what is basically a vested interests citizen group revolting against the central government.
The nonsensical claim by "still Democrat?" Suthep and his stage hands that Thailand needs reform before elections can be allowed to take place, and on top of this, publicly announce he will not let them take place, is tantamount to bragging about stupidity. Of course his rationale is relatively sound - if elections are held, and there seems to be a 51-49% chance they will, another Thaksin-friendly government will once again dominate Parliament. OK. That will and does make the Elites and ultra-royalists very unhappy. They don't want to be unhappy. They want back in. Front door or back door or side door. Whatever works.
It is a very weak argument that everything that happened from around two or three months prior to November that high level members of the Democrat Party did not conspire to implement a last-ditch plan should things continue deteriorating for the Democrats in Parliament. The party organization knew that it would be able to call upon southern constituents to join in a pro-Democrat mass movement in Bangkok. It knew that for such a protest would need extensive planning, that certain party members would have to officially Pontius Pilate themselves of party connections to provide even a modicum of claim that they were no longer associated with the party. All of the elements for criminal conspiracy are present, we believe. Wikipedia's definition of criminal conspiracy is worth noting here: "In criminal law, a conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to commit a crime at some time in the future. Criminal law in some countries or for some conspiracies may require that at least one overt act must also have been undertaken in furtherance of that agreement, to constitute an offense. There is no limit on the number participating in the conspiracy and, in most countries, no requirement that any steps have been taken to put the plan into effect (compare attempts which require proximity to the full offence). For the purposes of concurrence, the actus reus is a continuing one and parties may join the plot later and incur joint liability and conspiracy can be charged where the co-conspirators have been acquitted or cannot be traced. Finally, repentance by one or more parties does not affect liability but may reduce their sentence."
Can anyone still believe that the Democrats and coplotters are innocent of conspiracy?
18 December - the day the Vice President does not work.
Joe Biden lost the two most cherished loves of his life in an automobile accident 41 years again in a pre-Christmas shopping tragedy. He has not worked on December 18, a week before Christmas, since then.
I have never been personally touched by the horrible tragedy of a moved family member, let alone two, being taken from this earth according to God's Will as He may take into his arms, but my most beloved, my wife of 45 years, was.
We were in Iran at the time where I was working for an Amnerican contractor. The mail came in one day with a letter in Thai addressed to my wife. I was in the office and had always had permission to open mail before coming home to see if there was anything important that I shold call her about. I opened the envelop and began reading (my Thai was not in the shape it is toay so reading was slow) and as my eyes slowly passed from one line to the next, I became aware of a spine-tingling sadness and shock. It could not be! I said to myself.It could not be! I left the office immediately, not saying a word to anyone, and drove to our company home, handing her the letter and trying to hold back tears even as I do today well over thirty years later. Memory does not serve me as well as it did, but it was sometime in the early 1970s.
My wife read the letter and then it fell form her hands onto the floor, and for the second time in my life I watched this paragon of strength, this person who is always strong and unshakeable, who never cries, break down and weep uncontrollably. The letter was form a family member telling us that he brother back in Thailand had been hit by a drunken driver while walking alongside a road only a couple of minutes from the house, and killed.
Thai culture treats death and dying, tragedy and celebration differently than we do in the west, understandably. But people are people, the high and mighty and the low and destitute. The death of a loved one - a child, a spouse, a brother or sister, a loved grandparent, strikes a special etching in our hearts in a divine script that reminds us of the temporary nature of this journey we are all on. Why do we need reminding? Is it God that makes such decisions or has He also in His wisdom left it to random chance in another freewill demonstration of grace?
We cannot second-guess God and His actions. Well...we can but it is a fruitless and frustrating exercise. We are not God but I have my own personal belief that in us God instilled a communion with Him that is always open but not always used. In our times of grief only the one given cause to grieve can understand the nature of whatever channel of communion with the Maker that we have.
Can Intense Animosity Be Bridged?
Royalists all Square off against one another.
17 December 2013
The Korat Post Online Editorial - brought to you from the USA and USA-located server
There is one truism in the conservative Thai claim that you have to be Thai to understand Thais and what is happening in the kingdom - but that truism has never been credibly discussed let alone proven to be true, possibly true, perhaps true in some degree...and it's that last one, true in some degree, that a reasonable mind, one absent of decades of inculcation of nationalism and self-love, may likely be able to really understand Thainess, Thais and developments in Thailand.
There is an old saying - "He's gone native." In Thailand that would be synonymous overall with a foreigner who dons native clothing, lives in the village or absolute Thai environment, speaks and acts like a Thai as much as he or she can, and then claims to understand Thai culture. This may be the only kind of foreigner not able to understand Thai culture and in the larger scope, Thainess. This foreigner has become mesmerized by the attractions of Thailand, the people, food, culture, and not least of which, year-round really decent if not often too hot weather. He or she has lost much of the ability to cast a discerning eye on environment, personalities, events and history to determine factual differences between good and bad, between destructive and non-destructive. It's a bit of a harsh judgment but one worth considering, particularly if you are a foreigner and discerning and want to more deeply understand the Thai culture and that illusive falsehood accepted as Thainess.
At this time we are experiencing the aftermath and current turmoil resulting from the kingdom's arguably first-ever "some of the people's coup d'?tat." Note that the Wiki article linked here cites a likelihood of civil warn should such a coup not fail or succeed fully. We are a bit more reserved on this conclusion given the nature of Thai culture, but do agree that the potential for civil war does exist, if at least to a slightly lesser degree than Wiki indicates. The phrase "some of the people" might well be applied to the US Revolution against England, where some of the colonists were very much against rebelling against the crown. However, most colonists and their leadership had legitimate grievances and felt that the only way to right them was to declare independence and then, to fight for it. Most were not under any illusion about the consequences of their actions - there would be blood.
That is something that rightfully concerns all sides in the current Thai political imbroglio - how to avoid any more bloodshed than has already been spilled. The military, traditionally hardly shy from stepping in to break potential civilian confrontations up in the name of national security, are still remaining relatively neutral. Why? Part of the explanation is historical, and recognition that past coups carried out for these reasons have led to more misery than anything else. It is also internationally embarrassing for the kingdom to face continual global notice that the country is using its 18th constitution and still can't get it right. Secondly, on the civilian side, it only takes someone who is totally removed from reality to maintain that there is no class warfare going on, that the intense divisions between regional vs. urban populations on the one hand, between Buddhist and Muslim, between northeast, southern region and central region politico-ethnic Thais are creating havoc and further hatred among different classes and even more unsettling, among different academic and political groups in the kingdom. Can long-established but repressed divisions be cured by modern day Thainess?
We are not convinced that everything will end up on the rosy side, but also not convinced that they need to lead to ruin, either. A civil war in Thailand would be ruinous to the nation's image, perhaps the most sacred psychological icon the country is seemingly always concerned with, arresting and denouncing those who publish factual events but in doing so let the proverbial cat out of the bag. And even those embedded in the annals of Thainess with unflinching confidence in the sanctity of real Thainess and real Thais are a bit concerned that the country is indeed now face to face with the sins of its fathers. There is so much denunciation of politicians buying votes and political parties using money to garner position and power, and basically nothing said of the Thai culture that makes all of this so easy, so simple and so unaccountable and untraceable.
