Rectification of names

Rectification of names is an ancient Confucian doctrine that, in essence, is calling a spade a spade, only applied to societies. Confucius believed that people masquerading as something else would eventually lead to social disharmony, and, in order for society to succeed, people declaring themselves as such and such should behave accordingly. No bullshitting, so to speak.

It’s what keeps red shirts together here – they know who Thaksin is, for example, who are his favourites, who represents him or anyone else and so on. Politicians can call themselves this and that but, ultimately, people know where their power comes from, what family they belong and whether they have their clan support or not. Samak declaring himself Thaksin’s proxy was a bold move on the surface but in reality he was just practicing “rectification of names”, and everybody knew what the deal was anyway.

Lately there has been a parade of Thaksin proxy wannabes and PTP found itself in turmoil because no one knew who the real proxy was. Finally Thaksin himself had to step in and tell everyone to wait for his decision and so PTP members shouldn’t believe anyone pretending to have any special powers. Rectification of names again.

Well, the world has progressed since Confucius times, he was talking about father and son, the rules and servants. Life wasn’t so complicated in those days. Now we have a whole bunch of new phenomena that requires careful consideration.

So, I have given it a long thought and finally I gave up on things like “benefit of doubt” and possibilities that there is something more than meets the eye. Let’s call a spade a spade.

The problem is that I still don’t know what a proper name should be, for example, for a popular movement that genuinely believes that the cream of the society is rotten and it needs change, that the elites have abused their positions for too long and they must answer to the public, that power and wealth should be returned to people.

What label to put on this movement, which is at the same time bankrolled by the richest segment of the population and led by exactly the same people the movement is rallying against. Nuts?

Nothing else, even remotely respectful, comes to mind. Idiots make mistakes but they are hardly dangerous, the worst kind are the idiots who think they are actually educated and who feel entitled, and are willing to impose their mistakes on you, oblivious to any sense or reason.

This week they will come out and make themselves heard, at midterm American elections.

I was talking about the Tea Party, of course.

If the supposedly better educated Americans can be so hopelessly deceived, I completely gave up on our local red shirts.

It all makes sense, though, if you treat them as Astrorurf – a brand name for artificial grass carpets, artificial grassroots.

Both movements have members really buying into their causes, that’s a fact. Over in the States they are angry at the big and inefficient government, over here they blame the elites instead. They are angry at the elites in the US, too:”The elite’s fear and loathing of the tea party movement is rooted in the recognition that the real change is only now coming,” – Tony Blankley. I’m sure you can find a lot more quotes in the same vein.

This kind of rhetoric is all too familiar.

The Astroturf creators played out on a whole sleigh of these largely dormant sentiments to stir up a real revolution against their current enemies. They saw the opportunity to use the useful idiots to their own ends and they seized it.

In both cases the movements still work for the ultimate benefit of the richest class and corporations. Over in the US they already control the country and, most importantly, the general population, and the government is the only entity that dares to stand in their way, so it must go. Here in Thailand the situation is very similar, the government and the elites stand in the way of Thaksin’s return.

What is truly remarkable, though, is the ability of those rich cats to control population minds, to impose their ideas and to convince the ordinary folks to even act against their self-interest. They have proved beyond any doubt that propaganda pays. For people who made fortunes by advertising their products, shift to political propaganda was seamless and it is pretty much an established fact of life in the West – politicians are nothing but products who live by the rules of marketing, on all sides.

The traditional concept of “democracy” has become meaningless – all we see is farming voters, developing and nurturing them and weeding out any troublemakers. And then out comes the ultimate product of genetic engineering – Tea Party like grass roots movements that completely identify themselves with corporate agendas.

About a month ago one of their millionaire leaders conceived a donation campaign, asking people to come online and give $10 to American Chamber of Commerce. That was a cruel joke – the board of that organization probably has a lot more money than all these misguided donors combined – Pfizer, Conaco, Lokheed Martin, JP Morgan, Rolls Royce… Poor souls still came out in force and crashed Chamber’s servers. Idiots.

Over here we have red shirts collecting money for the red cause, too. Let’s all help Thaksin come back and establish democracy. Duh.

For those who insist that reds have moved beyond Thaksin – just a couple of weeks ago he personally told PTP meeting that he would direct their election strategy, set up the platform and select the PM candidate. PTP resolved that bringing back Thaksin would be their major issue. As for reds – they will be given the opportunity to run in elections if PTP doesn’t have strong candidates themselves. Just like republicans in the US where they sport quite a few Tea Party candidates on the ballots.

Anyway, debating the merits of either Tea Party of Reds is a waste of time. There’s nothing left to prove there.

