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"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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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. email@example.com 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. firstname.lastname@example.org 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. email@example.com 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. firstname.lastname@example.org 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. . email@example.com 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. firstname.lastname@example.org 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. email@example.com 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.
As evidenced from the administration and administration officials over the last six years or so, there has been an increasing move against privacy, any kind of privacy, against anyone's and everyone's privacy, by US government agencies and the Executive Branch, and under the Executive Branch's guidance, even the Congress and the courts? Is it fear from real threats America faces - say nothing of those within that are at the core of this rationale - or has the US government itself now become lock, stock and barrel THE Threat the rest of us have had nightmares about?
Many Americans, and sadly not just most, are today very alarmed at the nonchalant dismissal by our government and our state agencies over spying allegations against us as a society, as individuals and as collective resources for engineering yet further inroads against our freedom, against our way of life, against the nation we in and out of uniform fight for, die for, work for, and advocate for all our lives for. What has our freedom gotten us if it is the unrelenting and unaccountable, unbridled power of our government and individuals within it to exercise any kind of personal discretion deemed appropriate at the time to spy on not just American citizens but America herself? From protector to predator? Is that what our government has now become, a predator and we who believe in, who cherish, and hopefully, who will once more demand freedom we have become the prey? Of course this is not Nazi Germany. Not yet. But it is well past 1984 and the further past 1984 we get the more our state apparatus, under the guise of elected legitimacy, the more our leadership seems to be able to get in removing our sacred protections of freedom from local, state and federal statutes and encapsulating our restrictions and yes, now imprisonment, in a series of federal statutes and Executive Branch orders that both court and congress have embraced directly or indirectly. September 11, 2001 was certainly an event that was in part made possible because of our traditional freedoms - of speech, or travel, or thinking. But to engineer the kind of change needed to totally prevent any such recurrence, it appears that our elected government has collectively decided that you and I no longer need to be guaranteed anything. Edward Snowden scratched the surface of this inroad, and what limited access he had to NSA's machinery, he became alarmed and determined to let us - you and me - know what our government was up to and how dangerous it was. In response, Snowden, not the government, is proclaimed our enemy - he is an enemy of the state as Spencer has described the State - but hardly an enemy of you and me. Our enemy is elected. It needs to be replaced. In 2014 and 2014, just get rid of them all at the ballot box and vote in a friend and neighbor that you know you can trust. The people "serving" you now can't be,
Korat Floodwaters Receding?
26 October 2013
Photos courtesy Manager Online. Photos (use mouse for rollover). Local resident in Korat indicates still-present flooding in his neighborhood. Rollover images shows governor of Korat, Vinai Buapradit, far left, behind Thailand's "Plod," Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi.
Transedited from Manager Online (Original Thai article) Editorial Hit-and-miss (mostly the latter) predictions by municipal officials in Korat assuring that this year there will be no more flooding in the municipality, at least, have been disproved time and time again because of two essential factors - rain and topography. See our editorial for comments on the combination and where Thailand went wrong.It is also recalled from many previous reassurances from the then and the current Lord Mayor of Korat that he "guarantees no more flooding." The shocking aspects of such assurances and impossible promises is not that they are never kept, but that they cannot be kept and because they are empty and impractical, should never have been cited. But reassurances are of the things dreams are made, apparently, and thus self-proven to be beneficial although they are definitely not. What is causing flooding besides deforestation? Two major things: unwise design and construction, and major society-wide corruption and abuse of the environment by vested interests. Two easily-solved issues...or not?
Phrea Vihear - "To be or not to be?"
Thai Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul. Photos courtesy MCOT. See editorial.
22 October 2013
Khao Phra Vihear (several spellings in convention), the World Heritage site that used to be in northeast Thailand but is now held to be in Cambodia, once again comes to the headlines as the World Court is scheduled to rule on several points of contention over the Khmer sanctuary on 11 November 2013.
Back prior to 1962, Thailand then held back from timely response and study of the implications of its problems with Cambodia over the famous Khmer sanctuary, not responding to a deadline. As a result, the World Court turned the tide against presumed ownership by Thais and declared the temple to be in Cambodia. This verdict severely hurt Thai pride, but did little to resolve the country's habitual indecisiveness on issues not related to opportunities connected with corruption.
One of the kingpin arguments Thailand hopes to win this time is to reverse the ICJ decision of 1962, sort of like Bobby Ewing waking up in the shower to discover that the past several years of his life were but a dream. Unfortunately the Dallas-style writers used for TV are not the ones doing the judicial script. Thai hopes are hopes, and over many occasions they have been peddled as sure fire things and not just hopes, resulting in huge international disappointments. To be straightforward, the upcoming decision on 11 November could reverse the situation and award the ruins to Thailand. This is not likely, but could happen. More likely is some kind of temporary stay by the ICJ who may indicate that Thailand's claims re. the 1962 agreement are at least of some merit and require time for study. But even that may be dreaming. Odds are against the Thais, period. MAIN PAGE firstname.lastname@example.org
|Financially unviable! - not only Thailand's high-profile high speed train infrastructure, but the kingdom's past attempts at getting Ayutthaya to be named as 2020 World Expo site. Reason given for the failure? "the Thai government failed to support the bureau with necessary information about the the project’s financial, legislative, organizational and diplomatic aspects, the Bangkok Post reported on June 12." Sounds familiar. See full Investine report.
Is The ISA Move Just an Act?
Anti-government protesters gathered under elevated highway in Bangkok who are against the current Thaksin-directed Thai government. They are said to be largely organized by the opposition Democrat Party.
19 October 2013
he Thai government's extension of the Internal Security Act (always a useful tool in so-called and self-proclaimed democracies having trouble with feisty protestors) was not altogether a huge surprise. The pro-Thaksin government and its movers recall just how they were treated while in opposition - but don't always recall it in a public manner that reflects the actual record. I
nternal security in Thailand has been a way of live well before the kingdom's 1932 People's Party coup that attempted to bring about a complete reform from absolute to constitutional monarchy but which is viewed as having failed in an alarming manner in so many aspects. During the Cold War Thailand was used as a pawn and buffer against communist inroads into the region and internally, used its own people as pawns and buffers against social change that would ever bring about real democracy, the kind that always experiences challenges but where the government fears the people and not opposite as it is and has been, and threatens to remain so.A
solution to Thailand's "problems" with always forestalling grassroots and high-echelon changes in governance that would bring about democracy? Sondhi Limthongkul. the fiery now-careful orator and media baron, and former business partner of the banned prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, says he recommends that Thailand be properly organized (read, orchestrated) by the military for at least five years until the old school of crooks die off or get bored of politics and then new honest candidates for office will rise. A pipe dream at best. It's deep corruption in the Thai ethique, to coin a new word. Thai society and Thai people, as wonderful and as charming and as talented as they are in so many ways, are as corrupt as the sweetest apple eaten from inside by dozens of worms. Unfortunate but a reality. HEADLINES
. EDITORIAL email@example.com
|Financially unviable! - not only Thailand's high-profile high speed train infrastructure, but the kingdom's past attempts at getting Ayutthaya to be named as 2020 World Expo site. Reason given for the failure? "the Thai government failed to support the bureau with necessary information about the the project’s financial, legislative, organizational and diplomatic aspects, the Bangkok Post reported on June 12." Sounds familiar. See full Investine report.
"It'll Reach Nong Khai!"
Possibly the expected huge back and forth travel between Nong Khai and Bangkok that will (?) come about as a result of tens of thousands of tourists and businessmen will justify the high speed train project's rocky road to success. Perhaps, and perhaps not.
15 October 2013
Thailand N ong Khai has been the subject of much adoration, most of it from the Tourism Authority of Thailand and either vested interest of superstitious locals, who hold that the Lao-bordering province is gifted with magic Naga fireballs and is somehow (it was published in Money magazine!) the 7th best place in the world to retire to.The frequent government reassurances on the imagined necessity of a high speed rail system for Thailand is perhaps one of the most shameful aspects of what has been come to be deemed as the Thaksin grandiose schemology for Thailand that will, coupled with massive corruption, bankrupt Thailand even more than it is already bankrupted. The government has skillfully been working, apparently successfully, to obtain local and regional support for the high speed infrastructure. Ask any Thai about the projects and you are more often than not likely to hear, "Man, I really want to get on that train!" So would I. And if you like technology and comfort, convenience and speed, so would you. But we are not talking about the positive aspects of the project - we can hear more than enough of those from the government and project supporters. What we cannot get is enough, enough facts and comparative analysis that would undoubtedly show the project to be a bust. Part of the rationale for proceeding is the concept that Thailand will become a regional transportation hub. So what does that mean? A regional hub will ostensibly move international arrivals and related commerce to and fro. Will a high speed rail system help to this? Only in part. Thailand is not in a position to outspent neighboring countries in an effort to reach economic and global reputation dominance - even in image only. Thailand does not have limitless resources. HEADLINES. EDITORIAL firstname.lastname@example.org
|Financially unviable! - not only Thailand's high-profile high speed train infrastructure, but the kingdom's past attempts at getting Ayutthaya to be named as 2020 World Expo site. Reason given for the failure? "the Thai government failed to support the bureau with necessary information about the the project’s financial, legislative, organizational and diplomatic aspects, the Bangkok Post reported on June 12." Sounds familiar. See full Investine report.
Ubon Prisoners Demand Ice - Back!
13 October 2013
Ubon Central Prison yard, near where prisoners recently protested against having their ice and cell phones seized. Photo courtesy of Manager Online. Use mouse for rollover.
Thailand O ne of the entitlements while spending extended periods of time in prison here in Thailand, apparently, is to be able to obtain and retain narcotics to help pass the time away more according to the style one has become accustomed. This was, at any rate, the image recently painted in Ubon province where Central Prison inmates protested against, and this is not a joke, their ice being seized. The narcotic ice is extremely dangerous and potent, in addition to being highly addictive. A full description of ice is shown in the link provided, but some of the side-effects need to be listed here for good measure. They are:
Ice is a street name for crystal methamphetamine hydrochloride, which is a powerful, synthetic stimulant drug. Ice often appears as large, transparent and "sheet-like" crystals but may also be colored (often pink, blue or green). Other street names for ice include "meth", "crystal meth", "shabu" and "glass".
In 2004, 3.2 percent of Australians aged 14 years and older had used amphetamines for non medical purposes in the previous year and over 38 percent of this group reported the type of amphetamine they used was ice.
Ice use among injecting drug users increased from 15 per cent in 2000 to 52 per cent in 2004.
In 2004, 63 per cent of a sample of people who used ecstasy had tried ice at least once and 45 per cent had used ice in the past 6 months.How is it used?
Like other methamphetamine's, ice is usually snorted, swallowed or inserted anally. It is also smoked or injected, producing a rapid onset of the drug's effects. Smoking or inhaling ice has become more common in Australia in recent times. Smokers use a glass pipe, while others heat the ice on aluminum foil and inhale it ("chasing"). Ice is usually sold in "points" (0.1 gram), due to its high purity.What are the effects of ice?
The effects of any drug (including ice) vary from person to person, depending on the individual's size, weight and health, how much and how the drug is taken, whether the person is used to taking it and whether other drugs are taken. Effects also depend on the environment in which the drug is used - such as whether the person is alone, with others or at a party. Ice is a potent stimulant drug, which speeds up the activity of the central nervous system. Although few deaths have been reported in Australia as a direct result of using ice, it is considered more addictive and is associated with more significant physical, emotional and social harms than other types of amphetamines.The physical effects of ice may include: Dilated pupils
Increased breathing rate
Tremors of the hands and fingers
Increased blood pressure
Increased body temperature
Rapid and irregular heartbeat
Permanent damage to blood vessels in the brain, usually associated with very high doses (in extreme cases death may occur).Ice can also affect a person's behavior, including: Increase in physical activity
Restlessness and anxiety
Aggression, hostility and violence
Elevated mood and feelings of euphoria and wellbeing
Talkativeness and repeating simple acts or tasks
Impaired judgments making the user impulsive and leading to chronic insomnia
Abrupt shifts in thought and speech, which can make someone using ice difficult to comprehend
Paranoia or panic attacks associated with hallucinations
"Amphetamine psychosis", which users of very high doses may suffer, with symptoms resembling paranoid schizophrenia.Longer term use of ice may result in: Severe depression
Heart-related complications (heart attack and heart failure have been associated with chronic use)
Decreased appetite leading to possible malnutrition and rapid weight loss
Lung and kidney disorders that may prove fatal
Dental problems (from grinding teeth) Withdrawal
Some people experience withdrawal symptoms once they have stopped using ice. These symptoms may include: Severe depression
Long periods of sleep
The limited ability to experience pleasure
Extreme exhaustion can follow binge use of methamphetamine thus creating an overpowering need to use more of the drug." The above should serve as a warning to guardians and those who suspect friends or family members may be using icea. It is unsafe and leads to destruction, just as most other commonly used narcotics in illegal or immoral contexts. That prisoners in a central prision have ice at all, and that they want it back after it was seized, calls into question the rationale that society seems to exercize these days. . HEADLINES. EDITORIAL email@example.com
Korat Police Officer Kudos
11 October 2013
Photo the Korat Post. On 10 October 2013 a Royal Thai Police gestured kindly in paying off back apartment rental debut of a tenant in default. Such gestures are rare, and should be recognized when they occur. The police officer, pictured here, is Lt. Colonel Aninant Phluemmalang. While the tenant still refused to negotiate and the money was returned to the officer in the afternoon, the willingness of Thais to negotiate to resolve societal differences is not always given due recognition.
