Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bangkok Post: Farang Don't Understand Thai Monarchy

Visanu: Westerners don't understand monarch role

Surasak Glahan

Bangkok Post

European kings and queens have never been in that kind of a situation. Nor have they encountered any crises beyond government control, a parliament or the people, as Thailand has, the legal expert noted.

Sometimes Thais who think they know something about how the world operates, but don't, should really never comment in public, because all they do is embarrass themselves with their ignorance.

There are circumstances when European monarchs have commented on politics or have taken sides.

King Juan Carlos of Spain sided with democratic forces against a military coup in the 1970's when Spain was transitioning from fascism to democracy.

As for crises, King Bumibol would probably not have to interfere in politics if the politicians and military generals weren't so dishonest and corrupt.

King Bumibol seems to make it clear time and time again that these political problems annoy him. Maybe those in the elite who create these problems should look past their own greed and selfishness and actually kreng jai His Majesty and stop torturing him with these headaches.

What His Majesty and other monarchies in the world have in common is that they exercise prerogatives within the power vested by the constitution, he added. His Majesty has also exercised ''traditional rights'' to ''warn and encourage'' leading figures in the country and sometimes provide them with advice, he said.

How is that different from other monarchs? Other monarchies have advise and consent prerogatives.

Average westerners, he said, tended to have a misconception about the Thai monarchy's roles and responsibilities because their judgments are influenced by what they see of the British monarchy or heads of western states.

Where is the evidence for this? I have yet to meet one foreigner who judges the Thai monarchy from the British perspective.

Chai-anan Samudavanija, an NLA member and president of the Royal Institute, said some countries have been critical of the Thai monarchy because they do not understand Thailand's social context and the actual situation here.

In typical ignorant Thai academic fashion, they think no foreigner can understand Thailand if he or she isn't Thai.

This argument is stupid.

That is like saying that only Westerners can understand democracy or only the Chinese can understand China or that Christians can only understand Christianity.

Also, I think foreigners, especially experts on Thailand, probably have a better understanding of the monarchy because they haven't been brainwashed with cradle to grave royalist propaganda their entire lives.


sooksiam said...

Sometimes, I wonder what the reason for creating this web site is. Shouldn't you change the name of your blog to "finding fault with Thailand"?

I have been trying to understand you. You are really such a miserable person. If you don't like the country and its people very much, why don't you just leave? No one forces you to stay there, I guess.

Each country has its own faults and your country has many things that a foreign person may not like either.

It is difficult from time to time to live in a society that has many different ways of doing things. Being severely critical of the country you have been living in is merely another way to release your day-to-day frustration.

As a Thai person living abroad, I occasionally feel frustrated with the society that I am living in. Nonetheless, it was my decision to choose to live in the country. I thus have to put up with and overlook its negative sides.

I will never ever find out what is making you have such a xenophobic attitude. Is it because you were brought up that way or maybe you are being subconsciously racist.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dr Maytel said...

I see no problem with taking a critical stance, foreign or Thai. Perhaps if Thailand engaged in more self-critique and reflection we wouldn't be in this situation.

By the way I'm half Thai, does that entitle me to half a comment?

patiwat said...

sooksiam and, you speak my mind pals. Couldn't have said it better. If The Nation website deletes or block his comment Fonzi would play freedom fighter. When people are critical of his web blog, he would say he has the right to blog and delete unwanted visitors. Cool, huh. But just like I said earlier, if you don't agree with this blog or even you don't like it, the best way to deal with it is let him keep writing. Every word of his is a noose tightening around his neck don't you see?

sooksiam said...

Don't be so uptight sweethearts.

Words cannot kill anybody, can they?

Say whatever you want and be prepared to face the consequence of your action.

The "Bangkok Hilton" is available to everybody regardless, foreigners or Thais.

The main course is rice and fish heads.


Anyway, you should stop blocking people's messages. You are behaving like some other people in authority.

Fonzi said...


First of all, I am no anti-Thailand or anti-Thai.

If you have been paying attention, I spend most of this blog attacking certain institutions that have done irreparable harm to Thailand and its democratic development. I consider myself a patriot instead of somebody who is resigned with coup after coup, dictatorship after dictatorship, and all the problems associated with those crimes.

