Thursday, June 28, 2007

Deconstructing Suthichai Yoon: Prefers Rhetorical Questions to Actual Asking of Questions of the Principles

More Pultizer Prize winning journalism from The Nation's finest.

Suthichai wonders if Surayud has a plan for a post referendum Thailand.

Is he going to convince himself and the CNS leadership to make a firm commitment in advance - as part of the process to "ensure wide public participation in the new political process - to the effect that they would not exercise their option to impose a charter of their own choosing, if a negative vote should come to pass? What then, is his vision of a draft that he and the coup-leaders would support? Is he going to initiate an informed and wide-ranging debate prior to the referendum to "educate" the general public about the complexities of the upcoming vote? None of these questions have been addressed in his pledge to accelerate the political process.

Why? Unfortunately, no answers are forthcoming because the country has been trapped in an intellectually atrophied mode - the scholars, politicians and media have all been obsessed with their own games of survival, putting their authority-questioning role on the backburner.

You can only guess at the reasons why Premier Surayud has hit the "fast-forward" button without installing a "mine-sweeper" up front. Perhaps he is fed up with the job and wants to turn it over to a new prime minister. Perhaps he is trying to snub his critics who he thinks have been underestimating his ability to call the shots when he wants to. Perhaps he thinks by moving things forward, the "old power clique" won't have time to regroup to regain power.

Or perhaps, when all is said and done, Surayud's real message to his detractors could well be: "Be careful with what you wish for…you may just get it."

Why doesn't Suthichai pick up the phone and personally ask Surayud these questions? Why not schedule an interview? Why not ask what happens if there is a "no" vote or general abstention?

A journalist is not supposed to be in the "perhaps" and rhetorical question business.


patiwat said...

I'm just here to help you feel you're not all alone, Fonzi. Will be happy if my presence will keep you from whatever you're having even though for just a few minutes. Without the likes of hobby and matty this blog is total cemetary.

patiwat said...

I'm just here to help you feel you're not all alone, Fonzi. Will be happy if my presence will keep you from whatever you're having even though for just a few minutes. Without the likes of hobby and matty this blog is total cemetary

fall said...

...(silent reader)...

May be a letter to editorial, like what Red and White did, would be interesting.

hobby said...

Fonzi: "A journalist is not supposed to be in the "perhaps" and rhetorical question business"

You are being a little over critical in this instance because the piece in question was actually in the Thai Talk section (Opinion).
My understanding is Suthichai's role is more than a mere journalist/reporter.

That said, the questions you raised are good ones, and should be put to the junta.

(I think they have all ready announced the fall back constitution will be the 1997 constitution with amendments)

The media should be asking what those amendments will be, so it can be in the public arena before the referendum.
That would make the Yes/No or absentee vote decision easier.

I'm sure someone from The Nation must read this blog, so come on The Nation - step up to the plate.

Anonymous said...

Stevie G - Fonzi's blogsite is good. We may disagree on lots of things but that in itself is good to highlight the issues close to Fonzi's heart.

And what is close to Fonzi's heart is the sad state of Thailand journalism as personified by Nation Multimedia in particular.

I agree with Fonzi that there is no such as 'investigative journalism' in Thailand. And without hard-driving investigative journalists, corruption will continue to grow unchecked.

Fonzi said...


I am glad we can agree on that.

Suthichai can't continue his career on his good looks alone.

patiwat said...

matty, I have to disagree with you this time. While the English press here didn't initiate the discovery or exposure of Thaksin's sins, the Thai language ones have done great jobs _ otherwise you wouldn't have known about servant shares, win mark, ample rich and so on. It's a matter of whether you or fonzi would accept those as political crimes. We are ended up here in this crisis because there are guys like fonzi who would tolerate those crimes and can't live the press finding those crimes unacceptable. Hope you know what I mean. Most if not all corruption cases can look legitimate if those committing them have enough power to abuse, manipulate, bribe or buy out popularity. I asked Fonzi once what's the point of him demanding investigiate journalism when he dismissed evidence of abuse of power in servants shares, ample rich and the amlo scandal right off and at the first glance. You see, whenever there is "evidence" as fonzi demanded, he would distort the issue and said the courts never convicted Thaksin. Now he demands conviction first and evidence he wouldn't care. I think although The Nation and Bangkok Post didn't initiate the exposure of the previous government's crimes, they have done good jobs in informing the public what went wrong. It's not about investigative journalism that is the issue here. It 's about moral standards. One may think it's ok for a country leader to avoid tax, hide shares, make profits from inside information or manipulate share prices. One may tolerate this leader and can't tolerate journalists attacking his integrity. Thaksin blamed the media, others for his downfall, but the media never put shares in his gardeners' accounts and traded them among the accounts, or sold them to his relatives or used them to avoid taxes. In effect, Thaksin attacked "investigative journalism", so how can you expect "investigative journalism" to blossom here in Thailand? Please tell me.

Fonzi said...

Stevie G,

You wouldn't know real evidence if it bit you on your ass.

I have asked you to produce one investigative report uncovering Thaksin's nefarious empire.

You haven't done so.

Further, you haven't explained to me why, with all this evidence you keep crying on and on about, didn't the Senate impeach Thaksin.

Why wasn't he recalled?

Lastly, you seem to think Thaksin's "alleged" crimes were bad(whioh have not been proven by the press or in a court of law), yet don't seem to care that the junta punished the whole country for what one man did. Under the 97 Constitution, coups were illegal and a treasonous offense.

You say Thaksin was bad, yet the junta was worse when it ripped up the constitution.

How do you intellectually justify such an impossible self-contradictory position?

Anonymous said...

When I agreed with Fonzi that Thai journalism have not done any real 'investigative reporting', I was referring to the nitty gritty day to day corruption, committed by police generals and tax officials and government bureaucrats, and elected officials too of course.

But Stevie G is right on the score of the 'difficulty' in going after the real big fish . . the Thaksin Shinawatras and big political elites who will flaunt their blatant corruption because they believe the millions of votes (bought or earned, it does not matter) who make up their mandata give them the immunity to be untouchable. And what the Nation News and Bangkok Post have accomplished, to uncover the 'circumstances' that point to the corruption spree being directed by the top man himself, Thaksin Shinawatra, was by itself 'excellence' and journalistic integrity without question.

Fonzi becomes weak when he keeps demanding 'evidence' when the pattern of Thaksin corruption and abuse of powers have long ago been established. Fonzi has only to listen to the most recent very detailed Constitutional Tribunal ruling, detailing the criminal abuse being committed by Thaksin, while he enjoyed the immunity of his formidable powers as a Prime Minister and political leader of that biggest and most crooked party ever, The Thai Rak Thai party of Thailand.

Fonzi when you keep demanding 'evidence' or 'hard proof', you do begin to sound like Thaksin Shinawatra himself pooh poohing all those mountains of allegations of criminal abuses he committed while he was in power.

hobby said...

In addition to Fonzi's senate question, I have another:

Why didn't TRT politicians call Thaksin out on his wrongdoings (if not in public, at least in private)?

It looks like the few who tried to stand up to Thaksin ended up leaving TRT.

We seem to focus a lot on Thaksin and the two Sondhi's, but I think the politicians close to Thaksin also have a lot to answer for.

At the very least they rolled over to him and let him do what he wanted as long as he could make it look legal, and at worse they were complicit in his corruption.

And please Fonzi don't come back with 'where's the evidence' - the policy corruption track record is there for all to see.