Thailand wants refugee returned

Thailand wants refugee returned – nzherald.co.nz, January 8, 2015
[This brings to mind recent advice from an anti-monarchy activist advising Thais who want to immigrate that they could accomplish this by insulting the monarchy and then claiming refugee status overseas.]
…Thai spokesman Sek Wannamethee said Thailand had asked New Zealand officials to clarify Mr Ekaphop’s refugee status.
“Mr Ekaphop is exploiting his status granted by the New Zealand Government to conduct political activities which have reverse impact on Thailand’s security,” he said.
“Such a movement is considered an obstacle to the peace-building process and the good relationship between both countries. Therefore, Thailand requested New Zealand to revoke his status in order to stop his actions against the law…”

Posted in 2014 Coup, Lese Majeste | 4 Comments

Cambodia’s Smoke-and-Mirrors Democracy

Cambodia’s Smoke-and-Mirrors Democracy – The Daily Beast, January 9, 2015
In his 30 years at the country’s helm, Prime Minister Hun Sen has perfected the art of disguising his ruthless regime in the trappings of a free and open society…

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The Moody Dictator: No annual nicknames for the cabinet this year

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The annual tradition of mocking the cabinet with comical nicknames is not being undertaken this year. The government house press is wary of the cranky PM and his complaints about the critical press. Pravit (above) tweets his own nickname for Prayuth for 2013: “Moody Dictator”

Some examples of this tradition in the past:
2012: Thai Media Bestows Annual Political Nicknames: Government dubbed ‘Brother First’
2005: Press bestows annual nicknames on the cabinet: Thaksin Shinawatra “the Wizard with Weak Magic”
2004: Press corps’ annual nicknames revealed: Commerce Minister Watana Muangsook: “Ua Arthorn In-law”

Posted in 2014 Coup, Thai Politics | 1 Comment

10 Years Ago: Chang Noi: Chairman Maew’s thoughts for 2005

10 Years Ago: Chang Noi: Chairman Maew’s thoughts for 2005

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Lobbyist Amsterdam breaks with Thaksin, will pursue justice against the junta on his own

Robert Amsterdam Launches Independent Campaign to Hold Thailand’s Coup Leaders Accountable – January 2, 2015
…The campaign will be conducted on a pro bono basis, completely independently from any active political figure or party in Thailand.
…However following a military coup last May which toppled the elected government, conditions for human rights have sharply deteriorated, and the engagement between Robert Amsterdam and former Prime Minister Thaksin has concluded…

[Some interesting claims here: that Amsterdam stopped representing Thaksin after the coup, that the new anti-junta campaign will be independent of Thaksin, and that “horrific repression” is underway in Thailand.

Amsterdam, despite being employed by Thaksin, was always styled as “UDD Counsel,” responsible for representing the Red Shirt movement.

It is not clear whether the very Thaksinesque blog posts from Amsterdam since the coup were still part of the Thaksin lobbying effort or were his own work. They included an article predicting that the army would unleash “terrorist actions” against the presumably peaceful Red Shirts after the coup. Also, right out of the Red Shirt playbook, was the post-coup reference to an “Inevitable Revolution” while lamenting how Europe and the U.S. were accepting the results of the coup as a normal historical development in Thailand.

This new lobbying effort may be the first reveal of Thaksin’s upcoming strategy to claw back power–make sure the focus remains on the junta’s performance. The international response to the coup was indifference, along with many analyses of the coup explaining it away as a typical Thai event that could be expected in the wake of Pheu Thai’s clumsy attempts to pardon Thaksin, rewrite the charter, and use the rice pledging scheme to empty state coffers and pay its supporters.

The new Amsterdam campaign may take some pressure off Thaksin and the Pheu Thai. Internally, both have been slammed for passively acquiescing to the junta instead of agitating for immediate elections and leading the Red Shirts.

The Pheu Thai Party will now be focused on energizing its supporters over rural economic issues and an increasingly deteriorating economic situation. The pro-Thaskin movement is counting on this and will make sure that the “coup is bad for business” line will be ready when economic times go bad.

Still to come is the inevitable build up of outrage over a military dominated post-coup state once the outlines of a new constitution is known. Watch for an attempt to define this for the international community: “the military dictatorship in Thailand,” “democracy is not being restored in Thailand,” “death of freedom in Thailand,” etc.

Here is another recent display of anti-coup talking points for international consumption: Forbes: “Thailand’s Military Junta Destroys Democracy, Enjoys Exercising Power: Generals Postpone Elections Before Rigging Them”

2Bangkok.com Editor Ron Morris’ book, The Thai Book: A Field Guide to Thai Political Motivations, is available in the Kindle Store.]