So let’s move on.

Of a particular interest in this regard are the PR people who manage the movement. Over in the US it’s all republican machinery through and through. Over here the masterminds stay in shade, with the exception of Amsterdam who represents red shirts internationally. Oh, hold on, officially he is paid by Thaksin, but, of course, there’s no practical difference.

He claims he is not in for the money (duh!), that he is in for the cause. Well, I, for one, believe him, to a degree. I believe he fully supports the cause – corporations and rich people should rule the world. He also supports the modern day methods of slavery – dragging people into electoral process that falls under full control of big money.

A few months ago Amsterdam wrote about “state capture” where a few privileged individuals make all the important decisions while the general public is left with the image of democracy and a notion that they really matter. Amsterdam learned all about it while working in Russia, for one of those privileged few who fell from grace, so he had access to the inside knowledge of how it works. Fine, don’t want to argue about that, but, look at the free world and tell me there’s no “state capture” there.

Take some most important decisions of the past decade and tell me people were consulted. Financial bailouts – no. People were just told that it was necessary, there was no debate. Iraq war – no, people were not asked, they were brainwashed to believe that it was for the right cause. Just these two decisions benefited the corporations to the tune of trillions of dollars. People were left to fight for crumbs like medicare instead, something they should be entitled to anyway, and they were reduced to fighting amongst themselves.

So yeah, I believe Amsterdam fully buys into this kind of democracy – protecting corporate grip on the world and “liberal democracy” as an instrument. He made a career out of that already. Thanks to his alphabetical advantage he is at the top of major donors of Chatham House, one of the most influential European think tanks supported by a long list of biggest corporations. Who is stupid enough to believe their research supports transfer of wealth and power to the poor?

Another famous freedom fighter like that is George Soros. Here in Thailand he was blamed for the 1997 crisis. Eventually people realized that they brought it upon themselves and left the sheep unprotected and Soros just did what the wolves should naturally do – slaughter as much as possible. What I can’t understand is how this wolf, who brought so much destruction and suffering to millions of families, claims to be world biggest human rights campaigner, bankrolling Human Rights Watch.

Last article about him I read was directed at South America’s human rights abusers. Coincidentally it was directed strictly at the governments that fell out of favor with Wester world order – Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil etc. I’m sure they deserved some of the blame but I can’t help myself to think that the underlying reason for his attacks is to put them back in line and pay their dues.

When in comes to Thailand the concern is not so pronounced but it’s still there. Remember when Thais decided to produce generic drugs themselves? In no time a big name PR company came out with full page adverts condemning the move. Then there was talk about proxy ownership – another stick to stir up the hornet’s nest. Thais managed to escape major wrath but the apprehension of possible consequences was palpable.

Another interesting aspect is New Mandala’s campaign on the internet. Mandala is not just a fancy asian word, it’s distribution of power, the power pyramid, and the relationships between various players and parts. Traditionally in Thailand it culminates at the King at the top who answers to Gods but in the old days Thailand was answerable to China, too.

The problem with this arrangement is that modern corporations don’t have a major say, they are granted permissions but not ultimate control, and “liberal democracy” has no place in it either, hence the need for New Mandala. New power center should be the West and its values and practices, its freedoms and elections.

Unfortunately, people over at New Mandala are not sophisticated enough to slip these ideas without challenging the traditional structure. Americans were far more skillful at that for the last part of the 20th century. New Mandala people instead went into a full attack mode, centering on Thai monarchy and going after elites in general.

For a while I thought I should give them a shot and see if there’s anything more behind their project – after all they all claim to support freedom of speech and look so nice and friendly.

Well, that didn’t last long. Those who read this blog surely remember “What you don’t see on New Mandala” entry a year ago. That had quite an effect on them as they had to admit to some sort of moderation. At first they said they censored my posts because I was talking too much. I thought I’d comply and they’d let me comment there. Nah, didn’t work.

They simply won’t allow anything that undermines their agenda of imposing democracy on uncivilized Thai natives. They allow dissent about as much as Christian preachers talk about atheism – it’s fine to talk about it as long as it stays defeated. They need it there to ridicule it, not to consider it with an open mind.

When they eventually stopped accepting any of my posts on New Mandala this time (it was back in August) there was public campaign to weed out anyone suspected of being me. “Are you StanGin disguise?” was the popular question there for a while.

There was this one comment, about Amsterdam’s White Paper, where, after reasoning that it’s not worth reading as it would contain to many lies and half truths by definition, I gave it a shot and right there, in the very first paragraph, Amsterdam stated that at the time of the coup Thaksin was properly and democratically elected, apparently as the winner of 2006 elections.

