Monday, November 19, 2007

Deconstructing Sopon Onkgara: Perfecting the Art of Hysterical Opinion Writing

Thaksin's cronies perfecting the art of gutter politics

Sopon Onkgara

The Nation

In the past, we have usually heard the common but cynical utterances that "politics is dirty" or that "gutter politics" are not appropriate for self-respecting people who do not want injury done to their good names through baseless accusations and mudslinging.


After several decades of successful and failed coup attempts to weed out corrupt and immoral politicians engaged in power rivalries, we have not gone far in terms of the self-serving conduct of politicians.


The peak of this occurred under Thaksin Shinawatra when everything, except that which was good and truly beneficial for people, was provided through populist schemes from which vast sums of taxpayers' money was siphoned off by politicians and their cronies.

Huh? The Nation has never printed an investigative report uncovering rampant corruption in Thaksin's populist programs. I'm curious. How many of Thaksin's cronies have been indicted by this regime for corruption they committed during the last 6 years?

This was supposed to be a perfect plan of corruption in which no hard evidence would be left for later criminal prosecution. Big-time crooks in the Cabinet wasted no time and effort in plundering national assets.

Huh? On one hand Sopon says that there is no hard evidence, yet on the other hand he makes wild accusations as if they were facts. In Sopon's wacky world, he can accuse all he wants without proving anything. Which national assets were plundered and by whom?

They had yet to legalise their corrupt acts and whitewash all traces of them when mass demonstrations became intense and a successful military coup ousted the graft-ridden team.

Huh? How many years has this idiot been a journalist? He can't even put a simple sentence together. I wonder if the farang sub-editors refuse to touch Sopon's moronic columns. I wouldn't blame them if they did.

Down from power, but not completely out of politics, Thaksin continues his sinister plan to regain power through nominees and cronies with large funds, while retaining publicity through his purchase of Manchester City Football Club.

No evidence.

His nominees and cronies have done well in harassing the military junta and other investigative panels formed to probe the large-scale corruption networks in place to protect the billionaire in exile who serves as their patron and paymaster.

I love this. Sopon really is out of control. A military junta ousted Thaksin from power and through a kangaroo court dissolved Thai Rak Thai, yet it Thaksin who is harassing the junta and calling all the shots.

These cronies and hired hands have succeeded in perfecting the system of dirty politics, improving it even beyond the years of their benevolent boss. Of course, he is pleased by their success, while insisting that he has washed his hands of politics.

Uh, the Surayud government is in power; Thaksin and his allies are out of power. An election hasn't even taken place. So what the hell is Sopon talking about?

During their political rallies and demonstrations, these cronies and goons heaped abuse on coup leaders, but they kept vulgar acts and words for Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda.

And, so what? Sopon seems to think that people exercising their rights is called dirty politics. Every Thai had the right to resist and protest the coup, because the 1997 Constitution enumerated that right.

After perfecting dirty politics, they went on to surpass a level of vulgarity that the general public would deem sane. Thaksin's high-priced attorney and spokesman resorted to coining an abbreviation for the male genital organ in an attempt to mock investigators.


This comes after other tricks and hard-luck tales were invented to make authorities seem villainous and uncivil. The key figures of the former Thai Rak Thai party were at their best, coming up with cock-and-bull stories to seek the public's sympathies.

Huh? No evidence. No examples.

These were tearjerkers that appealed to the gullible and further infuriated Thaksin's admirers, who completely disregard his heinous crimes of corruption and abuse of power during his administration.

Huh? No evidence. No examples.

Thaksin's cronies and nominees are a bunch of retired civil servants, military and police figures, as well as sympathisers and members of the former Thai Rak Thai party, who have joined hands in a bid to win the election on December 23.

Huh? Who is he talking about? I find it fascinating that Sopon rants and raves without ever having to be specific.

There is no limit to the pooled financial resources available to achieve victory. To Thaksin and his family members, the stakes are high because the outcome could have great significance on their futures. Their risk of facing criminal charges is high.

Sopon never tires of this mantra. Funny, none of Sopon's mantras ever materialize into anything substantial.

Getting themselves attention and in the news requires all kinds of tactics and methods. Never mind the ways and means, their efforts must be realised through accusations, arguments, doctored classified documents, rhetoric and plain vulgarity.

Huh? Babbling like an old fool. Never any evidence. Never any facts. Never any specifics.

They seem to have a deep fascination with comparing what they dislike with the male organ. This time round, they used a play on words to ridicule the Constitution, the supreme law of the land duly promulgated with the blessing of His Majesty the King.

The phony constitution written by the military's agents that takes rights away from the people and hands them to appointed bureaucrats. Funny how much respect Sopon has for this constitution but had no problems with the military ripping up the last one.

If this is their prime political marketing strategy, it has obviously worked well in getting the public's attention and outrage. Vulgarity has become their selling point, making their kind of politics much dirtier.

The only vulgarity in Thai politics the last year has been the Sopon's columns.

Mud-slinging is out of mode. Thaksin's cronies and goons have become much bolder and vicious with the help of big money in serving their boss who, with ill-concealed subtlety, resorted to spending a few more million baht in coaxing three footballers to join Manchester City. It is a perfect diversion from their low-down dirty shame game.

Huh? I have noticed that there is a direct correlation between Sopon's hysteria and his convoluted syntax.

This time, he assigned club manager Sven-Goran Eriksson to fly to Bangkok and stir up publicity at a time when political campaigns are heating up.

Nobody had to report it. I always find it fascinating how the Thai media loves to report on Thakin's marketing conspiracies, yet by reporting on his conspiracies they are actually doing his bidding. The only reason why the Thaksin boogey monster continues to exist is because of the Thai media. Thaksin is a Frankenstein monster of their own making. And they can pull the plug on this monster any time they want. The reason The Nation continues to obsess about Thaksin is because the editors are too lazy to report on anything else.

Could the election conceivably deliver the coup de grÓ╣éce to the man who fell victim to a military coup and had to seek exile in London?


I really didn't want to fisk this column, but I want to document it for posterity.

Sopon's writing is atrocious. I am amazed that he has written for an English language newspaper for decades and still hasn't learned how to write basic coherent sentences.

Also, The Nation continues to ignore the very basics of journalism: Who, what, when, why, where, and how. Check out Sopon's column. He doesn't bother with basics.

I predict that the closer the PPP comes to forming a government, the more hysterical The Nation will get.

I have a feeling that if PPP wins, The Nation will eventually cease to exist. The Nation is going broke and it desperately needs cash that the military is funneling to it from state enterprises in the form of advertising. Without the military funding its operations, what will The Nation do? Why should private banks and corporate advertisers continue to finance The Nation when the quality of its operations are abysmal?

I think The Nation's fear and hysteria of a Thaksin comeback really isn't about politics; instead, it is about money. Of course, this is only my personal theory. Let's see what happens next year.

Bangkok Pundit did some Sopon fisking here.

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