It is not about a different away of doing things.

I don't believe in that moral relativist bullshit.

Sooksiam, instead of attacking me for refusing to see my country descend into political chaos and mediocrity, point out to me where my criticism is wrong, that is of you intellectually capable of doing it.

You say you are Thai, yet you attack me for supporting Thai democracy.

If you don't support Thai democracy and political freedom, be a man and stick by that position and defend it.

Instead of accusing me of being a miserable person, why don't you use your brains to criticize my text.

Fonzi said...

Re: Matty's comments

I warned him that if he continued to make libelous statements against me and say that I am paid for by Thaksin, then I would delete him.

I haven't personally attacked Matty, so he shouldn't do it to me.

He is welcome to criticize the text.

Considering his only contribution to this blog has been to accuse me of being a paid agent of Thaksin, which is a horrible lie that he can't prove, then he will be deleted until he can behave himself.

I don't care if people criticize me or this blog, but if people just want to attack me personally when it has no relation to anything I have written or the topic at hand, then it will be deleted.

I don't think that is an unreasonable request.

sooksiam said...

Fonzi, why are you being so uptight sweetheart?

Do we really need to take systems from other countries whose people understand them but we don't.

If you want to promote democracy, why don't you go and educate the Thai unfortunate people. It will be better if they have the mind to grasp what democracy really is, which lots people all over the world cherish. Instead of showing off that you are able to understand the world and people who don't agree with you should be barked at.

You say you did not believe in morality. You mean you can do whatever you want, including killing other people.

I agree with you that some institions in Thailand need to change, but we cannot do that without educating many less fortunate people first.


sooksiam said...

Sorry for my misspelling.

I totally agree with you that some institutions in Thailand need to change.

I think you care a lot when people criticise your beliefs. That's why you don't like to hear people saying something bad about you.

As an uneducated person, I would like you to advise me what Thailand should do in order to make the world a better place, according to you.

You are...

somebody who pretends to have admirable principles, beliefs, or feelings but behaves otherwise.

Fonzi said...


You wrote:

>>I think you care a lot when people criticise your beliefs. That's why you don't like to hear people saying something bad aboutyou.

As an uneducated person, I would like you to advise me what Thailand should do in order to make the world a better place, according to you.

You are...

somebody who pretends to have admirable principles, beliefs, or feelings but behaves otherwise.<<

Where is the evidence for these statements?

If people want to argue against my beliefs, then they should do it.

You certainly haven't argued against anything I have written--neither has Matty nor Stevie G.

If I contradict myself here, show me where?

If Matty or you wants to insult me or ridicule me because I said something stupid, then go for it.

Point out the text to me and call me a idiot.

But I am not going to allow anybody here to lie about me on my own blog.

Lastly, when have I argued against morality?

I think it is immoral to rip up a constitution and punish 65 millions Thais who have done nothing wrong, especially when there were constitutional mechanisms to get rid of Thaksin that weren't utilized and an election scheduled weeks before the coup.

hobby said...

This link should dispel any rumours that Fonzi is employed by Thaksin:

Fonzi on Thaksin

Sooksiam said: "If you don't like the country and its people very much, why don't you just leave?"

On the one hand it makes sense, but that sort of comment is also used throughout the world to perpetuate injustice - particularly in relation to immigrants including refugees/asylum seekers, many of whom cannot return to their original countries.

Don't worry about Fonzi too much, Sooksiam, because he can react just like a Thai when someone criticizes America - it is a natural reaction.
Even though I consider myself a citizen of the world rather than a particular country, I still have an inbuilt ability to react when an 'outsider' criticizes my home country. Deep down I know some of the criticism may be true, but the situations are usually very complex and there are arguments both ways, and no one appreciates an outsider hammering only one side of the argument.

Anonymous said...

This poster from Matty should remove all doubts that Fonzi defends Thaksin Shinawatra purely out of sheer deep love and awe, out of purity of his heart, and without any thought of pecuniary reward from Thaksin Shinawatra or his wife Potjaman or from any Thai Rak Thai party member.

