Monday, December 20, 2010

How to Salute a Murderous Thai General

General Prayuth Chan-ocha commanded the murderous May 19th operation to clear Bangkok of the protest camps, and according to reports in the English-language Bangkok Post and the Nation, he had also been pushing all along for tougher action against the Thai people.

And his reward for killing unarmed Thai citizens (and a couple of unarmed foreign journalists)? He becomes de-facto leader of Thailand. Yes, the true Butcher of Bangkok became head of Thailand’s military (thus supreme ruler of Thailand) on October 1st of this year.
This raises an interesting question.  How does a civilian salute General Prayuth?
An interesting dilemma which I think I can help with. Here's some suggestions:

Although somewhat appropriate and probably to the General’s liking, I don’t think the Nazi salute should be applied here.  We don’t want to be in violation of Godwin’s Law or anything. 

Of course Abhisit may insist on the universal symbol for “You’re Number 1” because the army made him Prime Minister and is keeping him in office but I was thinking of along the lines of a salute using a different finger.
Yes, thank you Mickey, I think you’re onto something - the universal symbol for “Fuck Off” seems more appropriate but this is no ordinary Thai elitist scum. This is a murdering, fascist general who destroys democracy and freedoms for all of Thailand. He deserves more than just one finger.
Now, we’re talking. It’s the ever popular “double bird” salute that loudly states “Really Fuck Off!” Used for only the most egregious targets. But that is still not quite enough for this evil doer.

We’re going to do things American Orange Shirt style by using the “double bird” with an added scowl of complete contempt and wearing the appropriate color of shirt (orange or red will work) that shouts out to General Prayuth to:

General Prayuth Chan-ocha, We Salute You.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Meet the Niblets

I’ve always felt that Thailand’s Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij was an elitist and fascist. He has expressed his distaste for the idea of democratic structures many times over the years. Korn actually supported the September 2006 coup in Thailand and praised the junta which ousted a democratically elected government by the people.

Obviously, they grow an odd crop of “Democrats” in Thailand, which don’t actually believe in democracy at all. Korn and the rest of the Thai government are actually enemies of democracy which firmly believes that a highly educated elite is in the best position to decide what is best for everything and everyone and it is the rest of society's role to follow.  He probably has wet dreams like the rest of Thailand’s elite about the "China Model," where there are lots of money-making and business but only a tiny authoritarian group in charge. To them, there’s no need to ask the uneducated rural folks and poor for their opinions.  They're too stupid and too busy and too tired to know anything in any case and on top of that they have dark skin and muscular hands signifying their destiny and role.

To people like Korn, the elite class have a natural right to decide the fate of the country and its people.  It doesn’t matter what the majority of the people want or not. Basically, they apparently believe that there are some people who have a higher value and more rights than others. His thinking and the thinking of the Thai government and the elite in general shows resemblance to fascists theories of some kind of superior people that have the right and even the duty to be rulers and to defend their rule by all means, even if it means the death of more than 90 people and 2000 people being injured earlier this year.
But evidently this fascist elitism is a family affair with the Chatikavanij’s.  Recently Korn’s wife, Vorakorn, has been exercising her right to free speech and her comments were revealing of her views.

In an interview appearing in Matichon Weekly, November 12-18 on page 29 ("เจ" วรกร จาติกวณิช ว่าด้วย ... เรื่องซุบซิบ วนิดา และขุนคลังผู้บ้างานของเธอ). Vorakorn is asked whether she would enter politics. She answers:

"มีคนถามเยอะมากเลยเรื่องเล่นการเมือง ไม่รู้ทำไม แต่คงไม่อยากค่ะ  จริง เจเป็นพวกหัวเผด็จการมาก ชอบทำอะไรให้มันเรียบร้อยไปเลย เจเข้าใจว่าประชาธิปไตยเป็นต้นเหตุของความยุ่งเหยิงทั้งหมดที่เกิดขึ้นในประเทศตอนนี้ คนโน้นจะเอาอย่างนี้ คนนี้จะเอาอย่างนั้น แล้วมันก็ไปไหนไม่ได้สักทีหนึ่ง เจก็ไม่เข้าใจเหมือนกัน มีเสรีภาพหมดทุกคน แต่สังคมไปไหนไม่ได้เลย (หัวเราะ)"

