Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My View On The Coup

I'm not worried about the coup. If necessary, people will rally against a coup that stays too long in power. This has been true for the past 50 years. I was very worried about Thaksin's abuse of power. Below is what I emailed my English speaking friends to calm them down a little bit:

Dear Friends,

You might be alarmed by the coup in Thailand last night. I can assure you that it was very peaceful and is a good thing for Thailand. Informed people of Thailand, numbered in tens of millions, have been trying to get Thaksin to step down for the past two years with peaceful means. Starting from the beginning of this year, there were at least 40 big rallies that 100,000 to 500,000 people joined to ask Thaksin to resign to no avail. I really hated sitting in the hot or wet streets or sleeping over in the park but I was prepared to go again when the new rally was scheduled today. (The rally is now canceled since it's not necessary anymore. I am very relieved! )

Five years ago, Thaksin was a telecom operator, already a billionaire. He won the elections with populist policy reminiscent of Juan Peron of Argentina and Ferdinand Marcos of the Phillippines. He overpromises most of the things and always comes up with new flashy projects to distract people while he and his cronies rob Thailand.

During the time that he's a prime mister, he:

1. Cheats in elections. Ballot stuffing, intimidation, killing opposition (under war-on-drug pretext, see below), buying votes are standard practices of his administration. He always proclaims that he is the democratically elected PM, but "election thief" would be a more accurate description.

2. Changes various laws to thwart the check-and-balance procedures so he can do things with impunity by putting his own people in the various independent auditing agencies that are supposed to watch corruptions.

3. Dominates the boards of various telecom, energy, logistics state enterprises with his men and makes those enterprises that compete with his business much weaker so that he could either take them over or destroy them.

4. Signs various FTAs (free trade agreements) with various countries without disclosing the terms in the parliament (so that the terms can be reviewed by the public) before the deals are done. It seems that for all the FTAs, he has the signing countries buy his regional telecome services, especially the service involving IPStar (a broadband geosynchronous satellite he owned.)

5. Tries to setup various special economic zones with laws that greatly benefit his and his friends' businesses, effectively create sub-countries within Thailand.

6. Allows rampant human right violations to happen. In the south, where a large fraction of the population is Muslim, there are a lot of police-state intimidation actions and killings of civilians. Under his "war-on-drug" pretext, thousands of people were killed without due process. No meaningful investigation into their deaths was performed. A prominent civil-right lawyer was kidnapped and disappeared when he raised this human right issue.

7. Practices extreme cronyism. His friends and relatives are put into various positions to control and benefit from all business.

8. Hides his assets against the laws. Most likely to do insider trading and manipulate the stock market.

9. Distorts the free operation of news media. News organizations and people who reported unfavorable news about him or his business got sued for billions of baht. News organizations who reported his propagandas got lavished with lots and lots of ads money from him and his cronies. Free broadcast TVs were controlled by his administration.

I could go on and on, but I think any one of the above should disqualify him from his office already.

You can find out more about the guy at (or for a more insider-joke type page: )

Here are my past posts about Thaksin:

An open letter to all my Singaporean friends when I found out that Singapore's administration seemed to be colluding with Thaksin in ripping off Thailand:

Thaksin tried to fake a news of his assassination so that he can put his soldiers in power:

Gandhi was right. I was wrong to doubt him:

I was relieved when I could hear Thailand's Democracy Radio again.

...Democracy Radio was attacked again.

An honest investigator was pressured out of her job (but she got back her job a year later when the King didn't sign an endorsement of her replacement for a really long time.):

Thailand's Corruption Index:

You know I must have felt pretty hopeless when I had to draw some inspiration from a fiction (my favorite part from The Lord of the Rings):

A website called Corruption Watch was blocked. It is in Thai and lists many of the stinking corruption situations in Thailand:

I was preparing for the unlikely event that I could not teach my children, so I wrote a small list for my wife and relatives:

If you are still with me this far, don't worry about us in Thailand. Normal people are going on with their lives. Crooks are scrambling to get away from courts and jails. Many civilian actually took pictures of themselves with the tanks and soldiers. I didn't see any soldiers or weapons along the way from my house to my office (12 km stretch.) I observed in the newspapers, TVs, and mobile phone clips that the soldiers didn't load their rifles with magazines yet. I think this coup is one of the most mellow coups ever in the history!



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