Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Thailand Political Players 2006

December 5, 2009

If you live in Thailand or have read about this country in the last months, you know that the political situation is quite messy. It is so messy that it would certainly take more than 900 words to describe the situation fully. The best I can do is at least tell you who some of the players in this mess:

  1. Thaksin Shinawatra: The last official prime minister of Thailand and the instigator of the mess. He was a police officer in Chaing Mai, Thailand, and resigned from the ranks to start his own company, using his police contacts. His company was the Shin Corporation and it became the biggest corporation in Thailand by running a mobile call service called AIS. For some reason, he stepped down from this company and he started a political party called Thai Rak Thai Party (TRT) (rak meaning love in Thai). He became the prime minister in 2001 and did a lot of things that eventually would cost him his job. He viciously put down his critics. He called NGOs (non-government organizations) lazy lunatics when they didn’t like what he was doing. When there was a drug war by the government in 2003 that killed 3000 people and the UN human rights complained, he said that the UN was not his father. He had some scandals. The Burmese government bought a Shinawatra Corp. satellite with a loan from the Thai government. The buying of a bomb detector in the new international airport in Bangkok was very suspicious. The big scandal that brought him down was Temasek, a Singapore company, It bought Shinawatra Corp. for 1.9 billion dollars and he had to pay no taxes. This is when the Thai people finally got angry and he had to resign as prime minister.
  2. Chavalit: A former prime minister who is partly responsible for the Thai economy collapsing in 1997. He became a part of the TRT government as a Deputy Prime Minister. Thai soldiers were inspecting bombs at an arsenal and accidentally caused one of them to explode, destroying a nearby village, When he went to the village, he criticized the villagers for living too close to the village. He retired then he rejoined the government to help the government help fight poverty despite his bungling of the economy in 1997
  3. Chalerm: A mobster who occasionally gets involved in politics. He has three sons. Two of them who are police officers spent 5 years starting fights in Thai bars. The only thing that stopped them was that bar owners were beginning to bar them from their establishments unless they stopped their fighting ways. The youngest son was accused of killing a cop in a nightclub and was found not guilty due to lack of evidence even though he did it in front of 200 people. He ran for the governor of Bangkok in the last election and lost. What he is currently doing has not been reported by the newspapers.
  4. Chuwit: He bribed police officers and military people to demolish property that he was having legal problems with. He was not punished for this act and actually became famous for this act. He became a politician and ran for the governor of Bangkok. He lost. He formed his own political party then quickly dissolved it to join a more established party. He became a Thai Senator and he is a not Senator now because he did not run in the last election due to more legal problems. Once his problems are resolved, he will probably come back. He did run for governor again, but had to stop because he punched a reporter. 
  5. Samak: The last governor of Bangkok and future Thai Senate speaker. As governor, he did not very interested in the position; he seemed more interested in his cooking show. He had a website that was devoted to his cooking show, not the Bangkok government. He said that the Bangkok flooding was due to mother nature. He said that all rubbish bins should be removed to beautify the city of Bangkok during a summit of world leaders that was held in Bangkok once. A year before the end of his term, he said that the problems of Bangkok were too much for him. He did not run for governor and ran for the Senate this year. He won.
  6. Apirat: The current governor who actually seems to do constructive things for the city of Bangkok and has not made any strange statements or has had any scandals.
  7. Abhisit: The head of the Democratic Party and wants to be the next prime minister when they resolve the mess caused by Thaksin’s resignation. He seems to be competent and has not done anything to question his competency.     
  8. Banharn Silpa-archa: The head of the Chart Thai Party. His nickname is The Eel. His party usually forms a coalition with the party that has the most seats, but not enough to dominate Parliament. It makes sure that his party is part of the people in charge. It does mean that you are never sure what he is going to do. He is slippery like an eel.                                                                                                        

The 2000s: Thailand Vs. The World 2006

December 5, 2009

Last week, the Thai military took control of the government, and as usual, the world condemned it.

In normal circumstances, I would agree with the world. I can see why they would condemn and why this military coup is unacceptable. However, in this case, I think the world is wrong in condemning this military coup.

To begin with, the leader of the old government was going to do a coup of his own. He was going to call on his friends in the military to take over the government. He used a clash between his opponents and his supporters as an excuse to declare a state of emergency. He instructed his supporters in the police force and the military to quash this clash and seize power.

This coup was meant to prevent another coup. A coup engineered by the democratic government would have been violent, as it would involve clashes between people. The overthrow of the government by the opponents was peaceful, as nobody clashed when they took over. It was so peaceful, that tourists took pictures of the military taking over the government. This would not have been possible if the democratic leader had succeeded in his attempt. Many people would have perished. In the end, it was better than if the military had taken over.

Thailand has had no government since February of this year. The last democratic government conducted the last election so badly that nobody was elected. The opposition parties refuse to participate because they don’t trust the prime minister of the last government to do so in a fair manner.

However, he managed to jury-rig the election in his favor.

In the Thai courts, they declared the election illegal and the election commissioners were sentenced to prison for two years.

Having a government after months of uncertainty is not what Thailand wants, but it is better to have a government now than nothing at all.

It was becoming more and more a dictatorship. It would not allow the media to say anything bad about its policies. The prime minister was using corruption to remake the government in a way where he could seize full power eventually.

The military is saying that Thailand will eventually have a democratic government no matter what. I’d also give them a chance to prove they’re serious.