This leads, then, to the issue of reform in the country, the current clich? that took over earlier meaningless words like reconciliation and unity. What is reform and is it possible? Reform can be defined as - to put or change into an improved form or condition, to amend or improve by change of form or removal of faults or abuses, to put an end to (an evil) by enforcing or introducing a better method or course of action, to induce or cause to abandon evil ways such as to reform a drunkard. Also, etymologically speaking, reform - any proceeding which brings back a better order of things. In Thai, according to the Royal Institute dictionary, "[-ÃÙº, -ÃÙ»Ð-] Ç. ÊÁ¤ÇÃ, àËÁÒÐÊÁ, àªè¹ »¯ÔÃÙ»à·Ê ¤×Í ¶Ôè¹·ÕèÊÁ¤ÇÃ ËÃ×Í ¶Ôè¹·ÕèàËÁÒÐÊÁ; à·ÕÂÁ, äÁèá·é, àªè¹ ÁÔµÃ»¯ÔÃÙ». ¡. »ÃÑº»ÃØ§ãËé ÊÁ¤ÇÃ àªè¹ »¯ÔÃÙ»ºéÒ¹àÁ×Í§. (».). Unofficially translated, this reads as appropriate, suitable, worthy, false, fake, not genuine such as friendly reforms, to reform to make appropriate such as to reform the country. Thus there are several nuances and meanings depending on context. In the current political debate in Thailand context, we tend to view reform as used domestically to mean make changes to an existing process to make it more compatible with an acceptable consensus of pressures. This is true Thainess. There are no necessarily legal, moral, ethical or other guidelines that apply - what matters is consensus so as to be able to restore a previously misconceived and still accepted quality known as reconciliation - the Thai way. The only thing that makes the Thai way THE THAI WAY is the Thai insistence on it being so, not by innate reality. Humankind is not that different in most aspects from one another in the political sense, and claiming otherwise only gets in the way of real reform.
"Convicted? - "Then Kill 'em!"
On John Bachelor a few moments ago at the time of this writing, a disturbing parallel to events in pre-1940 Germany and 2013 Thailand was mentioned: "They believed they were a master race." Indeed, when class division and innate condescension combine, a nation can fall.
The Korat Post OnlineD - USA server/served
15 December 2013 EDITORIAL
Pontificate..."..to speak or express your opinion about something in a way that shows that you think you are always right."
BANGKOK, 15 December 2013 - Editorial commentary inserted into the following article from the Nation–
Evil men often do not understand their evil, and worse, often do not care.
Politicians convicted of corruption should face the death sentence or life imprisonment and those convicted of vote-buying should face a life-time political ban, the People's Democratic Reform Committee proposed yesterday. People who attended a forum to discuss political reform at Thammasat University yesterday also suggested that politicians who face charges not be allowed to leave the country. They also said a minister of defense must be military officer and to protect farmers' interest, representatives of farmers and rice millers should sit as members of the National Rice Policy board.
Editorial comment: It would have been much better to have said that corrupt politicians should face a life-time ban. With the kingdom's most severe crime, lese majest? under Article 112 the preoccupation of the century and the angst of the righteous, matters like rape and murder, drug addition and sexual prejudice and domestic violence are all being put on the back shelf by some imagined myth that Thailand's problems with elections and governance have anything to do with corrupt politicians. Even Suthep understands, if he were to be asked to be honest for a moment, that dishonesty is one thing, conviction another. He has vacated the proverbial chair before to avoid charges and never really bothered to open up his diary and account books to show how honest he has been to date. Now he and his ilk want to kill dishonest politicians. How about just killing dishonest people? Oh, wasn't one really angst SOB recently sentenced to the slammer for some fifteen years or so because he was attempting to commit wrongdoing? Now that is preserving the public interest!
Other proposals include that MPs should be limited to serve only two terms. The National Anti-Corruption Commission must give priority in investigating cases against politicians and corruption cases should not have any statute of limitations and that Election Commission members must be replaced every time a new general election is called. Meanwhile, Supreme Commander General Thanasak Patimaprakorn said he wanted to see the country quickly return to peace. Since the election date had been set, he hoped concerned people could find ways to ensure free and fair election. "It is true that Rome is not made in one day, but by the time it is finished, there will be no people to live there," he said. Suthep said he understood that prolonged struggle for political reform would affect the economy, and that people were waiting for the military to make a decision. But the people had decided to choose by cutting a vicious circle from Thai politics.
Editorial comment: Over and above the nebulous Rome metaphor and Suthep's little commentary about the people waiting for the military to take action - the people Suthep likes - the reference to the people he makes is a self-delusional lumping together of Thailand's entire population to represent the 150,000 or 500,000 protesters the Democrats/ex-Democrats have brought together with promises of perfection in future and ability to cleanse the soul of even the most corrupt among us. That is pontification.
Suthep urged the military to side with the people adding that the best way they could lead the country out of political doldrums was to make the caretaker PM step down. "The people have awakened and if state officials stand by the people, the matter will be put to rest. If you make a quick decision, the people will hail you as the people's heroes,'' he said. Thanasak said although police and military officials had been instructed not to use arms against the people, he worried that that third ill-intentioned group may take advantage of the situation to create a scene. Suthep insisted that before the general election is held the caretaker government must step down to pave way for an interim government to run the country temporarily while the people's council must be established to implement reform. He vowed that after the reform is completed, he would wash his hands of politics.
Editorial comment: Number one: No meaningful reform will be completed, not in the way that a reasonable, sane and balanced mind would reform. To keep insisting that Santa bring more presents - that the military step in again and steal yet another right to political freewill - on the part of Suthep is at once dangerous and foolish. It is dangerous because there is indeed a potential for military intervention. It is foolish because if it were to occur, the only accomplishments would be to further relegate Thailand on the international state to a banana republic sans republicanism, embellish the egos of those now ransacking the country's goodwill, and moving the democracy clock back another century.
Caretaker education minister Chaturon Chaisang said at another seminar to discuss political reform that proposals by the PDRC may take a long time as they would require changes to the charter, such as a change the current election system of one man one vote; and other moves to combat corruption, set up an interim government, and establish a 400 member people's council. Chaturon said for the country to achieve true reform, it may take more than one year but the PDRC wanted to reform the country first before a poll. "I believe the PDRC's proposals would lead to a bigger crisis because of public opposition so I propose that the country hold a public referendum with more than half of total eligible voters to find out what the public want,'' he said.
Editorial comment: The idea of a public referendum is a great notion but has traditionally been mismanaged in Thailand. People of like minds crowd out those who think differently, make speeches and force through yet another invalid national charter. If divergent pressure groups continue to behave as in the past, and there is little reason to believe they will not, then the only result of a referendum can be a repeat of past mistakes and a gradual subsequent build-up of tension and injustice until yet another crisis occurs.
Former Democrat party list MP Ongart Klampaiboon said the Democrats would not attend the reform forum organised by the caretaker PM today. He said the forum was just a round of drama without sincerity from the government and the party didn't want to be a rubber stamp for the government. "If we allow the general election to be held without reform, we would fuel the political temperature and one day it will explode," he said. Meanwhile, caretaker Foreign Minister Surapong Towichakchaikul said more than 40 countries had voiced support for an election. He said in an address broadcast by the Thai TV Pool that those countries included the US, China, Russia, and European Union countries.