As soon as I pointed out that gross inaccuracy the hell broke loose and no one else but Andrew Walker himself stepped in and said that he won’t allow anymore “pointless” debates with Stan G.

In a way he was right – all debates on New Mandala are pointless, as someone noticed in another thread that was labeled as a great discussion – where’s the discussion, you all agree with each other?

I was thinking about writing “What you don’t see on New Mandala part 2” and include some of the banned posts but I don’t see the point – they were banned for advocating a different point of view. Interestingly, the original premise of New Mandala was to facilitate new looks at Thailand and South East Asia, or something alone those lines. Do they believe in it? I think they do, they just don’t realize they don’t live by it anymore.

I don’t believe they notice how incredibly condescending and insensitive they are to Asians. There was this strange post of some photoshopped work of some south asian woman carrying a huge can of Coke on her head and a huge hamburger in her hand. All the comments were about asking permission to use the image in some classes, but who they were asking permission from? The dude who photoshopped this poor woman? Not a single soul paused and thought that the woman in the picture has a name and a family and pride in her way of life. She was just an object that doesn’t matter to them, South East Asia scholars.

Speaking of their scholars – about a year ago they had a series of video interviews on Thai political situation. The last episode was particularly telling. Three of their students started the talk by saying they don’t know what was going on with red protests because of the censorship.

Well, the red protests were probably the best covered violent protest in human history. There were hundreds of journalists covering everything from every possible angle. Hundreds of people with mobile phones snapping pictures and videos. There were hours and hours of video footage on Youtube. As soon as something had become the point of interest, some one would come up with video evidence for it. There were literally hundreds of thousands of people online discussing every possible turn.

And there they were, three ANU students, claiming ignorance due to censorship. No, it’s not censorship, it’s lobotomy they’ve undergone while studying there. They just have to repeat this familiar NM party line. Funny thing, I believe they were also taught that they were independent and critical thinkers.

I believe Nick and Andrew are also fully convinced that they are fair and open minded and independent and what not – they themselves had been conditioned this way. They can’t step out of this box – they don’t even notice the box exists, and that’s their ultimate failure as intellectuals.

Recently Walker has got captivated by various graphs. God knows how many of them were completely meaningless, only exposing his ignorance on the matter. Not that there were wrong, but there was simply too much information that was missing that no intelligent person would dare to come up with any definite conclusions. Many people pointed various gaps, sometimes he just lashed at them, sometimes he would simply move on and produce another useless graph.

With that kind of “academic” work I’m not surprised that he pushes the brand of democracy that doesn’t stand a chance in any proper university. On the other hand, if universities are so progressive and anti big money, why doesn’t it translate into real leadership? I guess once people outgrow their idealism they decide to partake rather than fight.

Amsterdam started out with Marxism himself. Now he makes a living off the biggest capitalists. Our local revolutionaries from 70s haven’t fared much better, as they make living off Thaksin’s movement.

At least be honest and declare what you stand for. I don’t think Thailand would reject their model outright, Thais always find ways to incorporate whatever new ideas they find. As I said, Americans knew how to do that fifty years ago. Maybe they just had people a lot smarter than Walker and Farelly advising them on how to take over Thailand.

Now that Americans are on the way out, Australians would never stand a chance, not with this sorry bunch leading the effort.

Catching up

It is somehow extremely difficult to resume blogging after a long break, and everybody needed a break after the intensity of April-May rallies.

Nothing seems worth writing about in comparison and certainly not worth spending several hundreds words on.

Still, life is going on, so let me sum up what has happened in the past couple of months.

Bangkok by-election

PTP has chosen a jailed candidate, then, as expected, its fan club started whining about how Korkaew was at a disadvantage. It doesn’t make any sense, of course, but being red is not about sense, it’s about making noise.

During the campaign itself PTP was a lot more visible on the road, they had more trucks, more people, more posters, louder music and so on.

I’ve heard of a woman who is registered in one of the new moobans in that constituency but lives mostly downtown, she was dragged to vote by her family but was not very interested herself. She drove to the polling station, got in a booth, and realized she doesn’t know what number to vote for. Once you are in there, there are no names and parties, only numbers, so she tried to remember and the first number that came to her was “4”, the biggest, most visible, red on white number that she saw most often, so she ticked it. Then, still in the booth, she asked her sister if she made the right choice (Dem). She changed her choice but I think it resulted in a spoiled ballot in the end.

This is a perfect example of how factors other than political ideology can influence voters’ decisions, easily.