Send him appreciation on Facebook
The Korat Post Online - Read complete report in editorial section. On 10 October 2013, in an unusual move toward trying to reconcile a local landlord and non-paying tenant, a police Lt. Colonel assigned to Korat's Regional Police dipped into his own pocket to pay back rent on behalf of the tenant, the latter who claimed to have links with the police At the end of several hours of deliberations and back and forth trips to and from the apartment concerned, the tenant then refused to accept terms. The officer's money was returned to him by the apartment owner. Later, the tenant indicated to the owner that he would leave no later than mid-day to mid-night on 11 October.Disputes between landlords and tenants in Thailand are fairly common. Given the state of the economy and what is perceived by conservatives a the Thai-share of a global breakdown and erosion of moral values and personal responsibility, such differences are likely to increase. It is extremely difficult to make a living in Thailand for many, including foreigners. While the kingdom is a veritable paradise and magnet to tens of millions of foreigners each year, it is also a trap in so many ways. In effect the culture's ethical/moral infrastructure is so corrupt that even the concept of hypocrisy seems far away and removed from those here who fail to recognize nonsensical dual standards as contrary to religious and moral teachings. Thailand's property laws and rental contract laws are not the same as abroad, of course. Locally by law, according to the Civil and Commercial Code contracts and other sections an apartment owner has legal claims against non-paying tenants. Yet according to Thai law, the owner cannot seize the property or belongings of the said tenant that are still inside the apartment as guarantee for payment of back rent. Rental agreements themselves may contain such a clause, but making it stick, and obtaining court agreement that in select cases they should apply may prove impossible. firstname.lastname@example.org
9 October 2013
Editorial lead-in.. Michael Savage is to some acerbic. To others he's a pain. And to almost everyone he's a wealth of information on what's wrong with America these days. With other conservatives like Mark Levin Dr. Savage speaks poignant simplicity with fellow Americans and well, just people who appreciate common sense and human decency. He was the only leading American commentator to forcefully ask why that woman in Washington, D.C. had to be gunned down.The incident cited is covered in various places, including here at http://bit.ly/19ysZ4N. Dr. Savage raises several issues on what can most accurately be described as a wrongful death at the minimum. One, why not shoot the tires out? Two, why kill the woman? Why no apparent investigation other than a Washington official saying, "They conducted themselves with bravery..." The issue of bravery is an obvious poorly chosen one. A half dozen armed officers shooting into the passenger compartment, where an infant was also trapped, to what - totally resolve a national security threat? Dr. Savage also brought up the clear and present danger aspect of this kind of behavior to all Americans when he then said that in being allowed, and apparently authorized, to shoot people dead almost at will, none of us should feel safe anymore.Federalization of the United States was a basic fear of the founders of our republic. They knew that without a functional system of checks and balances, prescribed and protected by a national charter, the country would be doomed. Over the next 150 years or so small inroad appeared against this armor of the republic, but over the last several presidencies the power of the Executive has been used to set effectively set aside the powers of Congress and the Courts and replaced the vacuum with Executive Branch decisions, directives, orders and as if that were not enough, Executive Privilege and public silence on issues that are "uncomfortable." Like dictatorial-minded counterparts in Asia and other regions, Obama seems to have adopted the rule-by-decree that eventually destroys free will and instills fear in those who would be free. email@example.com
Traffic Dance - A Real Statement
8 October 2013 Little needs to be said when a fool publicly spews a bad idea. This truism held in times past, but not today's world where the worst ideas, the stupidest ideas, the lame brained schemes that used to be the stuff of novels have become accepted practice. Even imagining that anyone could demand motorists be charged 100 Baht a minute for being involved in a traffic accident, or because his or her car broke down, is tantamount to heresy. Who thinks this idea will fly? Hopefully no one, but from the GT-200, the blimp, the aircraft carrier, the loss of Phreah Vihear to Cambodia, the cancellation in Korat and probably most other of Thailand's provinces of monthly media press conferences all spells doom for common sense and responsible governance in the kingdom. This development was not suddenly cast upon us and sprouted up in the last year or so. But that it has become such an ingrained part of Thai society is shocking, depressing and fatal to moral decency.
Political Dinosaurs & Statesmen
7 October 2013 (NTT) Pursuing for political and social reform is one thing, doing it properly quite another. Gye Baek, a famous Korean general of the army who lived a thousand years ago, found this out in the TV series produced based on his life and trials. Trying to stay honorable in the company of thieves and men of deceit and condescension is no easy task. In Siam/Thailand the digressive sentiments have for centuries caused instability and suffering. Editorial Banharn Silpa-Archa is one of those politicians for all seasons, a backroom brawler, publicly polite astute politician who knows his way round the Siamese/Thai political landscape. He was prime minister for slightly over two years total, in two terms, succeeding popular Chuan Leekpai the second time around but preceding the Democrat leader the first time he was PM. The Silpa-Archa family is a political dynasty - father, daughter, son and others all garnering votes to enter Thailand's most popular place for photograph shots, other than the Actor's Guild, politics. Serving the people is the only goal these men of honor and tradition have, and the only thing they manage to do. Hummmmph!!
Two images appear here (use mouse for rollover). One of a Siam Commercial Bank Senior Board member, the other an aging political heavyweight. Both were prime ministers of Thailand, Anand probably the country's most respected outside of Prem Tinsulanonda.
2020 Is Just Vision, Right?
Several years ago ARP published an article citing Nong Khai as among the top places in the world to retire to. That was good news. So was the inspiration for the annual Naga Fireballs event, to be held this month, where what is said tracer bullets are worshipped as magic.
6 October 2013 (NTT)N
ot everyone can take being told an endless litany of lies, so perhaps some credit should be given to those telling the lies that they yet have a relatively large audience, in this case a province replete with believers, who do not challenge the lack of sense in the hi speed rail project that Thailand has approved funding for. Not found funding, mind you, just approved it. M
agical naga (serpent) fireballs, as popular and as sensitive as believers make them in Nong Khai, underscore the issue of local beliefs and how they can be twisted, ruthlessly or in ignorance, when policies are on the line and support "from the people" is needed. The latest 2020 campaign, where the unsupportable high speed train network for Thailand is being paraded for acclamation and political support, will not garner any money for the huge projects. There isn't any. What it will do is keep the flame of hope flickering, if gingerly, that things will not only be better but they will be wonderful. This theme of "everyone will be well off and happy" is a popular one in the country, caveated only with the provision that "you need to vote me into office." Ah, yes, THAT! firstname.lastname@example.org
Sondhi Given the Shaft?
Key leader of the formerly-strong People's Alliance for Democracy Sondhi Limthongkul gained bail after being sentenced to two years in prison for quoting a tiny segment of harsh defamatory words Da Torpedo uttered on a public platform in 2008. This is not the first time undeserving sentences have been handed out over Article 112.
32 October 2013
G etting an unfair court sentence in Thailand has not proven difficult day in and day out, especially over the issue of lese majest?, or Thailand's ultra-royalist centered Article 112 which prescribes up to fifteen years in prison for producing any uncomplimentary material related to the country's revered monarchy and its members. Even when such content is extremely mild and reasonable by sane standards, it can result in the speaker or publisher facing long jail time and inculcated public ire.
his latest lese majest? case, this one a reversal of a lower court's ruling that Sondhi was not guilty, was a shock to many in Thai society, not the least of which to supporters of the Yellow Shirts. On the other hand, the latest sentence was a feather in the cap of Sondhi's enemies and those who - willy nilly - support the lese majest? law. Once again a Mad Hatter threat to the revered institution has been dealt with firmly and decidedly. One day in the distant future, perhaps another century or so, hopefully the Thai people will look back on this part of their history with shame and appreciation that the human rights and entitlement to free speech that are so often trampled in Thailand, because of the lese majest? law mentality or the more general criminal defamation statutes, was an un-Buddhist and repressive series of laws and public mores. MAIN PAGE HEADLINES
Too Much Foreign Travel?
Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra is getting a lot of criticism (and it sometimes seems as if that's all they can muster) from opposition democrats and many members of the public for what is viewed as too much foreign travel. Graphic by the Korat Post. .
30 September 2013
Does a penchant for foreign travel spell irresponsibility in governance, or is it something else, that and something else, or is it just a nasty ploy by evil opposition quarters who are bound, at almost any cost, to bring down the Shinawatra government? Anyone can put forward a guess, but the best position to relate to the rest of us exactly what is going on would be to sit beside the prime minister on the plane and in whatever meetings and greetings she is part of while abroad. Only by eyewitness testimony can we really know what she is doing "over there."However, since people like to engage in conjecture, a few tidbits of possibilities for the imagination-starved: 1. She could be abroad meeting with her brother's network groups, planning how to make use of state coffers and propel megaprojects into...if not reality, then attempted reality; 2. She could be meeting with her brother, the former prime minister who was ousted in a 19 September 2006 military coup, to provide him direct input on "the situation" in Thailand. These trips would also be combined with no. 1 above; 3. She could just be shopping and having a good time, something that the opposition would really like people to believe.We are not convinced that number 3 is really the main reason. As much as women, particularly those with money to burn, are alleged to like shopping (unlike men, of course!) it is much more likely that shopping is incidental in these trips and the real reason is to further cement alliances in the kingdom to bring about an irreversible change in the way governance operates. That can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Too much state money was shifted to personal pockets, allegedly, during the first Thaksin era, but this is a phenomenon that Thais, not just politicians and police, love to exercise. Main page.
"Media-induced Panic" vs. Simple Facts
If "under control" translates into "don't worry,": perhaps they need to change places with the common man. But that would be too...uncomfortable...Photo courtesy the Nation.
24 September 2013S
ometimes the high and mighty should keep their mouths shut, so the saying goes. It refers to big shots and other influential people of position and privilege who have all kinds of reassurances to give but themselves strangely enough the only class (actually without class) who are able to live on interrupted, separate from the rest of us. 2011 saw probably Thailand's worst central region flood in more than a century, inundating major highways and bringing huge shopping completes to a halt, cutting off roads and schools and hospitals had to shut down. "Don't worry?" Bob Morley show is over, guys, and the facts are that flooding is once again taking place and it is not - repeat is not
- under any sort of control, reasonable or otherwise. For decades rampant self-serving development, much of it in construction of huge embankments, local fills and blocking of water runoff channels has been building up to a crescendo to where the Thai people are paying the piper, so to speak.T
he current flooding we are witnessing in 2013 is not under control. Flooding, by definition, is not under control. It is out of control and that's why it exists. Now, reducing flooding or limiting it can be done, but to cite the entire situation as being under control is a lie, foolhardy statement or self-delusion. Stop lying, stop making excuses, stop blaming the media. You and your like are to blame for what has happened in many ways, and once again, you are not being held accountable.
An unparalleled Waste of Money...
In Thailand, men possessing far-sighted vision and noble dreams have ruled over common sense and logic for centuries. Thailand's hi-speed train project only serves to prolong this foolhardiness. Fancy graphics and political arm-twisting won't hide subsequent damage from economic impracticality of the project. See editorial.
23 September 2013
ou need not go far to figure out whether or not the hi speed rail project Thailand's leadership seems bent on forcing through will benefit the kingdom or just a few high-speed politicians and their "share the wealth" business partners will be the ones benefiting. A hi-speed train project not only costs tens of billions of dollars to build, but if we have seen any examples about maintenance ability by Thais for huge complicated projects like blimps and aircraft carriers, we can rest assured that a hi-speed rail project is likely to suffer from the same fatigue. The Lam Takong Rest area in Korat, about sixty or so kilometers from Korat municipality, is a case in point. When Suwat Liptapanlop and nearly-as-high dignitaries opened up the facility several years ago, it was all pomp and promise. Today the facility stands run-down, ignored, filthy and smelly, toilets plugged or not working and the promises made in the past are all but forgotten. They were recently given a reminder by a project just announced to reinvigorate the place, but once again, who has money? And either the will or the time? Politicians have moved on to greater dreams and complying media and public leaders are only too glad to continue the photo opportunity charade from one generation to the next. C
hina has a huge interest in the grandiose scheme of hi-speed rail infrastructure in the kingdom, and if history is still any guide, its own romance with pipedream malls and civilian cities built that nearly all remain empty and investors devoid of returns should be a lesson for Thailand. But Thailand is not interested in learning lessons, only teaching them. From defamation to lese majest?, from what's appropriate for you to what's not appropriate for me, why it's all there being wisely delivered to our intellectual palate - more accurately lack of one. I
f there was one project in Thailand to vote no over, it's the hi-speed rail projects that the government continues to insist is essential to the kingdom but which is not. We have many differences with the PAD and Sondhi Limthongkul, but recently he reiterated that the hi-speed train project is totally unnecessary and wasteful. We support this position and oppose, fully, any such project in the kingdom until GDP comes up to a par with that of countries already having hi-speed trains. MAIN PAGE
Southern Rubber Farmers Incensed .
Almost a dozen vehicles set alight in Thailand Muslim-dominated south as rubber farmers continue to express opposition to recent agreements and understandings over the rubber price battle. Photo Courtesy of The Nation.
17 September 2013
the Korat Post
he latest rubber farmer protests in southern Thailand, where some ten vehicles were gutted by fire and a major roadway becoming a stand-off between unarmed protesters and Thai security forces is yet another reminder of challenges to national security on the one hand, and plain and simple justice on the other, exist in the kingdom and are not likely to go away anytime in the foreseeable future. S
everal burning issues in Thailand - so-called political but in fact more so about basic social injustice and near-total lack of prevention of human rights abuses throughout the kingdom - remain to be addressed much less resolved. At the moment Yellow Shirts and other pseudo-royalist groups are having lots of fun making snide remarks about the Thai prime minister Yingkuck Shinawatra, how stupid she is and how silly she is and so on ...albeit with some points to make here and there, the comments are fairly typical of how Thais are indoctrinated since birth to dismiss the different from the Thainess they are quick to demand. Everyone can make mistakes and not everyone should be elected to high office - George W. Bush perhaps one of the highest profile examples of this - but not everyone is in charge of a country with an ancient hierarchical structure that always dismisses efforts to lay the groundwork for basic human rights protections - protections that mean something and that actually work. T
hese days, as in the past and as will be into the foreseeable future, human rights face little if any preventive protection in the kingdom. It's always after the fact, take it to court, get justice there. But what about your rights at the beginning when you want to exercise them? MAIN PAGE
Global Iconoclasts Put on Notice
Thai aviation authorities indicated that they were inspired after the most recent accident at Suvarnabhumi Airport - to improve safety and response to emergencies. There was no word of black paint and censorship, used out of a different kind of inspiration.
