Sunday, May 20, 2007

Deconstructing Sophon Onkgara: Paranoid Conspiracy Talk

Thaksin's stealth move springs unpleasant surprise

Sopon Onkgara

The Nation

By now we should understand why Thaksin Shinawatra has been saying time and again that he is quitting politics.

Repeating the message to those who doubt his intentions is a means to keep himself in the news while planning his next moves.

Maybe he has to keep repeating himself because The Nation and other paranoid anti-Thaksin types keep announcing his political comeback every day because they are incapable of find any other copy that sells.

Using cleverness, cunning, or whatever one wants to call his unique quality, Thaksin has managed, despite his status of politician in forced exile, to find ways to keep his foes on their toes, ever wary about sinister plots.

Seems the The Nation has no problem being Thaksin's accomplice in keeping him in the limelight, especially when it publishes his every move and interprets his every word.

It is also a way for him to get even and eventually open up possibilities for a final settling of scores in his political vendetta.

More paranoia. Maybe Sophon should be scared, because he has been accusing Thaksin of this and that without any evidence for years.

Thaksin's moaning and seeking of sympathetic ears are a subtle ruse to fool those naive enough to believe he means what he says. Being a man of his word has never been among his prime qualities, either in public speeches or election promises.

This is an interesting paragraph. Basically, Sophon is saying that anybody who believes in Thaksin, follows him, cares about his well-being or likes his policies is a deluded idiot.

I was never a Thaksin supporter, but even I have to admit that he kept most of his campaign promises. I would say that of all the Thaksin supporters that I have known over the years, the thing that they liked about him the most was that he was a man of action.

He has been successful to a certain extent in making some people believe he has lost the will to regain political power. Such an attempt might be difficult right now, but if there is any way for him to put his adversaries in any kind of trouble, he has no second thoughts on pursuing such a course.

Sometimes when I read statements like this and most of the crap in The Nation and other Thai news outlets, I start to realize that all these journalists have the spurned lover mentality of a character on a horrible Thai drama. I really hate Thai soaps. But sometimes I watch them while running on the treadmill. There seems to be a strange resemblance between the crap on TV and the crap in the political news. And our friend Sophon should have gone into the screen play writing business instead of journalism.

After roaming the world's cities to make news through a wide range of activities such as golfing, seminars and shopping, and getting the junta leaders' adrenaline surging as a result, Thaksin has now managed to tells his tales of woe on local community radio stations through networks of his admirers. He spoke about his difficulties and the plight of his family members as a result of investigations that led to criminal proceedings for stock shenanigans and dodging income tax.

Exhibit A. This could be the beginning chapter of a bad novella.

Police and officials of the Public Relations Department raided two radio stations but found no transmission equipment, which the operators claimed had been sent for repairs.

Through telling his hard-luck stories Thaksin has effectively put a number of people out of work and taken radio programmes off the air, probably permanently. (They might have been amply compensated financially for their unquestionable loyalty and potential legal troubles.)

Love this paragraph. Sophon doesn't defend the community radio stations. He doesn't defend the right of broadcasters to deliver news. He doesn't give those guys any credit for obtaining a major news scoop. He doesn't criticize the junta for shutting the stations down. I don't expect Sophon to love Thaksin, but as a newsman, how could be object to Thaksin making statements to the media in Thailand? And how can sit back and allow the junta to muscle poor community radio stations into submission?

Thaksin may have got satisfaction from making the junta leaders jumpy, but the consequences he has to face from now on could be overwhelming, as cases involving corruption and other irregularities in office are readied for court proceedings.

What does one have to do with the other?

Another ploy in his battle to keep the public aware of his moves is the constant feeding of news about his plans to buy a British football club. This time around it is his reported attempt to buy Manchester City through an investment for a price in the range of ฃ100 million (Bt6.5 billion).

Is Sophon an idiot or what? Thaksin can't make news unless the Thai media reports what he does. Thaksin is buying a football club in the UK. But, in Sophon's world, that is the equivalent of Thaksin mounting a campaign to return to power in Thailand.

This is a sharp comedown from his first target, Liverpool, which gave him maximum PR mileage during his final year in office before a military coup ousted him on September 19 last year.

