Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The many faces of Thaksin

Well I guess you don't become a billionaire by being dumb, inflexible, unresponsive or unresourceful. It's no surprise that Thaksin Shiniwatra's 'big surprise' touted at his birthday bash yesterday was the formal announcement of the launch of his own media channel. The ex-PM pledged to employ reality TV (covering Thai poverty), news and sports shows. All this in addition to his new Facebook and Twitter profiles.

What is more surprising, perhaps, is that this (dis)information barrage seems to have been a final resort. Thaksin's many faces have attempted several other forms of engagement since he was ousted in 2006.

1) The 'appeal to sympathy' approach.
Thaksin portrayed himself as almost naive, telling foreign TV channels of his shock at his removal, his exit from politics, his disgust at interference with the media, (apparently forgetting his own extensive and brutal actions in that area) and his hurt at being declared corrupt. This approach was not entirely unsuccessful.

2) The demagogue

This tactic followed from, and complimented tactic number one. Mr T purchased Manchester City and "promoted" both Thai culture via a night of Thai food at City of Manchester Stadium and Thai sportsmen by hiring three Thai national players. Of course they never made the first team, were treated embarrassingly and on occasion were not even paid. They were sent back as soon as their propaganda use was outlived. Requesting the Cityfans should 'treat me as one of them', Thaksin pledged to open sports schools in Thailand.

Sadly the dream was short lived. As his 'sympathy' charade began to fall apart, Thaksin decided to quit City before he failed the FA 'fit and proper person' test.

3) The moral superior (also known as the 'Jedi mind trick')

He knew better than everyone else. He was moral and pure, tireless and dedicated, victimised and heroic. Anyone that disagreed with him was simply wrong and misinformed. Soon they would realise the error of their ways, but he would forgive them anyway.

How does he convince us of such things? Why, simply by telling us of course! This aproach often gave way to incredible irony, such as his constant reminders that the UK welcomed him because it was "democratically mature". Of course, when his UK visa was cancelled that changed to: "They will soon feel sorrow". Likewise, he praised the Thai courts and told the people: "I believe in the Thai justice system" though after being found guilty, that changed to "a political decision and an unfair court".

4) The militant

The true angry face of the great one showed itself when the end game began - the powers that be started to talk about confiscating his already frozen assets.
Talk of "raising up" and "fighting for justice and democracy" (Jedi mind trick time again!) became more and more frequent, culminating in the Songkran riots. When the riots proved ultimately unsuccessful, the rhetoric died down remarkably quickly. One can only wonder if Thaksin was informed that, wherever he may be, certain forces would ensure he faced the consequences if he continued with his actions.

After a period of relative quiet, we now come to face five - the benevolent sage. Now Thaksin - out of the goodness of his heart - will cover the plight of Thai people. He will offer scholarships, solve problems, spread the word and empower the people. The strange thing is, all seems to have a familiar ring about it.

It may well be true, it may well be beneficial.It may be done with at least some genuine feeling. But surely I am not the only one wondering why Thaksin rarely, if ever, discuss what will happen to his frozen billions when talking to his people, why he seems to have changed tack so many times, why he refuses to accept any fault in his past, and what his ultimate goals are. Perhaps the biggest question of all remains as: what will Thaksin do if this latest change of approach does not work out?


maverick263 said...

thx na :-)

it's a fine analysis, i very much appreciate.

even though i totally agree... i'm not sure if it's "true" ;-) ... but i'd hope a lot of people will read it. maybe just to try a "different perspective" na.

samuiman said...

this man is the saddest case of a compulsive liar I ever came across in my life!

The damage he has already done to this country is yet not beyond repair but not to be taken lightheartedly!

I wonder what he can turn into if
the case is through and maybe "his" billions ar seized?

.Call Sandhurst mercenaries in?

Anonymous said...

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