Monday, June 23, 2008

Preah Vihear

Preah Vihear is a pleasant place to visit. The temple was the subject of a long running dispute between Thailand and Cambodia as to which nation the temple lies in (as it is actually on a border) and the ICJ judged it belonged to Cambodia.

That was years ago, now the temple is being used as yet another political football, since Cambodia's request to list the temple as a World Heritage site. When the Samak government rightly agreed to cede the temple (rather late) the nationalistic - some might say jingoistic - element of Thai culture was played up.

The opposition screamed that Thai land (all the few hundred square feet of it) was being "given up".

Then, when the House of Representatives appeared to drop pushes for constitutional amendments, the PAD claimed its campaign to remove Samak would continue due to the Preah Vihear case.

Now, with a censure motion looming, the PPP party's coalition partners are looking for an excuse to jump ship. The Puea Pandin party leader has instructed his MP's not to vote in favour of Samak if he "does not explain the Preah Vihear well".

In other words "distance yourselves lads, we need to be ready to jump if the ship goes down".

It's a shame that a temple is being used in such a way. But that's politics.

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