Editorial comment: Such a spurious statement from an entrenced royalist/loyaist/nationalist/anti-democracy advocate is hardly surprising. While there is some merit to the idea that not taking care of what needs addressing will lead to greater problems in future, it is also true that today, yesterday's future, is today because of the failure of the likes of this Democrat to reformand to effectively push for reform. He should ask himself what is it in Thai culture that makes it not only so simple a matter to buy votes and pay bribes, but that makes people so willing and able to sell votes and demand or accept bribes? The laws of supply and demand are prevalent in this current ciisis. HEADLINES. EDITORIAL. Comments to the editor via message to his Facebook page only. Alternatively contact personally to receive direct email.
Is Stealing Legitimacy Legitimate?
Sometimes it takes a very determined man to move the mountain. But is it the right move, and after moving the mountain, what of the human sacrifices that made it possible? Use mouse for rollover showing a lady "Dr." (PhD???) saying democracies do not need elections!!!
11 December 2013 -
the Korat Post Online - USA server/served See today's editorial:
The Ruling Class vs. referendums..
In Thailand things will go along quietly for a while, then out of the blue bang! and then everything is every which-way, protests are held all over the country, the TV is full of angry people telling lies or other inaccuracies against one another, and whether the country is being governed by anyone is a major question of the moment. For the unfamiliarized observer who wants to have a better view of what is going on in the kingdom, might we suggest the following websites and blogs, Facebook presences, etc.
Prachatai English Thai
David Streckfuss - FB
Rachaprasong - FB
Political Prisoners Thailand PPT
The Korat Post FB page
Angry or Mad?
Suthep's incessant references to a People's Council is exactly the same phrase used in the past for egomaniacs to seize power and destroy whatever little freedom was left in a nation before they took over. Such moves are often made with absolute resolution that political reform is needed, but also too often with the realization that for one's needs to be met, others must die. This is the fear today that Suthep and those who helped him in his crusade have unleashed upon the people of Thailand.
10 December 2013
the Korat Post Online - USA server/served
Editorial Not sure if the phrase, "You have to hand it to him..." is applicable now in Thailand's current political chaos. It's ormally associated with someone achieving an honorable end through perseverence and hard work, through application of justice and good judgment, using his skills as a facilitator to bring others into an honorable resolution of problems. OK. By now even Suthep has to admit that he does not fit this description.
HEADLINES. Comments to the editor via message to his Facebook page only. Alternatively contact personally to receive direct email.
9 December 2013!!! or...?
Photo courtesy Manager Online. Will Suthep still be smiling at the end of today when his day
of confrontation enters darkness and what will be has been?
9 December 2013
the Korat Post Online - USA server/served
Editorial To be or not to be, that is the question. Indeed. Will Thailand's political landscape today take a definite turn to the right with a firm denunciation of the principles of free elections as it certainly appears about to do? Even armchair prognostications are leaning further back in their chairs today as we witness a declared "Oregon or Bust" wagon train of anti-"Thaksin System" (AKA 'election results we can't control') public 161 resigned Democrats (literally and figuratively), up-country "urban scholars" and dissatisfied state enterprise workers by the thousands call for another day of services shutdowns in a final call for the Shinawatra machine to "get out."
If we were asked, our prediction today is that because of the behind-the-curtain power discussions that have taken place already among the real wheeler and dealers, including Thaksin, here is what may happen today:
1. The Yingluck government steps down. The problem is who will really become Thailand's spokesman? Suthep? Someone from an unexpected source, perhaps a newly-established council organized by basically traditionalists?
2. The Yingluck government does not step down, but continues without an opposition party in Parliament. This is something the Red Shirt TV anchors are hawking, with only a partial tongue in cheek. It is difficult to see how this solution would be viable, even for a very brief period, but stranger things have happened in Thailand in the past.
3. The king actually uses a royal imperative he spoke of in the past, at the time indicating that it was within his power to do so but not necessary. Thaksin himself is gone, but his progeny continue to occupy the government. Fundamentalists are demanding a shift back to the old ways. Will this imperative thus become the only viable option given Thai culture? HEADLINES. Comments to the editor via message to his Facebook page only. Alternatively contact personally to receive direct email.
Tourists(F) 200B(T) 40B
Trat officials have suddenly clamped down a 200 Baht diving fee for foreign tourists and a corresponding 40 Baht fee for Thais. The trend of the Thai state has been in recent years to emulate western municipal governments' taxation policies which eventually causes business ed and tourists to leave and residents to move elsewhere.
6 December 2013
Is what is usually called DOUBLE PRICING a legitimate way of getting money from a group of people because they are not Thai? And, it's often much, much worse, when double in fact means triple, quadruple and even multiples of five or ten, and in more local contracting matters where the foreigner and Thai women married to foreigners are often more likely to spend big, it's a rich man (wannabee) world. Right? See Wiki article on price discrimination here.
Wiki reports, "Price discrimination can also be seen where the requirement that goods be identical is relaxed. For example, so-called "premium products" (including relatively simple products, such as cappuccino compared to regular coffee with cream) have a price differential that is not explained by the cost of production. Some economists have argued that this is a form of price discrimination exercised by providing a means for consumers to reveal their willingness to pay." Not quite sure what this last grand opportunity to be divested of even more money than one intends is such a positive market strategy, certainly in the ethical sphere. And this is, perhaps THE singular area that Thais might be found to be erring in - an ethical violation by charging you and me, the gringo and the multitude of non-Thais who visit and even live in the kingdom a discriminating price because we are seen as able to afford it.
If we view "the situation" of price discrimination ala Thailand form the other angle (theirs) we can see that in Thailand basically every man for himself and who can get what should. Each time you, the foreigner, are confronted with this seemingly unfair system you need to understand, deep down, that it exists because of an entire cultural ethic that hails from centuries in the past and is not going to pass anytime soon.
Suthep Marches Forward
Intercession from above, resignation, physically forced removal or sudden twinge of
conscience - what will solve the current imbroglio first, and forever? Read editorial.
5 December 2013
From the Nation and other sources.
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej celebrated his 86th birthday today, seemingly tired and of course, if he was age and the many demands of his position and needs of the nation have weighed on him over the years. Perhaps also distracting all of us is the specter of tomorrow's opening dawn when protests against the current democratically elected government, spearheaded by Suthep Thaugsuban, are due to continue. Just when will the crisis end and to twist the knife deeper, does Suthep not need to resort to violence - via proxy? HEADLINES. and EDITORIAL. Comments to the editor via message to his Facebook page only. Alternatively contact personally to receive direct email. see
Reds Safe , Buddhism Not
This calligraphic Buddha from a local book cover reads, from top down, ya hen kae tua, "Don't be selfish." It seems that most people in Thailand are hardly paying attention to the advice.