The pearls of wisdom (Fonzi's own words) coming out of Fonzi's website are Fonzi's patriotic contributions to those undemocratic and ungrateful Thais who went on to cheer Thaksin's ouster.

It breaks Fonzi's heart to be suspected of contributing his pearls of wisdom because of some monetary reward from the Shinawatra camp and let no man or woman make that innuendo in his honorable patriotic website or face Fonzi's delete wrath.

(But seriously Fonzi, if you are NOT getting paid for your pearls of wisdom, I sincerely believe you deserve to be financially rewarded. Most paid pro-Thaksin writers do not possess the pearls of wisdom you impart in the blogs Fonzi and that is a shame to be so unfairly unrewarded and unrecognized by the Shinawatra camp.)

hobby said...

Matty: Please follow this link Fonzi & Thaksin to see what Fonzi has said about Thaksin (in red).

Fonzi said...


When have I defended the US like a Thai?

That is just a stupid statement.

Do you think I like George Bush and the invasion of Iraq and all that bullshit?

Trust me, there is a lot to criticize the US for.

But this blog isn't about the US, is it?

And a lot of the media criticism that I have applied to The Nation could be applied to Fox News or some other right wing media outlets that could care less about the facts.

I have taken only one pro US position, which is that I don't think Thailand should be ripping off US intellectual property.

You think stealing other people's property without their permission and overthrowing legal governments are justified in your little world, does that make you think like a Thai?

Give me a break.

hobby said...

Fonzi: "Give me a break"

You've got to be kidding.

When I said react like a Thai, I meant the way most people react when someone criticizes their country - you are just as guilty of that as most of us are.

This whole blog is riddled with your defences of USA whenever someone criticizes USA.
I also recall that you have blown the 'anti-american' whistle, here or over at New Mandala, when US foreign policy gets criticized, and if the blog had a better search facility (and if I had the time and inclination) I am sure I could come up with some pertinent examples.

But really I cannot be bothered going over old posts, however I will continue to comment whenever I think the shark needs deconstructing.

As for what's 'justified in my little word', I will readily admit that my world is not perfect and given a choice between a coup or decades of Thaksin, I have accepted the coup.
In your little world you believe Thaksin could have been removed by other means, but that seems more like a dream world to me.

Phionist said...

[sooksiam] "If you don't like the country and its people very much, why don't you just leave?"

If that was an acceptable stance, there would be no point for an opposition in any political system. After all, if they don't like it, they can leave.

[sooksiam] "Each country has its own faults and your country has many things that a foreign person may not like either."

Right, and both him and that foreign person should be allowed to state that without having to prosecution. If that criticism gets rejected, it should be done by addressing the points it raises.

[fonzi] "I warned him [Matty] that if he continued to make libelous statements against me and say that I am paid for by Thaksin, then I would delete him."

Maybe it would be better to leave his comments here. It seems a common occurance that persons outspoken against the coup, CNS or in general critical towards the current situation in Thailand gets labelled as paid-by-Thaksin.

Personally I believe the "you paid by Thaksin!!!111one" statements only help to undermine the position they are trying to defend. The current status quo can't be that good and have that much support if this is a main argument mentioned by the people who defend it.

hobby said...

I don't believe Fonzi or any of the other bloggers in english are paid by Thaksin.

I do, however, believe that Thaksin is still dangerous, and possibly vindictive, because he does not appear to be really finished with politics as he claims.

Thaksin seems prepared to still comment and interefere in Thai politics wherever he can, but unfortunately he does not seem to be promoting reconciliation or offering any apology for his part in dividing the country.

Fonzi said...


>>This whole blog is riddled with your defences of USA whenever someone criticizes USA.
I also recall that you have blown the 'anti-american' whistle, here or over at New Mandala, when US foreign policy gets criticized, and if the blog had a better search facility (and if I had the time and inclination) I am sure I could come up with some pertinent examples.<<


You make an accusation and can't back it up.

By the way, if the US gets bashed because people think it is convenient to do so because they have no other argument to make, then I am going to point it out.

