Reconciliation – cruel and unusual punishment

As Hobby recently pointed out, Abhisit made his own bed himself, now he’s got to lie in it.

He promised that elusive concept – reconciliation, and now his opponents are tearing him apart for it.

Who is he supposed to reconcile and over what issues?

Some believe it’s about making a deal with Thaksin. As soon as DSI slapped him with terrorist charges commentators slammed Abhisit for going back on his word. In a way it’s true – only Thaksin himself can call his dogs off, nothing else would work, but after they turned Bangkok into this there’s little prospect of reconciling with Thaksin, ever.

Bangkok reality vs Hollywood fiction

So, if not Thaksin, who is Abhisit going to reconcile with? The rest of the red leadership? The guys who kept playing a fake tape of him ordering killing people last year even after Abhisit told them on national TV it’s unacceptable behavior. That was a bit of emotional side of Abhisit, when he got clearly pissed off with smug Jatuporn sitting there demanding this and that while lying and fooling his people with a straight face.

Another point that irked Abhisit was red leaders denial that they tried to attack his car last year. The calls for the mob to go and get Abhisit at the Interior Ministry were coming straight from the red stage yet now they all deny their involvement and a) claim Abhisit wasn’t there and b) it was fake red shirts, hired by Newin.

Now, forgiving that episode in the name of reconciliation is one thing, forgiving, however, implies that the other side realizes its guilt. So far there’s absolutely no remorse or even acknowledgement shown, even indirectly, and, given the chance, reds would surely try to kill him again, yet Abhisit opponents insist on him, in essence, elevating lynch mobs to a status of acceptable tactics by not prosecuting those responsible.

As I said – it’s not even a request for amnesty, you can’t issue amnesty to those who show absolutely no remorse. A cruel and unusual punishment, that’s what it is.

Another common argument against Abhisit’s reconciliation attempts is that his government paints all reds as terrorists and abuses state media for that purpose. Well, Abhisit was always clear that not all red shirts are terrorists, but, perhaps, overzealous media sometimes overplayed the terrorist card, but it’s nothing comparing to what red media and red leaders have said about the government.

It is impossible to count how many times they compared him to Hitler and called him all kinds of derogatory names off the red stage. That’s old news, but check out this May 21 “Voice of Thaksin” cover for a change:

Now go and “reconcile” with these people. Cruel and unusual punishment indeed.

I’m afraid that the first step to reconciliation should be shutting down these “media”, nothing will move forward as long as they produce these hateful messages and propaganda.

Then there’s rank and file red shirt peasantry, they need to see the end of the double standards and reduction of the wealth gap, presumably. Well, wealth gap is an interesting issue. First, there are all kind of numbers, and most easily available, right on wikipedia, from UN and CIA, suggest that wealth gap in Thailand can’t possibly the reason for a “revolution”. There are many other ways to present and interpret these data but here’s another reminder of how red leaders view the poverty of their followers.

During preparations for the rally they expected 100,000 pickup trucks to completely block Bangkok traffic. That is they expected red shirts to put 20-30 BILLION worth of assets on the streets, at considerable risk of damage.

Some poverty!

Now they want Abhisit to go and reconcile with these “poor” folks.

There’s another issue, a stereotype, that is often overlooked and forgotten by political commentators but is well known by those who don’t pay much attention to politics – Isanese men are probably the laziest bunch in the world. They do nothing but drink and gamble for months on end, living of their wives and daughters meager income. Stereotype or not but it’s these men who put Thailand at the top of the world rankings in alcohol consumption.

Unlike “uneducated buffaloes”, this stereotype is not produced by Bangkokians, it comes mostly from Isanese women and is not confined to the bar girls downgrading their lives either.

Another group that subscribes to it is the employers – they know very well that Isanese are not the industrial types, they won’t work very hard and won’t put any extra hours and can disappear in a moment without a trace, money earning opportunity be damned.

They’d rather hang out with their friends and a cheap bottle of “lao kao”, gambling away all they can, and often cannot afford.

Now, how would Abhisit go about making their lives easier? I have no idea.

Another often forgotten fact – survey after survey finds Isanese being the happiest people in Thailand, and Bangkokians the most miserable. Believe the surveys or not, but their “mai pen rai” attitude to life is very attractive to a lot of westerners who will pay good money to escape the “rat race” that is so pervasive back home, and Bangkok, too.

Where do you find real grim faces in this country? On the famed BTS. Do Isanese really want to live their lives like that?

Where the income inequality is the most glaring in this country? In Bangkok, and demands it puts on people to keep with the Joneses are becoming heavier and heavier every year – iPhones, BBs, clubs, clothes, fashions, expensive looking girlfriends – it all costs a lot more than hanging out with your neighbors in the countryside.

