Betrayal – Through Belief In A Structure Built On Sand
All that I have ever written, in the subs I have sent to Stick for publication, have praised Thailand for the experiences I have encountered since first going to that Land Of Smiles – but I can feel subtle changes creeping into the way I am now perceiving what is really happening in the place that I have loved, without question, for the last 14 years.
Other writers in this forum have complained bitterly over things that they see as unfair, inconsistent, opportunistic and downright dishonest – yet I have always made allowances and, often, excuses for those negatives in support of the Thai way of life. Some readers, including Stick, have suggested that perhaps I have been seeing things through "rose-colored glasses" to hold such positive attitudes in the face of blatant inequities that have been foisted on the ex-pat/Farang/visitor population in The Kingdom (not to mention the Thai people).
I can feel changes happening in the way I am looking at things that I held so close for so long – changes that I resisted acknowledging for quite some time – but the "kicker" for me has been the chaos that has been allowed to exist for so long, without resolution, of the standoff that now exists between The Caretaker Government of Pheu Thai and the rebel protesters of PDRC.
Thailand purports to be a Constitutional Monarchy that functions through a democratically-elected Parliament – however, that seems a far cry from the way things actually unfold on the political spectrum. For a start, a Constitution is supposed to be a document upon which should be inscribed the principles upon which a nation performs for the betterment of the citizens. It is a blueprint for steering a nation through good times and bad – and should only ever be changed by a national referendum based on the opinions of ALL citizens. Why is it that almost every new government is allowed to re-write the constitution upon taking office? That is a recipe for instability and disaster. There have so far been 18 military coups in Thailand since 1932 (according to Professor Aurel Croissant, co-author of the new book "Democratization and Civilian Control in Asia"). The general consensus being that the reason appears to lie in the fact that The Civilian Government structure has never taken control of the military. In a true democracy, the military should always be kept "in its box" and under the control of The Government – not the other way around.
Then, there is the concept of civil rights – supposedly giving objectors to government policies the "right" to stage protests to drive home their point of view. Some see this as a "right" to impose their point of view on those who do not agree with that point of view – hence, we have the global unrest existing in more than half of the global communities spread around the planet Earth. What most protesters fail to understand is the fact that "with rights come responsibilities". Because you believe in something, that does NOT give you the right to destroy the lifestyle that the majority of the population regard as their right to enjoy that lifestyle. This is the current situation that is presently "infecting" Thailand. This way of thinking is a cancer that is spreading across the globe, hell-bent on destroying all of the standards that the free world cherishes as a democratic right.
The ONLY legitimate form of government is one that is elected through the ballot box. All else is an unlawful usurpation of power – and should be struck down for what it is – a criminal act.
Notwithstanding that I have many close friends and a very significant person in my life in Thailand, there have to be principles that one lives by and holds onto strongly in order to maintain a sense of dignity as a compass to steer through life.
As bad as any government may be seen to be by some sectors of the community, one cannot over-ride the majority of public opinion to enforce a minority viewpoint by forcibly displacing a democratically-elected government – irrespective of whether courts rule that it may be done. There is a price to be paid for all things – and a high price for bringing down a democratically-elected government will invoke international sanctions on those who would presume to replace that government with one that is illegal.
I am disgusted with the attempts to pull the wool over the eyes of Thai people by those with vested interests – it is an insult to the intelligence of thinking Thais and those Westerners who respect The Kingdom. What is now happening in Thailand will guarantee that, in the eyes of the global community, what was once a forward-looking and potentially prosperous country, will very likely be destined to the scrap-heap of other failed nation-States that will certainly have succumbed to the effects of corruption and mismanagement on a grand scale.
It no longer matters to me whether I go back to Thailand or not – once respect for a place and the people is lost, what else is left? Do we prostitute our principles and pretend that everything is OK – or do we make a statement that reflects our true beliefs that determines who we really are? I believe that the majority of Thai people are good and decent people – however, there are those who should be swept out with the daily garbage that is cleaned off the streets by the honest workers who do that job with little thanks from the "would-be elite" – who have long since passed their use-by date.
The political troubles of the last decade are evidence that Thailand has some issues to face up to and hopefully they will be worked out. One of the amazing things about Thailand is that the country is remarkably resilient and while it has suffered from political infighting to natural disasters to various scares, the country always seems to bounce back. The economy purrs on, people have work, everyone has food on the table and, well, it just all seems to work!