Saturday, February 17, 2007

Confused? I nearly cried

A quick lesson in Thai politics

Never been to Thailand? Quickly heard some of the coup news but really don’t know any more than that? Fear not, I can give you a lively, informative education on the topic in just a few lines…..

OK, So there was this guy Thaksin. Clever, very good businessman but utterly cold, manipulative, devious and highly superstitious. Naturally, he formed a political party of people just like him. He got so bad that there was a coup (possibly with an order from someone even higher than the PM) and in came the coup leader General Sondhi who installed Surayud (ex trooper) as interim PM.

Sondhi quickly explained they staged the coup due to a) Rampant corruption b) National disunity and c) Economic dangers from capitalism. Sondhi and Surayud both explained they would switch to a "sufficiency economy".

You following so far? Good, this is what happened next…..

Surayud installed a cabinet. It was a decent line up but it was true “old ginger” the average age being about two hundred and five. The junta also installed a corruption investigation team, and a very able one at that. Sadly, they forgot to stop every single one of Thaksin’s henchmen from hiding evidence and intimidating witnesses. Also the old boys in government realized that a) Things had changed since they were last in command and b) Nobody could actually explain their new "sufficiency" theory. It was all a bit of a pickle, and something needed to be done….

Still OK so far? OK brace yourself for the last paragraph…….

So, the junta had a great plan, they employed Thaksin’s right hand man and finance minister Somkid Jatusripita to explain sufficiency economy and counter Thaksin’s propaganda. That's right, they got one of the really bad men that they removed in a coup to explain why they removed the bad men in the coup. They took one of the greedy capitalists to explain why they were rejecting greedy capitalism. They employed one of the men under investigation for patronage in a rubber saplings scandal by the AEC to explain the corruption in the previous government. What’s more they were happy about it.

You got all that? Good. How's your head?

The spat with Singapore. A follow up

Readers of my previous article on Singapore would be relieved to know that the second leg of the Thailand vs. Singapore football went calmly. Thai fans gave a fantastic account of themselves, docked in yellow and making a tremendous atmosphere to support their team. They deserved to win but didn’t take all their chances and drew 1-1 , losing 3-2 on aggregate.

Once again, it all seemed to be dying down until suddenly General Sondhi made a stupid and bizarre remark to the public.

Clearly Mr. Sondhi is on some kind of propaganda for his own means here. With comments about “patriotism” “nation building” and “sacrifice for the good of the country” it can only mean they are after something that involves manipulation of the national psyche. Watch this space.

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