The result itself presents quite a few explanations. On one hand it looks like both Reds and Dem supporters remain politicized active and they came out in masses – the drop in vote count for both parties was less than 10% comparing to 2007, that means that people who voted for other parties in 2007 couldn’t be bothered this time around, letting Dems and PTP to slug it out and causing a very low turnout overall.

Another explanation could be that voters across the spectrum were equally apathetic and it’s a mere coincidence that both PTP and Dem tallies were close to 2007 numbers, in this case both parties picked up a lot of third choice voters. From Dems’ perspective it’s the worst case scenario – PTP were not expected to draw any new blood into its ranks.

Third explanation is that PTP rallied its troops and nobody else while Dems were trying to appeal to everyone who is non-red, including tens of thousands of people who didn’t vote for them last time, people who had a long weekend and less interest in supporting the government no matter what. Dems won, but not by a huge margin.

Bottom line – no party can say that it lost and both have good reasons to be hopeful when the general elections finally come.

Personally, I think PTP squeezed as much as it could and no red supporter skipped the voting, means they command only about 30% of the vote and would need not only to beat the Dems but also woo coalition partners away from them. Personally I think it won’t work, not on the red agenda.

Election preparations

It looks like Abhisit will call the elections in the first half of next year, parties are switching to election mood already. Bangkok is peppered with advertising for city council elections, I believe, and, for the first time, there’s a lot of New Politics posters everywhere. Bangkok is not Thailand but it’s the first testing ground for every party involved.

Elsewhere PTP is expelling a few rebel MPs with a few more said to be leaving for BJT. Come election time there could be a lot more defections if PTP can’t stop the bleeding. For months their North Eeastern MPs were complaining about how the party is run, particularly about Shinawatra clan members who are in charge. In the capital the rift between Chalerm and Sudarat has been reported many times over, and now they think about Mingkwan as the PM candidate. That won’t go well with Chalerm, too.

Mingkwan has zero appeal outside the party, he has been around for a long time now but has never achieved anything substantial. I remember his promise in 2007 to increase Thailand’s income from tourism four times. Can’t figure out how – four times more tourists, or making them spend four times more? Doesn’t matter, he is first class bullshitter, he doesn’t claim to have any connection to reality anyway.

“Third choice” parties are also preparing themselves. They realize they are too small to make any impact and need to join hands to get noticed by the electorate. Ideally they want to be the deal breakers, position now enjoyed by BJT and Chart Thai. BJT will probably be more successful, though, at the expense of Isan MPs from PTP and possibly some factions from Chart Thai itself.

Democrats will go with Abhisit, easily the best and most acceptable candidate in non-red eyes. They can’t go wrong with him, despite all the accusations.

Democrat Party Dissolution

Dissolution threat is like a swing. One day it looks like Dems are done, the next day it looks like they are off the hook. There are two cases here, one is about misusing official EC funds, another about illegal donation by Prachai of TPP fame.

Back in 2004 Prachai was hunted by Thaksin and it’s very likely that he turned to Democrats for political support. It is also very likely that he contributed to their campaign, too. Legally, however, the case is very shaky, for the lack of proof. DSI has dropped the case against TPP itself, ie no money has gone missing, so it would be more difficult to argue that Dems have “stolen” it.

The witnesses have changed their minds, too, or have been made to change their minds, doesn’t really matter. I find the whole idea of prosecuting the party for offenses three elections and five years ago and under different management an abuse of the system. The only plausible reason is that when Abhisit became the party leader he had signed off the financial statements for the previous year, too, that makes him legally responsible and prosecutable even though he had nothing to do with it. No one cares about the rest of the Democrat team at that time.

There’s one very important point – the laws have been changed since 2004, it will be very tricky to prosecute Dems and impose penalties based on laws that didn’t exist at the time of the offense, and I don’t know how they are going to apply old lawbooks either. At this time finding one party executive guilty means disqualifying the whole board and dissolution, no leeway. That was not the case back then and I have no idea how the courts are going to solve this dilemma. The case could be just thrown out of the court.

The misuse of EC funds is even more ridiculous – Democrats are accused of printing posters that were one inch SHORTER than regulation. Now idiots like Chaturon insist the whole party must be dissolved. He, of course, doesn’t say the Democrat party must be dissolved for printing smaller posters, he just wants them dissolved, period. His main reason is that if TRT were caught cheating every other party must suffer, too. And he is referred to as the intelligent one in the opposition camp.

I can’t imagine how his brand of “rule of law” will develop should this poster boy for “progressives” ever lay his hands on power.

Thaksin, his shyster and red future

I mean, of course, Robert Amserdam. The man keeps plugging his stuff anywhere he can. He finally produced the “white paper” that has become quite a matter of contention when Somtow was asked to respond to it.

