Sunday, March 11, 2007

European Scholar Opines in the Bangkok Post: Will the Chickens Come Home to Roost in Thailand?


Bangkok Post


THAILAND'S IMAGE TARNISHED BY TRUTH It would be naive to believe that Thailand's dark excesses have escaped the notice of a newly empowered EU which is motivated to address the wrongs of the world, writes FLEMMING WINTHER NIELSEN

With the help of the international news agencies, Thailand's Tourism Authority has had success in creating a magnificent image of the country, the people, the natural environment, the ''coconut'' beaches and the smiles. And mind you, this image is genuine. Especially in the countryside, the people are extremely welcoming and helpful, and although some are now under severe threat, the beautiful natural environments still exist. However, there is another side of the coin that has also been broadcast around the world. Thanks to the globalised media, Thailand's corruption, as in the case in which school childrens' milk was watered down; brutality, as in the case in which dozens of human beings were suffocated being transported in closed trucks, packed like sardines in a tin; and murders _ recall the two unsuspecting young tourists who were gunned down by a drunk policeman in Kanchanaburi _ made newspapers in Europe and elsewhere. John le Carre once wrote: ''When Thais get crossed they kill.''


I both like this article and hate it. I have mixed feelings about it.

On one hand, I think he is right to say that the Thais are their own worst enemy and that their problems are totally self-created. The chaotic image of Thailand that is projected to world at the moment is the truth, unfortunately.

I also agree with his swipes against Thai nationalism and Thailand's double standards against the outside world.

On the other hand, do I take his threats seriously about Europe stepping up and taking a stand against Thailand's destructive behavior against itself and others? Nope, I don't believe it. I don't think Europe will do anything, except send more tourists, development funds, and capitalists to Thailand. Europe will continue to support the status quo. I have yet to see any real data to convince me otherwise. The day the tourists and the long-term capitalists pull up shop and go elsewhere is the day I will be convinced. On a side note, I think it is interesting that the Thai politicians will make life hell for foreign multinational corporations that invest billions of dollars in the country, yet won't lift a finger to discontinue the sex trade. Can you imagine anyplace in the world that tells foreign capital to fuck itself, yet opens its arms widely to the sexual degenerates of the world? And this policy works, amazingly enough.

In the final analysis, when you look over Thai history as a whole, one has to admit that Thailand is an extremely resilient and flexible country--even with all the bullshit.

Thailand is going through a totally self-inflicted rough patch now. I'd love it if Europe put its foot down and told Thailand to cut out the bullshit and get its shit together(out of love and concern, of course), but I doubt it will ever happen in this lifetime or the next.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"John le Carre once wrote: ''When Thais get crossed they kill.''"

This is crap and the reporter has clearly ever read John LeCarre.

What he (leCarre) actually said, in his book 'The Honourable Schoolboy', was that 'Thais kill sooner than most'. And this is because of fear, so what the reporter implies as courage or formidable strength is in fact exactly the opposite.

This guy has been watching King Naruesan too much, and apparently now believes the Thai nationalistic propaganda. The fact is that both the army and police, when confronted by trouble, hit the reverse gears very quickly indeed. The old joke about Italian tanks needs to be reinvented for Thais.