Readers' Submissions

Thailand Flew The Coup, Again

  • Written by Camaschula
  • September 29th, 2006
  • 31 min read


We must disenthrall ourselves from the idea that our institutions, our traditions, the barriers that protect us from absolute and authoritarian powers, cannot be broken down. They are being dismantled a brick at a time. The separation of powers has already been annihilated. It is a whispered fascism, not yet marching down your street or pounding upon your door in the dead of night. But it is here, and it is laying deep roots. We must listen beyond the whispered fascism of today to the shouted fascism of tomorrow. We must look beyond the lies and the myths, beyond the dogmas by which we sleep.
-William Rivers Pitt

I believe in liberal democracy and the rule of law. I support this coup, however. I will tell you why.

Here is a good link on liberal democracy for all those non-political science majors:
http://www.fareedzakaria.com/articles/other/democracy.html
In Greek, democracy literally means “power of the common people” (the hoi polloi, the plebes, and the proletariat.) So when a well-known Thai academic and former political activist, Thirayuth Boonmee, renamed Thailand’s political system a Thaksinocracy by replacing the word “demos” with Thaksin, he was absolutely right on the money. Until the coup, Thailand was being governed under a Thaksinocracy instead of a democracy. If the West had been paying attention for the last few years, they would have understood that. After Thaksin came to power, he deliberately and systematically set out to control the House, the Senate, the bureaucracy, the courts, the constitutional commissions, the state and private media, satellite transmissions, website access, state industries, all with the help of friends, his political allies, and the top private corporations in Thailand. How can there be democracy when every constitutional and private check against abuse of political power was corrupted by Thaksin and his cronies?

One has to wonder about the competence and the erudition of the local diplomatic / intelligence community (are they too busy banging whores, playing golf, and going to cocktail parties?) and the English language media in Britain, Oceania, and North America. The reactions from the capitals in the West really demonstrate ignorance about Thai politics in the Thaksin era. I have to ask: Is the West more concerned with the pretense of liberal democracy or committed to real liberal democracy? If the critics of the coup only care about maintaining the illusion of democracy, then their criticism of the coup seems absurd. Perhaps all that outrage was phony and they were putting on a show because they could never come out and honestly condone a military coup. Phony outrage or not, the West’s reaction to the coup seemed hysterical and hypocritical to me. Of course, there won’t be any real consequences from the West (the US stupidly threatened to withhold a free trade agreement that most Thais don’t want as “punishment”) for Thailand’s slide back into legal Wonderland, because the West isn’t really committed to the rule of law and democracy. That’s all a show. And the US, after the banana republic type elections it had in 2000 and 2004, its own military overthrow of Iraq, its backing of a coup against Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, its support for General Pervez Musharaff of Pakistan and other Central Asian dictators in republics of the former Soviet Union, is the last country in the world to make a big song and dance about its commitment to democracy. Indeed, during the Cold War, the US was a big sponsor of Thailand’s military governments, underwriting the Thai military budget for 30 years, as well as training many of the officers (the ones in power now) and building many of the bases. Evidently, the US has nobody to blame but itself, if it trained and produced Thai officers who have no respect for posse comitatus and civilian rule.

On the other hand, dictators around the world who want to emulate Thaksin should take note if they want to get the US, EU, UN stamp of approval: Write a progressive Constitution not worth the piece of toilet paper it is written on and hold dodgy elections just like in Thailand. Then once the West acknowledges your democratic legitimacy (you had a phony election), rig the economic laws so that they favor your family companies, go on a killing spree against your ethnic and religious minorities, wipe out you political enemies in the name of the “war of drugs and corruption,” stifle the media, NGO workers, and academics with frivolous lawsuits and threats against their livelihood, and then fill the top echelons of the bureaucracy, police force, and military with all your relatives, friends, and cronies while you routinely rob the country through collusion, embezzlement, price fixing, tax evasion and policy corruption. If Thaksin’s Thailand was a model of democracy for the West, then we might as all kill ourselves in a fit of existential angst, because if Thaksinocracy is considered to be the political gold standard by the UN, EU, and the US, then we are all screwed.