4 December 2013
Insurrection it is, without a doubt. The only thing that separates the Democrat Party in Thailand from dissolution is the Amazing Thailand way of demanding receipts to prove corruption. To date, over t he last forty plus years of association with the kingdom, this writer has yet to see one solid case where such a receipt has ever been present. Thus it is relatively easy to conclude that no such receipts will ever be presented. Is it in the interest of crooks to do so? Of course not. Why then does Thai society insist on perpetual lack of transparency and resultant lack of accountability? For a country claiming to be Buddhist and selling one kind of magical religious talisman after another to make money for "knowledgeable" hawkers, it is only logical that its religious roots would some day kick in and cause bad people to become good. Right?
Buddha had his own doubts about that, and Thailand quickly answered them. Buddha who sought his own enlightenment and taught others to see their own maintained that one of the most serious challenges to enlightenment was corruption from within the religion/philosophy he founded [followers and the Sangka]. In fact, it is important to separate those two words as they do not mean the same thing - philosophy and religion. Subsequent to Buddha's passing, many of his followers and claimed advocates fell into the trap of making, or trying to make, a religion out of a philosophy that was intended to be personal - with direction and constraints of course, but still personal and as a result, democratic and based on personal choice, personal guidance, personal realization and personal actuation.
Those who in the past ran affairs of state and those who run them today took a voluntary independent philosophy and made it into a state religion first, then put their fingerprints all over Buddhism, corrupting it and as a result, helping to corrupt those who thought they were practicing Buddhism or who perhaps more often were pretending or deluding themselves into believing that they were following the Middle Path.
Thai culture, microcosmed in that ogre Thainess, believes that the Middle Path is something like don't go left or right or back or front but keep rationalizing off one thing as it appears to self against others and at all costs survive and benefit self from whatever it is possible to benefit from. The kingdom's Ministry of Culture and the constructed Supreme Sangha took over a movement Buddha strived to kick start and made it a state enterprise where wearing magic talismans, repeating honorable Pali phrases and dumping millions of Baht into the latest garish temple is something the right thing to do.
Luang Pho Phut, former abbot of Watpa Salawan and founder of the Wat Wa Phukaew forest temple outside of Sikiew on the mountains, said and taught that a practitioner or devotee does not need to enter any temple at all, but could better avail self of the doctrine and practice of Buddhism by employing that singular temple that all of us possess and do not need to go anywhere to find - self. Luang Pho Phut's faith, belief and lifelong practice of these fundamental genuine Buddhist principles led him to become a highly honored figure and wise leader. But that did not prevent his own temple, after he passed away, from what even more famous northeast abbot Luanta Mahabua came to call a "practicing temple that has become a toilet in fundamentals." Sex, alcohol, drugs, prostitution, false teachings, hatred, lies, deceit, corruption, threats to and lies about foreigners, all this took place...at a formerly highly respected temple that was allowed to fall form the path because of selfishness and greed. HEADLINES. and EDITORIAL. Comments to the editor at email@example.com
For a guy who swears onstage he has had enough of politics and wants to end the current Mexican Standoff with a stubborn Pheu Thai administration, the former Democrat Party Deputy head is making headlines as he leads a takeover of government complex.
3 December 2013
Suthep and crowd have been given the keys to police headquarters in a really strange, to many, "ending" to that particular standoff. People fully expected some kind of violence given the unrelenting pressure by the antigovernment squads to push through a successful insurrection. Now, is committing treason forgivable, and because it likely is not, there is a strong argument that Suthep and others will not ever face a serious sequence of evidence and witnesses that would hold up such a charge in the Thai courts. It is more likely that if and when he is ever tried (currently rather slim) that it will be a lesser charge, possibly Article 116 of the Criminal Code, which reads, "Whoever makes an appearance to the public by words, writings or any other means which is not an act within the purpose of the Constitution or for expressing an honest opinion or criticism in order: (1) To bring about a change in the Laws of the Country or the Government by the use of force or violence; (2) To raise unrest and disaffection amongst the people in a manner likely to cause disturbance in the country; or (3) To cause the people to transgress the laws of the Country, shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding even years." So under this statute he would be in for up to seven years more or less.
All things otherwise being equal Suthep is possibly not likely to face a day in court over what happened if developments keep plodding along as they are. Questions to ask are how many government offices can be given up, how long can the government and protesters maintain their pace of protest vs. the government's considerable many options to let one apparent protester victory after another will put up having to give up reins of government. Predictions are hazardous. Right not the momentum is with the protesters and Suthep, but time is on the side of the Yinguck government.
Women's Underwear 'R' Lowly Things
In what has been cited by cultural extremists as really insulting to Thailand's northern culture, two Thai ladies having fun with lanterns expose the fleshless and cause havoc among the thought police. No problem They apologized, but the good people of Thailand must admit that they crossed the line with this distasteful admission that Thai women are prone to wearing underwear. Use mouse for rollover image of Red Buffalo, another unique elitist perception.
2 December 2013
Just why would an activist for gay and transvestite rights campaign against a pair of women's underwear and a bra floating up into the sky aided by a traditional hot air balloon more often identified with popular cultural ceremonies? Does the action of denouncing the two Thai ladies involved not bespeak of something else and not merely some imagined affront to Thai northern culture as charged?
There are all kinds of loose nuts floating about in the global social void society seems spaced out in these days, but sometimes one of them goes a little too far and calls the very essence of sanity into question. They would have us redefine sanity and measure if by their standards. Now the reasonable human being is not against a couple of people having fun, and this time it wasn't stupid foreigners sitting on a Buddha and then taking the photo to the local shop for enlargement. No, this time it was a couple of Thai women who very likely wear that lowly piece of garment generally included under the label 'underwear' to poke some fun at nudity...apparently. The photo depicting the lantern rising into the night sky, taken from a scene that is part of a locally made movie spoof, seems clear to the Middle Path rationale that the stunt was carried out because it was cute to see nudity without the nude body visible. Cute not in the sense of a sexual deviant or social outcast, but just because one could see no wires and it was 'neat.'
So we have a cultural policeman, holding his standards as The Correct Standards, bringing two young women to their lowly knees and profusely apologizing because unless they do so they were will beset with some of the most foul-mouthed accusations and horrid innuendo-filled labels that "correct" Thai society can amass. If you don't believe it just read, in Thai, some of the social comments that appear on the web pages of such publications as the Very Yellow Manager Online.
While today we watch the best (really worst is the correct term) of Thailand's latest anti-government groups coalesce around any remaining bastions of democracy to bring down the existing government and install the one they like - and to Hell with what you like! (if you don't like you can get out of Thailand), we can reflect on the fanciful officialdom that the culturally correct in Thailand would have us preserve throughout Eternity. That harsh and oppressive reality is really the reality that the country does not need. With all the faults "the Thaksin System" is alleged to, and in some cases does, have, even if it were all true, it is more than even money that it is needed as a fulcrum to wrest power and influence out of the hands of the hidden elite who would forever keep it. Thaksin's "system" will not last a thousand years - the one here, the one now, outside of politics but in the culture, has already done so. It is time for change.
Hardly lilly-white, this "gentleman resigned from official posts in the past to avoid corruption charges, not, as some suspect, to avoid corruption. Now he lectures to us...
Shot Dead - in the Back
Amid turbulent emotions stretching across the Thai kingdom, five students at Ramlhamhaeng University in Thailand are wounded and another killed in violent pro-anarchy demonstrations. Photo from Matichon Online.