16 September 2013
THE KORAT POST online
his "enduring more attacks" comment by Thailand's English language daily the Bangkok Post in its 16 September 2013 report and commentary on the recent off-the-runway/subsequent passenger injury incident at the country's controversial international airport brings to light the Thainess aspects of domestic culture - image, reputation, victimization, "they are at fault and we are not" rationale on everything from civil to criminal and beyond. A
lthough the words did not come from the mouth of the country's aviation principals, they do originate, albeit in the particular publication cited above they may have been tongue-in-cheek, they still reflect a particularly Thai approach to all kinds of issues but mostly those dealing with image: and that includes everything. A friend of the family used to say, "cheephai khana nai, ko hai mee cheuyr siang kolaewkan." Or, "A screwed-up as things get, at least let me keep my reputation!" T
hat sort of says it all around for the ethic of safeguarding, at all costs - A...L...L.. costs the reputation of country, self, situation, ...you name it, without limit, without shame, without embarrassment. And if that does not work introduce disappearing smiles, even a grimace or two, some nasty words, threats and public announcements about withdrawing this and that or issuing a criminal complaint. The best way to avoid being placed under attack, according to this indoctrinated school of thought, is to attack. HEADLINES
. EDITORIAL email@example.com
Money - More 'n More
Minimum called for Supreme Patriarch funderal donation. Another Buddhism scandal taints - not Buddhism - but the way too many Thais and Thai officials practice it. See editorial. Is money now the name of the game...or has it been that way for a while?
12 September 2013
THE KORAT POST online
EditorialTimes were when 50,000 Baht was a lot of money. But according to an official Thai Buddhist clergy document issued to Sangha officials, there are now "going rates" for donations to be used in merit rites for the Supreme Patriarch's funeral. One subdistrict monk has had enough, appeals to anyone who can help
emples dot the landscape of Thailand from south to north, east to west, urban setting to the smallest village.And...no real surveys done by people we know, but a lot of them are empty, just like the pocketbooks of people who donated to their construction. What is going on in Thailand, and why is it continuing? Many respected experts in Buddhism are calling for removal of state control, for accountability to the public by temples that appeal for merit making donations and then abuse hard-earned cash by going out to shop for things like computers, pay for on-grounds entertainment, and worse. HEADLINES
Pride & Prejudice: Secrets?
In a land where state censorship is a given in almost all matters, even of religion and speech,
it does not surprise all that Thai airline operators hide symbol - but why black? Out of white paint?.
10 September 2013
the Korat Post EDITORIAL
W as it pride or prejudice, or a wise corporate policy that has now raised public information issues regarding the right of a public transport operator to place a veil over it's public image when something goes wrong, like the recent Thai-Star Alliance off the runway incident this week? T
hai Airway′s Airbus A330-300 slid off runway this morning as it landed at Suvarnabhumi Airport, injuring 14 people. President of the airline said the situation is currently under investigation. But it is reported that the plane′s malfunctioned wheels might have caused the plane to slide off the runway as it touched the ground. A dozen passengers were reportedly injured as they were being evacuated out of the plane.H
ow far will, should,and legally can a company hide its public profile from the public, and under what circumstances is such concealment perfectly fine? Does this also translate into the auto industry where manufacturers may want to install an automatic eject on car brand name letters placed on cars if those vehicles get into an accident? Association of name and image with bad things is a particularly Thai sensitivity, but now in reflection as a commentator notes, it is much wider than Thailand. We can appreciate the negative aspects of having one's company name and logo appear in the media in such circumstances, but is it a legitimate, and ethical, action to take by removing all traces of who owns the vehicle involved? Now we look at Thailand's State Railways, suffering over a Baker's Dozen of derailments recently, and ask, well...if a Thai airlines is doing this to protect the image when what about the SRT doing the same thing? This idea, though, may be far-fetched as trains are a bit difficult to hide and EVERYONE IN THE WORLD KNOWS that trains in Thailand are owned and operated by the SRT. C
ensorship in Thailand is always the issue, whether it's a marginally justified (in the eyes of the corporate or political interest) to hide one's identity. Planes are generic in a sense. Take off the logo and tail coloring and you will have no idea to whom that plane belongs. You could find out who made it by the shape or recognize its manufacturer, but since the operator has to be at fault, or by default is negatively associated with a crisis incident, then it's obvious that you have to, HAVE TO, are compelled to and owe it to your shareholders (and boss/PR departments) to keep the image positive. If that image falls into the enemy territory of negativity, then remove it. Case closed! .........Not quite. Removing an image is one thing, placing a huge black redacting mark over it does not hide the incident and raises the important question of, "What was there?" to the world. CNN also carried this censorship story, clearing showing that ugly black "white-out." Why not, thinking of it, use white? Hello? .....Hello? HEADLINES
Sexual Allegations Upheld
Anyone at all familiar with Thailand's defamation regime - recording a litany of good people suing those
reporting on their actual behavior - will applaud this defamation dismissal decision.
And did we
8 September 2013
the KORAT POST online
o a college professor is named in sexual harassment suit by female students, and instead of admitting guilt - reputation and honor, not to mention job, to protect, the professor sues back with his own allegations of defamation. That's the difference between Thailand and other countries where such suits are usually more difficult to bring about but where even honest but inaccurate allegations are not always held to be wrongful to the extent of warranting an unfavorable court decision.T
he cliche "This is Thailand" is well-known in the Land of Smiles. It is used by both Thais and expatriates alike to describe the unique Thai phenomenon, which exists nowhere else in the world, of hypocrisy and run of the mill variations in human nature that are found all over the world. Except in Thailand such hypocrisy is not that as such - it is a mysterious force or characteristic of Thai society that when confronted head-on as an issue, is said to be part of Thai culture, and shrugged off with a "I don't know why things are like this." by Thais and a "This is a clear-cut example of hypocrisy by many non-Thais. A
n argument put forward by at least one observer of the Thai scene - so to speak - is that Thailand cannot be said to have hypocrisy as to have it means that individuals and the society as a whole recognize (understand and admit to) the nature of hypocrisy and hold that concept as a valid one in their own society. The Thai do not, and there is a good reason - if anyone finds out, let us know. Just kidding! One reason is that Thainess stands in the way, a concept that somehow negates such social realities as hypocrisy by making all individuals who fit the mold to be held in unaccountable positions of automatic respect, protected from derision by name or clearly identified. Of course, seeming hypocrisy takes over once again in meaningful ways, such as when we watch yet another abhorrent criminal paraded on TV screens with police all around him or her, no lawyer present, intimidated and afraid to counter any charges or allegations made by police. In these instances, social prejudices are reinforced, bad examples to society are expunged (they think), and justice is once again served. That such accused persons deserve (and must be provided) protection from rights violations first and foremost with an attorney, and secondly with an injunction against police for such public parades, is lost in the land where hypocrisy does not, cannot, exist. firstname.lastname@example.org
Open Letter on Syria
No one, even God Himself, gave the United States authority to create misery and mayhem.
5 September 2013
t cannot be overemphasized or said often enough, but yet our leaders seem steadfast in their pursuit of wanton bombing of yet another people. No one, even God Himself, gave the United States authority to create misery and mayhem
. "The American people, understandably, want us to be focused on the business of rebuilding our economy here and putting people back to work. And I assure you, nobody ends up being more war-weary than me. But what I also believe is that part of our obligation as a leader in the world is making sure that when you have a regime that is willing to use weapons that are prohibited by international norms on their own people, including children, that they are held to account." — Remarks at meeting with Baltic leaders, Aug. 30, 2013.
.K. So making sure that bad guys who use prohibited weapons on their own people are held to account is our objective. Not bad, by the way. In principle. But then we have a couple of things standing in the way – our own repeated hypocrisy and our lack of legitimacy in conducting ourselves as if we were country sheriff. We are not. No one asked us to be, no one elected us to make global law enforcement a priority of how our government does business. Of course, over history we have ignored this lack of common consensus and plodding along our merry way, spreading death and destruction in the name of liberation, freedom and national security. The rewards to this to date have been loss of liberty, restrictions on freedom and increased threats to national security. So this begs the question – what is it that makes us so different from others, besides our military might and self-assumed God-given right of determination for others whether they live or die? What is it that makes us so different? And, by what right do we claim to be immune from international criminal prosecution when we invade other nations or “just bomb the Hell out of them,” and force millions of refugees to flee their homes, families, nation of birth and culture to escape the certain ruin that follows yet another American bombing campaign? S
ecretary of State John Ketchup Kerry says Obama has the right to blast the Hell out of Syria no matter what Congress does. Wow… For his part, President Obama says that, by direct implication, not killing more unfriendly-to-the-US Arabs in the Middle East "could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm. In a world with many dangers, this menace must be confronted."
I’ve got issues with the president on menaces that we confront today. For many Americans that menace has come to be a runaway penchant for insisting on “my way” or “the die way.” Yes, Americans like liberty and human rights and freedom and safety and hot dogs and Burger King, but I still believe that above all that Americans want, cherish and demand moral accountability for what our nation plans, for what it supports, and for what it does. Traditionally we have escaped such accountability. Like it or not, the events of 9/11/2001 arose out of an effort, a wayward and hateful one, to hold America accountable for many sins of the past. But no, we can’t listen to this, we can’t accept this, we can’t allow this rationale to stop our commercial-military-industrial complex from taking it out on yet another ethnic group collective that we despise. S
o, again to the president and to fellow Americans, I ask, I entreaty, I insist that in our obligation to act responsibly we do just that. First determine beyond doubt who used those chemical weapons last month in Syria, then assemble a coalition of the willing and then instead of a military attack, attack Syria in the pocket. And who knows? At the end of all this you may just find that it was someone else who used the gas. And certainly, you will then not have given aid and succor to yet another extremist Islamic fascist group taking advantage of superpower stupidity to undermine a government bad but not as bad as what it has to offer. HEADLINES
. EDITORIAL email@example.com
New Mandala, Prachatai, et. al
6 September 2013
THE KORAT POST online
Thailand's seemingly unendless bouts with freedom-idctatorship-corruption-freedom-dictatorship-corruption are well recorded, more so abroad in freer venues than at home where such accounts would do much more good. It is the presence of those foreign accounts that, from time to time, gets the wheelers and dealers upset because of negative PR and disturbing things like facts and actual events that are locally denied, hidden or punished for revealing. This is Thailand, however, and while it is simplistic except by the diplomatic corps to cop out with "let the Thais handle it": ever consider what this really means? Which Thais? The good ones or the bad ones, the democrats or the dictators, the ones in the right or the ones in the wrong? Or more realistically, the Thais "we need to work with." Ah, those Thais!As to local farangs and local Thais, however, who do have a grasp on reality and from time to time let us know what it is, dozens of writers, academics, activists and what are, in a lump, "enemies" of life as we know it they lend us wisdom now and then in the form of published accounts and observations. One such account worth reading is the 27 August 2013 "Pesky Foreigners" that Cod Satrusyang provided to us. It is republished here in part, and the full text can be seen on New Mandala here
oreigners cannot know much about Thailand because they are not Thai and thus do not know the local attitude, culture and perceptions of the Thai people. Foreigners don’t have a stake in Thailand, they should not judge things they do not understand. Why can’t foreigners just leave Thailand alone? This is nothing new for people who have studied the political climate of the country. Red-leaning foreigners are accused by opponents of being paid by Thaksin or simplifying and overstating class conflicts. Advocates for the opposition are called entrenched, fascist and confused. It’s not just the everyday layman that makes such accusations, but very well educated Thais as well. In fact after the crackdown on the protesters in 2010 the Foreign Correspondent Club of Thailand hosted a panel of Thai intellectual luminaries such as Dr Sumet Jumsai and Somtow Sucharitkul, all of whom reverted to the same talking points.N
or is this vein of rhetoric limited to just one country or region. All over the world and across the pages of history ‘foreign agents’ have been corrupting youth, reporting falsely, spying etc. on the mother nation. One only need to look as far as Egypt to understand that this phenomenon is hardly unique to Thailand. When Morsi was in power, the Muslim Brotherhood accused foreign journalists of colluding to produce damaging reports that were untrue. Now that the shoe is on the other foot and the military/opposition is in power the accusations are still the same. Many Liberal Egyptians have also adopted the stance that foreign journalists just ‘don’t understand’ the intricacies of Egyptian politics. firstname.lastname@example.org
Is It Thaksin or 'Them?'
the Korat Post Online
Observers are of two minds when viewing the recent eviction from parliament of a Democrat Party MP
5 September 2013 P
arliament was disturbed again on 4 September as its president evicted a Democrat Party MP for not sitting down and remaining quiet. The MP wanted to have a per-MP time of 30 minutes extended to MPs who wanted to debate the issue of rubber prices.T
he issue of rubber prices has been plaguing the Thaksin-friendly Thai government for months now, and throughout the kingdom rubber farmers are already interrupting major highways and threatening, according to reports, to close down a southern airport if negotiations go poorly. Some of the gathering farmers are also displeased with some of their representatives who have, in their view, gone too far in favor of the government. B
angkok has already had serious separatist actions in the southern region and in spotted locations throughout the country found arms and explosives that could be used for terrorism. The displeasure of the three southernmost provinces with central rule and past rights violations, corruption and cultural divergences, has led to a traditional standoff. The rubber pricing issue can only be seen to exacerbate the matter.
Mob Rule vs. Mob Rules
the Korat Post Online
Thai rubber farmers met recently in Udorn, and other provinces in Thailand, to finalize their plan of attack against the current Thai government to achieve satisfaction over their demands that rubber prices in Thailand be raised to levels
they stipulated to the government.
28 August 2013 R
ubber farmers have been working hot and heavy this week in what has been headlined by mainstream media as efforts to force the current Thai government to accede to considerable rises in local rubber prices. While their demands have some merit, the current global rubber prices having dropped 23% since earlier this year and increasing competition from other rubber farmers in Thailand who are now growing rubber trees where historically they have not been grown, poses conundrums for all. I
n addition to the mainstream media coverage, there are opposing political camps strongly suggesting political interference in the current demonstrations. The side supporting the government claims anti-government groups, supported by the opposition Democrats, are helping to engineer the demonstrations. The side supporting the opposition claims that it has nothing to do with interfering with anything.
Korat Highway Closure Coming
Thai rubber farmers from the south are joined with those in the northeast and other regions of
the country to close major highways in efforts to pressure the government to prop up local rubber
28 August 2013 Korat residents face imminent closure of the main government highway, Mitraphap (Friendship) near Sikiew district as Thailand's rubber farmers conduct a remarkably organized national campaign to pressure the government to prop up rubber prices with a subsidy approximately 50% of the current domestic price of 80 Baht per kilogram. Whether the pressure will backfire or produce results is in the air. . HEADLINES EDITORIAL
Rubber Farmers Price Stretching
Southern-based Thai rubber farmers, demanding significant state subsidies for rubber prices
that have fallen on the world market in 2013. They threaten major road blockades if demands
are not met. Photo courtesy The Nation Group.