Anybody who has lived in Thailand during the Thaksin era– and has half a brain cell in between his ears– knows that it has not been a very good time for Thai democracy. Thaksin systematically undermined the intent as well as spirit of the 1997 Constitution. But to the Western critics of the coup that doesn’t matter. They say, “He won an election.” In a country where a vote can be bought for $5 and where political canvassers are routinely murdered by the provincial mafia that is not much of an argument. If the integrity of the election system is compromised (I guess that the Western press didn’t see Thaksin’s election commission cronies jailed), how can one argue that an election serves as the proper mandate for a government’s legitimate right to rule. And how can you demand that Thailand restore its democracy when its democracy was nothing but a Thaksin produced farce?

The political officers and the ambassadors manning the stations at their respective missions in Bangkok seem idiotic, because their home governments came out with some hysterical statements, especially from the EU and New Zealand, demanding from those imperial capitals, Brussels and Wellington, that the Thai military return the country to civilian rule immediately. Not only were the diplomatic missions out to lunch, but the Western press as well. I remember a few months ago The Economist had a profile on the troubles in Thailand during the time of non-stop PAD demonstrations (March 2nd, 2006). Basically, the editorial admitted that Thaksin was a bad, evil man, but mob rule was worse, so Thais just had to grin and bear the electoral consequences of their corrupted democracy. In other words, tough shit.

Nothing has changed. The media is still up on its sanctimonious high horse.

Every major US paper wrote an editorial condemning the coup, basically arguing that Thaksin was hopelessly corrupt and a huge segment of the population wanted him out; however, since he was “elected”, that conferred a sacred legitimacy on him that can never be overruled by the organized mob or by any other extrajudicial institution—regardless of the circumstances. After six years of holding water for Bush, who can really blame them for saying that? Like Chomsky argues, propaganda is the only thing that keeps the masses from hunting down the politicians and running them out of town.

I’m not dismissing the primacy of elections in a democracy, but when the electoral process has been totally corrupted, then it becomes ones duty to renounce the elections as illegitimate and throw the crooks out. In Thaksin’s Thailand, who had the “power” to throw Thaksin out? Who controlled the police, the courts, and attorney general’s office? Who controlled the Senate? Who controlled the Election Commission? Who bought off all the village headmen? Moreover, Thaksin had locked Auditor General Khunying Jaruvan, the woman commissioned to investigate corruption, out of her office for more than a year and replaced her with some crony. She was only reinstated recently, because the king refused to de-commission her.

At the height of the PAD demonstrations, King Bumibol seemed to get Thaksin to “take a break” for the sake of the country. Doesn’t the buck usually stop with the king? Everybody thought that settled the Thaksin problem once and far all. But Thaksin thought he could pull a fast one and staged a quick comeback. After Thaksin defied his king, and shat on every legal institution in the country, what was the military supposed to do? I don’t consider myself to be militaristic. I’ve never been a gung ho Rambo type. And I am quite well informed about the Thai military’s less than honorable past running the country. So I hate to say it. But I have faith in this military doing the right thing—even if it goes against my better instincts and everything I have believed about politics my entire life. Admittedly, however, the Thais have used the coup method too many times to undo their political Gordian knots– and I don’t let them off the hook for it either.

So what if the Thais use coups to solve their problems, and why should the international community condemn Thailand for it? In many circumstances, like when it served their interests, the US and European countries used military coups to install governments more friendly to their interests, and in many cases, wrote the playbooks for those coups. The US and Britain facilitated a coup against a democratically elected government in Iran in the early 50’s—and look where that coup led us to today. The US facilitated and bestowed legitimacy on military coups in Guatemala, Chile and other Latin American countries at the expense of the democratically elected governments. European countries supported military coups in their former African colonies. I am sure there will be some Thai leftists and other kooks who will claim that the US orchestrated this latest coup in order to get a FTA (free trade agreement) and take over the Thai economy. Trust me, there will be a segment of the Thai population who will never believe any Thai was to blame for this mess. This is, of course, the infamous black hand / dark influence / faceless Communist / evil farang law of Thai politics. But so far, and I think this is a first for Thailand: nobody has blamed this coup on Communists, dark influences, or the US, at least not yet.

