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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Deconstructing Santitharn Sathirathai: Who is this idiot?

Rules of democracy or laws of nature?


Santitharn Sathirathai


Bangkok Post

''The People's Alliance for Democracy has gone too far this time; its actions are simply too extreme. Stopping the PAD would restore peace and order to the country.'' For some at least, it is tempting to think this way. One wishes it were that simple.


True, bringing thousands of protesters to take over Government House and other government offices is a very bold step by any standards.


No one would deny that the PAD has gone far in making its voice heard. But the question is: has it gone too far?


The answer depends on what we think has driven the PAD to do what it is doing. Money? Loyalty to country and the monarchy?


I will not pretend to know all the answers or make any conclusions here.


But let us ask ourselves this: assuming that there is little or no remunerative motive involved, can we find any other explanations that would justify the PAD's ''extreme'' measures?


No, their extreme measures are not justified. They are cowardly fascist thugs and agitators who have utter contempt for the constitutional order. They were on the losing side in politics, so they threw a temper tantrum because they didn't get their way.


Let us answer this by going back to some basic laws of nature we learned in science class at school. In physics, a man called Isaac Newton, upon whose head an apple fell some 300 years ago, stipulated the famous third fundamental law of motion, that: ''For a force there is always an equal and opposite reaction.'' Or, if you prefer Eastern philosophy over Western science, there is the Taoist concept of yin and yang. No physical form or human-created system can defy the laws of nature forever. If we throw a ball at a wall and it bounces back to hit us, who is to blame? The ball, the wall, or we who were ignorant and short-sighted enough to not see this coming?


By the same token _ just hypothetically _ if there existed a government which has inflicted so much pain, suffering and anger on its people, causing a drastic uprising, then should we blame the people, i.e. the ball? Perhaps the PAD's actions are not so extreme if one sees them as reaction _ to how the People Power party-led government has ignored the voice of its people


This government inflicted pain, suffering and anger? Samak may be an idiot, but his idiocy has been mostly benign on the people as a whole.


But perhaps this alone cannot satisfactorily explain the intensity of the PAD's movements. If physics can only capture half the story, then let us turn to another high school science class, chemistry. ''Le Chatelier's Principle,'' the famous law named after the prominent late 19th century French chemist can, believe it or not, offer us some insight into Thailand's current political situation. To make it accessible to a non-scientist like myself, let us see the idea through a very simple analogy. Imagine pumping water into a tank whose drainage pipes are blocked. There are two possible scenarios: the tank may eventually explode, unless water finds a leakage in the tank and flushes out through that with much more immense pressure. If water is the people's dissatisfaction with the government, and the drainage pipes are the traditional democratic check-and-balance mechanisms, the PAD may be the necessary ''leakage'' resulting from the fact that all the pipes are blocked, intentionally or not. When the parliamentary, electoral and judicial mechanisms are paralysed, the unheard voices, like the water, will eventually find their way out to release the insurmountable pressure.


What is all this rambling on about?


Think about it: risking lives and reputations to shout ''We are not exhausted!'' every now and then amid harsh weather conditions is not the most fun and rational thing to do _ if other options such as fair elections and no-confidence motions really exist.


Draining water via the tank's leak is understandably not the best solution. But our democracy seems to be more about choosing the lesser or least among all the evils, rather than finding the best among the stars. In the past, and perhaps a bit too often than was necessary, the ''leakage'' has been military coups d'etat. Some were perhaps more justified than others, although all were less-than-ideal solutions. If Sir Winston Churchill were here, he might have said: ''The PAD's movement is the not the best option to pursue, but all the other alternatives have been attempted.''


The PAD never even ran in an election. They didn't ever try. Also, Samak is out. The court booted him, then his party booted him.


This is all fine, some may say, but can these nerdy scientific laws tell us anything about how to resolve the current political gridlock? One thing for sure, it tells us what not to do. Blaming and punishing the PAD for all the turmoil is probably like burning the ball for its crime of bouncing back from the wall to hit us in the face. Getting rid of the PAD might be equivalent to closing the leak while still pumping water into the tank.


Blaming and punishing the PAD for their thuggery, taking over government house, and consistently breaking the law is wrong? Nobody has suggested getting rid of the PAD.


Just like how we should never close a leak before making the original drainage system work, one should not try to disperse the PAD before finding a way to make the existing parliamentary and electoral system recognise these previously unheard voices.


Previous unheard voices? Who is this guy? Sondhi owns a major media outlet and Chamlong was governor of Bangkok. Not only that, Chamlong has been around for years as the former head of Palang Dharm and the Santi Asoke movement.


If physical structures cannot defy the force of gravity forever, then we cannot blindly hold on to the ''forms of democracy'' that do not abide by the forces of nature.


What is up with all these lame metaphors ?


For the PPP-led government, this might be one of those rare moments when making whom they might view as ''enemies'' stronger could benefit themselves. A compromise solution with better sharing and balance of power in parliament might be a more rational approach, than the risky ego-led winner-takes-all strategy which would only buy a short time to remain alive.


Winner take all strategy? PPP is in a coalition government. And why the hell should the government share power with the PAD? Nobody elected them.


Some may shout: but these approaches are not democratic! Well, let's face it: do you think it never crossed the minds of the American people when they saw the movie Inconvenient Truth, that ''I wish there was a way to cancel the results of the last election?''


No, not even the most radical elements of the Bush hating far left in the US have ever advocated canceling elections, especially after seeing a Hollywood movie.


With eight years of the Bush administration, don't you think they've wished for a PAD in the US?


No, the American people would have never stood for fascist thugs illegally taking over the White House in attempt to get rid of the government.


In my year and nine months of blogging I have read many idiotic columns in the Bangkok Post and The Nation. Normally, Sopon is far and away the biggest moron of all. Well, move over Sopon, because another fool has just replaced you. This is by far the worst column I have ever read by anybody.

What makes the author of this piece even more contemptable is that he is the son of former Thaksin right-hand man Surakiart Sathirathai. Surakiart has been up to his eyeballs in more than one corruption scandal and has been banned from politics.

I wonder what Santitharn would have written if his father was PM and the PAD was illegally trying to oust him.

1 comment:

BangkokDan said...

Hearing the word fascist more and more often. I wonder when the Thai mass media pick it up.