Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Nation Has Turned Into The Manager

Time for loose cannon is running out fast

The Nation


Jakrapob also blamed the anti-Thaksin movement, which he said is trying to destroy him politically and drive a wedge through the country. It was a bit unabashed given the fact that Jakrapob was the flag carrier for Thaksin's camp, leading thousands of supporters to the front door of General Prem Tinsulanonda, the president of the Privy Council. It is part of a diabolical plot to destroy the Thai establishment. Jakrapob has reached an unprecedented height in such a short time, indeed. But he will soon learn that there is no substitute for the long march.

The Nation's obsession with unfounded conspiracy theories always cracks me up. How is protesting in front of Prem's house a diabolical plot? It was out in the open. The Nation, of course, seems to forget that the protest was against the coup, which was the ultimate crime against the the Thai people. But that type of nation-dividing doesn't bother The Nation. Dividing the nation and creating rifts in society only occur when The Nation's enemies are supposedly doing it.

Thailand has a unique social system of its own. Although most institutions are weak and vulnerable to political intervention, we still have phuyai (learned and respected men) who provide guidance to the country in time of confusion or crisis. When the phuyai speak, we listen. Although we might not totally agree with their thinking, we pay them respect by taking their advice seriously. These respected men include General Prem, former prime minister Anand Panyarachun, Dr Prawes Vasi, Dr Ammar Siamwalla and others.

Funny, most of these puuyai have been part and parcel of the political and bureaucratic establishment for decades. They are the foxes guarding the hen house. Thailand doesn't have a unique system. It is a feudal system with modern pretensions. You can find the same corrupt structures in other 3rd world countries.

The most unique feature of Thailand's social fabric is the Monarchy. His Majesty the King serves the Thai people under the Constitution. He strictly observes the law and follows the tradition as laid down by our Thai ancestors.

I guess every time there was a coup and the king extra-judiciously supported military coups and chose governments outside the purview of the constitution that was acting within the constitution. As for following tradition, I agree with that. The monarchy has always been about protecting the monarchy.

He does not influence how tax money should be collected or distributed.

I guess all that cash that is wasted on pageantry and propaganda while the poor suffer was money well spent.

This lies in the domain of Parliament. He does not appoint anyone to key positions; but he endorses the appointments as proposed to him through the bureaucratic process. But His Majesty the King represents a pillar of stability for the country. He provides moral guidance to the Thai people so that we have a sense of unity and learn how to distinguish good from bad.

Like I said, I guess the king has never appointed prime ministers outside his legitimate legal perogative.

I find it interesting that the king has supposedly been a moral force for good for the last 60 years, yet nobody has listened to him. There is a great distinction between saying how much you love the king and his sage advice and actually living by those words. Most Thais love the king so much that they mostly ignore his words. Those in the elite who profess to love the king remind me of children who will tell and sundry how much they love their parents, but then live lives that would make their parents feel ashamed.

Yet one by one these phuyai have been discredited by a systematic plot designed by allies associated with the previous regime. Jakrapob is part of this reactionary force, which represents "new money", against the establishment. This reactionary force's only mantra is that "we have been elected by the majority of the people so we can do anything we want. If you think you are better than us, prove your mettle by standing in the election".

I love how The Nation spins democratic politics into reactionary politics. I think every modern country on this planet has gone through the growing pains of a new order trying to oust the ancien regime. The fact is that the ancien regime in Thailand wants to sustain its power through the barrel of a gun and propaganda instead of democratic politics. Since The Nation is part of the propaganda machine that take orders from the traditional elites and has an apparent contempt for democracy, it doesn't surprise me that it takes the side of the conservatives.

So far the reactionary force has not yet provided any alternatives in terms of good governance or genuine democracy for Thai society. It has come to power through vote buying and money politics. It has no respect for other institutions as checks and balances. It has no respect for tradition.

The only institution in Thai society that is holding it back is the Thai media, which refuses to report on corruption and the nefarious activities of politicians. The Nation has never published an investigative report uncovering vote buying and money politics.

The Nation loves to pontificate about evil politicians and propagates for the monarchy and the conservative elites, but when it comes to actually doing anything productive for society, like reporting, it fails.

1 comment:

Bangkok Pundit said...

I thought that was a bad attempt at satire for a while then I clicked on the link... Even for The Nation, I can't believe they said this in an editorial.