Who is the judge and who creates the standards for proper governance? Who gets to choose the ideal? Why should North America, Western Europe, and Oceania impose their style of governance on the rest of world? In 1945, there were only a handful of liberal democracies in the world. Since then, because of Pax Americana, the end of European colonialism, and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the liberal democratic trend has spread with a few hiccups along the way. Just because the US is the hegemonic power at the moment doesn’t mean the liberal democratic trend will continue in the future, and after the reign of George W. Bush, that trend will probably be set back. If China becomes a powerful regional player, maybe the world-wide trend will be towards an authoritarian capitalist system instead of liberal democracy, which will be good for international capitalism but bad for political freedom everywhere. Thailand may even benefit from having an authoritarian capitalist system like China. Why not follow the Chinese? I think it makes more sense for Thais to follow China more than the Western countries. And quite frankly, I think the Thais deserve to be slaves to the Chinese. Thailand hasn’t done a damn thing in the last 75 years to deserve the respect of the West or the use of our political institutions. How many “world class” scientists, doctors, statesmen, authors, sportsmen, and Nobel Prize winners has Thailand produced? It has produced a lot of “world class” whores, a lot of “world class” corruption, and a lot of “world class” coups. But that’s about it. Maybe what Thailand needs is authoritarian guidance by a “world class” benevolent dictator, because it obviously can’t handle the responsibility of being a “world class” democracy.

Who said that liberal democracy was the natural order of things? There have only been two continuous democracies (democracy consistently used as a means to govern) in the world: the United States and Switzerland. As an American, I was taught from our Declaration of Independence at a very early age that “all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights…the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness..,” In Thailand, a whore will sell her body and soul to the first fat slob who will give her $25. If a Thai woman is so willing to sell her body for so cheap, how much would it take to give up her political freedom? Last time I checked it was 200 baht a vote.

Who can blame the Thais for whoring away their democracy to the richest Chink? Thailand never had democracy as part of its political culture. The words “democracy” and “constitution” didn’t even exist as part of the Thai language until after the 1932 coup against the absolute monarchy. The notion of social and political equality is not part of Thai identity or culture. Thais believe human beings are not all created equal and are not endowed by their Gods with inalienable rights. The feudal, Sakdina mentality that permeates Thai society is not only undemocratic, it is anti-democratic. Anybody who speaks Thai knows that it is an undemocratic language (for example, pee-nong characterizes inequality between Thais. The younger person defers to the older person, regardless of intelligence or competence. And a senior person in age, rank, education and wealth is bestowed with more authority and power automatically over his juniors). Thai cosmology or the structure of the Thai universe based upon the Traiphum Phra Ruang is anti-democratic. The structure of Thai orthodox Buddhism is undemocratic. Since 1932, the Constitution has been continuously re-written or been ripped to shreds by the military 18 times, so the legal basis for liberal democracy in Thailand is a pathetic joke.

If you asked a Thai on the street if he believed in human equality and political freedom, he’d probably give you a deer in the headlights look and a retarded smile, or might even go into an epileptic seizure because you asked his opinion about something and expected an original answer. Instead of using his brain to analyze the answer, he’d probably tell you what you wanted to hear, because that is how Thais are taught. God forbid, he should fire off a brain cell. So how can you have democracy in a country where the people are actively discouraged to think analytically? How can you have democracy when the Thai school system doesn’t teach democratic education because it might affect a few big shots at the top who want to remain big shots and don’t want to have any big shot competition?

Instead, the Thai public school system teaches children to be good little slaves, dishonest weasels, and sycophantic yes men and women (in other words, good fascists), and teaches nothing about Socratic dialogue, self-governance and personal responsibility, which are vital to the health of a democracy. And the powers at be want it to be that way, because an educated populace that uses their brains analytically and creatively might start asking questions like: “Why is my country so fxxxed up?” “Why do the politicians keep stealing my money?” “Why is Thailand known for being a big whorehouse?” “Why is Thailand known as the laughingstock of the world because of all the crazy shenanigans going on there?” “Why does it take Thai people an hour to use an ATM machine?” “Why do people make such a big deal over a Goddamn airport?”