The fact is the Thai media and Thai politicians loves to go anti-American crusades once in a while to divert attention from home grown problems. They do it to ramp up nationalism. There is a long history of this.

If I point that out, does that make me defend the US like a Thai?

No, it doesn't, so that makes your statement stupid.

hobby said...

Fonzi: My apologies for not backing up my claim.

I will let you 'win' this particular discussion because I cannot be bothered spending the time to find the specific instances that I have in mind regarding you jumping at criticism of US foreign policy - It would take a lot of searching here and over at New Mandala, and I value my time more than some small 'victory' I might get over you.
(and there is also the slight possibility that I have confused you with one of my other 'sparring partners')

When I first started reading this blog I felt you were very 'anti' thai, but over time that view has changed and I respect your opinion, even though I clearly do not always agree with it.

Numerius Negidius said...

You wouldn't want Thailand to become just like the US, would you?

In arguing for changes to Thailand, one should be very careful that he does not inadvertently destroy that which makes the Kingdom so special in the first place.

Every coin has two sides.

Often, the good thing on one side is not possible without the bad thing on the other side.

It can be very difficult to see this relationship. Someone raised in the culture may intuitively appreciate and accept the invisible links between the values on one side and the outcome on the other.

Explaining such a relationship may be difficult at best, and most would be frustrated with the impossible task of trying to explain it to someone who doesn't share the same upbringing.

If you do know of some new way to solve Thailand's problems that doesn't risk changing Thailand into something it's not, you would do well to first demonstrate your thorough understanding of Thai culture and values.

Who is to say that just because you want what's best for Thailand that you actually know what that is?

profiler said...

As a farang living in Thailand I just shake my head because seem some people here cant even justify their comments even prove Fonzi wrong. I wont say I have Fonzis back, coz I dont.
There are couple of things that Ive experienced about Thais and Americans.
Even some of the europeans dislike americans because of their self created role as "World Police", Bush inforcing ICC agreement in balkan countries is one example, and how USA want to enforce risk capitalism into other countries and the current crisis shows how bad idea that is. The fact is some americans dont like people critizice either. To show one example is Bruce Boxleitner and Jerry Doyle on Babylon 5 where they told Jason Carter a British fellow actor for comparing England with US that if he didnt like it in US he should go home. Now Im not bashing Bruce or Jerry, since I happen to love Bruce's work as an actor and respect his opinions as well but that comment for me seem as useless to say as some Thai say "If you dont like it , farang go home" pointing out to the farangs who live here and pay taxes. In my opinion if you live in one country, work and pay taxes youre entitled to say something about the country you live in, even negative remarks.
But however you shouldnt bash all americans for that, most of them are willing to learn and find out how it works and have a discussion about it, and not all agree even how US politics are done. Which I can say for a fact thais dont want. They dont like being told they are wrong or that they have made a mistake, if you do , you get serious bashing, and by they I mean PAD supporters. The fact that most people been brainwashed by the royalists who in fact will tramper them down as soon as they get what they want. Most thais would only become friend with a foreigner if they had something to gain, an ally you might say for an appropriate time. Although the strength on the red side (Where many dont side with Thaksin) shows a diffrent side in thai, that these people are willing to fight for democracy and rights of migrants, which even democrats dont gives a shit about. And why did so many low middleclass go to protest with the PAD? Because these people dont want to change the "sabai sabai" , get money for the day ,care only for themselves and not for anyone else nor the country. This attitude has cost thais alot of victories in the name of democracy, but you can see this clearly is not what the reds are after. And a reminder even to farangs living in Isaan siding with PAD, they want to make Isaan votes less worth than rest of the thais.
The fact is there are both negative and positive sides about each country thats a fact, US is no diffrent from others 300 millions and excuse me how many illegal immigrants and poor people are there? But that doesnt excuse thai who cant take criticism for what it is. IF you have anything to back up that Fonzis is wrong say it... Saying that farangs dont understand thai is just way of neanderthal thinking. Nothing to back up so you bash the foreigner despite that farangs have had similar problems in their countries, like sooksiam here.. Have the same response for you, since you live abroad "if you dont like it how the foreigners think even there why dont you move back to Thailand?"