Lots of people, me included, dismiss all his efforts outright and think that his works are just mountains of garbage and are not worth wasting any time on. His point, however, is to try and engage the public in a debate at any cost. Get a foot in the door, then you can start extracting concessions.

Somtow saw it right through, The Nation got caught for a second and posted both of them on the same front page, giving Amsterdam the publicity he so badly needs. That was one off, though, they are not going to engage Amsterdam any more, I think.

I haven’t read the white paper itself but I’ve read enough of Amsterdam’s to see that the man has absolutely no consciousness and no moral or ethical constraints when it comes to manipulating the facts.

Once he accused Abhisit of personal and groundless attacks on him when, in fact, Abhisit hasn’t said a word at all. The accusation could have been, if stretched to the limit, applied to Abhisit spokesman but Amsterdam put it into Huffington Post anyway, with “supporting evidence” being an untranslated page from a Thai newspaper. No shame in misleading unsuspected readers whatsoever.

In the “white paper” itself the first paragraph states that the coup overthrew an elected Prime Minister and that TRT had won 2006 elections. I can see where he is coming from but this is just plain untrue. Thaksin wasn’t elected, he lost the status when he dismissed the parliament, he was merely an interim PM, and no one won 2006 elections, there were annulled before they were even completed.

It’s just garbage.

There’s no benefit in dissecting the whole paper, as long as he remains on Thaksin’s payroll no one would pay any attention to what he says, no matter how many times he issues his trademark “Let me be clear on this” denial. As a total newbie to Thailand Amsterdam doesn’t realize what declaring yourself as someone’s proxy does to one’s strength and arguments. Samak could pull it off, Amsterdam has no chance. No one in Thailand would ever listen to him, which makes me question the wisdom of hiring him in the first place.

He has never had a shot at influencing domestic opinions and internationally no one pays attention to Thailand anymore, one paper or one article or even one editorial here and there won’t persuade anyone, international opinion makers on this country are spread too far and between and are not going to be swayed by his paid presentations, and it’s them who’ll set the tone next time Thailand gets in the spotlight.

There’s simply no market for his crap.

Meanwhile, Jakrapob is hinting that Thaksin himself is reconsidering his strategy of trying to defeat the whole country. Thaksin’s a bit of a slow learner in that respect.

While Somtow claims Thaksin can be easily forgiven if he shows enough remorse I somehow doubt that now, not after all that has happened, and paying Amsterdam’s is not helping here at all.

Avatar change

I’ve watched Uncle Boonmee a couple of weeks ago. Absolutely delightful.

The only spoilers were a few “movie experts” who were clapping hands and laughing at “jokes” in the most inappropriate moments. I see how lots of people would try to “understand” the movie and express their “success” with emotional outbursts, but, come on, it’s not your traditional Hollywood/Channel 7 storyline, things do not follow each other in a simple, logical progression there.

Yet they are all inexplicably connected, affecting and complementing each other in a myriad different ways. It would take days to try and explain what exactly the connections are, what the background for each scene and dialogue is, which part are new and original by local standards and which parts are totally conventional.

So, when the “experts” clapped hands at calling Bangkok a “City from Hell” I hope it’s not out of joke appreciation, I hope they at least understood Thai word play here – “maha nakorn” vs “maha narok”. That is an example of a totally conventional, stale joke and a widely held view. Everyone here has heard this kind of joke at least ten times in their lives., nothing to get excited about. The Bangkok woman in the movie hardly reacted at all, and that’s how most Thai would react, too. It “works” only on the uninitiated.

In the end I walked out convinced that foreigners who claim that there’s nothing special about Thailand and dismiss any “you don’t understand this country” arguments out of hand have no idea how really complex and intricate Thai society is.

Is he movie red or yellow? What a daft question! That’s a totally alien, artificial juxtaposition. Not only in the movie, but in the society in general.

In the end I thought that monkey ghost from the movie was pretty cool so I changed my avatar here. In case you haven’t seen the movie, it’s a mysterious ghost that quietly flows through the whole story, at one point luring an enthusiastic photographer to abandon civilization, marry a monkey woman, and go live in the jungle.

Don’t know what we have in common but the image is visually stunning.

Thaksin in Moscow

Update at the bottom

2Bangkok recieved an e-mail from a journalist who took photos of Thaksin in Montenegro on Monday, April 26, confirming that the photos were genuine. I don’t know how people would disprove that one. See it here.

I just did a bit of research on Thaksin’s Moscow picture. The location is here:

That's where Thaksin stood in his photo

That is taken from exactly the same spot, give or take a few meters.