Thais are their own worst enemy, because their beloved Thai culture (the feudal mentality) is what is keeping them back from growing politically. I believe there are Thais who want to reform Thai politics, but they only want to talk about it. Getting Thais to act and think democratically is another matter.

How many Thais in the upper ranks of Thai society are willing to give up their titles and feudal privileges in order to give democracy to the many? I’m not only talking exclusively about the aristocracy, but include the bureaucracies, the villages, the temples, and the corporations as well.

How many big-haired Khunyings with their chauffeur driven Mercedes and their fawning servants would be willing to give up their status so that a housemaid or a taxi cab driver could be free?

How many Thai university professors with their foreign degrees from prestigious universities and papers written about “political reform in Thailand” would be willing to let their students have debates in class or even ask for their student’s opinion? How many professors cry for the need for analytical and creative thinking, but still employ rote learning, hand out multiple choice tests, pass failing students, and tolerate plagiarism? How many professors write op-eds arguing for education reform, yet when they are promoted to the top of the bureaucracy, they do everything in their power to stifle reform because that reform might all of a sudden become an enemy to their own personal power?

And even if Thai professors and teachers were open to reform and democratic education, how many students would be willing to participate in it or would they be too busy talking on their mobiles or primping themselves in the mirror? How many white skinned, Chinese students with fathers who head corporations and mothers who shop at the Emporium would want to share power—even at university—with poor, dark students from Surin who have fathers that drive tuktuks and mothers slinging som tam on the street?

And quite frankly, how many Thais from the lower rungs of society want the responsibility of being free? Many are quite happy to shuffle around and smirk like Uncle Toms, patiently waiting for the Khuns and Thans to give their orders.

For example, look at the whores in the farang sector as Exhibit A. How many underprivileged Thai whores use the opportunity of meeting a rich farang to get an education, get a better wardrobe, learn how to apply makeup properly, learn how to walk and use a toilet, learn to read and write Thai, learn vocation, and learn some class and manners in order to become a part of polite society, or, God forbid, part of civil society? The answer is some, but close to none. Most whores are just content to make it to the top of whore society, which is to have as many farang as possible sending money to them, get bad nose jobs, have a mangda or two on the side, have cash for drugs and whiskey, be a big shot and patron to other whores, and sleep all day and party all night. Ask a whore any day of the week: Do you want political freedom or another farang giving you money? I think we all know the answer to that question. It was not surprising, at least to me, that the bars were full of whores and farang the night of coup. When has revolution ever gotten in the way of screwing people who are already screwed?

Why don’t Thais just admit that they are psychologically, emotionally, culturally, and politically incapable of practicing liberal democracy and sustaining political freedom?

Besides, liberal democracy and political freedom are Western notions and ideals. Don’t the Thais hate to “tham kon farang?” (Literally means follow the ass of the farang). As a farang, I say don’t follow us. I say follow what you are. Follow the ways feudalism / sakdina, because that is who and what you are. Be honest with yourselves: Thais make great slaves and feudal lords, but horrible democrats.

Are Thais afraid that the West will look upon their country as politically backwards and barbaric? If that is the case, somebody should inform them that they are already perceived that way. One has to wonder what Thaksin and his cronies were thinking when they were in New York and Europe this week. Can’t they see right in front of their eyes how a civilized, well run country looks like? It must have been refreshing to go from point A to point B without somebody trying to scam them out of their money or try to take them to a whore house or double charge them just because they are foreigners. They should have been crying from shame and humiliation for sending their country back 20 years because of their greed and selfishness. How can any Thai go to New York, Paris or London and not think to himself as he or she looks around: “Jesus, Bangkok really is a shit hole.” But the Thai elite can justify keeping their capital city a shit hole because that gives them the ability to buy mansions, drive flash cars, have dozens of servants, and send their children to elite schools in the West. Why clean the streets of Bangkok and get rid of the stench when the Thai elite can use that money to go shopping for designer goods in New York, London, Paris, and Milan? I guarantee you that Thaksin isn’t using his ill-gotten gains to stock up on OTOP products.