["I don't know why many people have asked me whether I will enter politics, but I probably don't want to. Actually, I am very authoritarian. I just want to do things properly [and promptly]. I understand that democracy is the problem of all this chaos that is happening in the country right now. That person wants this, this person wants that and nothing ever moves forward at all. I don't understand it. Everyone has freedom, but society doesn't move forward at all (laughs)"]

There you have it: “democracy is the problem.”  Her remarks have reflected the facts and prove that the Thai ruling elites are pro-dictatorship.  Or else what is the “problem of democracy?”  And they only need obedient masses that follow what they say and want in order to feed their desires and greed, any dissenting opinions will be considered as "chaos" and thus need to be suppressed. And she seems to think its all funny.

Democracy is not the problem in Thailand, partly because Thailand does not have a democracy.  The problem in Thailand is caused by those people who persist in preventing a democracy from taking root in Thailand.  People exactly like Korn and Vorakorn who lie at the very heart of the problems that Thailand has been experiencing.

Korn and Vorakorn are soul mates, made for each other. They are the epitome of amataya. You’d think that these so called ‘high class people,’ who have studied abroad in the west with all of the exposure to the vibrant democracy offered there would be more acceptable to democracy.  But power and greed has obviously blinded them to the point where there is little humanity left – ironically, about the same amount of humanity that is in small "yellow" kernels of corn.

Can that and take it to the food bank.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Flip-Flops vs. GT200 Bomb Detection Devices: Which are the Bigger Threats to Thai National Security?

Evidently, according to Thailand’s current government, the flip-flops are the more dangerous objects threatening national security. They’ve already arrested two vendors and confiscated about a hundred pairs (see here).

Maybe they feel that Thais can use flip-flops much like ninjas can use shurikens. There is some photographic evidence during the Bangkok protests earlier this year that the Red Shirts were throwing shoes.

I don't know if the shoe thrown at Abhisit in the above photograph had his picture on it but it certainly had his name on it. Obviously, Abhisit and company used this for justification to use snipers on the protesters.

On the other hand, there are those fraudulent 500 or so GT200 bomb detection devices purchased by the Thai military at over a million baht.  Even though the UK government banned the export of the GT200 devices and warned that they were "wholly ineffective" at detecting bombs and explosives and even though tests in Thailand showed that the GT200 was useless in detecting explosives the Thai government did not ban or stop use of the units, leaving the matter up to the discretion of individual soldiers.

Abhisit even defended his government's use of the devices, while noting that "sometimes if the user hasn't had enough rest or is not well-prepared, the detector's effectiveness will be reduced." He suggested procuring battery-powered devices to replace the GT200 units.

Even prominent members of Abhisit's government defended the effectiveness of the devices. Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban asserted that the GT200 actually works and that it is not necessary to establish a committee to study its effectiveness. Democrat MP and Deputy Interior Minister Thaworn Senneam told journalists after a fatal bomb attack in Southern Thailand on 6 October 2009 that the police had failed to detect the bomb "because the officer handling the GT200 detector was too nervous... His nervousness caused his temperature to rise which, in turn, caused the bomb detector to malfunction." He announced that in future two officers would be assigned to use the device, with the second ready to take over from the first if he was "not ready to use it."

Dr. Kalaya Sophonpanich, Minister of Science Technology also defended the use of the devices. "Regarding people's beliefs, some kinds of beliefs are harmless. If these beliefs make people comfortable, we should just leave them alone, shouldn't we? Some people are happy to worship trees, for example. We don't need to disturb them, do we?" she told a meeting with Thai students and scientists in London.

Then Army Chief Anupong Paochinda accused the press of being hired by competitors of the company which sold the devices. He organized a demonstration to "prove" to the media that the devices worked. 4th Army chief Lt. General Pichet Wisaijorn told the press, "It is not Gen Anupong saying the device is effective. Officers in the South and the North and the current and former 4th Army commanders also say the same thing. We have bought them and if the users insist they are good, that's end of the discussion."  

Joint Military Police Civilian Taskforce commander Lt-General Kasikorn Kirisri said any issues with the GT200 scanner were due to human error.

Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunand, Director of the Central Institute of Forensic Science, had used GT200 devices to conclude that PAD protestor injuries during the 2008 seizure of Government House were due to police misconduct rather than accidental explosion of protester "ping pong bombs", and defended the use of the GT200 devices, claiming that they were effective when searching for bombs and even nails under water. She noted "I do not feel embarrassed if the bomb detector is proven ineffective. Personally, I have never handled the device myself. But my people have used it and it is accurate every time. Long, long time ago, people believed that the Earth is flat and anyone who said otherwise faced execution. Things which are not visible does not necessarily mean they do not exist."

After tests showed that the GT200 was useless in detecting explosives, the government reported the results to military field personnel. However, it did not ban or stop use of the units, leaving the matter up to the discretion of individual soldiers. 

I suppose if the Thai government can’t and won’t do anything against the military in using ineffective bomb detection devices which may result in deaths they may as well arrest flip-flop sellers.

This should tell us all we need to know about the current Thai government.

Weak, ineffectual, corrupt, and petty.

However, I don’t want to appear to be always critical. I want to help change things for the better.  You know; be part of the solution.

And I think I can help. Instead of purchasing worthless GT200 devices, my advice would be for the Thai military to consider purchasing this new product called the Porntip Toilet 200 Brush (PT200 device).

This device is designed and named after Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunand, who has been cleaning up the military’s messes for several years now. At a cost much cheaper than the 1 million baht price tag of a useless GT200 device, the PT200 actually can perform a necessary function (unlike the GT200).  I’m sure the Thai military could use the PT200 for bomb detection as well.  It has the same statistical chance of obtaining an accurate detection of explosive devices. Plus it has the additional properties of scaring animals and small children.

Just trying to help.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Trying to Establish a Democracy? Focus on a ‘Declaration of Independence’ First, Then a ‘Constitution’

Thailand is currently on their 18th Constitution since 1932 yet they still do not have a democracy.  Might I suggest that Thailand consider adopting a lesson learned from the history of the United States. Certainly, America’s system isn’t perfect but it is the longest lasting democracy in history.
America has two founding documents; the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.  It was the Declaration of Independence which came 11 years before the Constitution which actually planted the seed of democracy.  As Thomas Jefferson put it in the Declaration, governments, “derive their just power from the consent of the governed.” Beneath Jefferson’s simple eloquence lies a profound question. How should the consent of the “governed” be determined?  By a vote it was assumed.
The Constitution, except for its soaring preamble, falls short of the Declaration’s eloquence, and has little bearing on democracy. While the Constitution assumes elections of some sort, its innovations were controlling power (through checks and balances), and dividing power (through Federalism).  Moreover, in making the compromises needed to win consensus, the Constitutional Convention actually limited democracy. For example, the Senate’s composition vastly overweighs the power of states with small populations.
Although the Declaration and the Constitution are both revered in America, it is fitting that two of our greatest speeches are rooted not in the Constitution’s rules and compromises, but in the Declaration’s soaring democratic promise.
Thus, the first words of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address are:
“Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
It was the Declaration that was four score and seven years before Gettysburg.  So, while a war was being fought to hold the country together, Lincoln rededicated the country not to the rules of the Constitution, but to the Declaration’s vision of equal opportunity and democracy.  Then in closing his short Gettysburg speech with reverence for government “by the people,” Lincoln called for a “new birth of freedom”:  so that:
“government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
One hundred years later, speaking on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr., in his “I Have a Dream” speech, also harked back to the Declaration.  It was a promissory note covering “’inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’”  This promissory note was payable to “all men, yes, black men as well as white men.”  But, America, as King said in 1963, had “defaulted on this promissory note as far as her citizens of color are concerned.”
Just three years after King spoke, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act that helped make real the promise of black voting.  And then, forty-five years after King’s speech, Barack Obama was elected as America’s forty-fourth President.
America’s democracy originated from its Declaration of Independence and not its Constitution.  I submit that a similar plan will succeed in Thailand.  In order for that nation to become a democracy, the Thai people will need to first plant the seeds of democracy by declaring their own independence as well, independence not from an external country but from the anti-democratic amart / military within Thailand which have been repressing its citizens for decades.  Something along the lines in the US Declaration of Independence that said “we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.”
That is the cord in the Declaration that links the hearts of liberty–loving people together as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of people throughout the world – including Thailand.