As long as the King supports them, I support them too. I hope we are both right.

Regardless of what has happened in the past, the world should support it. It should try to see it as a good thing in light of the current circumstances. I hope someday the world will understand.

The 2000s: The Fall of Thaksin Shinawatra

December 5, 2009

Recently, Thailand’s military dethroned Thaksin Shinawatra.
Thaksin brought his downfall by engaging his critics in a destructive manner. He never seemed to respond constructively to criticism. He always acted like a petulant child. He has called his critics lazy, crazy, and senile.
Some of Thailand’s most respected men criticized him. Most of them were elderly so he referred to them as senile old men. How can you respond to someone like that? That is the only way you can be as childish as Mr. Shinawatre. You didn’t discuss with Mr. Shinawatre; you had a shouting match.
A Bangkok reporter misquoted him because of his strange northern Thai accent when he said things like devils were in the taxis. He said the reporters misquoted him because of his strange accent
When his government launched a war against drug dealers and executed 3,000 of them without a trial, he claimed they were killing each other in a gang war. This seems to be a gang war in which there would be no gang members left and nobody to sell the drugs except if you wanted a job where you were going to die very soon.
In Thailand, people could not take these lies any longer and cheered when the military took control. He said a bomb placed in his car was being used to kill him even though the bomb was not even operational.
The man had no self-control. He could not control his impulses or keep his temper in check. He always had to respond when a critic said something. He couldn’t just let go. It’s okay not to say anything at all. A politician doesn’t have to say everything. They can just shut up. Thaksin never learned that lesson.
In the summer, there was a mysterious powerful person to blame for his problems. The person to blame for his problems was the person he sees when he shaves every morning.
Although he may not know this, Thaksin is responsible for his own fall and hopefully, he will learn from it.

The Democrat’s Populist Program

November 24, 2009

On November 21st, 2009, the prime minister of Thailand is visiting various provinces near Chang Mai. He is visiting those provinces for the opening of a program that will help country people pay off their loan sharks. This program will hopefully work as past programs have not been successful.
Under the Thaksin administration, they gave a million baht to every village as a way to deal with the loan shark problem. If did not work. They did pay off the loan sharks. Obviously, they would eventually run out of the money and have to ask for new loans from the loan sharks as the program did not continue beyond the million baht. This program done by the current administration will hopefully be a more permanent solution to this loan shark problem.
This program is also a way hopefully for the Democrat Party to get voters from the North and the Northeast. Their traditional power base has been in Bangkok and the South. Thaksin and his people were able to win over these people with programs like the million baht program and the health insurance program where you only had to pay 30 baht for anything that you did medically. They also gave the people free cows. Thaksin would also literally give money to people on the streets. The Democrats are attempting to win the people of the North and the Northeast by attempting to do a populist program like the Thaksin people.

A Thai Conquering Hero

November 24, 2009

In 2008, a crowd composed of regular people and the press were standing in front of doors of the Suvarnabhumi airport. They had both waiting for hours for a particular man to emerge from those doors. The people were there to see a glimpse of their hero and the press were there to get pictures of their hero and to get hopefully some comments for their respective news outlets.
Finally, the man they had been waiting for emerged from the doors, wearing a black suit, and he waied to the people and to the press. He then wait down on his knees and bowed his head until his lips touched the ground. He briefly kissed the ground and then stood up. The regular people cheered him as he kissed the ground. He went back into the airport. He had accomplished what he had to do.
Who was this person that could such a stir at the airport? It was Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister of Thailand, returning from a exile after his government had been overthrown by the military in September of 2006, and everything would change because of his return at that time.

A Thailand Compromise

November 24, 2009

To me, the simple solution to the Thai political turmoil would have both sides simply learn how to compromise.
At this point, they don’t seem to be able to compromise about anything. It is either my way or no way. I can’t believe that there is no middle ground between their beliefs. As long as they continue not to compromise, the turmoil will continue and Thailand will stagnant. It will become worse and worse and end up as a failed state. Compromise is the only thing that they can save this country from becoming a failure as a country.
For their uncompromised positions, I blame Thaksin for this state of affairs. When he was in power, he was unable to accept anybody else’s point of view. If somebody has the temerity to actually criticize him, he would always react in anger. He would call them lazy, crazy or worse. He would also sue them since libel in Thailand is criminal as well as a civil offence. If you lose a libel suit, you not only have to go to pay the winner of the suit; you could go to jail as well. Thaksin could use his tongue as well as the legal system to silence his critics.
Thaksin could not accept criticism because he was a businessman before he was a politician. As a businessman, you don’t have to worry about people criticizing you. If an employee tried to criticize you as the boss, you could always have them fired. Thaksin was so used to having people worship him as president of a company that he was not used to having people criticize him that he could not deal with it as prime minister of the country. He did not have to take another way as a businessman and he brought his uncompromising way to politics. He could not change as a businessman nor could he as a politician. His uncompromising way was built into his personality because he has ooperated like that for years as a businessman.
The red shirts or the yellow shirts or the current prime minister don’t have the excuse that Thaksin had. They can change the way they do politics and compromise. They can find a third way to do things because they should not have forces that shaped Thaksin as a person. They can remove this burden of always be right and learn that you don’t always have to be to uncompromisin to run a country well. You can learn a different way and find a better way to run a country. Thailand will become a failed country if everybody continues to think their way is the only way to make this country a good country.