26 August 2013 Rubber
prices are down, for sure.
What is not so certain is exactly why they should be increased to farmers who are in the same boat as the rest of us with increasing prices, stagnant wages and a series of global economic challenges, including the coming AEC - Asean Economic Community - that will further depress local sales prices and challenge domestic competition in many sectors of the economy. I
n the US at the moment more wage increase demands are being made by what used to be a temporary position labor market - service industries for fast food establishments. McDonald's and other staff are calling for a national boycott until their wages are, believe it or not, doubled! As Ben Ferguson, a syndicated radio host said today on KZRG, most of the staff in that sector are really there, or should be, for temporary reasons and should be planning their lives to move up and out to better pay. Instead, people are making their careers out of flipping burgers and then they want the same career benefits that chief executives get. More or less...
This last Friday night, and repeated on ASTV over the weekend was the leadership of
Thailand's renown People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) announcing that they were
handing in their badges. Agencies Reports
25 August 2013
Despite the removal of their chess pieces from the main board of Thai politics, the PAD will not likely change its sentiments on an organizational or individual membership level. For years now the fundamentalist royalist aspects of the PAD has been viewed by its less-than-enthusiastic critics as a thorn in the side of Thai social development - which is, after all, what politics is all about. That, of course, and so-called national security.N
ot having watched the Friday night announcement a foreign observer of the Thai political scene watched the sad resignations on Saturday morning, a bit surprised but perhaps more so taken aback by the continued insistence of Sondhi Limthongkul, the PAD's titular head, that politicians were to blame for the country's ills. Apparently he and his cohorts have not read reams of literature written anytime from 2,000 years ago to today's Amazon.com listings that show politicians, while providing a venue for corruption, come from a society that is either corrupt or not. So it was not, as Sondhi holds, politicians that are to blame but rather Thai society. And that is a place the PAD and its supporters and sympathizers simply are incapable of appreciating in the western sense. Clueless in Chicago becomes Clueless in Thailand. W
hat lies ahead for Thailand now that the Shinawatra machine, like the US did to the Soviets so long ago with outspending that broke up the Red Giant, has apparently gotten rid of an important obstacle in its goal to reform Thai society? What, indeed! The kind of changes that Thailand needs to undergo won't always bring about shouts of glee and on the other hand, admonitions by loyalists, but changes will occur - if the military can be kept out of politics and if society can grow out of its long-too fit pantaloons.
Another Offense to Muslims?
Thai Channel 7 TV's program, Where the Sky Meets the Sand," apparently has raised the ire
of sensitive Muslims who seem convinced the program, actually well-produced as far as Thai
soaps go, puts Arabs in a negative (seemingly stupid) light. .
MANAGER ONLINE and KHAO SOD (see related Thai article
- original English
24 August 2013 If stupidity appearances were a standard, it is arguable that most Thai soap operas tend to represent Thais in a stupid light - the efforts aided by poor acting, poor directing and poor you-name-it. But this time the complaint against prime time TV in the Land of Smiles is from powerful and highly taboo-to-offend sensitive Muslims who are convinced the series puts them in a bad light. At issue, of course, is whether it really does not not, or whether this relatively new TV series is a breakthrough in cultural understanding
ot to despair. The popularity of Where the Sky Meets the Sand is likely to keep the soap opera on TV for a while yet, despite protests from Muslim groups that indicate they have been shocked by mention of the reference to Buddhist in the series, as well as what they describe as false portrayal of Muslims as not permitting women's education and so on...all arguments we heard before and all which, of course, are relatively unsupported by harsh reality in the Muslim world. Indeed, the entire history of Islam is replete with conquest and force, even through to today in the so-called modern Arab world. Saudi Arabia, for example, over 95% Muslim, did not remain that way without early use of force. Saudi children are physically compelled, at the point of punishment, to pray five times a day until they begin to accept it was their way of life, according to a long-time resident of the region. The same observer also said that in the field, out from the cities, if anyone in the Muslim world really thinks women have a fair chance and equal rights, he needs his mind examined. W
here The Sky Meets the Sand is a comparatively well-produced (comparatively is the operative word with appropriate emphasis and tone) soap opera that in fact highlights, to this former resident of the Sunni and Shiite worlds of Saudi Arabia and Iran, intricate Muslim and Arab thinking, social mores and the common individual conflicts - jealousies, envy, gluttony, love, respect, deference, and more - that are replete in any human society. Thus there should be no overt Muslim or Arab objection to the series that, if anything, actually puts the Muslim and Arab world on TV for the first time in Thailand, other than the standard Islamic preachings that have aired for several years. Such TV productions need to be seen, not believed. And anyone objecting to them should as a matter of course and standardization, decry any - not just Muslim or Arab - silly portrayals of stupidity in cultures. But as begun in this editorial, that would mean getting rid of almost all of them.Some Manager Online reader comments on Muslim sensitivities over this TV series...äÁèÁÕã¤ÃÊ¹ã¨äÍéá¢¡ºéÒ ÊÁ¹éÓË¹éÒÁÑ¹
No one is interested in crazy Arabs. It’s what they deserve!
Signed, Selfish Arab
¡ç·Ò§Ãº.ÍÕÂÔ»µìà¢ÒäÁèÇèÒÍÐäÃ áÅéÇá¡¨ÐÁÒ·ÓµÒàËÅ×Í¡µÒ¾Í§ãËéÁÑ¹¹èÒ·ØàÃÈË¹Ñ¡¢Öé¹·ÓäÁ ËÃ×Í¾Ç¡á¡àËç¹ÇèÒÍÕÂÔ»µìäÁèãªèÁØÊÅÔÁ Ë×Í
Well, they aren’t saying anything about fighting in Egypt. So why are their wretched eyes bulging out now? Or do they think that Egypt isn’t Muslim?
ÁØÊÅÔÁ´ÕµÒÂÅÐ §Ò¹È¾¾Ç¡ÁÑ¹àªÔàÃÒä» ¾Í§Ò¹¾Ø·¸¡çºÍ¡ä»äÁèä´é §Ò¹ÊÃéÒ§ÁÑÊÂÔ´¡çÁÒËÒªÒÇ¾Ø·¸ãËéªèÇÂºÃÔ¨Ò¤ áµè¾ÍÇÑ´¾Ø·¸äÁèä´é §Ò¹áµè§ÒµÔ¼ÁàªÔ¤¹ÁØÊÅÔÁä» ¨Ñ´âµêÐ¾ÔàÈÉãËéäÁèÁÕËÁÙ áµè¾Í¼Áä»§Ò¹áµè§´Õ¹àÍÒÇÑÇÁÒãËé·Ñé§æ·ÕèÃÙéÇèÒ¤ÃÍº¤ÃÑÇ¼ÁäÁè·Ò¹ÇÑÇ ¶ÒÁµÃ§æÁØÊÅÔÁ¹ÕèÍÂÒ¡áÊ´§àÅÂ¤ÃÑºÇèÒ´Õ ¶Ù¡ãÊèÃéÒÂ ¡ÒÃ¡ÃÐ·Ó¾Ç¡¤Ø³ã¤Ãæ¡çÃÑºäÁèä´é
When good Muslims die - they invite us to the funerals. When it comes to Buddhist funerals, they say they can’t attend. When it comes to building mosques they come around Buddhists looking for donations. But when it comes to Buddhist temples they can’t [donate]. For the wedding of a relative I invited Muslims to attend. Tables were especially arranged and there was no pork. When I went to the wedding there was beef served despite knowing that my family did not eat beef. Speaking frankly, these types of Muslims want to present themselves as good and under attack. Your group behavior…no one can take it.
"Appointed Senators Avoid Politics."
"Still fugitive" former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, reputed by "the establishment"
in Thailand to be the cause of all the country's division and all its other problems.
22 August 2013 O.K.
. Thailand's army chief says, officially at least, that he doesn't want to break the rules - sort of denying, it seems clear now, that there not only are not, but will not, be any carrying out of a coup against the Shinawatra government, despite the latter's persistent efforts to "fix" a constitution engineered by the military and traditionalists and under close scrutiny by an elected government that wants the charter brought back around to where it will support democratic rule. That's also the official version, by the way.L
istening to various Democrat members of Parliament today debating in the House, it was particularly interesting to hear one state quite clearly, in opposition to the Pheu Thai push for an entirely elected senate, that appointed senators were there to avoid any political interference! Now, if anyone out there reading this can email us at email@example.com
and tell us just what your opinion is of this statement, we'd like to know, really would. We cannot see, in any stretch of the imagination, where senators of any kind - appointed all or elected all - could be free or immune from political interference. Perhaps it depends on what you define as interference versus what you define as using tools to keep the status quo. If you are a supporter of the latter, then anyone anyone says in defense of your position makes sense, no matter how full of nonsense it is. I
f this particular aberrance from common sense was restricted to Thailand, it would be tragedy enough. But from the American administration to the Russian, from Japan, South Korea to all of Africa, and beyond, national leaders and those seeking power and influence have apparently realized that those are the only goals worthwhile - that despite teachings to the contrary, selfishness and gluttony are fine and should be aspired to. T
haksin Shinawatra was not Thailand's main problem, or the primary reason that there is so much divisiveness today in Thai society. The real issues are enshrouded in decades, even centuries, of stratified social hierarchy where those responsible for decisions don't accept responsibility, and those affected by those decisions are not given recourse.
How To Remain Safe From Scams
If greed, lack of personal due diligence and yes, even the allure of sex take over your mental
facilities when you are just about to spend money, you are lost!
20 August 2013 $
oney is right at the top of the rung of the relationship ladder in Thailand,whether in business, personal affairs, or state business. If you can't afford to lose the dime you can afford to spend the time." Love and smiles and even written contracts don't mean dirt if the person and/or his or her friends across the table are only after your money and later, when it's gone, you are left without any resource - or so it seems. T
hailand is exceedingly deceptive to the enlightened, and not just the unwary. The country's lures and allures grab the imagination, fascinate the mind and ego, and often lead to some kind of irrational personal feeling that it is OK to give someone else, especially someone you might have known for less than a week, your money - any of it, or all of it. As someone who probably needs his money and does not want to lose it, a word to the wise, well...a few words, below...1. Do not believe anything you are told, or even shown, when anyone suggests that you turn money over to them. Just remain calm and understand that it's your money they are after, not some compulsion to help make you rich.
2. Even if shown something, like a property or possession allegedly owned by the person claiming to own it, do not hand over any money, even a deposit. Explain that you need to verify documents and ownership, and ask for cooperation. If you don't get it, move on to someone who is willing to cooperate.
3. Do a little reading of Thai Civil and Commercial Law, and Criminal LAw, before you get involved IN ANY dealings in the Land of Smiles. Blindly handing out money on the basis of faith is just plain stupid - yet we know how often this occurs.
4. If you have already been ripped off and really want to see what can be done, discuss your individual case with someone you can trust for input and guidance. A lawyer is, of course, advised in many such instances, but so is some common sense on your part and willingness to review what happened, gather evidence and then file papers with the police or a lawyer for litigation. There are interim steps that can be taken as well.
5. Many foreigners in Thailand have had problems with girl friends, wives and Thai relatives who took everything or who certainly took enough. These instances are many times correctable, but it requires evidence. If you do have an issue, write to the firstname.lastname@example.org to see what some options might be. Keep in mind that any advice or comments are layman-oriented and that for legal counsel you need a lawyer.See -
top 10 scams in Thailand http://www.thai-blogs.com/2008/08/05/top-10-scams-in-thailand/
Bird poop et. al - http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/travel-tips-and-articles/75907
Tuk-tuks and more - http://www.thailandtips.info/for/thailand-scams/
Ripped Off or Just Stupid?
Your relationship with your Thai wife or girlfriend may not be as clear as you think. Your lack Recent articles appearing on the meebal.com website involved foreigners' relationships with Thai women and the often too late realization that in Thailand money is the most important thing. For guys interested in only sex and self-delusion, though, even that conclusion is a bit faulty. It is not just about sex, but about security and a self-centered culture. Read http://meebal.com/time-for-thailand-to-change-marriage-visa/ which covers unfairness of marriage visas, and http://meebal.com/foreigners-being-financially-ruined-by-thai-wives/ for how foreigners are financially ruined (apparently not by their own stupidity but by Thai wives.) As a foreigner who has been married a considerable time to a Thai lady (44+ years) I can attest that her personal interests and mine vary considerably over a broad range of issues. However, while we have had tough bargaining positions regarding money and how best to invest it, I have not always given in. The cold hard test of giving in is to ask the loved one just what kind of guarantees there will be if money passes hands. If the answer is suspect or not to your liking, all you have to do is say no, and mean it.One of the neat things about Thai culture, in its many prejudices, is the idea that foreigners are different, that they think and behave differently, and of course, that they have an endless source of money that can be constantly drained off for one project after another - relative in trouble, buy house for real husband, gambling, you name it. This perception can be used in your favor. You will be expected to be strange and sometimes not able to be understood. But even if refusing to provide money you appear kind, calm, understanding, reluctant and willing but unable to help, that's OK too. Don't fall for tears or sex. It ain 't worth it.
of information and awareness of the way things are done in Thailand can lead to personal
losses that don't need to be .
20 August 2013
It's admirable that "the natives" try hard to get things right - when they do. Too often, however, EDITORIAL SPECIAL
they would rather leave out essential information and confound others with huge lapses.
19 August 2013
Time and time again foreigners have dealt with a unique Thainess aspect - that of almost absolutely refusing to get an authoritative look at anything before it gets published or promoted. Dates can be wrong, grammar atrocious, facts opposite from what they really are, and much, much more. In the meantime, if the grossly expensive ad in the Bangkok Post you paid for is illegible, blame your staff - but never its management!Why? Why is it so important to totally ignore input from others, Thais or foreigners, and put out a piece of junk? Our observer told us..."Possibly because of the "We are slaves to no one" ethic that permeates a great deal of Thai culture and society, an attitude which belies the fact that "yes, you are - to one another." Yet the image is generated that it is much more important to do things the so-called "Thai Way" which does not exist either. There is no Thai way per se. There is the right way and the wrong way. Feel differently? Get over it." Hmmm...not sure if well-said or not, but it does perk interest.
Pension Obligations To Blame? 19 August 2013
According to the State Railways of Thailand, it's operating expenses exceed by ten times its
income from rail fare. The SRT cites pension obligations as a leading factor in the debt. The
issue brings to question government plans for high-speed rail and track doubling projects.