Thaksin in Moscow

On the say of Thaksin visit it was 13C in Moscow at 4.30 PM – see here, Thaksin is obviously in a very good health to stroll around with only a light jacket.

Yesterday I mentioned that people complain he doesn’t have a shade. My opinion is that the shade just didn’t quite reach the bottom left corner of the photo, but the shades that ARE there fall at a different angle – look at shades on his face, and, even better, at the shade of his head falling on his jacket and compare it to the shade from the lamp pole and signs on it:

Inconsistent shades

See what I mean? The sun could be at the same height but the source of light on Thaksin himself is located almost exactly to his left, making the shade of his chin as long as the wide sign on the lamp post, MCHS Russia, a clue to the location. (both the pic and the explanation have been updated. StanG)

I’m not trying to prove that he is either dead or alive, I just wonder why does he have the need to post fake photos at all? Seychelles first, now a dubious picture from Moscow.

In a few minutes we’ll have photos of his kids leaving Bangkok, reportedly dressed in black. They were taken yesterday, Thu April 29, I understand.

Update

Just spotted it:

Thaksin kids flying to see his father

It’s from the Nation’s blog chief “Thaksin is dead” conspirator. No date but Piset claims it was yesterday, April 29 at 10 AM.

Random thoughts

Can’t find enough time to write a full size entry on any particular one, even though they all deserve proper attention.

So here it goes, in no particular order.

Thaksin’s new pix from his facebook:

Montenegro flag

This is Montenegrin flag. Pic dated Monday 26 but uploaded on Wednesday 28. Facebook link

And the latest one:

In Russia

Facebook link.

This is in Russia, judging by cyrillic on the sign. Someone noted that the shade is missing, I’m not convinced, though, not as clear cut case as with temple in Seychelles. If you didn’t see it, here is the thumbnail for “now you see him, now you don’t” trick.

Now you see him, not you don't

Temple in Seychelles

We are talking about officially released photo on Thaksin’s own facebook page.

Gives some weight to the theory that Thaksin is in fact in coma in Brunei. Abhisit thought he could sit it out but, as Thaksin refuses to die, his camp needs to release some pix and videos, delaying breaking the news to his faithful.

A temple in Chiang Mai associated with his family is, reportedly, has been contracted to hold a fake funeral ceremony, the idea being that after a fake funeral the karma would be cleared and there’d be no need to hold a real one. Gosh, makes him more difficult to kill than Lord Valdemort with his seven Horcruxes.

Suppose Thaksin really died, what would the impact be on the current crisis?

Change in ideology and demands is unlikely but the players behind the protest would certainly need to readjust their strategies, preparing for post Thaksin Thailand.

Would they call the dogs off? Possibly, but not guaranteed. It would depend on how secure they feel without the full scale revolution. As for rank and file proxies in politics, they’d need to reassess their ability to get elected on their own and whether backing the revolution would serve them any good. There is probably a hundred of those in parliament now.

That brings me to another thought – has the red movement outgrown Thaksin. Everybody says it is so, even Nation’s Thanong in his blog.

Well, what does it really mean, “outgrown”? Are they able to fight on their own, without his input? Yes, it appears to be so, there are several layers of command between him and the people by the red stage and they’ve got enough battery power left to continue for a while.

On the other hand, he is undeniably has been their main source of inspiration, and don’t forget that reds on the street is only one part of his movement, other parts and especially the leaders have been a lot more connected to Thaksin than the folks on the ground. Who knows what they would do without him.

Right now they are clearly winging it, they had no idea whatsoever that their protest would last this long and degenerate into open calls for civil war. You could say they have been successful so far but at a cost of losing all democratic legitimacy – the only way they can win is total overthrow of the state with arrest warrants against them nullified in the process. They can’t hope for bail anymore – most of them are already on bail for the last Songkran riots, it’s either jail or victory.

Would Abhisit promise them amnesty if they surrender? Possibly for some of them but people like Arisman and Kwanchai can forget about it.

Or would they force Abhisit to resign and have him begging for amnesty? They’d like that but they need a really big massacre for that to happen, and a clear proof that Abhisit gave the order to kill, otherwise it would be viewed as the army or police screw up rather than political responsibility, just as it happened after April 10.

Anyway, back to red rally size – have they outgrown Thaksin in any other sense?

From Thaksin’s point of view they are still doing exactly what he needs. Of course it’s a lot of mayhem and destruction to serve just one man, but, whichever way you look at it, it’s the only way to get him what he wants. Without overthrowing the state he can’t hope to get neither the money nor lost status and prestige nor avoid jail.

All he needs is to make sure reds are not deviating from this course. He can’t allow them to give up and enter the constitutional process. Have they outgrown him if they are still playing to his tune?