1 December 2013
D emocrat deputy or ex-deputy (legality of resigning from his party to take part in trying to overthrow an elected government may still be a subject of debate in the courts) Suthep Theurbsuban's efforts indirectly may have contributed to at least two deaths yesterday in Bangkok as "bring 'em down or else" anti-government mobs finally got a taste of blood, albeit from another well-known violent faction in Thailand - students.
Victory Day, today 1 December 2013 has been declared by Suthep. Not many are really sure what he means and his enigmatic mile-wide smile dispels any evil plans one might have imagined. But from the real death (s?) that took place yesterday in Bangkok, it is evident that many Thais hate one another with murderous passion and that a large violent sector of Thai society will not put up with any more of what they perceive are wayward loyalties to the "Thaksin System." To be sure Thaksin himself is safely ensconced abroad, watching from a distance as supporters of his "system" joined with supporters of real democracy battle inculcated ancient prejudices against criticism of certain subjects and enforced loyalty to traditional social hierarchy.
Will today indeed become Victory Day? At the moment it's difficult to tell. The numbers are not good for democracy advocates whether they are in the Thaksin camp or elsewhere. There are approximately 75,000 Red Shirts gathered at Rajamangala stadium in Bangkok at the moment, versus the estimated 750,000, more or less, royalists, loyalists pro-Democrat Party pro Yellow Shirts and ultra nationalists who are freely seizing buildings and making anarchy look almost...like it's fun. The widely respected Ajarn Sulak Sriviraksa appeared on the Blue Sky/anti-Thaksin channel yesterday to advocate for peace and reconciliation but left no doubt that he felt Thaksin was bad for the country.
Thailand's current imbroglio is convoluted, especially for its yearning pro-freedom masses, foreign observers and even the hardline royalists because feelings are so marginalized. The "Can do no wrong" mentality has been stretched to include anyone who demonstrates or even commits violence on behalf of sacred institutions or supposed sacred principles. The traditional faction in Thailand has increasingly acquired, justifiably or not, among some quarters the reputation of being fascist. In fact this very wide faction of Thai society is indeed extremist and dismissive of reason and mercy when it comes to making sure that reality does not become too free for their tastes - and as importantly, for the tastes of those who have been "running things" for a long, long time. While abhorrent, the problem is indeed to do in part with potential anarchy as well as loss of power belonging to traditional power players. HEADLINES. Comments to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
res ipsa loquitur
Now it's a clear no- choice choice - either them or us! . Thailand's Democrat Party leaders have now made official what was unofficial - they are supporting the protests and will now make it formal. Suthep also loudly reiterated, "There will be no discussion or talks." Graphic - the Korat Post Online.
29 November 2013
Korat Post Online (See Korat protest video here-Youtube)
I n case you had any doubts that the Democrats in Thailand were lilly white in their protestations against the current "Thaksin System," yesterday's announcements and likely today's developments will remove those doubts. Democrats have formally said they will join the anti-government movement which has become a combination of civil disobedience and unlawful conduct. Just yesterday protesters cut the electricity to Thailand's national police headquarters in the center of Bangkok.
First, there is a divergence of opinion on the Thai political situation. A decision to call it the Thai rather than the current Thai political situation was made because what is happening in the kingdom is a direct result of injustices in a class-saddled society prior to 1932 when the country was ruled as an absolute monarchy and after 1932 when it ostensibly was suddenly transformed into a constitutional monarchy that year in a coup against the power of the monarchy. Today, 81 years later, and reversing the digits 18 constitutions later, the meaning of the word 'constitution' seems never to have been accepted by those who rule in Siam/Thailand. The current mass anti-government protests were always incited by continual injustices but this time around the blame is clearly being directed at a nonchalant corrupt government led in fact by the former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted in a 2006 coup. The constitution he was elected under was shredded and not so strangely another version, this one crafted through the fingers of the military and traditional loyalists, was pushed through. That is the version now being pooh-poohed by somebody who "just doesn't get it."
Get what? Can rebels without a cause (Rebel Without Cause), alluding to the feelings of estrangement in a microcosm of society back in the mid-1950s, here in Thailand really identify what the real cause is and then properly learn how to resolve differences to avoid such continual social unrest and growing hatred of one class against another, one movement against another, one person who is different from another? There have already been brief flashes we have seen of Red Shirt protesters being grabbed and forcefully shaken by loyalists to the ruling elite of the country on the one hand and a pipe dream absence of corruption and long-accustomed selfishness on the other. These flashes show the deep degree of hatred and intolerance that is present in Thailand and directly contradicts the long-established, official policy and "ideal image" that Thai authorities across the board in all classes push.
At the very core of the present unrest is a problem with 'Thainess.' The inbred love of self, displeasure with the other self or others that challenge our indoctrinated beliefs and prejudices...all all part and parcel of a phenomenon or so-called nature of Thai society that belies the truth about it - that in fact Thai society is similar to all global societies and is not a perfect example of how mankind should maintain governance and social justice. There has also been a huge sell-out in the kingdom against its claimed national religion - Buddhism. A religion that teaches so much about not being selfish and not thinking or doing wrong...why are these teachings almost always abandoned in favor of "getting what I want, what I deserve?" HEADLINES. Comments to the editor at email@example.com
Thaksin's System - An Oxymoron
Pulling victory and success out of a hat isn't all magic, but more trickery if anything. Being able to draw something out of nowhere is a trait that Thais have unknowingly been adept at for generations, and suddenly, those who most benefit from this trait find that someone who refined it to a degree never before seen has become a constant burr under the political saddle.
26 November 2013
Editorial - Korat Post Online
T haksin Shinawatra is widely accepted, by both coalition government and its opponents, as having a heavy influence on decision making in Thai politics and government administration. The problems is, however, that most people are citing the "Thaksin system" when all the former premier may have been doing was practice an old art form in the same way that Tiger Woods cranked up the skill level in the world of golf.
This editor met Thaksin just once, exchanging a brief greeting as he arrived at Korat's Wong One after flying up to the Gateway City in an F15 ostensibly, he said, to see where the country was spending its military budget. My impression of him was that he was extremely adept at judging people from initial introductions, and a quick thinker, much like a master chess player who takes a look at another board in progress and sees the End Game as a matter of course. Having watched, and earlier participated in media coverage of protests in Thailand, and having some personal familiarity with some of those who surround Thaksin - from his Thai Rak Thai days - I am coming to the conclusion that while Thaksin is at the center of attention for allegedly conducting his system of "ruining and exploiting" Thailand, in fact he is more worthy of recognition for what he has done and continues to persist in doing not because of who he is but what he is. And that is...?
Thaksin, in my mind, is the culmination of moral and ethical loopholes in Thai culture and society that permits the individual and influential social organizations to simultaneously function and prosper while being either accepted or tolerated. The degree of selfishness and lack of overall moral and ethical fiber in the country are part and parcel of the ambience that Thaksin grew up in. He was undoubtedly afforded continuous opportunities to achieve what he has, but much of that arose from people who look out after Number One (themselves) first and then latch onto the guru or rabbi closest or most dependably who can keep delivering what they need.