The convenience and relatively low cost of rail travel in Thailand has been a historical reality for decades. And so has the reality of filth and lack of passenger car maintenance, as well as lack of rail maintenance. The fact that the State Railways of Thailand, the SRT, has been operating in the red to the tune of 10:1 is not a surprise; the surprise is why nothing has been done to date. Sort of a surprise, really. Not a real one. Like all other state and government agencies, the SRT is full of people following the leader and standing in for as many photo shoots as humanely possible. The extent of pretension and role playing, the survivalist instinct to get on with nothing and pretend it is something is legend. It is thus extremely vexing to try to wring out a semblance of credibility from anyone involved in the state PR process and agency planning that the grandiose plans now underway to build new doubled rails and high speed rail services between major cities, including in the impoverished northeast region of the kingdom, will come to anything other than naught. Talk, photos, smiles, wasted funds and the public coffers once again torn asunder...this is Thailand, they are fond of using as an excuse o explain why all this is permitted, indeed encouraged, to go on and on ad infinitum. A society that is indoctrinated to accept every single thought and brainless idea from above as gospel isn't a society with much recourse. The platitudes enshrined in the national charter and legal codes do little to stand up to the overpowering anti-substance ethic that has interfered in social development for centuries. Of course, one of the facts is that any reform effort, a genuine one, would disrupt many cultural aspects of the kingdom and the society as it has been molded. This is bad for digital photography but good news for individuals who have, let's face it, no rights at all, who can be shot in front of a bevy of witnesses and disposed of with witnesses later developing faulty memories. The future is not bright, not with the bright ideas that seem destined to mold wishful thinking.
Decade of Protests Over Potted Road
Residents of a Kalasin village cry out to authorities after ten years of living with a road that Such appeals to authorities is a common theme in Thailand, with officials always with a reason why they can't go out to take a look or with false assurances they know of the problem very well but are feverishly seeking to include funds in an upcoming budget for the work. They seldom explain, however, they they have time to run around the countryside with every political Tom, Dick and Harry that happens to blow in on a daily breeze in visits that provide lots of photo opportunities but never any results that actually do much or get anything done. If anyone has wondered whether outgoing administration officials leave turn-over notes for the next gang, the answer is of course not.
is hardly usable.
Officials have been "nonresponsive."
18 August 2013
en years is a long time to ask for state assistance to fix a local road. Ten years of waiting and complaining and still little or no repair. With municipal officials even in provincial central districts hardly able to manage burgeoning populations in areas under their noses, do remote villages stand any chance?
Killer Cop Did It? "Uniformed" cited.
Confession retraction and referral to a uniformed killer lead to renewed efforts to find killer.
Victim's driver's lawyer at right. Photo courtesy of The Nation.
From The Nation
14 August 2013
Akeyuth is dead, of that there can be no doubt. But once again, police claims about who did it, how it was done, even where it was done, are blown out of the water by a more processional forensics examination that contradict most of the police contentions Rumored to have fallen to the same group of hands that Muslim human rights lawyer Somchai Neelaphaijit succumbed to, Akeyuth may yet reveal his real killers.. HEADLINES
From Manager Online (original Thai article here)
Roiet Youth Nabbed for Assault
Thai youths in Roiet caught by authorities for physical assault with knives.
13 August 2013
Asix-member gang of youths was recently apprehended in Roiet after authorities identified them as having committed physical assault against others. According to reports, on August 11, 2013 the six youth barged into an internet cafe with sharp knives and assaulted another youth in the store. The youth fought back, forcing the six to flee, but not after, according to the shop owner, they had inflicted 50,000 Baht worth of damage to his shop. HEADLINES
Army Chief Continues Insistence
Hardly one to stay out of public speaking, Prayuth claims innocence for subordinates.
From Manager Online
10 August 2013
The chief of the Royal Thai Army insisted that the military was not involved in the deaths of six civilians shot dead as they sought shelter inside a Bangkok temple during the 2010 military crackdown. His comment contradicts the recent court inquest which confirmed that the 6 victims, including a volunteer nurse, were killed by soldiers stationed near Wat Pathumwanararm Temple. The military has always denied any involvement, despite stacks of evidence and witness accounts. HEADLINES. EDITORIAL.
Two 'Sensitive' Books Withdrawn
This story was originally on Prachatai website, but a cross-check revealed an interesting nuance.
From Prachatai Online (click on icon at right for access to this award-winning website)
9 August 2013
"When inside the palace women are not wanted and there are no women inside, who takes their place?" This question posed on Asia Books' own website [http://bit.ly/15gEJRm] that advertises the book shown on the right provides one of the controversial nuances related to the book, Nai Nai, or "Men Inside [the palace]. Given other contemporary widely circulated and accepted "truths," about high-ranking insiders and their alleged sexual orientation, the coverage, in detail, from inside the palace seems to pose sensitive questions and bring sensitive matters into open view and discussion. The actual facts behind any such reports are difficult to substantiate.
Berserk Nun Strips - Wields Knife
Disturbed Buddhist nun captured after emergency wrappings were brought in.
7 August 2013
t 14:00 hrs. on 7 August 2013, Buriram provincial police, with emergency rescue staff, received a report from residents that a nun had developed delirium. According to the report, she was chasing around monks with a pointed knife inside Khok Sawang temple, Kho Makok village, Tambol Isaan, meung district. HEADLINES
"Safe to Eat."...Really...and Pattaya?
Rayong reassurances are not found in images. See editorial.html for recent report on Pattaya. Khaosod Online
5 August 2013
Minister Insists Koh Samet Seafood Unaffected By Oil Spill
hai authorities are intent on assuring consumers and tourists alike that seafood fished off the coast in Rayong province, the centre of a recent oil spill crisis, is perfectly safe. The leakage from an underwater pipeline operated by PTT Global Chemical in the Gulf of Thailand blackened parts of the popular resort island of Koh Samet last week. Numerous tourists left the island, while many others cancelled their visits. HEADLINES
Big Chile Still Bites!
2 August 2013From the editor's desk...We had dinner at Korat's Big Chile restaurant last night, and the owner/chef Lek came over to give a warm hug to an old friend. See their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BigChiliKorat
. I should have expected what we were served, quickly, professionally and deliciously - a great eat and with the real flavor of Mexican food by someone who knows how to cook it. Nachos to buritos to you-name-it, lots of German beers and local suds. Visit as soon as you can. Highly recommended. Tel. 044 247 469.
American Killed in K
Victims Bobby Carter, left, and son from AP news story. In rollover image, Police
interview admitted killers in Sumet after they kill American over argument
. Khaosod Online
31 July 2013
n American tourist was stabbed dead while his son was critically injured after they reportedly got in fight with a group of bar musicians on a popular beach in Krabi province. The incident happened shortly after midnight on Ao Nang Beach, near a bar called Longhor Saloon. The dead man was identified as Mr. Bobby Carter, 51, originally from Texas. Police said the injured man is Mr. Adam Carter, 27. Mr. Ratikorn Romintr, 27, and his two band mates, Mr. Sathit Somsa, 40 and Mr. Nopnan Yoddecha, 26, were later arrested. See US media report here - http://cbsn.ws/16lru6I HEADLINES EDITORIAL
Another Monk Rape - 14 Year-old Girl
That Buddhism has been torn asunder in Thailand by gross malpractices within the Sangka
clergy is no longer deniable. Inside temples and out, sex, drugs, violence and vice compete
against the Dharma. KHAO SOD ENGLISH , July 29, 2013P
olice arrested a monk accused of raping a 14-year-old girl. The monk confessed to the crime, saying he was under influence of alcohol. Phra Mahasanan Atipatto, 64, was hiding in Phayao province when the police apprehended him, following complaint from the girl that he had sexually assaulted her at his former temple, Wat Bang Bua, in Bang Khen District of Bangkok. HEADLINES
Korat Mayor Suravut Squirms - Yellow Carded
Korat central district's mayor Suravut cherdchai is reported in local media as pushing for the
resignation of the local election committee chairman after the mayor was "awarded" with a
yellow card by the committee in local elections. The huge waste dump in the photo is only
one of many promises broken by municipal officials who want constant reelection. MANAGER ONLINE , July 25, 2013
uravut Cherdchai, Korat municipality mayor and son of "Jae Kiew" - Thailand's grand lady of land transport - has recently asked that the head of Korat's election commissionn step down, ostensibly because the chair handed Suravut a yellow card in recent municipal elections. The request is not likely to be met, although according to local media reports, His Honor has brought in one of friend Thaksin's lawyers to handle his appeal against the committee's actions. Headlines
. Also see editorial
15 August 2013Akeyuth Anchanbutr [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akeyuth_Anchanbutr] returned several years ago to his birthplace, Thailand, after a twenty year absence lapsed over financial crimes. He had by then accumulated what is said to be a factor of billions in promoting oriental restaurants and related businesses while abroad. Apparently, however, not taking a lesson from the forced disappearance of Muslim human rights lawyer Somchai Neelaphaijit, he openly advocated opposition to Thaksin Shinawatra, the Thai prime minister who was overthrown in a September 2006 military coup. Unlike a like-minded media tycoon Sondhi Limthongkul, Akeyuth did not survive a uniformed killing. His body was not hidden but current forensics analysis revealed that police stories, and they can be called that, were likely false.Recently American talk show host Michael Savage, apparently outlawed from speaking in the UK, stated to listeners a painful truth - in this world, if you go after the rich and powerful to try to dig up dirt on them and bring down their fall, you are likely to be killed. "It's a fact," Savage said. Royal Thai Police suffer from a a self-smeared international image of corruption and falsehood, but overall it's hardly different from the Thai military and other state and government agencies, as well as NGOs, that have little sympathy with rights and truth and the right to speak the truth. The latest apparent fiasco with Thai police is the Akeyuth killing in which police are, of course, rumored to be involved and to have falsified evidence, moved the body and faked cause of death and so on. Mechanisms such as those now rumored in this investigation are national, with anyone's story about what happened, how and why suspect at best. Truth is often dangerous in Thailand and people do their best to stay healthy by getting along, no matter what it takes.
10 August 2013
Prayuth would do well to seek government advice before he allows state policies to conflict openly with those of the government. Sure he can insist no Army troops were involved in the murders, but that lame statement conflicts with witnesses' gut-wrenching testimony and terrible heartbreaks they suffered as family and friends died in the echo of Army denials.It's nothing new for Thailand. Whether under the Thaksin regime or earlier, Chuan Leekpai, Thailand's state officials and government tools lose little time in skipping over the who dunnit details and moving on to smoothing over yet another nationally embarrassing human rights fiasco. Prayuth and other Army staff and the state machinery behind them, never tire of making it appear the other side is not only the guilty one, but that it is the one with no justification as all in whatever it does. Perhaps Prayuth really believes what he is saying...not sure. Perhaps he knows somethng is amiss but is not saying.
Pattaya - A Recent Visit
Stubbed toe not a major injury, but electrocution was right across the street. Lightpole leaners, beware...
6 August 2013
Pattaya (incorrectly pronounced pat THA ya by most Middle Eastern visitors) is still a cheap paradise and great place to have fun. But ignorance, neglect, lying, greed and opportunism - and a foul mouth or two, can lead to disgruntled feelings. And, you have to be careful about being electrocuted by a nearby lightpole. Yes, electrocuted. I am a heart patient with defilrullator impant and consider myself lucky, still mobile, able to drive and have a good time. But I was doubly lucky this last week while in Pattaya when I happened to lean against a normal light post to keep my balance to clean sand off my feet from just walking off the beach.There is no question that the light pole should have been property grounded. It needed a ground and I was it. There are no warnings or forethought much given to such situations in Thailand, let alone in Pattaya. While public safety should be of paramount concern, it is not. Avoiding embarrassment, continuing high-flow tourism income and limiting damage to the country's false image are instead the priorities.While Thai officials are extremely unhappy, indignant and often very quick to blame the reports rather than the conditions they report, leaving dangerous conditions there for anyone to run into them is inexcusable. Thai staff are certainly skilled enough to conduct inspections and undertake repairs, and as part of this, to place signs to warn the unwary. Stop dragging your butts and instead take action before someone is killed.
Too Late to Apologize
Father and son experience Thai ire in resort of Krabi where alcohol, anger and cultural differences boils over into argument, altercation and assault, then death. 2 August 2013Once again American misjudgement over local reactions to insults and openly visible anger result in a fatality, again, an American. While last month's incident involving a Caterpillar employee led to enhanced company cultural sensitivities training and arrest, this second incident reflects a lack of awareness by American tourists, and indeed, many other nationalities, who visit the kingdom each day. Thais are extremely easly to insult and anger, and can become violent in a flash. This propensity is nt often covered in the mainstream media nor emphasized, understandably, by travel agents and hotels. Say one wrong word, give one unwelcome glance, and you may be subject to assault and murder. No, it's ot an exaggeration, unfortunately.Cultural differences are important. The Thai culture is an established hierarchy replete with indoctrinated concepts and like any other culture, also replete with false preachings and violations of normal conduct by officials and members of the public. In the case of foreigners visiting Thailand, a warnign to the wise - be aware of your surroundings, period. You are in a foreign country. You may be consuming alcohol like the locals. you do not know wheat they are thinking. You have no idea about what they will feel when you say naything except gratitude if you give them money. A short-sighted view but not one altogether false. If you are ever tempted to insult a Thai, do your absolute best not to. Extricate yourself from the situation in a non-offensive manner and get out of there. If you feel a need to file charges with police, do so with caution and not while your local foe is watching you.
Thai Monk Gone Wild - Sex, $millions&Plane!
Not one Thai authority has accused this monk of damaging Thailand's image.
|Vinyl Talisman Day
Photo courtesy Manager Online. Sign reads, "We are not here to burn. But we are here to invite the people and civil servants to side with democracy."
8 December 2013
the Korat Post Online - USA server/served
Editorial When is insurrection freedom fighting? Is the current anti-democracy revolt in Thailand, aided by silence and even support from the elitists and Bangkok-based middle class really nothing more than throwing off the shackles of a shameless oppressor? Hasn't this been a Thainess problem since time immemorial? Has Thailand indeed not been colonized by a locally-grown misperception of human rights?