Do Isanese really want to pay that price?

Should Abhisit force them to join the rat race in the name of reconciliation?

There are possibly some other, more serious aspects that demand real government attention but this post is not about that, this post is about absurdities that are practically forced on Abhisit by all kinds of critics. Should he try and reconcile with his critics? I’m araid that it’s also impossible, as they often have no clue what they are talking about and don’t know what they really want, even if they appear to come with good intentions.

Hmm, good intentions, huh? Isn’t it how they pave roads to hell, too?

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16 Responses

  1. You really think a PM who played the 1976 royalist (communist/terrorist) card wants reconciliation?
    I just dont see it! That type want submission – status quo, and everyone back in their place.

    It’s unrealistic to expect harmony & unity under one god – Real reconciliation can only come when respect is given to a persons right to think differently, and to the ‘one person one vote’ system.

    • You didn’t read the blog, did you? Or do you have some sort of an automated response system – 1976 card, respect for “thinking differently”.

      In reply to both – whose hanging pictures you see on the cover of the magazine? Doesn’t it bear resemblance to your favorite 1976 video? Where’s the respect you demand from Abhisit? Or is it how your fight against double standards work in real life?

  2. There is no cover of any magazine showing in my browser! (but I can imagine what it shows).
    Thailand is so fcuked up that the mere mention of the
    French revolution is now seen as lese majeste.

    I did read the blog, and the reason I commented was that you are kidding yourself if you think the man who presided over the killings can bring about true reconciliation – that’s not his ‘job’ and you know it.

    Your blog completely misses the point that reconciliation is not possible without respect given to each persons vote.
    (whether everyone agrees or disagrees on other matters is completely besides the point – in fact a bit of disagreement is more healthy that the sort of force fed harmony and unity that Abhisit and his backers think they can go back to)

  3. Hobby is the typical ‘educated’ Red that demonstrates StanG’s point that the Reds are an intransigent lot, buffalo heads, and deaf to their core.

    Maybe Abhisit should have stepped aside and allowed the Reds madness to reach the point of no return . . . and the inevitable military coup. Then that junta could start doing the right thing . . . lock up or worse every Red anarchist and wannabes. How would you like that Hobby?

  4. or he could have held an election, and the supreme commander could have respected the result.

    btw, I’m not a red, but I do sympathize with the way their votes have been stolen.

  5. Hobby if you are NOT a Red, and you don’t think their bloody rampage of M79 bombings and arsons were NOT their fault, I shudder to imagine how a real Red thinks.

    AgainHobby if you are NOT a Red, StanG’s point that the Reds people are beyond reconciliation, glows with brilliant validation.

  6. I am too radical to be a red (IMO:)

  7. btw, Vichai, the current junta is already locking up Red activists, or hadn’t you noticed?

  8. After listening to you Hobby, I have arrived at the opinion that the government of PM Abhisit should be locking every suspected Red radical until they sober up.

  9. Hobby,

    The picture is back.

    Respect before reconciliation, you say…

    You completely missed MY point that it’s cruel and unusual punishment to ask Abhisit to reconcile or even respect these people after all they have said and published about him.

  10. We are now back to “He made his bed………..“.
    (see ‘Misdebatiing’ thread)

    I should add that I had great hopes for Abhisit (despite that way he chose to gain power), but it’s been all downhill since he appointed Kasit FM, and I’m now wondering where is rock bottom? (we already have the coup leader a part of the government, will Sondhi L be next?)

  11. If Hobby can see Abhisit going ‘downhill’ is personally encouraging to me because that means PM Abhisit is doing all the right things.

    The last thing PM Abhisit should be doing is to listen to the Reds or pro-Reds whining because there is no satisfying a Red or a Red sympathizer . . . If anybody doubts this all they have to do is read all of Hobby’s whining at his own website, or at StanG’s. Or scan the Red whiners at New Mandala . . . they all sound exactly like Hobby.

  12. That sounded a bit like a whine to me Vichai 🙂

  13. btw, I found Giles latest blog interesting, but can understand why the video would be blocked in Thailand

  14. I checked BkkDan’s site for a laugh today – it’s nice to see you at least agree with me regarding the LM laws Vichai.
    (I also still like your work on Thaksin’s culpability in the drug war)

  15. If i just go to Giles blog it gives me “404 Not found” error, if I tracert it I get to a german blog, if I look up DNS for Gile blog and enter the IP address, I also arrive to a german blog.

    It works straight via a proxy.

    Never heard of DSI team resigning, would be interesting to know more but certainly not from Giles who is too loose with facts to trust.

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