Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Absolutely Bangkok on Terwiel, Politics of Color, Sarit and Other Observations

Absolutely Bangkok:

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.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to see Terwiel making comparisons of Abhisit with Thanom or Suchinda ! ;)
coz actually Abhisit has ordered soldiers to fire on protesters - same as those 2 dictators did.

sure, Thaksin has to be held accountable for death and HR abuses during his PM-ship (as much as all those generals who actually done that and all the involved people). but the fact remains that unlike Abhisit - Thaksin has never used soldiers to fire live ammo at PAD protesters.

but somehow I doubt it very much that Terwiel wil even ever attempt to make such comparisons - although they are real facts ! :)

and until he does that - he would remain a partisan academic as he is.

Anonymous said...

here is fresh example :

Activists call for charges over Krue Se
Inaction on massacre compounds grievances

so, since it was during Thaksin's rule - one might think that government, army and judiciary would gladly and eagerly grab this opportunity to conduct the proper investigations NOW, when Thaksin is being bashed from all the angles - and produce some case against him - right? I mean - what can be better than this golden chance to pile up on him the case about killing those at Krue Se ?

howeve as we can see, neither junta in their 1.5 year , nor Abhisit now have lifted a finger to prosecute those responsible ?

logic is quite simple: Thaksin and his government were bad, those who ousted him and who are now in power are supposedly good - so, WHY NOT those "good" punish those bad ?

"At a minimum, it is incumbent on the attorney-general to provide evidence and reasons for deciding not to prosecute the responsible parties," Mr Normand said.well, this Normand might end up as that other lawyer Somchai if he keeps digging it up .

anyway, coming back to Terwiel - I bet we'll not find him discussing this matter of "WHY".

wesleyhsu said...

Sarit seems to be in that class of semi-constructive totalitarians who get rosier in revisionism as the years pass. Most people talk about him today as the archetypal technocrat, a pro-engineering type who let smart people lead the infrastructure projects while he lent support and got out of the way. Presumably he had more important things to attend to, such as his larceny and 35 mistresses.

Of course much of what protects Sarit's memory is his support of and by the royals. To criticize his illiberalism is dangerous territory because it's next door to the palace. Thus Sarit never gets the posthumous expose that Pinochet or Peron did. He's still protected by the salience of his philosophy -- king and country and new roads, never mind the bones in the pavement. Lee Kuan Yu enjoys the same posthumous shelter.


Anonymous said...

When I want to test people, middle and upper-class Thai people specially, about their real political sentiments, I ask this question: Which do you value more: political stability or freedom (e.g. full-pledged democracy)?

Their first response invariably would be FREEDOM.

So ask them a second question on why they tolerate Thai coups and military (or military-installed) rulers?

For this second question you will get a blank look for answer.

Conclusion: Everyone uses their own version of political dishonesty for convenience or denial. In short: everyone lies.