This current crisis has been amazing to say the least. I must warn any patient readers that I tend to speak in paradox, in that there are two sides to every story and often it is difficult, if one considers both sides of the story, to form a concrete decision either way. A lot of submissions I have read talk of the damage to Thailand’s tourist industry and the inconvenience or downright problems this crisis has caused for so many. At the end of the day, perhaps it’s worth considering that this is Thailand’s issue and that many unfortunate people have got caught up in it. This is however their country and we cannot stop the evolution of their democracy (or whatever you want to call it) because it will inconvenience others. Things have reached a boiling point and changes will come regardless. I philosophically see this as the evolution of a relatively young democracy in the world. This is the beginning of a major shift in the balance of power in Thailand, one which has existed for many centuries. Basically, this is a struggle between the old and the new orders.
It was interesting to read a recent Stick submission where it was explained that the movers & shakers that caused the King in 1932 to abdicate were in fact Thais who had gone to Europe as students and became Marxists. History has shown that the Thais respected their Kings and eventually Thailand became a constitutional monarchy rather than a republic or god forbid, a Marxist state. After a lot of reading, I highly respect Rama 5 and also Rama 9, who I believe to be one of the wisest and best monarchs the world has ever seen.
I understand that the elite of today comprises of basically old family “Bangkokians”, rich Chinese Thais and to a lesser degree the “noveau riche”. I guess you could mix in the upper echelons of the cops and the military also. The spanner in the works was Thaksin. He wasn’t one of the elite nor was he from Bangkok. A very simplistic explanation of history tells me that before Siam became a country there were many centres of power in what is now Thailand, much like Europe or the middle east. The Bangkok Thais got the upper hand a few hundred years ago and the northern, north eastern and Southern Thais got the raw deal. Then a guy from the North with big ambitions climbed up the ladder of success by using the corruption necessary to get there. I don’t believe that anyone can get to the top of politics without some corruption or a lot of corruption. A guy from the North winning, I think, was an anathema to the established order but democratically, they had to accept it. The big mistake he made, apart from where he was born, was that he feathered his own nest exceedingly and that he upset too many Thais. However, he has a broad support base in the north & north east which is a big part of the problem. I think it isn’t him they love so much but that the old power base had been damaged to a degree and that Thailand is more than just Bangkok. Ditto, most of the rest of the world!
Many contributors have talked about how ridiculous & stupid this siege of airports has been, however, I think that the appointment of firstly Thaksin’s crony Samak and consequently Thaksin’s brother in law Somchai is ridiculous in light of the political divisions Thailand currently faces. This is compounded by the ridiculous coalition of 5 parties which formed government after the post coup election. Democracy is far from perfect but it’s the best we’ve got, I guess.
I often hear criticisms of the Police and the military for not resolving this problem rapidly. In many other countries this problem would have been resolved quickly with many deaths and injuries. So many religions say “thou shall not kill” but I think the Buddhists practice it more so than most other religions. The police and military are not weak at all but just refuse to kill or injure many of their countrymen. A lot of us farang unfortunately got caught up in their problems. I think complaints by foreign nations, notably the US are far from constructive by causing the Thais to lose face and could lead to authorities taking a course of action far more dangerous than necessary. Thailand is not just a holiday resort, it is a country with its own politics, religion, people and culture, sorry! But I understand they must be seen to complain. The US has shot a few protesting University students in the past. Who are they to complain?
Also, the I am sure for the government and the old order, it is so much easier to let the opposing sides fight each other, financed and perhaps, armed by their respective sponsors than to get blood on their hands. A bit of Pontius Pilate if you will!
All over the world we have had these incidents and machinations of politics occur so many times. In many of those times airports didn’t exist. History does in fact repeat. I don’t see anything new here. Just the names and places have been changed to protect the “innocent”.
I submit this opinion in the hope of intelligent debate without personal attacks and further enlightenment on my part and those of others.
I think the problem with what is happening now is that A) the majority of Thais are NOT happy with the protests and B) the Thais genuinely don't seem to realise that while they are fighting for a better Thailand, the fall out from the way they have gone about it means that it is inevitable Thailand will suffer in both the short AND medium term future.