Just think about it – civil war is not in their interests at all. Even if they win, at a great cost to themselves and to the country, they’d still have to make a deal with their enemies – generals, ammarts, elites, yellows, multi-color, Democrats, middle classes – they are not going to go away, reds will still have to share the country with them one way or another.

Despite wide held delusions Thailand is not Burma, it’s insane to go through civil war because reds can’t wait a year and a half for the next election campaign which they believe they’d bag easily anyway.

So here they are, still dancing to Thaksin’s tune against their own interests. Have they outgrown him? Or have they fallen prey to a bunch of rabid Maoist revolutionaries instead?

What is Abhisit to do about this misguided bunch? Yellows and some multi-colors want him to get tough and show no mercy. Reds have pissed off a lot of people and arm chair warriors, the anger is out in the open and at times they look as mad as reds.

He has all justification for a crackdown he would ever need.

The other day I posted a comment somewhere about the latest HM the King’s speech about duty and that made me thinking.

I remembered Bhagavat Gita, the book central to most of Hindu religious schools. There are great many interpretations of what it actually mean but one thing stands out in the connection to the current Thai crisis.

Some background on that book – it’s just one chapter in a monumental epic Mahabharata, second only to Ramayana in size and fame. The whole story is about two parts of a family fighting for a throne. The “good” ones were cheated and sent to exile and when they served their time and came back the “bad” ones didn’t want to return them the throne. Eventually the situation escalated to the point when war was inevitable and the whole nation was divided. Cousins against cousins pulled all they could to their respective side. Some sons were faced against their fathers, disciples against their teachers and so on. Everybody belonged to one camp or the other.

So everything was ready for the battle, armies were facing each other in the field, all preparations completed.

That’s when Bhagavat Gita starts. Arjuna, leader of the “good” ones, confides in his closest friend Krishna that he has no guts to fight his relatives. He looks across the field and sees familiar faces he loved from his childhood and he just doesn’t have the stomach for it.

He argues that the war would bring destruction to the whole country and the victory won’t be worth the price, he doesn’t want the sin of killing people on his hands and therefore he offered to resign and spend the rest of his life as a monk.

Krishna didn’t buy any of it. He said that as a warrior it was Arjuna’s duty to go and fight to the best of his abilities to return what was taken to their rightful owners. Abandoning his duty would be a bigger sin, and, as for poor victims, they are already dead, so to speak, Arjuna just doesn’t know it yet. It’s not Arjuna’s worry to think who deserved to die and who doesn’t, as long as he sticks to doing the “right thing”.

Then Krishna explains the logic behind his argument and reveals that he is actually God himself and it’s him who kills people and administers their karma, not Arjuna or anybody else.

This part of the book is where all philosophy is and everybody understands it differently but the first, introductory chapter is rather clear, despite various allegories associated with it.

So, would it mean that Abhisit has to go out and kill those reds left and right and “let God sort them out”, as they say in the movies?

Not at all. Bhagavat Gita was Gandhi’s bible, too, and he clearly didn’t think violence was the answer. The key is understanding what the duty actually is. Arjuna was a warrior, Abhisit is a politician, Gandhi was Gandhi.

In yesterday’s interview with CNN and BBC HardTalk Abhisit expressed his duty as “to find a political solution in tandem with solving problem of law enforcement”. He is tempted by yellows to go and fight but that won’t bring a political solution so he has to stay put and test his resolve to find a way where there’s apparently none.

Will he be victorious? Arjuna, after all, took Krishna’s advice about duties, went out, killed those who needed to be killed, and ruled the country with his brothers happily ever after. Shouldn’t Abhisit be rewarded, too?

Not at all. I bet there were thousands of people on that day praying for divine advice, getting the same “do what you have to do” answer, but they got killed anyway!

That’s another trick – the rewards for doing your duty are not of earthly order but of spiritual. Earthly results might or might not come, one shouldn’t be thinking of results when doing his job to spare disappointment, or develop attachments, which are root of all misery even by Buddhist standards.

So, Abhisit should think carefully what his duty is, so far it looks reasonable even though improbable, and he should follow all the developments closely, resorting to the use of force only when there’s no other choice. Sometimes his supporters might feel the waiting is unbearable but he should be firm and keep emotions out of this one.

Reds are hell bent on starting a civil war, he should try to avoid that at all costs while maintaining the integrity of the Thai state and honor of his office.

Thaksin death could be a “deal breaker” here but the rumors of his demise are probably greatly exaggerated. Either way, it doesn’t look as quick a solution as it appeared last week.