Of course this kind of opportunism, this casting of morality and ethics to the wind is anathema to the budding or established ethicist. It is repugnant to take such gross advantage of our fellow man to exploit his propensity to be selfish so that we can personally benefit from how naturally people seem to do what is best for themselves. In principe. The Old Teachings, most based in earlier religious and philosophical writings and individual mentoring are becoming a thing of the past. We don't ant the Old Ways - which are not, by the way, necessarily the way we think we have been living. As a society and vested interest groups we delude ourselves too from believing that the status quo and "the way things were" is the best for us now and in the future. Even in the past they may not have been, but the glory of self-adoration and patting self on back is a terrible little bug that man seems so smitten with.
If it's not a "Thaksin System" we are truly faced with, then, it's much worse and much more difficult to deal with. If it's a society-wide issue, in part based from centuries of careless disregard for doing the right thing (paralleled by an equal time in undermining Buddhist teachings that inculcate the opposite of the way people tend to act, what are we to do? Getting rid of the so-called Thaksin System won't get rid of the Thai way, or Thainess. It is perhaps these two that really needs to be addressed. Write to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org Ed. Comments are welcome.
Is Dispute Resolution the Key in Thailand?
There are somewhere between half to one million protesters gathered in Bangkok to demand the ouster of what they have been told and most accept as a puppet government serving the interests of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Is it time for a professional peace maker to step in? Can he? Photo courtesy the Nation.
26 November 2013
Korat Post Online Editorial
D ispute resolution is the art of bringing together those with divergent opinions to achieve meaningful and just compromise and restoration of conditions to where life can go on as normal. The problem in Thailand currently is that those who are at odds are also at far edges of opposite universes, with one generally benefiting from traditional ways of doing things and those who want to get rid of the old ways and live as empowered human beings. That's the simplistic argument. What is really going on in the Land of Smiles?
The idea that at the real heart of the unrest in tolerant, friendly, entertaining and wonderful Thailand is an ugly perpetual reiteration of history of class division and rule by an elite overlordship that will not allow its ancient grasp on power relax out of personal fear and loss of power is repugnant to the incidental observer of Thai politics and social movements. Thailand promises and usually delivers initially, and for many, a long-lasting promise of enjoyment and pleasant memories. In contrast, as in any society on the earth, when one experiences real life and begins to meld into social strata, some ugly truths raise their heads and unpleasant realities set in. This is especially sad in a nation, like many, so full of promise. The Ah Kong death, a needless tragedy (are not all tragedies needless?) dispelled to realists and the acquainted many that in Thailand things are not as rosy as they are painted. The resultant pulls at conscience are uncomfortable.
More at Headlines. Editorial. Also write to the editor at email@example.com Ed. Comments are always welcome.
Back Then and Here Now...
In 1973 Thai students led a mass anti-government movement to throw out a dictator. He left but came back after three years,
forgiven by royalists and military. In 2013, mass rallies staged by royalists and conservative Thais demand yet another government step down. Will their demands be met, and are they just?
24 November 2013
Editorial Government sources are saying silly things like "There's 60,000 of them maximum," but from the looks of things they seem well over 100,000, perhaps climbing toward 200,000. The protest leaders, a mixture of royalists, loyalists, pro-military and anti-Thaksin, maintain they will reach their stated target of one million. That's a big number, and while doubtful from common sense that that many people can actually be brought into play, there are possibly enough already to maintain enough pressure and prompt enough concern that either the government will decide to dissolve parliament and hold new elections, or some sort of royalist advisory or even violence may result. No one knows exactly what will happen.
The status-quo factions that cherish the old ways and unchanging institutions, loathe change and those promoting it - notably modern activists and Red Shirts. Their concerns are exacerbated by an unparalleled level of corruption in government, making any argument in favor of change totally alien to those wanting a return to the old ways. The tradition gate keepers and unsurprising number of supporters gathered in Bangkok are demanding the government resign, ignoring the deep rooted corruption within Thai society that undermines politics, religion and every single organization in the country. To get rid of the rotten urges to cheat, steal, kill, hate, drink, rape, gamble and bribe or take bribes, a burnt earth policy by some off-planet omnipotent power would be needed. That is not going to happen.
At this point we are placing odds at 70/30 that any change that is forced with only be a mask and more problems will ensue. Predictions? 1. Even with prolonged protests, currently growing numbers of counter Red Shirt protesters may help swing support and attention toward interim promises that will not likely be kept. 2. Protests do work and force dissolution of Parliament. A new mass voter turnout which would reflect in fact one of the accomplishments of divisiveness in part created by Thaksin and his policies results in a coalition government with no particular party having the kind of majority that Pheu Thai now has. This would then mean more functional democratic parliament. 3. If the situation gets out of control and violence does occur or matters otherwise develop to the point where old machinery interests are involved, they may direct the military to intercede once more.
Can An "Old Yeller" Coup Work?
Old Yellers, faithful, loving, loyal, willing to serve...can they do what the military usually has to be tasked with? Overthrow yet another elected government because of corruption originating not in politics but from root fibers of society?
23 November 2013
Editorial OK. In Thailand not too many political leaders, state employees and private interest groups run around showing receipts for bribes they paid or were told to pay to get anything from their car fixed to a new car - courtesy of state coffers. True. And corruption right now in the Land of Smiles is rampant and undermining the country's ability to do something it has always seemed to have difficulty doing - govern. Each time corruption becomes the dejure "reason" for getting rid of yet another group of bloody louts the Thai military has stepped in, either on the periphery or right in the smack middle of things, to rip another constitution to shreds and come up with yet another document that is destined to face the same fate.
Old Yeller was a movie that hit the theaters back in 1956 (57 years ago!) and is essentially about a boy and his dog and how the relationship between the dog and family raising it led to loyalty and love, frustration and eventual deep sadness. No one here is doing anything other than citing this movie for purposes of illustration that the faithful have reasons for being faithful. In Old Yeller's case, by nature and upbringing in staying with the family he learned his role and abided by it. That this role was also the reason for his painful death later was one of the points of the movie production that wringed hearts and helped make this movie a legend.
Loyalty is not always what it appears to be, often taking on the guise of a jealously-guarded role that deems any other way of loyalty as disloyal. This, in some sense, describes what it taking place in Thailand today and what has always been taking place. Loyalty to democracy is an emotional byproduct of extremists; to them democracy is fine - in its place. But in Thailand there is no room for THAT kind of democracy, only "Thai" democracy. The falsely unique nature of Thailand, Thai society and Thai institutions is cited as THE generally unappreciated raison d'?tre. That those who object to this false rationale DO understand and DO appreciate the falsehood keep objecting to nonsense and criticizing what borders at times on insanity is an ignored hint to Thai society that it is itself corrupt and not the "enemies" it seems to conjure in times of frustration.
Today the question is whether yet another coup will take place in Thailand - the last one engineered by the military (and unnamed amat/power players) having occurred in September 2006. At that time a new constitution, under umbrella of hardline traditionalists and military, was drafted and passed the next year. That constitution is now at the center of a significant first-ever debate between two of Thailand's main branches of government, the judiciary and the legislature. The latest battle on this was the Supreme Court's determination that the Pheu Thai coalition government could not alter the manner in which senators were chosen. The Thaksin-guided Pheu Thai factions want all senators elected - traditionalists and "Old Yellers" want the portion that already exists to remain appointed.
