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Latest “developments”

I can’t bring myself to the same blow by blow following of the current “developments” after the intensity of the red rally.

I just can’t follow the tweets, compare them to the internet coverage and then to the final print versions on subjects as trivial as cabinet reshuffles.

Nevertheless, the latest movements need to be addressed, even if they were just long runs on a stationary fitness machine – lots of sweat but going nowhere.

So, Abhisit reshuffled the cabinet. Big deal. Mostly he just accommodated the greed of those Dem members who were left out of his first cabinet. He promised them ministerial places and he kept his word.

Then there’s a question of dealing with Phua Paendin. I think Abhisit wasn’t really punishing them but was more concerned with keeping his BJT allies happy instead. What does he care about a dozen “abstain” voices anyway?

BJT does, and they made it known, and Abhisit had to placate them.

To add 3D texture to this conflict consider that the BJT minister in question dared to defy Abhisit’s order to halt to the road extension in Khao Yai just a day after Abhisit went out of his way to protect him.

He has a point, btw, and a pertinent one. While environmentalists talk about protecting the forest and the right to enjoy the unspoiled views of Khao Yai on twisted roads, the minister talks of people who make a living there and who can’t stand sitting in traffic for hours everyday.

This is the paradox of wanting the “poor” to have equal opportunities and amenities and having to pay for it by sacrificing the nature. Do these environmentalists have any idea how many trees and canals had to be sacrificed to make their living in Bangkok so easy? Isn’t it hypocritical that when their countryside counterparts want the same convenience, Bangkok environmentalists scream “murder”?

I DO feel for the trees. They should have been either replanted or had a religious ceremony before removing them for good. I know our lives are supremely important, but the trees, the living entities that stood there for decades if not centuries, should be recognized too. They played no small part in forming Thai identity over these years. They ARE , literally, the roots of this nation. Not any less than ghost houses and shrines.

On the other hand, the new, “modern” Thailand, has no place for this kind of superstitious garbage.

Some more 3D texture to the reshuffle – not all Phua Paendin factions rebelled, some stay loyal to the government, and that faction includes former candidate for Prime Minister who lost a vote to Abhisit in 2008.

Here is your “unbreachable” gap – if PTP got its way, we’d have a PM who now vote for Abhisit anyway.

In the latest moves towards reconciliation DSI proposed an amnesty for rank and file red shirts who broke the Emergency Decree. Many questioned the need for such amnesty – do they even feel sorry to be forgiven? Do they feel they did anything wrong?

Someone mentioned that the law is lenient enough to such small time offenders, they have no real chance of facing persecution anyway.

Abhisit is so far quiet on the issue.

In the meantime the red leaders enjoying well deserved holidays in Cha-Am were finally moved to a remand prison in Bangkok. Now that’s unpleasant.

Abhisit appointed Kanit as a head of investigations in April-May violence. Red cheerleaders on the Internet and elsewhere immediately rejected him.

He, as they now say, let Democrats off the hook in land scandal back in the 90s.

Kanit was the Attorney General at that time and Democrats were put through the media trial and forced to resign. When the case reached Kanit he dropped it for the lack of evidence.

Now, these days, if someone, say Thaksin, is convicted by Thai media but the case can’t pass Attorney General’s requirements, how do you think red supporters, the self-appointed warriors against double standards, would react?

Red leader Veera, possibly unaware of politically correct moves outside, expressed full trust in Kanit. I bet some reds think he is an old fool walking into a government trap.

More on reconciliation – Abhisit promised to make a grand announcement one day then ended with a ten minute address saying that he’ll present his gift of “roadmap” in time for Christmas. I thought he was joking but it appears he is at least half serious.

Perhaps it just downed on him what this reconciliation and welfare society would truly mean. For half a century Thailand was pursuing the US development model – as much capitalism as possible, everyone for himself, and a relatively small government. To come up with a plan how to change it into a European model in a couple of months is impossible, not if you take the task seriously.

Off the top of my head – can people agree on some 20% value added tax, for example? Can they agree to pay taxes at all? Very few do and personal income tax is probably the smallest income source for the government. Who will pay for all this welfare? Thailand can’t afford to increase business taxes – it has to compete with the neighbors.

If it pays the workers western style wages – can it export its products?

Personally, I think it’s impossible to restructure the country, they’d have to make do with incremental changes but those changes don’t translate in catchy platform slogans.

Personally, I think Abhisit should spend less time on roadmaps and more time on explaining people how this country really works and what is expected of each particular sector of the society and how each sector can possibly improve and to what extent and who should be the agent of those changes, what sacrifices need to be made and by whom.

Unless there’s a thorough understanding of where the country is now, there’s no chance of getting public support to move in any particular direction, regardless of whether it’s a right move or not.

The problem is that reds (and yellows, for that matter), have subjected themselves to rigorous training in half baked “democracy” and overcoming their fossilized perceptions is going to be very very difficult.

There’s no other way, though, deprogramming is unavoidable if the government, any government, even PTP led one, is going to embark on massive socialist/welfare society building effort.

I think it’s possible to explain how the country works in a way the reds and yellows can agree – from cheap labor to voting to taxes. Everybody knows that already anyway, just no one openly talks about it without political prejudice.

And no, the monarchy and succession have nothing to with it.


5 Responses

  1. I still think it’s more about political inclusion/exclusion, and being fed up with blatant double standards.

    Re your last sentence: – Why then are they scrambling to protect a certain someone who is loved by everyone anyway?

    If they were not such dangerous fanatics it would be quite funny to observe:)

  2. Political inclusion and double standards are exactly the issues Abhisit needs to re-educate the reds on.

    They are the ones who deny the validity of the pro-government sentiments and take “my way or highway” approach to negotiations.

    And their selectiveness in the war on double standards makes it just laughable. Singling out one homeowner out of hundreds or completely ignoring the land swindled from the temple – who can take them seriously?

    Why don’t they march to Chalerm’s house and demand his son retrial for policeman’s murder? They can even get some yellows to join that rally.

    Fanaticism is when you keep talking about an issue when no one is listening anymore.

  3. Someone who is happy to lock someone up for 18 years for expressing a political view IS a fanatic
    (and that includes those who cheer them on, or acquiesce, or sit on their hands when they can do something to rectify the injustice – I think you know the people who I am talking about:)

    btw, If you were referring to me specifically, I’m just having a bit of fun, hardly a fanatic:)

    • Yeah, I admit I was referring to you.

      Can you last, say three posts, without reference to LM or Darunee?

      Your admission that you ARE having fun harping on about those issues is a bit worrying,

      Just these week I’ve seen at least three proposals on cutting up various taxes. The most serious the joint request by Federation of Thai Industries, Traders, and Bankers associations to cut corporate taxes by 5%.

      Good luck to Abhisit figuring how to run welfare society on a shoestring.

      Thaksin’s idea was for SOME of the rich to spend a little in return for the open lid on the cookie jar.

      In the long term it’s unsustainable as the jar access must be equal.

  4. Sorry, but I have no inclination to try to last 3 posts without niggling you about your support of draconian repressive laws.

    As for having fun with it, well its not doing any harm is it?
    (unlike those who want to jail or physically harm, or kill, those who think differently –
    different strokes for different folks

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