Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The last days of the PAD?

I guess most people have been in a situation where they hear an old friend or colleague has done something terrible/crazy/surprising and asked themselves "What was he thinking?".

I've never met Chamlong, but my wife has. Yet the same "What is he thinking?" moment has been bugging me this week following the actions of Chamlong and the PAD.

In his book "Chamlong Sriamuang and the New Thai Politics" Duncan McCargo argues that a study Chamlong's biography exposes a man who may have high ethical standards, but performs most of his political manoeuvres strictly in self interest.

I can't find any other reason for the fascist actions of the PAD this week. Storming a TV station and taking hostages and invading government house.

I've always argued that Chamlong's anti-corruption ethic makes his own self interests unimportant, he was good for Thai politics. But the actions of the PAD this week are based around a simple logic - if you don't like the democratically elected government, use force and intimidation to make them either resign or spark a coup. That is the undoubted thought process involved.

In the last few hours the courts have issued arrest warrants for he PAD leaders. Sonthi is considered the overall leader, he will need all his cash and business contacts just to avoid the death penalty. But Sonthi and the other leaders do not share the respect and (in some circles) public admiration Chamlong has.

Sriamuang has recently inferred that at his age, he doesn't have to worry about what happens to him. As I type this, the PAD leaders sit in the rain outside government house, daring the police to wade through the crowds and arrest them. It's a scene eerily reminiscent of 1992, but the crucial difference is that last time around, the majority of right thinking people supported Chamlong, this time around, they don't. What is he thinking?


Anonymous said...

Yes, whenever I see Chamlong, I remember about what he did in 1992 and always made me have the fond feelings for him. But after what happened yesterday and today, I think maybe the feeling will be changed. It is unfortunate.


hobby said...

I don't know what he was thinking - He was clearly misguided, and people have potentially been put in harms way for no good reason, however after having a day to take things in, I now think some of the reporting has been over the top.

I don't think words like Storming, Hostages & Invading really reflect the carnival type atmosphere that I have seen.

Even the NBT video footage that I have seen (so far) does not look particularly violent - more like they simply wanted to overwhelm with sheer force of numbers rather than any actual violence.

It would be a crying shame if anyone lost their life as a result of this farce (including the foolish PAD leaders).

Tonights proposed clear up is all about Samak/PPP not losing face, and if things turn violent they will have to share in the blame.

The way it looks now, the only way it will turn violent is if the authorities over react, instead of just waiting for it to fizzle out (or if the pro Thaksin mob try to attack, which would be an act worse than the mere foolishness of the PAD)

Hopefully the proposed royal use of the area in the next few days will offer enough of an excuse for the PAD to disperse.

Anonymous said...

One must remember Gen. Pinmanee's frank confession that he sent his men to protect Chamlong during the anti-Thaksin demos. So this time, police must bring several camera/video men to carefully monitor his movements and others around him during the act of arresting him.

fall said...

he will need all his cash and business contacts just to avoid the death penalty.
Naa, dont think it will come to it. Things had hit the fan, so now either PAD need to cause so much chaos that amnesty to all is grant or they would just flee the country and shake hand with Mr. T at Heathrow.

He was clearly misguided
I thought he was the guide...

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