After the Supreme Court issued its decision, Pheu Thai leaders quickly denied the authority of the court to so rule. According to them, the legislature makes the laws, and if altering provisions of the constitution to allow for an entirely elected senate was its goal, then it was entitled to so act. This position is untenable to the "Old Yellers." They are filling Bangkok's streets now and hope to be able to draw the country's government to a shutdown to the point where it will resign en masse or preferably in their collective mind, will fall victim to another military coup. Just how far this political/cultural tug of war will, and can, go before the military does step in is highly questionable at the moment. Over the last half decade or so, Thaksin's factions and supporters have made significant inroads into the country's law enforcement and military ranks with shifting of officials, replacements, bribes and more. Whether it has now been enough to preserve the union as it is and keep a democratically elected government in office is THE question. Headlines. firstname.lastname@example.org Ed. Comments are always welcome.
ICJ Nixes Hopes/Fears
The International Court of Justice today, 11 November 2013, issued its judgment over the claim and counter-claim by Thailand and Cambodia as regards sovereignty in areas near the temple. Definition of promontory provided.
11 November 2013
Editorial The World Court, of International Court of Justice today, having announced its decision regarding uncertainties and disputes between Thailand and Cambodia that built up since the original 1962 ICJ decision "awarding" the Khmer sanctuary to Cambodia, reiterated a principle of lack of response means agreement. Unfortunately this principle is also applied in many other situations, an old one involving this editor back in the 1980s. Then the Arabian American Oil Company was being bought lock, stock and barrel by the Saudi government, and the company at the time circulated a letter to all foreign employees that they needed to sign a document attesting that they either resign or if they continue to come to work it would mean that they agreed with the new terms of contract work that would be created by the new ownership status. So the same thing: don't sign or don't reply but stay here it means you agree.
In the case of the Phrea Vihear temple, however, neither Thailand nor Cambodia is going anywhere. But the ICJ seems to have applied what this paper feels to be an illegitimate principle by insisting that Thailand's failure to reply to earlier conditions and opportunities meant that it agreed with conditions that were unfavorable to it. One could easily argue that the ICJ does not have the moral authority to render such a decision. In the age of contract and reconciliation of disputes, the intent of both parties to abide by certain agreements must stand paramount. In the case of the Khmer sanctuary, prior to 1907 the demarcations then agreed to between Siam and Cambodia were the watershed line of the Dangrank mountains in the area. Yet for some reason, no one seems to know why, maps used after 1907 showed the sanctuary in Khmer territory where previously, according to the watershed lines, it was mostly in Siam.
Headlines. email@example.com Ed. Comments are always welcome.
Sisaket 'Cuban Missile Crisis"
Use mouse for rollover. Photos show interior of 30,000 Baht bomb/missile shelter built by Sisaket resident in anticipation of imminent hostilities breaking out between Cambodia and Thailand over the 11 November World Court decision on Khao Phrea Vihear sanctuary jurisdiction. Photos courtesy Manager Online.
8 November 2013
Our editor and founder was in Western New York back in the Kennedy Days during the Cuban missile crisis. He sees close parallels between measures taken by a few residents along the Thai-Cambodia border who have spent considerable sums in taking measures to prepare for imminent hostilities that some feel will soon break out between Cambodia and Thailand. Generally, however, it is widely accepted that such hostilities are not likely but that local sensitivities and activities may cause some unrest.
The Tomcat Cliff area addressed is right in the eye of the storm, and while local rumors in part indicate that some villagers on the Thai side might try to take steps to approach areas near the sanctuary that are prohibited to civilians, it is more likely that the local Thai military forces will be able to intervene successfully. So there is a lot of bravado involved in such so-called network claims that they will go in there and do it for the nation and so on. More real is the fear itself, though, that causes local unrest on the part of people who have been involved in a war situation in the past when such hostilities did break out.
Congressional Bill H.R. 1917 Lift Cuba Trade Embargo Now Circulating
In mid 2013, a formal bill was introduced into the US Congress to lift the embargo against Cuba. How do you feel about this? To lift or not to lift? Graphic [eyes modified] courtesy of ttnewsflash.com
5 November 2013
Editorial - take a break from current Thai political upheaval and ask a serious quest ion...
Cuba has been a bit of a problem for Washington even before the Spanish American War. The island nation, which was involved in a close nuclear confrontation with the United States back in 1962, is an inherent part of Latin America. Do you feel the decades-long US embargo against Cuba should be eliminated, or continued? This last May H.R. 1917 was introduced into the United States Congress to lift the embargo. How far will that bill go and should it get anywhere?
See Congressional link to the bill here. Latin America isn't anything to snivel at. Not that long ago Washington publicly stated that it was really interested in a reapproachment with Latin and South America. Of course the Establishment does ot like independent Chavez-type leaders who don't like US politicies and do things about it that we, as the US, cannot stop. That's not kosher so we boycott them or otherwise try to isolate them "on behalf of the world community." Not sure where the US got the impression that it speaks for the world or that the world wants it to. Well, on the latter we are pretty certain The World DOES NOT want the US to speak or act on its behalf. Such arbitrary actions, born out of Exceptoinalism and Proxy-by-Israel, are still getting us into trouble and will continue to do so until we get a handle on our own destiny and tear it away from hard-core extremists in Tel Aviv or New York, more the latter. firstname.lastname@example.org Ed. Comments are always welcome.
Has Halloween Caught On In LOS?
31 October 2013
The question is a bit tougher than initially thought. After all, in a kingdom where superstition is rampant and belief in ghosts and spirits is so widespread, can a secular holiday like All Hallowed Even catch on with neighborhoods stocking up on sweets and scary decorations like they do in Walmart-ridden areas of the United States?
Speaking of back in the US of A, many Americans are wondering whether President Obama's special Halloween present to the American people, the failed and criminally expensive healthcare website, is an ideal gift in the eve of the nation's scariest holiday (other than April 15, tax filing deadline). Was it wise to slam this burden on the American people and will the gross error tell its own tale in reduced Democrat victories in 2014 and 2016 elections?
How Much Is Official Malfeasance?
Several areas of the famous Khmer sanctuary district of Korat remain flooded and residents, including civil servants, having to use water transportation.Use mouse for rollover. Photos courtesy Manager Online.
Korat Post Editorial
31 October 2013
The only ones not looking to the left and right to find blame for Thailand's horrors in national and regional flooding crises after crises are those responsible for it - contractors, planners, builders, greedy vested interests, corrupt officials, selfish home and land owners and others, some with grand dreams of national development all being credited to themselves in their pursuit of lining pockets and exploiting Thailand's traditional lack of transparency,lack of accountability and lack of information.
As to the latter, lack of information, the trend has caught on worldwide, especially to the shores of the United States that used to have some semblance of transparency and accountability. No more. Listening to President Obama yesterday saying, paraphrase quote, "I take sole responsibility for doing what it takes to get the problems with the website fixed." This editor is unsure what taking responsibility means these days, at least to officials who don't take responsibility. Taking responsibility used to mean stepping off the podium, stepping down, quitting, taking some punitive measures like outside agencies or special investigators dropping by to find out, from an honest viewpoint and without interruption from internal vested interests, what really happened, how, who is responsible. And then, when they find out, someone gets fired. That's the way things used to be, or at least, used to be imagined to be.
