Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Deconstrucing Tulsathit: Supports Military Coups and Political Oppression, Doesn't Support Military Torturing Students

Time for the military brass to act like men of honour

Tulsathit Taptim

The Nation

Now, at the worst possible time, just when public mistrust of the men in uniform is reaching the same heights that rocked their reputation in the early 1990s, a group of rogue cadet students has unleashed a tragedy that not only saddens but also infuriates us.

Old Tulsie infuriates me. He supports coups, ripping up the constitution, military corruption, tolerates incompetence in the fight against terrorism in the South and in Bangkok, but a young cadet is murdered and now he gets upset. What planet does this asshole live on?

And unless Thai society sees an immediate and ultimate show of responsibility from the highest commander at the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School, this bad public perception may be worsened beyond repair.

Oh Tulsie, Generals Sonthi, Surayud and the rest of junta gang get off for their crimes in your eyes, because they got rid of your arch nemesis, Thaksin, but you shed crocodile tears for a young tortured boy. You ask for the head of AFAPS, but ask for no heads of the junta.

There has rightly been a social and media outcry over the death of a 16-year-old, second-year AFAPS student, Karun Orachon, who was allegedly forced by senior students to drink 20 litres of water as an initiation "punishment".

This was torture. This is what you do to your worst enemies. This is not what you do to your best and brightest.

The military is now scrambling to repair the damage.

Of course, they will do what they always do: Save their own asses at the expense of truth and justice.

Phone calls were made to newspapers and other media and the story of how the boy died is beginning to sound more like an unfortunate occurrence. The tale of cruelty conveyed by the victim's father, himself a high-ranking police officer, was countered by a softer version in which caring seniors were well aware of Karun's condition and tried their best to get fast medical help for him.

The father's side of the story is heartbreaking. His son had called to inform him that he was about to receive physical "punishment". The boy must have been scared, and the father rushed to the campus, only to find that Karun had already been sent to hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The alleged six-hour "punishment" was too much even for the young taekwondo athlete.

If a was Karun's father, I don't know what I would do exactly, but I guarantee some people would have to restrain me. I don't have kids, but if some punks tortured my son for six hours, you better believe that those punks would wish they were never born.

No accounts from the campus' side can belie the fact that Karun's lungs were full of fluid after the young man was forced to drink copious amounts of water after he had allegedly committed a disciplinary breach. This fact carries some most-disturbing aspects. Why aren't 18-year-old cadet students aware that forcing someone to drink 20 litres of water - let alone making him do push-ups and assaulting him in the process - is inhuman? Is this kind of life-threatening "punishment" widespread in the campus? Does it take place under the noses of the AFAPS administrators? Are the senior students simply following a well-accepted "tradition", or, worse, exploiting it to pick on someone they don't like?

I love how Tulsathit asks these questions, as if he wasn't a senior editor at a major Thai newspaper. WTF? Shouldn't Tulsie be the one answering these questions?

I will bet a million baht that this will be the last we will hear of this story from the worthless reporters at The Nation and we will never find out the answers to the questions Tulsie posed.

These are some of the questions the military will have to come clean on.

Tulsie, move your lazy incompetent ass and get the answers.

The AFAPS head, meanwhile, has to undergo serious soul-searching. A young boy has died on his watch. Was it an "accident" caused by a group of senior students getting too carried away? Or did he die simply because this institution has condoned such barbaric punishment, or even endorsed it, in the past? It's not about the image of the military institution now; it's about taking responsibility like a man, or a soldier, is supposed to.

Tulsie is the last person in the world to demand accountability from the military. He and his cohorts in crime at The Nation have been letting the military get away with its crimes his entire career.

When it comes to military disciplinary matters and questionable initiation practices, outsiders are dismissed as interfering busybodies; insiders are frowned upon as rocking the boat. It's obedience, order and authority that hold the entire Army together, they say. And to achieve efficient discipline, there is a price to pay; you shall not challenge the way freedom, security and sovereignty are guaranteed.