BANGKOK, July 6 -
Dicipline isn't a suddenly occuring problem in Thailand, in and out of the schools, but Thai youth today are challenging to social order and stability. Confronted by massive corruption, double standards by naitonal leadership and role models, shown repeated abuses by leading figures of privilege and position without any accountability, the young are taking to the streets but not in the normal protest motif. No. These methods involve sneaky nighttime rock and bottle throwing, shootings of competing students on public buses, and lately, Chulalongkorn University students idolizing Adolf Hitler in the same way as Batman and Captain America. Just this week as well, another well-known university in Bangkok is apologizing for another stupid hazing freshmen incident - forcing them to walk naked.
Thailand just does ot get it. Politicians are not the problem, and never were. In fact, monks and politicians and so-called men and women of honor and fame are leading soem of the most hypocritical devoid-of-morality and ethics lives any greedy glutton would envy. so it is only natural that youth and individuals in all social sectors, including theSangka, follow along and get some of the bennies that others get without apparent accountability. All of these incidents damage Thailand's image - but do you hear the Thais saying so? Hardly....
|Thai Monk Gone Wild - Sex, $millions&Plane!
Not one Thai authority has accused this monk of damaging Thailand's image.
BANGKOK, July 6 -
It's tough being a monk. That old saying, "Living like a monk," is self-descriptive when discussing what is needed to be done to conduct oneself while engaged in living a life where one of the first prerequisites is celibacy. And in Thailand, it is doubly more difficult because sex is seemingly everywhere. So why not join the bandwagon and have a good time at the expense of others as it seems so easy to do these days? .
Celibacy isn't the main thing that one has to adopt when actively practicing the viniya or Buddhist doctrine. There are other, many other prerequisites. Honesty, selflessness, elimination of delusion and personal comfort, meditation, dismissal of physical things - none of this is easy, but it is made all the mroe difficult when you have no intent on trying nor does the culture in which you live care much for anything other than itself.
Thailand's fundamental problem with religion of any kind, and related philosophical paths such as Buddhism, is that pretense and self-aggrandizement are paramount to the self. Across all levels of society Thais are apt to collect, and told to gather, in worship of one form of icon or another without being taught or studying that the reason Buddhism is important, that is should be a fundamental part of their nation in a way that is truthful rather than the contemporary misleading approach, is that faith involves not just an organized approach to living and seeking of enlightenment, but that it is a very personal path and needs to be conducted in a legitimate manner. Instead Thaland has placed its corporate stamp on Buddhism by mandating that religious affairs be controlled by the Ministry of Education, in essence, and by a Supreme Sangha Council. In short, the religion has become bureaucratized but it was already corrupt. Buddha himself warned long ago that one of the four fundamental dangers to the Buddhist faith and ability of his followers to adhere would be corruption from within.
Negative Legend Persists
Some believe local authorities and those benefititng from promoting the tourist industry in Thailand
are pushing the credibility envelope with Naga Fireballs that have withstood one thing to date
- common sense. One Thai woman from Korat recently said of the non-event, "Thai people do
not accept the truth - nor do they want it."
eople are funny. When you want them to believe the truth, they deny it. When you tell them a lie, they believe. Is life so boring and uneventful that it has to be this way? Especially up in Thailand's northeast region, Isaan, in Nong Khai province where locals and enticed visitors have been lulled by legend and exploitave opportunists who will do anything for money. Even convert M16 tracer bullets into magic balls of gas that rise into the air far faster than any so-called globule of gas would be able to survive. The "oohs and ahhs" that follow each "event" drown out the echo of the rifle shot that propels these less than magical projectiles.
W ikipedia's writeup on Naga Fireballs at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naga_fireballs takes aim at bullets rather than magical serpents that fascinate wide-eyed villagers and old folks who depend on magic spirits for succor. This is not to denigrate the less-than-unique propensity for rural folks around the world we live on to believe something other than what they see. This is a common penchant for most of us. Rather than rationally weighing what it is, we speculate on what it really might be. And for Thailande's tourist industry, if Nong Khai can keep in the news, having failed to benefit much from AARP's best place int the world to retire to article, by claiming to have magical gases rising form the majestic Mekhong, why not? Say it ain't so, Sam.
RAPID TRANSIT - RAPID ERROR?
Lamtakhong political pipedream but the Piper plays on...
Thursday, 25 October 2012
Duh? Is this the message the city fathers of Korat want passed from one generation to the next as one bad, ill-conceived idea after another is pushed by a favorite son with "far-sightedness" and eventually built at sky-high costs that end up depriving rather than providing benefits? With rickshaws out of downtown Ubon and Khon Kaen, for example, they are strangely visible in Korat. On top of that, "planners" have worked together with consultants to come up withi master plans for public transportation that provide elevated ways for samlors and bicycles. All this, of course, at public expense and borrowed funds, with construction profits (30-60% of project costs) going into the pockets of...people who "go along."
During 2012, several seminars and meetings, roundtables and discussions took place in Korat at the Suranaree University of Technnology, Municipality of Korat, the governor's office and elsewhere regarding current study of a mass public transport system. This exact "solution" to Korat's burgeoning traffic mess was mentioned to this paper about a month ago or so by Korat's mayor Suravut Cherdchai when he was asked when is Korat going to solve the traffic problem. the reply meant, of course, that there was going to be no immediate solution, and as a consequence, any immediate serious endeavors from authorities to force the public to abide by simple traffic rules.
WHAT ARE STATE POLICIES?
Full spillways are far preferable to the present situation...
Wednesday, 26 September 2012
Mixed messages are bouncing back and forth between the government and the media, between the media and the media, and between the state and the government over whether it's really flooding (remember Samak's amazing insensitivity over his redefinition of flooding ("It's not flooding, only inability to drain faster.") or just the consequence of runaway construction and lack of master planning for runoff control and mitigation. In the meantime the people who are under water, forced out of their homes, or who knew it was coming but didn't do much about it are daily testament to the fact that flooding is indeed a reality, again, and that the phenomenon is both a nature and nurture one - that is, it is the result of forces of nature and result of what man has made inevitable.
One unmixed message being made clear, however, is that ever-burdened taxpayers are going to have to pay more and more and more to cover the costs of handouts to people who suffer from flooding. It brings an uncomfortable question to mind as to whether taxpayers should be shouldered with this untenable burden. Of course it is a worldwide and humane reaction to chip in and help alleviate those who suffer from any natural disaster, but in Thailand's specific case, the disaster is increasingly being made clear that it's not a natural disaster so much as it is a devil-may-care what happens to others state policy. Greed, stupidity, corruption and absolute ignorance are chipping in big to make Thailand's financial future a ruin of historic proportions.
Is flooding the problem?
people do not want to do this...
Monday, 11 September 2012
Today is September 11, 2012, and exactly eleven years ago terrorists flew airplanes into heavily populated public buildings in the United States, taking well over 3,000 lives in the process. While we remember today, we also need to remember that whether it is, as left-wing government claims say the government did it, or our Middle East allies of one ilk or the other were involved, or it was indeed an Islamofascist act as currently officially recognized as being, the odious nature of the act and those behind it will not go unanswered.
Flooding is once again taking its toll in thailand, first in the north, and then winding its inexorable path south to inundate the ancient capital of Sukhothai and thousands of homes that had, for a few months since last year's flooding remained dry if not high.
No one can, it is being said, predict flooding or really design a drainage system that works, but for some insight into the scope of the problem listen to the comment spoken this morning over Thai TV by residences of some areas who told media, "We have to buy budget to get benefits."Buy a budget? What does that mean? At first blush, it means that if residents and representatives of any given community want state funds spent for their benefit, they have to reciprocate in kind, but in advance, with either votes or hidden corruption that can't be traced. When the phrase 'at first blush' was used it was meant to underline similar mechanisms for local spending of state funds back in the United States, let alone other nations. If people want something, they are no longer going to get it just by voting. They are going to have to grease someone's palms and swallow any pride at what honesty might otherwise have offered.
Constitution Has Poison...
Photo courtesy freesource reports
Sunday, 26 August 2012
Commentary on an article in The Nation...
The 2007 Constitution is regarded by the ruling coalition leader Pheu Thai as a fruit from a poisonous tree, which is definitely poisonous and needs to be got rid off. However, their opponents see the Pheu Thai stance on the charter as aimed at serving a vested interest. As a result, the proposed amendments have led to severe conflicts in the society. Bhokin, a former Parliament president and House speaker, says the coalition would have to be patient in the manoeuvring for the rewriting of the charter so that the country could exit the "black hole" political situation. HEADLINES
Once again hardly an iota of wisdom in public servant sayings, but if we reach into the nitty-gritty of what the guy said there are a few salient points, all of which when lumped together spell the fact that the 2007 constitution was crafted with inherent errors or evne intentional provisions that make life hard for some and easy for others. Not a bit surprise, as said, but certainly worth correcting it it can be corrected. And that is the salient point once more...can "things" be righted and justice ever prevail in the kingdom? Reminding one anohter, of course, that we are already under the eighteenth constitution and no one really knows how many more will be carefully crafted and then destroyed in a blaze of nationalist glory.
An observer said that we should remind ourselves that not that long ago when the military was asked whether a provision such as "no more coups or interference by the military" could be incorporated into the constitution a national military leader smiled wistfully and shook his head "no." Big surprise there? No, of course not. It is the same rationale, however, that G.W. Bush reflected when he quipped about not finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It was almost as if the entire war in Iraq was a joke, the same kind of joke that suggests the Thai military stay out of politics and civil strife. But for societies that are inherently corrupt, short-sighted, at odds with reality and in perpetual denial of essential human truths, does anyone really think that removing poisons from the current constitution will also help remove poisons from the rest of Thai society?
Tough Call for Court
Graphic by the Korat PostFriday, 13 July 2012
the Korat Post Avery tough decision is scheduled to be announced today that will probably reflect the unique Thai way of arriving at tough calls with a mixture of stated principles, compassion, firm resolve and need to maintain national security, honor the will of the people and so on. It's not the first time that the Thai courts have cautioned the public, and the entire nation, to remain calm in the face of an imminent court judgment that could determine the fate of the ruling party and many of its members.The decision, whatever its outcome, will be in response to filings with the Constitutional Court by pro-elite opposition party members ostensibly concerned with a stated attempt to bring down the current form of government.Article 68 of the 2007 Thai constitution reads, "No person shall exercise the rights and liberties prescribed in the Constitution to overthrow the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State under this Constitution or to acquire the power to rule the country by any means which is not in accordance with the modes provided in this Constitution.In the case where a person or a political party has committed the act under paragraph one, the person knowing of such act shall have the right to request the Prosecutor General to investigate its facts and submit a motion to the Constitutional Court for ordering cessation of such act without, however, prejudice to the institution of a criminal action against such person.In the case where the Constitutional Court makes a decision compelling the political party to cease to commit the act under paragraph two, the Constitutional Court may order the dissolution of such political party.In the case where the Constitutional Court makes the dissolution order under paragraph three, the right to vote of the President and the executive board of directors of the dissolved political party at the time the act under paragraph one has been committed shall be suspended for the period of five years as from the date the Constitutional Court makes such order."
The Thai version reads the same, but it is the grammatical construction and possible confusion that is at question. Did the wording mean that the prosecutor was the party to refer such a protest to the court, or an outside party?
Duh!...about Says It
Graphic by the Korat Post
Thursday, 12 July 2012
the Korat Post
Now the "divine" nature of a second fraudulent explosives-detecting device and its marketers is out in the open, will people finally wisen up and realize that spending a single dollar, let alone millions, for crap and junk that is marketed to work only "under ideal conditions" is itself criminal negligence at best, and overt crime at its worst. The trouble is, will the dumb ones also be made responsible?
20 June 2012
See editor's comments on Center for Strategic and International Studies http://cogitasia.com/the-leaderboard-surapong-tovichakchaikul/#comment-4440 for comments on US-Thai strategic relations
Thailand's Got Talent
(Exposed Boobs - Benz Walks)
Too much cleavage (right), caught cultural denunciation with female judge Benz Pornchita NaSongkla (foreground in separate screen capture) walking away from the panel in protest. "For Thai culture," she said, "this is inappropriate." the Thai Ministry of Culture felt the same way. Show's producers apologize with a "Won't happen again."
"Benz" on a popular magazine cover.
Thursday, 20 June 2012
Benz, as her monnicker goes, walked away from the Thailand's Got Talent panel on 17 June 2012 when a younger female contestant shocked viewers by removing her blouse and bra, splashed her breasts with paint, and then used them to create what she told the judges was art. The video can still be viewed on Youtube, but the entire issue is what brings several questions into the foreground.
1. Why was the male audience pleased and the female audience disgusted?
2. Why were the judges and producer not earlier aware of what was going to take place?
3. Why is the Ministry of Culture upset?
4. What got into the 23 year-old contestant to work up the courage - and it took a lot - to expose herself like she did?
5. Is Thai society changing because of western inroads into its culture or are corporate interests once again ruining society?
6. Is expression in the kingdom really free, or will it never be?
7. Why wasn't censorship also put into the target area on the matter?
Perhaps the answer to no. 7 above is that because the Ministry of Culture is preserving "Thai" values and "protecting" them from wayward practices, let alone wayward thinking, that its mission in life is beyond question. Yet anyone who has had a visit from Ministry of Culture staff asking them if they are really Thai or not knows the tremendously intimidating nature such a visit can have.
Thailand Celebrates WHO Event
...sans WHO? See editorial.
A reader asks the Korat Post why WHO isn't compellingly evident on promotional material. We write to the Thai Red Cross and wait for the reply.
Thursday, 14 June 2012
The Thai Red Cross Society is one of Thailand's most active and well-attended event organizations, coordinated in kingdom by the Thai Ministry of Public Health. Today, 14 June 2012 is World Blood Donar Day, being coordinated locally by those two organizations. But a reader brought up an issue or non-issue... why is WHO not figured prominently on advertising media and being mentioned by organizers, either up to today or at the 10 June 2012 press conference the Thai Red Cross held to announce today's festivities? Thailand's news bureau, however, did publish a 31 May 2012 announcement of the event, crediting WHO, at its link to the event here. EDITORIAL.