Today, under the current administration which just happens to be Democrat but it doesn't matter, we see lips moving and no action. We see personal assurances of being responsible without any demonstration of responsibility. Should Obama quit? Perhaps not, but his minion, Kathleen Sebelius, should. She does not work, like she thinks, just for a president who won't fire her. She works for the American people. Politicians today have forgotten that important fact and what it means. Her apology to Americans was not even remotely sincere, read from some notes that a staff member gave her to mimic. Disgusting and worthy of getting her butt kicked - out. Headlines. email@example.com Ed. Comments are always welcome.
CNN says it was 187-3, Cuba's official headlines put it at 188-2. Does kowtowing to futility work,
even for the world's only remaining pair of political Siamese twins? Use mouse for rollover to see
PRESIDENT Ra?l Castro Ruz received on October 15, 2013, Dr. Tabar? V?zquez, former President of the Oriental
Republic of Uruguay, who was visiting Cuba.
Korat Post Online
30 October 2013
Frankly, visiting Ernest Hemingway's old hangout would not be the only reason this editor would like to visit Cuba. Just a short distance from the coast of Florida, the island nation has seen egg thrown in the face of its Yankee neighbor this year for the 18th consecutive year as the UN voted 188-2, more or less, to condemn the American embargo against the communist state. Memories of the Cold War and still smoldering anger or domestic political pressures from Cuban immigrants and political opponents of the regime there?
With the Unites States at least paying lip service to a new regional policy of cementing relationships with Latin America, Cuba is in an ideal geographic position to prove the point and drop the embargo the US has had in effect for nearly half a century. Such a move would not make the Cuban die-hard anti-Castro anti-communist lobby happy, but would go a long way toward warming hearts of the entire region, save some in Venezuela perhaps, that the American giant is sincere in playing equality with its much smaller and weaker neighbors. But what the recent UN vote has revealed is a portend of bad things to come, with the US and Israel, two never-give-up Middle East quagmire allies, consoling one another over this embarrassing defeat. But defeat does not mean anything if it does not mean anything. A vote is a vote and sure, we'll go through another one like it last year, but it is notable even to Washington Stink Tank planners that our position toward Cuba is untenable and unrealistic.
Cuba is full of promise. A proud and historically rich culture, physical proximity and strong centralized government (remind you of Washington these days?) the potential for business, tourism, economic, cultural and educational development that enriches both the United States and Cuba is plain and clear. The benefits for dropping the embargo and in declaring Cuba an old and renewed friend would go a long way in helping to convince not just our Latin American neighbors, but many, many Americans that our foreign policy is heading, at least in one case, in the right direction and there is hope on the horizon. . firstname.lastname@example.org Ed. Comments are always welcome.
Government Spy-proof Internet Now!
Commotion and Several are only two applications that offer facility to be online without state interference. You need line-of-sight (dish) communications.
Korat Post Online
29 October 2013
Government belongs in and on my computer, home or personal life just like skunk cabbage belongs in the family salad - it doesn't! The question used to be how to avoid it. Now answers have arrived. The lie in the way that line of sight communications was first established and continues to work in the world of satellites and microwave.
What’s the Commotion? More accurately, what’s ‘Commotion’ and how does moving from wire mesh era methodology to wif-fi mesh help you stay out of Uncle Sam’s reach?
It’s hardly a Shakespearean “Much Ado About Nothing.” In fact, ‘Commotion’ and other line of sight telecommunication meshes (in this article meaning independent internet networks) are relatively simple methods that 2001 Space Odyssey author Arthur C. Clarke described. He predicted and suggested satellite communications well before writing the epic novel, outlining systems that would work in much the same way that we are today reviewing utility of establishing a permanent Moon communications base and network. The difference between contemporary Internet and this independent mesh - which has replicates in different countries - is that essentially neither the government nor others is privy to what is transmitted between them. This is just one way that privacy-minded netizens are finding to avoid unwanted and unjust snooping by their government, and it is said to work!
The technology is, as mentioned, rather dated in simplicity but still works well. It’s the same line of sight technology that ground-based stations use to broadcast and receive signals from similar stations. And it’s the same between ground-based stations and satellites. Mesh dishes are lined up to send and receive and do so with basically little or no interference from snoopers. Such spies would have to be able to be at the same exact receiving point used by the subscriber. This is usually not viable. Obviously users have to be living in countries where such communications and associated equipment are not prohibited or outlawed – this is an important point given the increasing inroads that even governments in so-called democratic or “free” societies are making against freedom of expression and personal privacy.
Do these meshes really have subscribers and are they getting protection and satisfaction? Apparently so. In Spain there are said to be over 20,000 users all happy and operating in privacy. email@example.com Ed. Comments are always welcome.
US Spying Is MAD; Allies are Mad
Is there no limit to the audacity, indeed, the trite baseness, of American government today? Listen to this editorial in audio format on Youtube here
Korat Post Online Editorial
28 October 2013
Anyone who thinks Edward Snowden is anything less than a hero and deserving of a constitutional pardon (court-ordered) needs to reflect on how the American government is screwing over its own people, and everyone else in the world, through relentless information prying and unwarranted spying.
Just what is taking place inside the United States these days, and beyond its borders stretching around the world is shocking, repugnant, illegal and unwarranted - unless you intend to overthrow all landmarks enshrined in the United States Constitution and take over the government in a way that kills freedom in the Land of the Free forever. This scenario is no longer just a peripheral cacophony from the gun-toting left and right, but seems more and more a sign of the times. The American government is finally taking some heat from angry European allies like France, but perhaps more emphatically Germany which is sending a personal high level delegation to Washington to ask Obama "What the hell is going on with you guys?" A bit more diplomatically, perhaps, at least in the public media. Europe has been quick to reinforce the impression that America and Europe are still in love and arm in arm, but how can the revelations that the US administration has tapped and taped European leaders' phones and other conversations and data? And where does that leave the peon American citizen faced today with increasing inroads into his freedoms by government gone wild?
As an American citizen this editor does not plan to divest himself of US citizenship, but it is easily understandable when I say that I do not want my damned government in my affairs, I do not want my damned government prying into my business or my communications or my financial information. Not unless it has a legitimate reason, and that rationale was done away with a long time ago even prior to the reviled Patriot Act.
As an American living abroad, I now have to take whatever personal steps I can to keep US government spying out of my affairs. Writing more frequently online and to my congressmen is called for, but so is advocating for changes to the way American officials do their jobs and how they harass, demean, violate and denigrate their fellow citizens. If society itself were not becoming atavistic as it is there would be no problems like this. But today we have hundreds of thousands of people, many in high positions, who have absolutely no moral scruples or ethical standards that could hold a hair when compared to decency and common sense. MAD? Of course! Editorial. firstname.lastname@example.org Ed. Comments are always welcome.
Spying Without Limits?
The US Spy Machine
is now seen as overworking against
Americans and allies. Complain to the NSA here
Listen to the following in audio form here
. Also on Youtube.