No wonder Thailand is messed up. Every professional reporter with any integrity, who has paid serious attention to the Thai military's record for the past 75 years, should always be digging and questioning its motives . If Tulsie had any brains, he would know that the military is notoriously corrupt and without any honor. Just look at the record: Coups, corruption and incompetence.

We all know that. But what we are not sure about is whether the young men at AFAPS realise that what Karun had to go through in his final hours was inhuman and dangerous. If they don't realise this, we want to know what has been taught to them in the classrooms. We want to know how other AFAPS students have reacted to Karun's death. Do they simply think the boy was unlucky, or are they starting to wonder if something has gone badly wrong at the campus? That we are always thankful for living a peaceful, sovereign life under the guard of the military does not mean we have no right to ask these questions.

More lame questions that Tulsie should be answering as a reporter. But Tulsie isn't a reporter. He is a worthless hack.

It doesn't matter if the Thai military is perfect or corrupt, good or bad, flawless or flawed, it is the duty of the media to make it accountable for its behavior in a free society. If Tulsie doesn't get this after so many years in the news biz, he should do himself a favor and retire.

We have the right to demand that our "guardians" be men of honour, for their own good. Believe it or not, this single incident is being used to explain, rightly or wrongly, why the Thai military was involved in three major political bloodbaths. And like it or not, this kind of incident only reinforces the impression that soldiers cannot solve national problems in a civilised way.

Is Tulsie really this stupid to bring up these points? He backed the coup. He trusted the military to do the right thing. I am just an average citizen. I am not a journalist. Maybe we should start asking about the failures of the Thai media, particularly The Nation, concerning its job in overseeing the government institutions that continually fail us over and over again.

The Karun tragedy has disgraced many, but it's important that it doesn't deteriorate into an infamous injustice. Those responsible must be brought to book and there should be no cover-up. Karun's death must not be in vain, and it must at least serve the institution he wanted to serve. And his death can serve the institution he loved only if all cadets from now on are made to learn that such a tragedy is unacceptable.

Tulsie has some balls. He disgusts me. He could really care less about the sins of the Thai military for the last 75 years. He has been a major cheerleader for the junta the last 8 months. So when he starts getting upset about the death of this poor tortured student in the face off all the other crimes committed by this military, I really want to strangle this worthless hypocrite.

Tulsie better start to wake up. He should start to turn his career around and start to do his job and look at the big picture for once in his life instead of just getting by with his half-assed worthless analysis. We are no longer a 16th century sakdina society with a dashing King Naresuan coming to save the day. This is the year 2007. All of us have a role to play in the development of Thailand. And the Thai media has abdicated most of its responsibilities, because the editors at these news organizations are weak and don't have any courage to confront the real forces that are destroying our society. Instead, they want to keep their big shot titles, hob nob with the corrupt elites at cocktail parties, and do everything possible just to get by in their careers without rocking any boats.

The media needs to step up and start demanding that the government, especially the military, be accountable for its actions. So Tulsie, before you demand that the military act with honor, you should look in the mirror first.


hobby said...

Fonzi said: "Old Tulsie infuriates me. He supports coups, ripping up the constitution, military corruption, terrorism in the South and in Bangkok, but a young cadet is murdered and now he gets upset. What planet does this asshole live on?"

Did Tulsathit really support terrorism?

anon said...

Here's another juicy tidbit: a former Regimental Commanding Officer (headmaster) of the AFAPS was none other than that paragon of moderation, Saprang Kalayanamitr.

Anonymous said...

Fonzi you need to take a rest.

You\'ve totally lost perspective and you have degenerated into a raving lunatic writing gibberish.

If you are into some kind of substance abuse, STOP immediately and see a doc Fonzi!

fall said...

Just a hunch, but it would be interesting to know if any of these seniors happen to carry any prominent surname.

The boy might fail on his post, but is it the senior's obligation to punish him?

At least we now know which department to transfer these kids to when they graduate. Interrogation chamber.

Trirat said...

Love your deconstructions. I don't know, I just seem to agree with you in most things. So keep it up.