Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Parable Starring Titus & Tatia, Or A Computer Nerd's Guide To Thailand 2006 Coup

Titus got his new operating system installed on his computer. The previous OS was crufty so he upgraded it to the latest version. He had high hope for this OS because it was designed by a team of famous computer scientists and engineers.

Titus went looking for an application software to run on his new OS to make his life easier and more productive. He read off the descriptions of a bunch of programs. A program called TRT caught his attention. It promised to do all the amazing things while consuming little or no resource. Of course, the claim did not make any sense since getting everything for nothing was impossible. However, Titus believed the claim because the CEO of the TRT company was a billionnaire with a Ph.D., and Titus believed that rich people don't lie and people with Ph.D. know what they are doing.

In the beginning, TRT program seemed to be doing its job. The interface was really flashy and nice. Everything looked wonderful. The online updates always told Titus of even more, even flashier features in the coming months. Titus was quite happy. There were small glitches here and there, but Titus thought they were random occurrences that just happened. Titus kept running the TRT program.

Unbeknown to Titus, TRT surreptitiously installed a rootkit, many viruses, a key-logger, and other malwares that consumed more and more resources while doing no useful work for Titus. The rootkit was particularly pernicious since it subverted and modified the OS into an essentially a proprietary TRT OS that did secret things beneficial to the TRT company such as siphoning financial and other personal information to the TRT company so that they could spend Titus's current money and borrowed even more money under Titus's name and used it to buy nice stuff for the TRT executives. The modified OS also lost the ability to detect and defend against any future TRT malwares.

Titus began to notice more and more glitches. His life became harder. He attributed this to his bad luck and "how the world normally works." Tatia also observed the strange behaviors of Titus's computer. She had seen these symptoms before on many types and brands of computers. They were results of rogue programs disguised as beneficial ones. Many computers were destroyed by such programs. Tatia told Titus that the computer was infected by the TRT program and she tried to remove it using various software means but failed. Meanwhile, the TRT program, sensing detection, accelerated its stealing of Titus's resources and told Titus that Tatia was destroying the computer. The TRT program also started selling off Titus's properties to highest bidders. Titus didn't know whether to believe Tatia or the TRT program, besides he could not do anything anyway since he did not know how to remove the TRT program. Besides, which other program he could replace TRT with? They all looked drab and boring and he suspected they would install another set of malwares anyway.

All these events were observed by the local computer technician. His job was to make sure that the computer under his responsibility kept running in a reasonable manner so that there would still be a computer at the end of the day. He stepped in, backed up the necessary data, then formatted the harddisk (bloodlessly, I might add), getting rid of the TRT program with its associated rootkit and malwares. He was in the process of installing a better and more secure OS. More importantly, Titus should have learned from this experience about how to protect his computer properly from malicious programs like the TRT program in the future.

Titus was waiting for a better OS to be set up. The computer technician told him it would take a bit of time but Titus would have the full control of his computer again soon. Titus and Tatia are waiting to see how it goes.

*** * **** * ***** *********
Now, make these replacements in the above story and you should understand Thailand's current situation a bit better:

Titus = General Thai population,
Titus's computer = Thailand,
Computers = Countries,
Operating System (OS) = Constitution + Legislative branch of the government,
Application software = Executive branch of the government,
TRT = Thai Rak Thai Party, a political party with apparently no decent principle or belief,
TRT CEO = Thakky Shocker, the ousted Billionaire Prime Minister,
Tatia = PAD (People's Alliance for Democracy) and many informed people,
Malware removal software = Peaceful rallies and lawsuits,
Local computer technician = CDR (The Council for Democratic Reform - the people who staged the coup) + cooperating governmental staff.
P.S. I'm quite amused by this news of the US condemning the bloodless coup. This is from the country that sent in troops to topple another country's government, killing tens of thousands of civilians, killing thousands of soldiers on both sides and did it all using fake reasons (such as the invisible 9/11 tie or WMD, etc.) Besides, these decisions were made by a leader who won in elections with growing evidences of foul plays using Diebold machines. Also, the biggest trade partner of the largest non-democratic country in the world should not be condemning other countries about an interim solution that should lead to a more democratic society in the future.


Kiattisak said...

How satirically amusing! The replacement guide is actually unneeded. :D

Ko Saipetch said...

Thanks! :-)

Feel free to show it to your English-speaking friends. I had to calm many of my friends down because when they heard the word "coup", they thought it was a civil war and the military will run the country, suppressing civilians, etc. They didn't take into account the context of the events in which the coup is actually restoring our democracy destroyed by Thaksin and his gang and how quickly and how peaceful the takeover was