Posted in 2014 Coup, Analysis, Robert Amsterdam, Thaksin Lobbying | 13 Comments

Time: Lese majeste laws not being used to protect monarchy, but to stop protests against the junta

The Draconian Legal Weapon Being Used to Silence Thai Dissent – Time, December 31, 2014
…So why are students being targeted now? Since Thailand’s latest military coup of May 22, opposition to the new junta government has been brutally quashed. Yet, in recent months, students have become emboldened as public dissatisfaction grows over a slew of scandals, and have displayed great daring by even publicly heckling dictator Prayuth Chan-Ocha.
“They are using the youngsters as an example,” says Jakrapob of the latest charges, “to say that regardless of your age or social background, we will not hesitate…”

Posted in 2014 Coup, Lese Majeste | 1 Comment

11 Years Ago Today: Purachai as PM?
วันนี้เมื่อง 11 ปีที่แล้ว : ปุรชัยในฐานะนายก

11 Years Ago Today: Purachai as PM?

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10 years ago: The Tsunami

2B newsfeed: Tsunami in Thailand

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It is not libel to accuse Thaksin of ordering the deaths of drug dealers or wanting to overthrow the monarchy

Kasit acquitted in libel case – Bangkok Post, December 26, 2014
…While addressing People Alliance for Democracy protesters in November 2008, Mr Kasit said Thaksin was trying every way to seize the country and make it his personal asset.
He also said Thaksin had issued orders to kill Thai Muslims in the South and for extra judicial killings of drug suspects and that Thaksin wanted to become the president and topple the monarchy.
Thaksin filed a suit against Mr Kasit as the first defendant and Thaiday.com Co Ltd and ASTV (Thailand) Co Ltd as the second and third defendants respectively for publishing the speech…

Accusing Thaksin of Republicanism Not A Crime, Court Rules – Khaosod, December 26, 2014
…The Criminal Court dismissed Thaksin’s libel suit today. In the verdict, judges explained that Thaksin is a public figure and subject to criticism from members of the public.
“Although Kasit’s speech contains some impolite remarks, the speech was made to defend the interest of the nation and the monarchy,” the court wrote. “It is an expression of opinion with an honest intention. The court therefore acquits the defendant of the charges…”

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11 Years Ago: Thai Rak Thai vows 2004 is a “golden year” for Thailand to move up on par with Singapore, Korea and Taiwan

11 Years Ago: Thai Rak Thai vows 2004 is a “golden year” for Thailand to move up on par with Singapore, Korea and Taiwan

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Defaced Thaksin image on cover of new textbook

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Defaced Thaksin image on textbook – Bangkok Post, December 24, 2014
…”Stunted Trajectories and Unhelpful Milieus”, “Wavering Social Forces”, “Uncertain Institutions” and “Country Cases and Democratic Guises.”
The cover is a poster of Thaksin that has been vandalised with expletives, believed to be Thai curse words and insults like “beast” and “dog face”…

Posted in 2Bangkok News | 1 Comment

11 Years Ago Today: Thailand Booms with Thaksin as Leader
วันนี้เมื่อ 11 ปีที่แล้ว : ประเทศไทยเจริญรุ่งเรือง

11 Years Ago Today: Thailand Booms with Thaksin as Leader

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Merry Christmas from Thailand

Above: German postcard, circa 1900

Above: Merry Christmas from Thailand, circa 1950s?

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Holiday Cards

Front and reverse of an undated holiday card – The credit under the photo reads: Published by the Whiteley of Bangkok – – Kiam Hoa Heng & Co., and the British Dispensary

Posted in Old photos and films | 1 Comment

More Thai newspapers on the King’s birthday celebrations

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From Bangkok Post, December 6, 2014

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From Daily News, December 7, 2014
Thais rejoice the King’s birthday.
Long live the King. People light up the candles and unite.
The Crown Prince makes merits for the King’s birthday on 5 December at the Grand Palace.

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From KhaoSod, December 7, 2014
All Thais are happy the King is getting better from his illness although doctors advise him to rest one month for recovery.
People wearing yellow shirts shout ‘Long live the King’ and light up the candles for his birthday celebration.

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From Komchadluek, December 7, 2014
Long live the King
People show their loyalty to the King while the Crown Prince attends the religious service on December 5
Thais shows their loyalty due to the King’s birthday. They shout ‘Long live the King’ loudly. The Crown Prince made merit on behalf of his father on December 5. A number of People in Hua Hin also show their loyalty at Klai Kangwon Palace.