Military rule has been the natural order of things in Thailand for 75 years. What is wrong with Thailand staying politically consistent? To the West, Thailand may seem politically backwards and immature, but hey, at least they are consistent with their culture and identity: Thais are inherently conservative; the military is inherently conservative. Thais are loyal to the monarchy; the military is loyal to the monarchy. Thais believe in social inequality and hierarchical relationships in every aspect of life; the military believes in social inequality and hierarchical relationships in every aspect of life. Thais are nationalistic and xenophobic; the military is nationalistic and xenophobic. Thais don’t believe in the rule of law; the military doesn’t believe in the rule of law. Sounds like a perfect fit to me.

So seriously, what is the problem with the military controlling the country indefinitely?

And why shouldn’t the West support Thailand’s natural tendencies towards authoritarian rule? Why should we care what the Thais do with their government? Don’t they love to remind us over and over again that the farang never got to colonize their country because they were so clever at fooling us? Who got the last laugh? Why should the West give them the gift of liberal democracy and political freedom when they have their own ancient culture to protect and sustain their society? Indeed, it might be in the West’s best interests if Thailand remained a military dictatorship or reverted back to their beloved feudal ways. It would be so much simpler for Thailand to go back to an absolute monarchy. The king can appoint a prime minister, a cabinet, and a judiciary. Forget parliament. Why waste billions of baht on a worthless, corrupt parliament? Anyway, isn’t it true Thais run to their king to solve each and every crisis because they are too politically immature to deal with their own problems? King Bumibol has given the Thai people 60 years to get their shit together, and the Thai people haven’t stopped failing him yet.

I think as long as Thais can watch their brainless soaps and game shows cast with the worst talent this planet has to offer, shop to their heart’s content, gossip and SMS on their mobiles about meaningless crap, stimulate their physical vanity by getting Speed Racer hair cuts and bad nose jobs, eat their som tam, and bang their brains out, why should they care about politics? Why care about voting for politicians and the future of the nation when you can vote for some God-awful singer on your mobile during an Academy Fantasia concert? Now that’s democracy, baby!

Is it just me or has anybody else noticed that Thai history and politics is never discussed in the popular culture? How come we never see a TV show like The West Wing or a movie like All the President’s Men or an investigative show like 60 Minutes exposing corruption? How come you never see any TV specials or movies based on real Thai history or politics? Recently, in the US, there was a movie about 9 / 11 called The Path to 9 / 11 that was broadcast on TV on the 5th anniversary of 9 / 11. To me, that demonstrates a faith in the maturity of America’s democracy and its political culture. In Thailand, a 9 / 11 film would never happen. Why not? There are many interesting political events that have happened in Thailand that are even more suspenseful and exciting than what you’d see in a typical American political thriller or drama. So why isn’t Thai politics or history (except classic stories like Bang Rajan or Suryiothai) ever dramatized? One must wonder what the Thais are so afraid of if they are unwilling to expose their country to the light of popular culture, satire, dramatization or even historical analysis through documentary. What is the cost to Thai society, politically and culturally, when all the skeletons are kept locked in the closet? Will Thai culture be stuck with katoeys, bad dramas, game shows, and ghost stories forever?

I think it is ironic that the military is worshipped as a revered and infallible institution in many countries, most notably the US where it has higher approval rating than the Congress, the courts, and the president combined, yet nobody wants the military out of its barracks (posse comitatus) much less running the country. Where is it written in stone that the military can’t act as a check against a civilian government’s abuse of power, especially when all other constitutional checks are failing or malfeasant? Also, it seems a little hypocritical of the West to condemn Thailand for its military coup when the US and other Western nations embrace countries like Pakistan, Indonesia, and Turkey, countries quite well known for being “guided” by the military. The Thais must ask why the khaek are allowed to have military controlled governments and be loved by the West, but Thailand doesn’t even get the same respect as the khaek.

