Sunday, May 4, 2008

King Bhumibol and Samak Sundaravej: Thailand's Leading Experts on Political Theory and Democracy

From New Light of Myanmar:

Concerning democratization process, the Thai King said the examples of some western powers stood witness to the fact that too much democracy was not good. So much talk and less work was not either. The western big nations accused Thailand of being weak in exercising democracy. The democracy being practised by Thailand was better than the one they were practising.

Yeah, Thailand is the guiding light in the democratic world. 18 coups in 75 years. More military dictatorship and bureaucratic polity than liberal democracy.

And our friend Samak weighs in with words of wisdom (courtesy of the International Herald Tribune):

Thailand's prime minister joked Wednesday that neighboring Myanmar is striving to become a "50 percent democracy" because the ruling junta's draft constitution would keep detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from elected office.

Myanmar's people will vote in a May 10 referendum on a proposed constitution that critics say is a sham designed to cement military rule.

One clause effectively bars Suu Kyi from power by stating that no one married to a foreigner can hold elected office. Suu Kyi, whose late husband was British, is under house arrest and has been detained for 12 of the past 18 years.

"They will not release her. They're keeping her on the shelf," Thailand's notoriously outspoken Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej joked while speaking to reporters after meeting with Myanmar's Prime Minister Lt. Gen. Thein Sein in Bangkok.

"This is the way of a 50 percent democracy," Samak said.


"Myanmar's prime minister said they are holding the referendum on the constitution because they want the world community to know that Myanmar is a democracy lover," Samak said on behalf of Thein Sein, who declined to speak to reporters.

Yep, those constitution ripping, monk murdering, Nobel Laureate detaining, corrupt military dictatorship democracy lovers.


hobby said...

New Light of Myanmar - media excellence personified!

No need to deconstruct NLM - you editors over at The Nation & Bangkok Post take note and lift your game - this is what real journalism is all about.

Thanks Fonzi.

Fonzi said...


What are you babbling about?

The king has said something earlier pin other venues, so it wouldn't be out of character.

Political Change in Thailand: Democracy and Participation.

Kevin Hewison

pages 58-74

BTW, why do you care if the King is hostile to liberal democracy? You are, also. You are in good company with the generals, Samak, the King, and the Burmese junta.

hobby said...

Liberal democracy - I seem to recall we've discussed this before, so I won't go over it again, other than to say that the way it's practiced in some big western nations is a long way from it's real ideals, and therefore I am prepared to wear the tag of being hostile to it in that form.

However, saying 'the democracy being practised by Thailand was better than the one they were practising' is going a too far, and whoever really thinks that must be delusional.

New Light of Myanmar must have some great journalists, so I look forward to you providing further examples of their great reporting.

exnihilo said...


No need to be snide. You guys at the Nation aren't exactly the paragons of journalistic integrity and professionalism, either.

Keep up the good work.

Unknown said...

We have a "mumbled" saying in my country, it goes something like this in direct translation: "Old age doesn't come alone..." You can guess to what possible comment this comment refers to...(considering the source, some critical healthy suspicion to the way of things quoted is in place... )