People are getting used to red rally at Rajprasong, btw. It’s not a news anymore, reds need another escalation but so far haven’t found any working to their advantage.

That’s gone for too long and I’m hungry now, forget proofreading, maybe tomorrow.

Cheers

Where is Waldo?

Thaksin has popped up in Montenegro, or so they say.

Fits with the timeline of his Saturday night tweets, it was 11PM in Montenegro when it was 4AM in Thailand.

The AP story, sample here, as was widely announced by media yesterday, gives quotes from this video:

However, there are no western journalists in sight and there’s no date or even clues to the date given anywhere. In the comments to this video someone claimed that Podgorica was soaked with rain in the past few days but the place is dry in the video. Some say the original AP story has been removed, only reproductions, like the one on gmanews, remain.

AFP story here gives the same quotes, from the same video.

The Nation here mentions local newspaper, Vijesti, but their website search gives only an older account, nothing about the latest interview. Vijesty logo was on one of the mikes of the interviewers.

There’s this headline here. Not saying much, though.

I have no idea what to believe. Is it possible that both AP and AFP got the video from some the source, assumed it was new, and wrote a story based on it? Could the video be from his earlier visit in March?

It is possible, imo, but it doesn’t mean this is exactly what happened.

More interesting is this blog about photoshopping Thaksin’s Fuji pictures.

I can’t say with any confidence that the pictures are genuine or doctored, but how on earth his woman got exactly the same shot with and without Thaksin???
Do you see Waldo?
Here is Waldo!

Something is definitely not right here. I wish Thaksin good health but the doubts about his latest visit to Montenegro remain, as well as some serious doubts about his visit to Fiji.

Disclaimer: I’m just killing time on this conspiracies, don’t take it seriously, yet.

Is Thaksin alive?

Continuing in the same conspiracy vein.

Yesterday Thaksin twitted some more and uploaded new photos on his facebook page.

The man is in Fiji!

He is well and alive, thank god.

The problem with his previous tweet remains, though.

Look at his timeline – he watches football, posts a dozen tweets, than tells that it’s 4AM in Thailand, 11PM where he is, and says good night.

Fiji is 5 hours ahead of Thailand, though. The game started at 4.30 AM (Sunday in Fiji), ended around 6AM, and his “good night” tweet came at 9 in the morning.

This picture from Fiji pack shows him on Sunday morning at 10.56 AM

Pulled all nighter?

Does he look like he just pulled an all nighter?

All of his Fiji pix have timestamps, allegedly superimposed by the camera when taking a shot, but no other automatically generated metadata. It has been cleaned off without any trace.

Oh, and for world traveler he never forgets to reset his camera clock to new timezones.

As for latest developments, I’m tired of commenting on red logic of “just how many people do we have to kill to force Abhisit to surrender?”

Look at Terry’s tweets, translating messages from the red stage. They are in complete and irreversible state of war.

They invented a new motto yesterday – Mai mee si, mai me sen. Which some translate as “no color – no connection” but I swear they got them wrong – it’s “mai mee si, mai mee “sense”, just in Thai pronunciation.

Check out what I mean in this funny cartoon playing on mispronunciation of both Thai and English words. Valentine here becomes 2m + lense + Thai (2m=1wa)

Thaksin is DEAD?

And Now for Something Completely Different:

Nation blogger Piset claims Thaksin has died.

That would explain his absence, Manager insistence on him being at the latest stages of prostate cancer, red sudden desire to negotiate or seek asylum abroad, current absence of three leaders from the red stage, Abhisit’s new found cockiness etc.

It would explain a lot of things indeed.

Piset claims that regardless of Thaksin’s exact status his family is seeking government approval to bring his body to Thailand, and, while previous government claims about Thaksin had often been refuted, if Pojamarn herself is talking about it, Anhisit and Anupong have all the reasons to feel relieved.

Last night Thaksin twitted furiously, but his latest tweet, presumably from Dubai, has a glaring error:

ตี4แล้วนอนกันเถอะครับ ของผม 5ทุ่มง่วงแล้วครับ good nightทุกๆคนท่ียังไม่หลับครับ

If it’s 4AM in Bangkok, it’s not 5ทุ่ม, or 11PM, in Dubai, there’s only three hour difference.

The point is being that it wasn’t Thaksin twitting but someone on his behalf.

If the time is correct, Thaksin must be somewhere in Europe of Africa. That would explain the error but also kill an otherwise elegant theory behind recent developments (not that I wish him dead).

Another wild news from Nation blog is about the crackdown underway.

Or it could simply be the way people feed their lust for news when there aren’t any.

Anyway, it breaks the usual Abhisit vs red boring routine.