Readers' Submissions

The Last Straw…Yet Again!



Each time PAD has pulled another one of its shenanigans, I’ve thought to myself, surely this is the last straw. Surely the army has to put an end to the chaos. Apparently though in the Land of Smiles there is more than an ample supply of straw. Only in Thailand would the police allow a bunch of armed thugs to storm and take control of the capital’s airport. So much for airport security! So much for even the semblance of reason ruling the day. So much for this year’s tourist season. Who in their right mind would get on an airplane, not knowing if it was safe to get off the damned plane when it arrived….if it actually was allowed to land? And if somehow you managed to get here, would you ever be allowed to leave? Who in their right mind would, in the middle of the worst economic crisis in our lifetime, decide that that this was the perfect time to drive away hundreds of billions of baht worth of tourism related spending? I suppose that at the root of the problem is that PAD is not exactly capable of rational thought. “Let’s just bully the country into accepting our viewpoint, even though we are clearly in the minority, and damn the consequences for everyone else!”

I’ve actually been telling my friends that I was expecting another outburst of violence before the end of the year, but was surprised that it happened just before HM King’s birthday. Does Thailand really need to be on the international stage once again acting like a bunch of barbarians? Yesterday CNN and the BBC showed the world thousands of stranded tourists, desperate to just get the hell out of Thailand. I saw one poor woman was in tears, with her two young children asleep on the terminal floor. “My children are sick. Why won’t they just let us go home?” A good question that begs for answer. Does PAD really think that handing out a few ham sandwiches is going to anything to turn these folks anger into sympathy? Somehow I don’t think that the Thai Tourist Authority believes it. The damage that is being done to Thailand’s reputation here will stay for years to come. Hell, the tarnish may never wear off.

So what happens now? The army still seems reluctant to step in and knock some heads together. That’s not surprising looking at how successful their last intervention was. But surely this complete chaos can’t go on indefinitely….can it? Maybe so…..unfortunately. Of course I have the “disadvantage” of not really understanding the Thai “thought process”. I may have lived here for a few years, and been married to a Thai for almost a decade, but what goes on in that particular variety of grey matter will always be a mystery to me! Up here in the Lampang people may shake their heads in disbelief….yet again, but no one has any suggestion on how to end this mess…..or the gumption. Folks are pretty much content to sit on their hands and see how it all plays out…….again!

I certainly don’t have a crystal ball to predict what will happen in the next 24 hours, let alone the coming year, but it doesn’t take psychic powers to know that a lot of folks are going to be hurting at all the popular vacation destinations. Everyone from the big hotel and restaurant owners to the woman selling cold coconuts on the beach are going to get a lump of coal in their Christmas stockings.

Once again democracy “Thai style” serves as a shining example of how not to govern a country. Whatever legitimate points PAD once represented (and I for one never thought they amounted to anything) long ago departed to the cloud cuckoo land where they belong. Was Thaksin corrupt? Well duh! I once asked a Thai friend if he believed that all politicians are corrupt. His answer told me everything I need to know. “Do fish swim in water?” Corruption is ingrained into the fabric of Thai society. Folks learn that from the time they are still at their mother’s breast. The majority of poor working Thais, especially farmers, couldn’t care less that Thaksin was stuffing his pockets or his wife's making “sweetheart” real estate deals. These kinds of things were simply part and parcel of the political process. All they know is that for the first time in their lives programs were instituted that directly improved the quality of their lives. That’s why if Thaksin was ever able to set foot in Thailand, which of course is about as likely to happen as Houdini returning from beyond the grave, he would win any election hands-down. To put it simply, more Thais support Thaksin, warts and all, than anyone PAD will ever able to come up with.

Democracy doesn’t always run as smoothly as a Swiss watch. In the heat of passionate partisan debate, tempers can and often do get pretty ugly. Take for example the recent U.S. Presidential campaign. What passed for “reasoned political discourse” often resembled a barroom brawl, with more mud being slung than at a mud wrestling melee. But, when the votes were counted, if nothing else, an orderly transition to power was guaranteed. Even though a fair number of folks would just as soon have Satan as commander-in-chief, in January 2009, Mr. Obama will become President of the United States. Those who aren’t happy with the results are welcome to do their best to throw him out of office in November 2012. That’s democracy in action.

Here in the Land of Smiles the whole notion of “majority rules” has been turned on its head. Although the PAD may give occasional lip-service to the idea that everyone is equal, the reality of their definition of “equal” is straight out of George Orwell’s Animal House. Down this particular rabbit hole, some folks are deemed “more equal” than others. The vast majority of folks like farmers are clearly “too ignorant to vote intelligently”, therefore “wiser people” (the PAD) should assume the burden of governing the nation. Gee, I wonder why these folks keep losing elections.

And for us farangs, does it really matter who is running the show? If there is actually a pro-farang element in any political party here, I‘ve never heard of it. Although it is always wise to keep our mouths shut, it is kind of hard to ignore fascism being touted as democracy. Who knows what the “wise people” in yellow shirts waving hand-clappers might have in store for us? I have in the past, and continue to recommend keeping your passport handy. What will be the last straw! Can you spell civil war, children?

Stickman's thoughts:

This whole airport debacle has got ridiculous and the damage to Thailand is almost immeasurable. People are saying enough is enough. Thailand's economic future wasn't looking that bright but now it would be fair to say it has become horribly uncertain.