Wednesday, September 03, 2008

What's Going On In Thailand?

A few of my English-speaking friends read about the situation in Thailand and asked me about it, so I would like to summarize what's going on in Thailand here for the record.

The problem is the illegitimacy of the current government.

The current government is illegitimate in the following ways:

1.  The Election Commission found evidences of vote buying by the leading party.  This is being filed in the Constitution Court.  What kind of democracy allows vote buying?  If we allow this, we don't really have democracy, do we?

2.  The current government signed a treaty without oversight of the parliament.  This is in violation of the Constitution.  The Constitution Court already found this unconstitutional.  In a more civilized society, leaders would have resigned already.

3.  To avoid being punished for the crimes in 1 and 2, the government is trying to amend the Constitution, in direct violation of the conflict-of-interest clause in the Constitution.

In addition to the above, the government is creating a lot of unnecessary and overpriced megaprojects totaling about US$ 30 billion.  This is likely a way for them to get kickback from the bidders.  Also, the government is appointing a lot of people with murky past to oversee the Central Bank and the SEC.  These people won't be qualified to work in a bank, let alone being bank regulators.

So, basically, how can a civilized society be governed by criminals like this?  Many people won't accept this, so a few hundred thousands of people convened to Bangkok to surround the parliament for 8 days (and counting) to pressure the government to step down.

The demonstration has been going on for over 100 days without any violence.  Yesterday, a few hundred pro-government thugs came in with weapons and there was some fighting.  The thugs were led by many members of the Parliament, from the Prime Minister's party.  About 30 people were injured and one people died.  The Prime Minister declared a state of emergency in Bangkok, trying to disband the demonstration and shutdown media outlets.  Even more people joined in.  Academics unanimously denounced the declaration.  A DA refused to follow the government's order.  The protest continues. Civil disobedience is growing.

Personally, I don't think the government can suppress the demonstration.  It's blatantly obvious that the country is being run by thugs and corrupted people and people won't stand for it anymore.  

By the way, the Prime Minister is the leader of the party financed by Thaksin Shinawatra, the former PM who is currently running from corruption charges in England.  The current PM even admitted it himself that he is a nominee of Thaksin's before the election.  Yesterday he was angry that a CNN reporter asked him about this.

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P.S.  Samak Sundaravej, the current PM, pulled this trick once before.  In 1976, he instigated violence against student protesters, leading to Thailand's 1976 Massacre.  He is appealing a two-year sentence he got for slander.  He is also being charged with corruption for the unusual deal he made for fire trucks during his term as Bangkok's governor.


Man said...

Thanks for this post. Your synopsis paints a different picture then I get from reading the traditional news media. I am grateful for your taking the time to bring some clarity to the picture and I hope the current leaders of Thailand can see their way clear to resolving these issues without further violence.

Ko Saipetch said...

Thanks, Man! :-D

David said...

I hope to visit a journalist friend of mine in Bangkok later this year. I'm trying to get up to speed on all things Thai. Thanks for your "local" description of what is really going on!

Mawsy said...

ill be posting this url on my facebook so everyone here in california and everyone in different countries we'll find our what is going on in thailand..
hope democracy wins.. we'll be praying for all of you guys..

Ko Saipetch said...

Mawsy, this was from 2008 when the government was run by a nominee of Thaksin Shinawatra and people were coming out to protest. For the current demonstration, the leaders have close ties with Thaksin Shinawatra.

HetBungler said...

thanks for the information, its really encouraging to see the masses make a stand in at least one corrupt country.

Zena said...

My word. Thaksin has 76 billion baht that he needs to take out of the country. He doesn't really need it but he is a greedy thing. He's paying red shirts to stir things up so he can get his money. Illegitimate government. Please. Nobody is that stupid, but if that's what the red shirts who want the money from Thaksin have to believe and tell everyone to condone killing their own people, then that's what they're going to keep telling themselves. You can't just come out and say that it's all about money cause after all, they live in a Buddhist country. OH THE KARMA!!!!!