Certainly many events in Thailand, although supposedly international and often actually promoted and organized by well-known global agencies, are treated as Thai events, or perhaps more accurately promoted only in the Thai language and "marketed" to Thais. Foreigners who happen to run into the event are, of course, welcome but their hosts fail to observe that full credit, visible and unashamed, should be given to the event's real sponsors - in this case, the World Health Organization, WHO. Most foreigners are probably unfazed by the seemingly lack of proper accreditation that comes with such events, but the question as how far to take deserved recognition as an issue and make it plain that World blood Donar Day is not just a Thai event. Is it worth it to press the issue? Thailand's other state agencies and local organizers might also be taken to task for totalyl failing to provide English language coverage to World Boxing Council and other international events held throughout Thailand from time to time. Viewers have to be trustrated by the nonchalance. Will this October's Youth Boxing event in Bangkok be bilingual?
Not Just Map Ta Phut
Car-Racing Abbot Crashes!
Tuesday, 1 May 2012
Korat Post Online Editorial
Sadness comes in comedic forms all too often. Sad is the prime minister of Thailand being so out of touch with everyday reality that she has to visit markets twice (link) just to magically discover that prices have indeed gone up. As well, environmental and industrial tragedies in Thailand (link) are often followed by complacent state and government reaction - often in ignorance, often in cowardice, often in corruption. Denial of reality and lack of simple appreciation for the human condition are not markedly Thainess traits, but stretch across the globe. Yet in Thailand they seem to prosper beyond "normal" expectations.
Believe it or not some villagers in northeast Thailand are still eating field rats - and not just because they taste better. It's often a choice of eating or not. Having been in the northeast for years, this writer has personal experience with that special relationship that Herbert Spencer called Man Versus the State (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Spencer). In what has been described as a Shakespearean-type work, Spencer's book describes the condition and consequences of the state and of man, intricately weaving a tale of woe with one world of frailty and and the other of fools. Together it is reality.
Photo courtesy Manager Online: Location, NE Province of Loei - monks are not supposed to be driving...
Tuesday, 1 May 2012
Manager Online Article
Transedited from (Original article (here )
Shame knows no bounds, apparently - if you believe Buddhist monks (and especially those at the top - should practice as they are supposed to and abide by the precepts that the Lord Buddha prescribed. But these days with monks at the Mall, wearing shoes while shopping downtown, and now...an abbot racing his car into a pole! - with Thai government ministries having grasped culture and Buddhism and prescribing how it all is supposed to work - well, apparently someone is not listening. Editorial. We are sure they have an explanation. Read on...
Maybe it's the rapidity times are changing, or perhaps global culture falling apart, or individual liberation finally taking its toll...whatever... the latest news from Loei involves a temple abbot that was driving a fellow monk to a massage session! - and hit a power pole on the way. When told of this incident a local Thai woman blithly commented that there were dozens of such cases where monks and abbots were driving vehicles. It certianly raises the issue of propriety - is it proper for a Buddhist monk, and in this case an abbot, to drive a car? The traditional, and probably accurate Buddhist opinion is absolutely no way Jose. So, then, what would a temple abbot flaunt the basic precepts of Buddhism so he could take a colleague to a massage session?
It seems that beliefs - not just theological but philosophical - are becoming more and more secular, with nonchalance the normal response to really extreme twistings of basic beliefs and tenants of core cultural values. Whether this is a good thing or not is something that will certainly be reflected in the end product sometime in the future.
Verdict Moved to 30 May
Photo from Prachatai website 30 April 2012
Monday, 30 April 2012
The Korat Post
On 30 April 2012, award-winning Prachatai editor Chiranuch Premchaiporn was informed by the Criminal Court that her verdict would not be read that day as previously scheduled, but would be read on 30 May 2012, primarily because of the huge number of documents relating to the case. Many observers have seen her case as a simple one of the state being used by vile ill-intentioned accusers bent on forcing all Thais, and foreigners in the kingdom, to keep their mouths shut, completely, about not just the monarchy but about anything the state deems inappropriate.
Yet, the flip side of the coin says that she got everything she deserved, should not have started up a website, isn't a real Thai, has caused damage to the country, and has no shame, etc. The flip side being, of course, the nonsense side. Having met this brave woman, this writer was impressed by her professionalism and sense of humility. Now she has to carry through life a sense of shame - not of herself, but the society that made her very slight incursion into a major international case of concern.
Under the Influence?
BANGKOK, April 25, 2012
arking the 60th anniversary of Thai Television and 35th anniversary of MCOT, Thailand's leading broadcasting company MCOT Plc (formerly the Mass Communication Organisation of Thailand) on Wednesday kicked off its anniversary celebration, aiming to become a media leader in the region and in the world arena.
Over the past decade, even beyond that well before Thaksin was even a thought in anyone's head, the Thai state, government and a combination of agencies, individuals, groups, ne-er-do-wells and dictators have gone beyond the call of duty in ensuring that only what was approved was said, and if not, then the speaker is punished. They have been calling it loyalty, but is it?
Send us an email to let us know what you think of censorship and media in Thailand. Email here.
Did He Know?
Sunday, 22 April 2012
Very interesting...Although math-flunking Albert Einstein was surprisingly smart, so was Pfizer. After it has spent millions and finally came up with Viagra, its market share was 92% at the beginning. But then competition came along and it dropped off to fifty percent. Is generic viagra equal to the task, safe, or dangerous? Note that the follow does not nor is intended to be medical advice or construed as prescribing action, use or acquisition.
It depends on two major factors: First and foremost are you healthy enough to take Viagra? The Pfizer and US FDA requirement for a doctor's prescription might be sufficient to underline that there is a potential not just for trademark violation, but that you could end up in a horizontal position quite different from the one you expected. Secondly, even if you are healthy enough and your doctor said it's fine, other factors could affect your health and consequences of using the drug.
Aperson might note that while generic Viagra is an alternative to the real thing, it is illegal to sell and according to various authorities, could be dangerous. But a major consideration that someone might consider ordering Generic Viagra online is cost of the real deal. In the Korat Bangkok Hospital, for example, an expatriate was informed not long ago that while the doctor found him physically able to use Viagra, that the cost of each "Blue Diamond" was 600 Baht. That is $20. Online generic products usually run from under $1 up to $2 each. Again, it is prudent to remind all that these versions may nor may not contain ingredients that are totally safe and/or equal in active ingredient context as would Viagra itself be. But when you order two dozen of the real thing and pay 14,400 Baht ($480 US), that is a lot more than paying $$60 or so that includes shipping.
Going on to a serious question, does the online generic version work? We tried to warn you above, but opportunity being what it is, and market forces of supply and demand being what they are, there are probably dozens, if not hundreds, of clients who bought the unapproved version online and found it satisfactory and accommodating. This editor does not yet have any record of generic Viagra deaths. It is also likely that the only Viagra-related deaths to date that are confirmed would be related to the real product and an unfortunate circumstance that led to the incidental death.
Readers who find this particular subject interesting have possibly experienced the benefits of this performance enhancing medicine, which not only seems to cure erectile dysfunction but also seems able to aid normal performance with a little added enthusiasm. Should a man feel ashamed to admit that he needs such an aid? Perhaps, but probably not. Today's culture treats people a bit more adult than it used to, at least in the way of public education about sex, and going in to the doctor to sit down for a brief consultation may embarrass the older generation, but can lead to a more fulfilling life.
Although the original patent for Viagra is expiring this year, a renewal already approved will protect the company's right to produce the drug until the year 2012. While Pfizer is probably not worried about its general core area of business and long-term survivability, the loss of market control over one of the century's most successful products will undoubtedly put a hole in a pocket here and there.
High-Heels Vs. Common Sense
Why is it necessary to tell motorists not to leave shoes on the floor near brake pedals?
korat's latest "accomplishment in the traffic world.
Saturday, 21 April 2012
Khao Sod Thai language newspaper
Transedited from (Original article here )
Young or old, male or female, the advice should always be the same - but on the other hand, why is it necessary to provide common sense to people who are supposed to possess it when they get behind the wheel of a car?
A story not long ago about a woman in England who brought a container of gasoline into her kitchen and poured some of it into another container, while her kitchen stove was lit...and guess what...she was burned, then some of the local press and politicians tried to blame members of the government for needlessly alarming people over gas shortages....it just smacked that common sense was totally absent in that household.
Here in Korat, Thailand this week, another demonstration of total lack of common sense demonstrated itself when a Thai woman, an adult, drove her car into a shallow pond after making it possible for the brake pedal to be blocked into position by a high-heel shoe the lady had taken off and not bothered to put two and two together to realize that leaving any object on the floor under the driver is nonsense. But today in Thailand we have thousands of motorists using cell phones as if their lives depended on being in total contact with whomever they happen to be talking with at the moment. Even motorcyclists are running around, one hand steering, another holding the cell phone next to the ear, ignoring oncoming traffic, ignoring lights, ignoring basic human consideration of others. And what do thai authorities do about any of this? The usual nothing.
While alarmists now scare radio listeners with stories of how the world is going to Hell, one can't help but wonder if at least some of it is true from the way people are totally ignoring the inconveniences they cause to others and the very real dangers their behavior poses to the general community. Of course we can understand official hands-off approach to all of this because votes matter. Complaining to residents of a community that they should not be blocking any, much less half or more of a major roadway is certain election death.
Guilty and Forced to Admit It
No legal counsel, police-compelled "press conference." Justice?
Friday, 20 April 2012
Manager Online report and Korat Post Commentary
Transedited from (Original article here )
Suspects in Thailand being held in remand by police through the the Thai "Justice System" are most often put on parade, without any legal counsel or attorney (state-provided or personally sleeted) in a public confession and frequent enactment of their crimes, albeit not yet having gone through a legitimate court trial. Such "events" are arranged by police who use these sessions as self-aggrandizing opportunities to promote favorable public image and engender public support for their actions.
Several years ago an unfortunate but effective collective protest by major police officials led to cancellation of a government move to transfer the Royal Thai Police out of the powerful Ministry of Interior and into the Ministry of Justice where, by way of mention, Dr. Pornthip Rojanan is assigned as head of the Forensics laboratory there. the good doctor and the police have often been at loggerheads given clear and present evidence that Thai police were involved in falsification of forensic evidence in many cases, and that police corruption also has often interfered in the process of justice in Thailand. In thousands of other civil and criminal cases in Thailand, performance and transparency of reports of police behavior in these cases has almost always been secret or biased in favor of the police collectively or specific police officials who are in senior positions and well-capable to making people disappear should they insist on "justice."
While state machinery per se in Thailand insists that it is continually working on improving internal procedures and has made admirable progress in accommodating measures to ensure prevention of human and civil rights, nothing could be further from the truth. Thai society and culture are so intrinsically enveloped in a self-righteous eternal campaign to present positive spins on all areas of operations, and have often blocked or completely dropped legitimate investigations into criminal wrongdoing by the police. Putting yet another criminal on public pillory such as this latest one satisfied national ego but does nothing to safeguard rights.
Reconciliation - Dead Before it Begins
18 April 2012
The people's Alliance for Democracy, the entrenched royalist activist group which played a major part in exposing alleged wrongdoings of the former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who, after five years of being a criminal fugitive still can't return to the kingdom without facing a jail visit, recently announced that it was filing charges against 416 members of the majority government parliamentarians for wrongfully amending the Thai constitution, particularly Article 291 which stipulates how the constitution can be amended. One thing that was not included in the methods was military coup.
And that seems to be the sole method in Thailand that can be used with relative impunity to rip to shreds any constitution and then those who destroyed it, the military and their string pullers, put together their own version of a constitution, ram it through an interim parliament, and then the new version gets approved. All in a coup's work.
With the PAD once again on the warpath, the outlook for reconciliation is not good. But it was dead from the word go. The adamant refusal of various parties in Thailand to absolutely refuse to see the other side of the coin is legion. that's partly why criminal defamation and lese majeste laws are still used. They maintain silence and compel conformity.
How It Is?
Can it be this bad?
"The US is just the battering ram."
17 April 2012
The Korat Post Online
ARepublic Broadcasting Network radio program host of Cutting Through the Matrix today said it:"It's not the US - the US is just the battering ram." If you haven't heard about scary conspiracies lately, read on as a couple of updates on news in circulation that may put you ill at ease...and should.
The RBN is a bit of a left-wing media organ, rather obstinate and persistant, but also revealing in what the Executive Branch, Congress and the Courts - the three pillars of our constitutional freedoms - have done to destroy democracy and upsurp our rights as Americans to make them even more diminuitive that those enjoyed by the people of North Korea or Cuba. Accomplishing such a feat is not to be dismissed easily. At issue is just how so many freedoms and rights were pushed aside, and how national security suddenly became the prayer word on everyone's lips while Americans were allowed to become subject to legal kidnapping and murder based solely on suspicions that they are terrorists. Surely terrorism, in this instance, is that of the state, not of the people.
Is Phuket Still Safe?
Phuket residents take to streets 16 April 2012. Will another Big One hit?
Photo courtesy Manager Online
17 April 2012
It depends on whether there is another quake, flood, other natural disaster or a man-made tragedy helped along by corruption and wanton negligence.
Phuket is one of the main jewels of the Orient, to be sure, a veritable paradise - albeit crowded, hot and corrupt - and everyone who can afford it likes going there, despite its distance from Bangkok or even further, from capital cities in Europe and the United States. So when a small earthquake jolted residents out of their homes and away from the crowded beaches on 16 April 2012, people rightfully asked, "Is it safe here? Am I in danger? Those still back home were asking, "Should I go?"
When a traveler considers visiting Phuket or is already there, the historical concerns now happen to be whether there is a likelihood of an earthquake or tsunami, and if so, what to do about it? The issue is not dissimilar to considering what to do in the middle of New York during 9/11, or being anywhere on the planet during an emergency or natural disaster. The following items should be considered when deciding what to do and how to do it.
1. Assess your immediate vicinity and judge whether your person and others near you are in immediate physical danger. this is why general advice to flee from inside buildings is given.
2. Assess the vicinity itself to determine whether it will remain safe or not. If the situation involves a fire, for example, you may need to relocate not just for the fire and possible crowds fleeing, but to make way for emergency equipment, etc.
3. No one knows how much time a person has, whether until the end of life or just standing in an elevator. While alive and able to move, then, make the most of it by continuing to assess the situation and the environment. Think but don't panic. Panic gets in the way of reason and logic and organized behavior.
4. Should you worry about personal belongings in an emergency like an earthquake? Yes and no. Again, assessment is important, as is luck and occurrence of random events. You can afford to lose belongings but not members of your family, or your own life. Be conservative but appropriate.
