Regarding Thaksin and Sarit--
The intellectuals back then were helpless to do anything against the dictator and his successor, while the little man from the street felt rather protected by the draconian regime. Many Thais felt relief over the end of the political bickering.
There are several parallels between Sarit and Thaksin showing that even back then a split in opinions was visible, with the difference that the middle class and political conscience are much further developed since.
My quibble with an otherwise excellent blog entry is that Field Marshal Sarit was a cold-blooded killer and thief with no mandate--except from the palace-- who had his political opponents liquidated on his whim. Many intellectuals had to go into exile.
Sure, many people pine away for those good old days of Sarit, especially in the aristocracy, but those were dark days for many. I have talked to some who would recall the Sarit days with tears in their eyes because many of their friends and family were murdered.
What I hate more than anything is when the PADists say Thaksin was the most corrupt, dictatorial prime minister ever, but the truth is Sarit was the worst, worse than all the PMs put together since 1932.