TH : July 2011 Thai Election

Jul 7, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Thailand

Average day stroll down the Chao Phraya River

Average day stroll down the Chao Phraya River

 

These days it’s indistinguishable between brilliance and evil. Some of the first feelings I had from watching the recent Thai election unfolding reminded me from when I was watching Bush getting elected, AND re-elected. Then, I thought, okay, well, the Americans had THIS coming… I fully expected the paramounting of destitutions resulted from their engineered corporate-greed policies would wake the Americans the fuck up. After everything gets soooo bad, finally then, maybe, the apathetic majority will learn to pay attention. But, year after year, that day never came, far from it. What I learned by watching that – was this incredible redesigning of rhetorics, derailing of discussion focuses, going as far off as to questioning the conventional wisdoms, creating debates on things that take too much time to defend. The progressive groups, their nests are all busted , the baits, intentionally or not, were all hooked. Each has fragmented designation to run around spending time on fighting for single issues such as the supreme court justice, the education system, gay rights, abortion rights, anti Iraq/Afghanistan wars, anti-Palin, pro rightist scandals, junk media channels, etc, separately while the ‘bigger picture’ is being manipulated from such a deep root. Laws are being written and passed. The illusion of the wealthy economy is being redecorated while most of us who are not involved in the financial industry are treated like we are too stupid to know any better – some even believe it is true of themselves. The richests continue to brilliantly raking it all in no matter what happens to the country or everyone else.

When I was in Thailand last May to visit my family. It was just at the beginning of all these littering of political posters and road signs literally every 5 feet or less. Each tried to come up with the clever catch phrases in different color associations. Some, although with full recognition of having a small chance to get elected, offered quite refreshing ideas for the future of the country, whether it’s radical pro sport, natural resources conservancy, or even an angry theatrical face from an ex pimp business man turned politician, who swear to fight to remove corruptions and bad politicians, and even some telethon to vote for no one accompanying these signs with various animals in suits likening politicians to scummy animals. It reminded me a tiny bit of the Californian circus election which brought Schwarzenegger, the Terminator, into office in 2003.  On the street of Bangkok, and all over Thailand, the most prominence since the get go however, was the portrait of this woman, beautiful and graceful by all visual standards, who stepped out right away and unapologetically, for being Thaksin’s sister. The genius (and no doubt, pricey) PR went directly to the core points a) She was here as her own independent woman with her own ideas. b.) She was here to “reconcile” the nation  c.) She was going to put the country and the people first before her family. Wonderful, the Female President the Americans never got, let’s the senseless smoke screen debates behind gender continue here. Soon after, the various mini billboards on the side walk were to be released in methodological series. After sending the oppositions on the trail of accusations or looking up the guidelines to see if she’s even qualify to run (due to the lawsuit against her brother, which they accused her of lying to the court concealing some bank accounts or some numbers). While they were sent off for all that, the new vivid signs in bright red were rolled out to showcase the simplified proposed policies to put themselves ahead of the game in the imaginary “better future”, suggested by the “clear visions” this party has to offer. It’s obvious that the American type (pipe) dreams are being suggested here now. • Give every student a computer tablet,  • Provide free internet, • Build more dams to eradicate all the drought problems, • Raise minimum salaries of college graduates • Provide student loans for higher educations  — these were the main ones I remember.  Such aggressive ‘solutions’ caused much of the oohs and ahhs, and of course the scrambling for rebuttals. Many asked how these things can be responsibly done. It created more debates and discussions amongst the skeptics, putting them on another trail when the opinion polls already was on the rise for the shorter thinking people, swooned, attracted, courted, and believed. It was really not surprising a country where animism is root, not used to questioning logistics with reasons, are ripen for this. Along with the careful image releases, toxic gossips spread (reminds me of Karl Rove’s detached negative ‘grassroots’ campaign tactics), and news articles engineered, she was the newest sweetheart in no time. Any possible faults relating to her brother did not stick on this sweet face, obedient looking, modest demeanor female figure. Brilliant move on their part, I admitted since the beginning when I braced for this result of the election.