Many people are forecasting the End of Days sometime in the near future. Hollywood is replete with disaster movies and horror flicks showing aliens destroying the planet or mantle shifts that melt Hawaii and Los Angeles and move Europe four thousand miles, and so on. The end is around the corner for all of us, sooner or later, but why expedite the process? Take measures, keep researching on how to protect yourself personally and your loved ones and friends. Listen to authorities, but also listen to your own conscience. Don't panic.
Will A Year's Praying Help?
13 April 2012
THE KORAT POST โคราชโพสต
A recent campaign by the Thai government, vanguarded by the Ministry of Health and the ministry of Education-overlooked Sangka Council urges Thai youth to pray throughout the year in what is promised to be an effective way of casting the sin of alcohol consumption, and all accompanying other vices and bad habits, to the Devil where they belong. While in principle a good idea, in reality the idea may be what it was said to be by a Red Shirt radio hostess - nonsense. After all, "good Thai Buddhists" have been praying before, after, and between holidays and attending temple fanfare after fanfare, and has Thailand's social denigration, let along alcoholism per se, gotten any better? the consensus seems to be not.
When Luanta Mahabua was still alive, he forcefully called Watpa Salawan in Korat a "Toilet in fundamentals" because he knew what was going on inside the temple and how politicized much of Buddhism has become in the kingdom. A frank speaker, he was not afraid to call a spade a spade. When a lesser mortal among us, however, such as a female Red Shirt radio hostess, attempts to call a Buddhist spade what it is, she is criticized and has to take a month off just to calm Thai society that has been cajoled into thinking that Buddhism itself is under attack when it is not, but it is rather the way Buddhism is being mispracticed and malpracticed in the Land of Smiles. Everything seems to need a campaign with glowiong admiration for wonderous works and fine improvement of the spirit, of selflessness and forgiving, of tolerance and ocmpassion. But all of these honorable human traits are thrown out the window by the very people professing to be qualified to teach them as they pounce upon critics who often know what they are talking about.
In this latest roundhouse of "Smack the woman down" we have two Red Shirts vying off against one another; one a monk in a senior position, the other a radio hostess. Yet when we read the criticism from the monk, who makes a big case ouf of how much better looking the hostess' tits could have been - if they were volumptuous and white - we get an idea of the absense of Buddhism doctrine on the part of those who are supposed to be spreading and preserving it.
Keystone Cops? Thai policewomen dancing in the streets. Still another agency insult to women?
Photo courtesy of the Bangkok Post, original story here.
7 April 2012
THE KORAT POST โคราชโพสต
It's one story we are not buying. Not this time. With gender discrimination a major problem in the kingdom and exploitation of women for sex and domesticated slavery, putting female police officers on the streets to dance for Songkran is just another demeaning idea and misapplication of principles to where they are once again, being maligned.
"Naked, barefoot and in the kitchen" is just about the ultimate male chauvinist description of where women belong. This ages-old prejudice might find smiles at the bar but does not bring any at home, in the office or on the streets in Thailand where women have, indeed, a tough time escaping daily sexual-related prejudice ranging from leering smiles to actual physical contact, including rape.
Thailand has been cited time and again for one human rights violation after another, by one human rights organization after another, for sexual exploition, exploitation of women and children and labor and unreasonable inhumane laws that deprive everyone in the kingdom of first, protection from violation, and secondly, timely satisfaction once violation of human rights has taken place. In this latest instance, it might be fun for some Thais to be seen dancing in the street to celebrate the country's New Year, but isn't making policewomen do so, in uniform, not only thoughtless but once again putting the rubber stamp on the fact that women in Thailand are playthings rather than equals?
We suggest that all Thai state agencies and private operators throughout the kingdom really begin to seriously look at this issue, and in a simple but important step, to remove the prefix "woman" from all uniformed and professional positions that women occupy in the kingdom, from inside the military to the police to the medical profession, and beyond. We don't need to know if we are walking in to see a female doctor, just that it's a doctor. Thai society doesn't need to be told that a female major is visiting the seminar, only a major. Let's get the gender equality show on the road, and do it without gender dances. The Royal Thai Police don't need to entice tourists with cute Thai women who happen to be police. They need better police protection and a lot less police corruption. They know about the two and word is getting around. Thais should not be playing games with a serious problem like terrorism to save tourism by playing upon sexism. We are not saying this new act was intentional in a negative way, but that's often how prejudice is maintained...incidentally and without conscious intent.
1 April 2012
Jobs, Government, Consultants and Jobs
The Post Publishing Public Company Limited
Bangkok Post Building
136 Na Ranong Road, Klong Toey
Bangkok 10110 Thailand Tel: +662-240-3700 Fax: +662-240-3666
If one thing is evident in these trying times, it’s that people want work, people need work, people must work. It’s also evident that political leadership across the board is challenged by these needs. Talking the talk – getting elected – and walking the walk – fulfilling campaign pledges – are often something completely different. It’s when “the machine” puts together a winning team, one that knows what it needs to do and how to do it that people are provided jobs and income and the opportunity to taste the good life.
2012 may not fulfill its Mayan prophesy but across the globe people – Thais, Americans, Africans, Arabs, Persians, Japanese and the people of over 150 countries are all seeking personal achievement, with the first item on the plate being survival, and behind survival, jobs.
The Thai government’s April 1, 2012 effective 300 Baht a day minimal wage will hopefully work the way it is designed. It will put more money in the pocket of the Thai worker, and for employers, contribute toward making them more competitive in a world that is changing and will change much more. For decades traditional Thai business operators, from the mom and pop stall to the local magnate, have failed to catch up to meeting demand with supply – supply of not just products and services, but a convenient, comfortable and efficient, as well as cheap, supply of products. Such companies as Lotus and Carrefour, and in a local setting such as Klang Plaza in Nakhonratchasima, have accepted and met the challenge of providing these very human needs. Of course getting these level of services eliminates many, or even most, of the mom and pop operations. This is not a welcome development to the moms and pops whose family income depends on their retail operations, but it does force those in business to reassess the way they do business and to make changes…or fail.
From my years of observation of the local Thai business community, I’ve seen that generally vital investment steps are either ignored or intentionally disregarded…with fatal results to the new business or existing businesses. Market research is scoffed at, personal assumptions are prejudicially prominent in decision making, and the need to retain two vital parts of a business – honesty and cash – is overlooked.
Foreign consultants like Boston Consulting Group, and many more, can and do provide close liaison with major company management to steer the business ship through sometimes rough waters. On a more local level, smaller Thai operations need to go through the steps of market study, competitive analysis, financial survivability and impact on personal holdings and family life, and a dozen other things that will either make or break the company.
Click to visit PETA website.
26 March 2012
Transedited from Manager Online (original Thai article)
Media reported that on 25 March 2012, some twenty Thai elephants that had been sent to Burma under contract to haul teak logs out of forests had to return to Thailand recently to escape forest fies in the neighboring nation. According to Manager Online's report, forty Thai elephants had been contracted but half returned as a result of the burning.
While Thai elephants have a special symbolic value in the eyes of foreigners and Thais alike, the facts behind how elephants re treated in their homeland is anything but anything to smile about. Elephants re often mistreated and expoited as a tool to bring income to those raising them only to exploit these peaceful animals. See a long report on why Thailand isn't solving its elephant exploitation problem here.
City officials reviewed a proposal back in 2011 for an expensive overhead skybus to alleviate the city's traffic congestion. But is this really the solution?
Artist rendering above from Korat Municipality Thai language booklet Smile Korat. Inside substandard English reads, "Korat city of smile." Still, no 's.' Or comma, etc.
18 March 2012
Transedited from Korat municipality publications and online news
The problem with political visionaries and otherwise astute city planners is that not infrequently their aspirations range into the upper reaches of financial practicality, and even, upon occasion, actually overlapping the totally impractical. In the meantime, there are often persistent questions as to whether new dreams are only to occupy meeting agenda or whether they are really results of vision and benevolence for the people who are the ones that are to be served. The issues are philosophical to a great extent, but as Korat has had more than its share of expensive visionary-style projects that have either gone bust or become largely unused (and everyone knew this would be the case before the projects were budgeted, designed and built) it is worthwhile being forewarned that such overreaching has tremendous financial implications and tends to act as yet another tool for procrastinators who should be dealing a lot more effectively with much easier problems - to wit, in this case, Korat's horrendous traffic problems that have come about in part because the same people making plans did little or nothing about traffic. That is, little or nothing effective.
When The Mall Group came to Korat many years ago to hold its first media seminar on its plans to proceed with construction of the Mall right on the edge of the city's main thoroughfare, this newspaper founder specifically asked the Mall management what they were planning to do about the significant impact that Mall traffic would have on this major artery. There was little response to the question, other than a seeming look of discomfort. Perhaps imagination. Yet, the Mall was built and true to form it has had a significant bottleneck impact on all traffic in the area, traffic which services connections to Khon Kaen, Big C, downtown, the main route between Korat and Bangkok, and a lot more. This is only one area that city managers have perhaps not fully considered the implications when approving local construction. There are several areas in the municipal district of Korat that need urgent assessment and suggestions for alternative implementation, including but not limited to:
1. moving the nearby military airport out to Chalermphrakiet, and relocating civilian operations at the 450 million Baht facility there to the Korat city airbase.
2. assessing locations of all schools in the municipality, government and private, and planning a decade-long relocation to areas outside the city for at least those with major traffic impact.
3. relocating all military operations out of the city to Chalermphrakiet, which would free up huge areas for private real estate investment.
4. develop a couple of workable solutions to the Mall traffic patterns to alleviate impact on the main artery - Friendship Highway.
5. implement real zoning in the city. Rather than allowing tuk-tuk repair shops to open beside restaurants and motorcycle shops to open next to clinics, control development and encourage relocation to better areas outside the city.
Every city and community wants investment, but not every taxpayer wants to grow up, or have his or her children and grandchildren, grow up in an environment made filthy, crowded, unhealthy and inconvenient by short-sighted political visionaries who have their own interests at heart much more than those of the voters who put them in office. Photo opportunities, positive PR, self-serving functions and lack of transparency...all perfect infrastructure for a project like the sky bus(t).
Win-Lose Standoff Impedes Progress
17 March 2012
The Nation (Original link)
Despite so much talk about the need to achieve national reconciliation, Thailand still needs to create a climate for understanding, Wutisarn Tanchai [Thai language profile], King Prajadhipok's Institute (KPI) deputy secretary-general, said. Wutisarn, who led the study on "sustainable reconciliation", said compromise was tough, because both camps were seeking to defeat one another.
The study, commissioned by the parliamentary subcommittee on national reconciliation, concludes that there is a need to not just discuss the legal and judicial aspects of the conflict, but also to discuss its root causes, including a "reflection on power relations in Thai society". See 2010 article from Asian Human Rights Commission citing all talk and no action. Headlines.
Reading through the article provides both hope and disappointment. On the one hand, the citations toward both sides needing to adopt a compromise attitude is at least recognition that compromise is necessary. On the other hand, the the article cites, "He urged people to 'abandon the idea' of punishing the 2006 coup-makers and also slammed the media for providing one-sided information, which he says is only fanning hatred and exacerbating the political rift. Meanwhile, Methas Anuwat-udom, a member of the research team, warned that it would be dangerous for society if people did not have the space to express their political dissatisfaction." This idea of once again (still?) abandoning the idea of punishing the Thai military for intruding into politics and creating yet another backdrop of political instability is an oft-used plea ostensibly to get the show on the road but in fact designed, in the unique way that Thais handle most major issues, of putting them on the back shelf to gather more dust for the next revolt against repression.
Throughout decades and past dozens of shredded constitutions that Thai military and other armed forces - both so-called volunteer and uniformed members - have all willfully used sword and gun to silence dissent. Those who stand behind the principles used in exercising such authority have demonstrated in Thailand that they are not open to opinion or change. This is the catalyst for further conflict, not the decades-long frustration by a disenfranchised sector of society that turns to violence when nothing else works, that finds a new hero when its old ones do not offer justice or recompense.
SMS Messages "Compel" Imprisonment
16 March 2012
Translated from Thai language version of Prachatai (link)
In an expected decision, the Thai Supreme court (Dika) upheld the Court of First Instance judgment against Amphon Tangnoppaku (Ah Kong), an elderly Thai grandfather alleged (not proven) to have sent highly offensive SMS messages to a senior staff member of the Prime Minister' office.
The case of this 61 year-old grandfather has irked the international community for several reasons. First, of course, is the twenty year sentence given to him by the Thai judiciary, viewed among contemnor academics, activists, politicians, experience professional media staff and religious groups as not only excessive but downright unnecessary. Secondly, the fact that this poor man is 61 years old, and rather than being given something more humane like community ser vice assignments for a given period of time, has been slammed into prison for more of offending the recipient of his alleged SMS messages rather than offending others. It is a tough call if you are a Thai traditionalist...to criticize the sentence...but at the same time one has to wonder whether Buddhism allows society to hand down such severe sentences in the first place. Finally, Thailand has gone out of its way over the last decade to smack the world in the face with criminal defamation and lese majest?? cases and metaphorically giving the bird at anyone who finds such mayhem as unacceptable.
Nalinee Facing Resistance
On a US blacklist, Thai minister Nalinee Taweesin fights shadow of past
Graphic courtesy Yahoo pictures. Cartoon by ÍÃØ³ ÇÑªÃÐÊÇÑÊ´Ôì Arun Wacharasawat,
Facebook page www.facebook.com/people/ÍÃØ³-ÇÑªÃÐÊÇÑÊ´Ôì/100001686447746
11 March 2012
From Agencies, Reports
Most recently written up by Yellow Shirt Flagship ASTV Manager Online, Thailand's minister assigned to the Prime Minister Mrs. Nalanee Taweesin is in the car but can't put the keys in the ignition. Her appointment by the Yingluck shinawatra-led government has raised eyebrows and prompted allegations not just against the appointee but against the prime minister and the Pheua Thai government. Headlines.
The Manager Online, a staunchly Yellow Shirt media group, today cited the lack of ethics over the appointment as not just a lack on the appointee's part but of the government itself. While the Manager Group, which owns the website, is expected to make such accusations they are difficult to dismiss given the public blacklisting from the United States and frequent calls for Nalinee to step back down and move on with a different career. It is not the first time, however, that the Thai government and political appointees - around the world - have been put under the spotlight because of dubious or outright "undesirable" background. As it seems the Yingluck government does not plan to ask Nalinee to step down, only public and private pressure will achieve that objective.