Should Thailand be held to a higher standard than Pakistan, Turkey, and Indonesia? Of course not. Thailand’s political standards have never been high, so it should be held to an even lower standard than the khaek. Some say Thailand has taken a step back. I say: How can you take a step back when you have never moved forward in the first place?

The West is myopic about this coup. Iraq had free and fair elections, but that country is a bloody mess. If Iraq was living under a benevolent military dictatorship, wouldn’t the country and the people be better off? Iraq has never had a culture of democracy and neither has Thailand. Why impose democracy or expect democracy from people that have never lived it, wanted it, or even fought for it? In the streets of Baghdad, the people are cheering for Saddam, Hezbollah, Al Sadr, and Al Qaeda. In Bangkok, the people cheer for HM the King, the military, or Thaksin. Do Thais seem democratically minded to you when they praise the authoritarians?

How can there be a democracy without a viable opposition?

Some might argue that the Democrats are their own worst enemy and are totally incapable of producing a winning strategy or forming an agenda based on new ideas. There may be some truth to that, but the Democrats were never given an equal platform to debate ideas with TRT or have the ability to get there agenda across because of Thaksin’s control over the media, campaign financing, and other modes of transmitting propaganda. Further, the way that political parties are financed in Thailand put the Democrats at a disadvantage. Campaign financing in Thailand is a sick joke. In Thai Rak Thai’s case, Thaksin and his wife were the chief financiers and fund raisers of the party. They had to recruit candidates, finance their candidate’s campaigns, pay them a monthly stipend from the party coffers, plus buy enough votes to win a majority of their candidate’s constituents. In addition to that, Thaksin had to bribe media stars and academics to sing their praises on TV and in the newspapers. In Thailand, politics is an expensive business. I read somewhere that it costs a $1 billion to finance an election in Thailand, which is more than the cost of financing a presidential campaign in the US. So basically you have Thai Rak Thai, a party financed by billionaires and much of the Chinese business class, and then you have the Democratic Party, which is a party of mostly civil servants and poor academics financed by wealthy generals and aristocrats, and then you have Chart Thai, which is basically a party run by a provincial Godfather. During the last election, the major opposition parties boycotted the election, so Thai Rak Thai went out and bought itself a whole slew of opposition parties to run against itself. On top of that, Thai Rak Thai controlled the bureaucracy, the state’s purse, and all of the state run media. I guess this is what democracy looks like to those outraged politicians in the West who condemned the coup. For liberal democracy to exist there must be a viable opposition. Otherwise, the electoral process is a joke. Further, since Thaksin had bought off all his candidates and was paying them a stipend (200,000 baht a month) outside their government salary, he owned Parliament. In other words, no Thai Rak Thai MP was ever going to vote against his caucus, ever. Why should an MP go against the guy who is making him filthy rich? So basically parliament was a rubber stamp for the Thaksin agenda and if you were an MP, all you were responsible for was voting with the caucus. The executive branch took care of the rest. So what kind of democracy did this military coup overthrow?