The bid for a British football club is seen as a plan to get the Thai public to follow his moves on the international scene, though earlier attempts to do so by hiring US lobbyist and PR firms had a negative impact when Thailand was put on the US government's priority-watch list over trade issues.

It is only a devious plan only if the Thai media turns it into a devious plan. The Thai media doesn't need to follow the story. Also, it is easy to report the story without making it political. Put it on the sport's page.

In Sophon's dopey conspiratorial world, he thinks Thaksin was responsible for putting Thailand on the US priority watch list.

The junta and Thaksin's critics no longer view him as a harmless politician in exile, especially now that he has experienced how much his immense wealth can do to give his foes political difficulties and image problems.

What exactly has Thaksin done to the junta and his political enemies to give them image problems? From where I sit, all the junta's "image problems" have been self-inflicted.

Thaksin's money was regarded as the main factor behind the "undercurrent" moves by his admirers, who made it clear that they want him back to settle the scores with those who engineered his downfall.

I would love to read the investigative report The Nation did on this conspiracy. That's right. There isn't one.

Apart from fighting long legal battles, Thaksin still hopes to return home to regain power, despite his claim that he no longer has political ambitions.

I would love to see the actual evidence for this.

Judging from previous promises and actions, Thaksin's words have to be heavily discounted or totally disregarded, unless he proves beyond any doubt that he is really quitting politics for good. But his fate still hangs in the balance regarding protracted legal troubles.

I think Sophon is the one with a credibility problem. He should worry about his poor skills as a journalist instead of cooking up conspiracies about Thaksin, which have no basis in reality. If Thaksin wanted to come back, why would he buy a mansion and a horrible football club that will take years to build? It is clear to me that after the junta's kangaroo court finds Thaksin guilty of those charges they cooked up, he will probably stay in Britain.

Thais are speculating on all sorts political scenarios arising from the May 30 verdicts of the Constitution Tribunal that could lead to the dissolution of both the Thai Rak Thai and Democrat parties. If the verdict is negative for Thai Rak Thai, it remains to be seen whether its members in rural areas can be aroused or instigated to stage raucous protests and street demonstrations.

My guess is that nothing is going to happen. There won't be any Thai Rak Thai masses descending upon Bangkok protesting the verdict. If most people don't give a shit about a coup ripping up the 1997 Constitution, I seriously doubt they will make a fuss over the Democrat Party and Thai Rak Thai being dissolved.

It appears that the stage has now been set for a showdown, though it is not yet known who the combatants will be. The situation overall is tense, with jitters over current political troubles.

Whether the worries are misplaced or signs of a new crisis should be known not long after the tribunal's verdicts.

Sophon is usually wrong. He will be wrong again. I predict: business as usual.


Charles Edward Frith said...

Let's not forget that Thaksin had the popular vote. That was taken away from the majority of the population who were happy with his populist agenda. Thai insecurity is such that they are gasping for some good news that restores face. Buying a football club is easily the most populist PR move he could do. Tyrants don't buy football clubs do they?

I've said it before and I'll say it again. If his Majesty keels over Thailand is in for a shit sandwich. The Nation is fully aware of this.

Time is on Thaksin's side. It's not on the side of the Junta.

Anonymous said...

"My guess is that nothing is going to happen. There won't be any Thai Rak Thai masses descending upon Bangkok protesting the verdict. If most people don't give a shit about a coup ripping up the 1997 Constitution, I seriously doubt they will make a fuss over the Democrat Party and Thai Rak Thai being dissolved." - Fonzi

Wanna bet Fonzi?

(1) I am betting the Constitutional
Tribunal will dissolve Thai Rak Thai Party, but NOT the Democrat Party. But certain Democrat Party officers will be penalized or reprimanded . . .

(2) I am betting that such a judicial ruling will draw every single paid Thaksin employee to start protesting in earnest and that will most certainly include Fonzi.

BangkokAl said...

Just a heads-up but I am pretty sure you and Bangkokpundit are being censored. You cannot get to either site using the TOT ADSL line, although reading other Blogspot sites and getting to is not a problem.

Anonymous said...

Is a cybercensor at work?

Here is another test:


If this poster passes, the cybercensor would have been fired or shot!