I’m still in the Facebook touch with one of my cousins who is a radical ‘red shirt’ person. This is sort of my small ‘in’ window as to what IS going on on that side of things. I took notice of his barrage of anti monarchy verbiages, though supposed to be clever by using  different pseudonyms, he used awful terminologies & language culturally designed to take most possible insults, which I see it no more than a grade school nonsense. As also seen by other accompanied images with photoshop smudges of public figures’ faces into animals or gay or with feet in face or what not. I sent him some inquires recently, but only had a brief exchange due to his, however defiance, concern of ‘the crack down’ (les majesté law, we understood).  He cited the comparison between Thailand and Japan’s 50 year time line as a prime example of the King’s embezzlement of otherwise would have been Thai people’s wealth or, ‘modernization’ to the country. I politely challenged this with historic, societal, cultural comparisons hoping for a civil exchange, but I since have not heard back from him. Instead I continue to receive his childish garbage posts he’s passing around to his thousands of like-minded receptive audience. No surprise here. This is the country where the shows on television are full of ugly dramas (disgusting acting), and the streets that are filled with a zillion advertisements for products that will make your life better. Emotions win, and quick fixes are in.

The sacred of the Monarch is no more, and they are not even pretending to hide it. This monarch system in Thailand, I would be open for any reasonable debates, but so far found NO ONE that can give me anything that are not emotional mud-slinging series of curses as reacted to some sort of half truths interpretation of some historic events. It seems to me that some politicians/business people has jumped on this Forbes report back in 2008 for the richest Royals in the world ( http://www.forbes.com/2008/08/20/worlds-richest-royals-biz-richroyals08-cz_ts_0820royalintro.html ). Back then, the campaign to dispute the claim was launched, a ready bait that went into the hands of, once small, the anti-monarch sector (one of the original allies / creators of the red shirt group) to plant this seed in the mind of the susceptible Thais – “you are poor because he is rich”, followed by, “because he is rich, he will do whatever it takes to keep the powers amongst himself and his trusted / faithful aristocrats – by trying to crush us politically”.  This group joined forces with the capitalists (read in Thai history as business people who push all the lines of ethics, morals, laws, in order to maximize their own personal monetary profits), plus other cast of characters ranging from random old communists to a renegade military general. Simply by creating a common enemy, first the ‘aristocrats’ meant to step around (and even vehemently denied) the direct aim at the king, was enough to start the incitement with the rural poor using hate language to form their mob-type ideals and dub it ‘voices of the grassroots’. Convenience, if you asked me. Considering the hijacking specific language from the decades long western style progressive activism. They began right away the media manipulation by feeding lazy journalists with English signage to go with the bamboo sticks & tires staged in the take over of a section in Bangkok’s busiest commercial district in 2010. International media is the world’s opinion. Information management had to be top notch, and it was. We all knew or heard of the freakish torching of buildings and military responses of that event in May at the end of the stand-off. Sacred of doing no violence is also no more. I was living in Bangkok during that time and made the effort to visit that tension area once every so many days to hear and see the people. I even was just some feet away from the famous sniper attack that killed Renegade General Seh Dang (Red tiger). Though I might as well been miles away since the furious security made up of non smiling mean faces surrounded all the key gates and areas. Maybe they were these rogue army of men recruited back in February when Seh Dang the General announced his intention to start one for this ‘revolution army’, curiously right after the Thai court passed down the judgement to confiscated 1.4 billion in US equivalent dollars from the Thaksin’s white collar crime money. But that is now old and long forgotten history. I feel like an old nag listing the chain of recent events that somehow I thought shouldn’t be so easily forgotten, but it is.

The finance hands that power the Red Shirts include the people who stood to have a huge gain by Thaksin’s policies. His cronies and clans will do whatever to have global financial institutions involved in Thai economy included being opened for more foreign ownerships of Thai shares and land currently capped at 49%. This is one of the reasons anti-Thaksin people consider him a traitor committing a treason, outside of his open disrespect to the King. What Thaksin was convicted of was from laws that can still be applied against him, but what he got away with was beyond the laws could touch him. It’s not a coincident that his tactics are about changing laws to favor his corporate gain. Look at the successes STILL happening in the U.S.. It’s clearly the new breed of corruption lead by the US, and some handful of the western nations which formed the global financial industry. It’s a big gigantic scam that no one can do anything about because the laws and the rules themselves are being changed to protect it. Laughing along all the way to the bank are the lawyers and accountants. Global truth taunts us the same ‘solution’. You can join them and “follow your dream” to get your share, or be left out to fight to no possible prevail (and die poor and heart broken.)