When one looks back at the fall of Ayutthaya to the Burmese both times, the Thais failed to protect their country because of the same reasons you see today: arrogance, selfishness, myopia, corruption, disunity, political intrigue and malfeasance. And King Bumibol understands this. Like a father, he sees it as his duty to preserve the country his ancestors sustained and protect its future by thinking ahead. There are really only two institutions in Thailand that are committed to preserving the integrity of Thailand and to its continuation as a country: the monarchy and the military. Everybody else has sold out. Who really believes that the Chinese businessmen who control the Thai economy care one way or the other about Thailand’s survival? I don’t believe it. With the money that they have exploited from the Thais, they can go and live anywhere in the world and economically thrive just as before. Look at Thaksin and his partner in crime Khunying Sudarat, acting like big shots in London and Paris, spending the Thai people’s money abroad like it is going out of style. Quite frankly, I don’t think most Thai people really give two shits about their own country. Politically, environmentally, culturally, economically, morally and legally, Thailand is a shit hole. The education system is in shambles. Corruption is rampant. People throw garbage into the streets and never recycle. Ninety percent of the country has been deforested. A good chunk of the female population whore themselves out for money. Thais give bad service and make shitty products. Nobody ever takes responsibility for their problems. And last, but not least, most Thais are apathetic about politics and have no commitment to creating a viable and healthy civil society that checks the power of the government. It has always been the elite that have held the country together or destroyed it. The masses could really give a shit. So why would you give democracy to a people who give a shit? There may be some Thais who “say” that they give a shit. If I was the king, I would say to them: “What have you done for me lately?” I remember at the height of Thaksin’s absolute power, there was a young female political activist named Supinya Klangnarong. She had said in a newspaper interview there was direct correlation between Thaksin’s time in power and an increase in the value of his company, inferring that Thaksin had profited from his political power. Surprise, surprise! Thaksin decided to sue this poor young woman for half a billion baht for telling the truth. Who came to the rescue of this poor girl who wanted to make a difference in her country? Was it the Thais? No, of course not. They cowered in fear before Thaksin and left this poor woman to fend for herself. Indeed, most Thais who have fought for democracy and political freedom for Thailand have either been exiled, bankrupted, beaten, jailed, and / or murdered. There have been heroes in Thailand who have fought for reform. Where are they now? Why are they so quickly forgotten by the masses? How come everybody knows Thongchai McIntyre, but nobody knows Somchai Neelapaichit? How come everybody knows about the contestants on Academy Fantasia, but very few know the names and the number of the Thai political, environmental, and social activists who go missing or get killed every year? Who knows? Perhaps these real defenders of Thai democracy make the masses “think too much” and “give them a headache.” Tanks in the street should come as a shock to nobody.

So where do we go from here? In a few weeks, an extra-constitutional civilian government will be installed. After, lawyers, political scientists, judges, bureaucrats, activists, and others will start forming a new Constitution. Then we start a whole new cycle again until the next government becomes too corrupt and another coup happens. If you look back at the last 75 years and what lies ahead, one has to have little faith in the future political stability of Thailand. Instead of doing “same same, but different” bullshit again, perhaps the Thai elite who will be determining the legal make up of the future Kingdom of Thailand should consider something different. Maybe the Thais should just come to terms with the fact they don’t believe in social equality, human rights, democracy, and political freedom, and they never have. Instead of smiling like idiots and nodding their heads in agreement like Tourette’s syndrome victims, lying about how much they love democracy and freedom, maybe Thais should tell the truth for once in their lives and form a government that matches their political commitment. I suggest going back to feudalism: keep the people poor, stupid, and on the farm smiling and khraping to their masters while the Chao Phaya, Chao Khun and the Nai run the country and keep all the wealth and power for themselves. Isn’t that the reality already?

A Thai will read this and say: Thailand is a developing country. Give us time to get it right. I say: Thai civilization is over a thousand years old. Thais have been developing in Thailand, Laos, the Shan states, Southern China and Northern Vietnam for over 1000 years. The “we are a developing country” mantra doesn’t cut it anymore. Besides, how can you have highly developed mechanisms for producing corruption, but none for protecting the integrity of the political system? Let’s face it: Thais are incapable of developing political institutions that serve, represent and protect the liberty of the Thai people.

Thais should accept the truth for what it is: Thailand is an anti-democratic, socially stratified feudal society where the people believe that human beings are inherently unequal because of class, education, race, nationality, beauty, skin color, karma, and social station. Until there is a huge paradigm shift in thinking by the Thai people from a master / slave feudal ideology that permeates all Thai relationships to a democratic one in which everybody is recognised and treated equally before the law–which won’t be happening soon, if ever–I don’t see much chance of Thailand ever becoming a liberal democracy.


Stickman's thoughts:

That final paragraph sums things up perfectly.

What this submission re-enforces to me, more than anything, is the mantra I have been painfully saying year after year, that Thais and farangs are just oh so different.