Now the becoming of the stand-in sibling, Yingluck, Thaksin’s sister, 18 years his junior. Did Thaksin not send her to study political science in the US for a reason? Actually, there’s a rumor of his long term plan to topple the monarch due to some age old family disputes. But that really is irrelevant to me at this point. What remains more obvious that can be digested in the western style discussion such as this writing here is the pointing out of evidences on how the people are getting fucked while enjoying it. Modern slavery is now the accepted way of the new social system. To put it frankly, in the nearest analogy I can think of ; Thailand has now decided to be okay with whoring itself out to be able to afford the designer bag. That’s progress. No longer the term prostitute is a stigma, if one chooses to do it. Happiness is to be able to show off your expensive things, no matter how you acquired it. Oh, and the whitening products, the cosmetic surgeries…. This is CLEAR sign of international standard and acceptance. White washing inside and out.

There ought to be a book titled Counterfeited Democracy, as written in the history of how the US has hijacked a political ideal and spread it into the world. Countries like Thailand would be a prime example of what happens when it tries to copy the U.S.. Such society consist of gullible population, for seeing that following an example as the modernization and progression. How hard is it to erase that old stingy title of being a ’3rd world country’ jumping into the ’1st world’ category by pirating the image. Poor people are sold the beliefs of being richer by the use of credit economy (otherwise was a cash economy), the promises of free computer tablet for every student (suspecting the Thaksin’s telecommunication company will likely adjusted and distribute the supplies for this making once again 1. loads of money from small lock-in fees from the mass, 2. more loads of money from advertisers, 3. keep the population feeling grateful and indebted in receiving such gifts, 4. keep the population in stupers with the world of internet garbage, 5. retain the direct mind influence and perpetuate the propaganda through this medium directly and via supporters in the name of ‘freedom of speech’…, 6. the monopoly on it… etc. etc. )

Any outlandish supposedly modernizing policies, if gone unrealized will inevitably be blamed on their opposition, in this case, the ‘old way’ are getting in the new way. The blame deflects are not unlike tactics commonly seen in the US’s Democrats vs. Republicans back and forths. It is one thing to watch and hope for the better and be disappointed by the US politics, but there’s a whole other thing seeing it being adapted  into the Thais’ society. It’s like watching a date rape in progress. To watch also helplessly as the more intellectual debates are far behind in the understanding of what is happening, less with what steps to take. The end of the day is still that same powerless feeling of not being an effective part of any positive changes, — oh, just be honest, even any part to slow down the negative changes. How could it be possible that there’s no counter ‘think tank’ that can come even near effectiveness or relevant?

Clearly, the only successful and powerful form of organization is the corporate structuring, which, in my opinion, has been the only model as pushed forth in higher education. The higher education system to is modeled after the where? The US education system. This management style, heavy on top, is being instituting in various societal functions and FAILING the collectives in favor of the few. I see this in governments, education systems, labor unions, even health care, the basic human needs, and etc. Failing because it’s treating the small members as disposable product lines producing the top all the prime benefits. Now, couple that with the rotten corrupted societies. Where does anyone suppose to start?

By the way, I don’t see much in the discussion of Thaksin’s involvement with the Cambodian government that somehow, coincidentally a precursor to the Thailand-Cambodia border tension? The following event just a couple of weeks ago included the request to withdraw as a member of the World Heritage sites from UNESCO – which prompted the weird accusation campaign of the pre-election government for stepping backward outside of a global community (read in Thai as standing outside the approval in International standard). This decision was made since UNESCO was siding (knowingly or not) with the Cambodia over the border disputes. Reasonable facts and diplomatic discussions were yet to be considered amongst the masses before much of the opinions were made, and the hate campaign flamed on.

All in all, I can’t deny all these unbelievable tactics to be extremely intriguing, though can’t stand to be too amused when I read the parade of red shirts go nuts with feeding frenzies on these toxic information food supplies. Red shirts, what a joke. And all other colored shirts too. Are we in kindergarten dividing ourselves into shirt colors? Since when polarizing discussions into black or white – yellow or red or blue or purple or orange can come to a fruitful conclusion?

For me, outside of trying not to be frustrated into useless bits : what is left to seriously ponder after venting out are the HOWs

HOW to redirect an angry mob into a reasonable conversation
HOW to (re) educate people about global and local economy
HOW to have a conversation to bring pride back to what is uniquely Thai heritage
HOW to find/plant/support a progressive think tank that can help lay out the best possible long term plans

That, is just to begin with.

 

Got anything to say? Go ahead and leave a comment!

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Facebook Like Button for Dummies