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From Matichon, December 7, 2014
‘Long live the King’
People light up the candles to celebrate the King’s birthday.
A crowd of people wait outside Siriraj Hospital. The doctor says the King cancelled his royal activities.
The Crown Prince attends the religious service on behalf of his father.

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From Thairath, December 7, 2014
People wish for long life of the King.
Candles are lighted up
Doctors say to cancel all his royal activities
His health condition is still good.
A number of people show their loyalty by wearing yellow shirts, lighting up candles and shouting ‘Long Live the King.’ They also intend to make goodness as a present to the King.

Thai newspapers on The King’s Birthday

Posted in HM The King's Birthday, The Monarchy | Leave a comment

Forbes: “Thailand’s Military Junta Destroys Democracy, Enjoys Exercising Power: Generals Postpone Elections Before Rigging Them”

Thailand’s Military Junta Destroys Democracy, Enjoys Exercising Power: Generals Postpone Elections Before Rigging Them – Forbes, December 22, 2014

[This is the view of Thailand that is and will be pushed by the pro-Thaksin forces as the outlines of a new constitution become clear. It is the view already being expressed by anti-junta Thai exiles.

In this view, Thailand is portrayed as a country in crisis with a repressive, Burmese-like military regime wronging democratically elected Thaksin. Thai politics is cast as a battle of the elected against an elite that apparently objects, on principle alone, to the will of the majority.

The article is an amazingly comprehensive list of talking points for the pro-Thaksin, anti-junta opposition in English. It includes all the buzz words and concepts that have been used before to obscure the real nature of events–“Orwellian,” invoking the Burmese dictatorship, that Aphisit came to power in a “quasi-coup” and was intolerant of street protests, and that checks and balances benefit the elite (Thaksin apparently not qualifying as an elite). The author even points out Thaksin’s actions were not corrupt, but “imprudent” while acknowledging in the follow sentence Thaksin’s bloody purge of drug suspects.

It ends with typical advice for a U.S. response–aid should have been cut, military exercises should have been cancelled, and respect for human rights should be encouraged.

All of this is similar to the push made in the run-up to the 2011 elections when the pro-Thaksin clique feared that elections could result in a coalition created to block the Pheu Thai from power. Then, as now, the view presented to the world had to be that Thailand was in crisis and needed urgent reforms–if not revolution.

This time things are different. The contention that the coup was simply about an elite thwarting the will of the people or that Thaksin was a democratically elected leader merely minding his business are no longer taken at face value.

There is very little belief any longer that Thaksin has really retired from politics or that Yingluck was part of a rising tide of independent and trailblazing female leaders. The Pheu Thai’s blatant pushes for amnesty and constitutional rewrites at every turn and the intimidation that both the party and Red Shirts applied against the courts means that the old demand that “we came from election, so no one can stop us” is taken with much greater skepticism.

Recent world experience with elections in Egypt, Turkey, and Russia, not to mention Iraq and Afghanistan, has shown that democracy is a much more nuanced undertaking than the international community might wish. The Thai junta can rest easy knowing that the Obama administration has been little interested in taking diplomatic stands, either in Thailand or elsewhere (earlier: U.S. diplomatic drift and Thailand and Remembering U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney).

There is no doubt that anyone who is counting on the Thai military to selflessly reform the nation is sadly mistaken, if not delusional. However, the same talking points from the 2006 coup casting the Thai elite as objecting to the will of the people on principle alone are not going to have the same impact. Too much has happened and too much is now unequivocally known about Thaksin and his sponsorship of the Red Shirts and the Pheu Thai for those lines to work anymore.]

2Bangkok.com Editor Ron Morris’ book, The Thai Book: A Field Guide to Thai Political Motivations, is available in the Kindle Store.

Posted in 2014 Coup, Analysis | 5 Comments

Monks Receiving Morning Alms


Monks Receiving Morning-Alms, undated postcard

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11 Years Ago Today: Bargain land for the PM’s wife
วันนี้เมื่อ 11 ปีที่แล้ว : ต่อราคาที่ดินให้ภรรยานายก

11 Years Ago Today: Bargain land for the PM’s wife

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Are the Bangkok Post and The Nation the same newspaper?

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With nearly identical color schemes, layouts, and archives that can only be described as chaotic, the Bangkok Post and The Nation appear more and more as if they are the same publication.
Now they are both even lazily leading off with local news produced by foreign wire services like AFP.

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So common in Thailand, especially in the provinces: Dude, Close Your Legs!

A Scourge Is Spreading. M.T.A.’s Cure? Dude, Close Your Legs – NYT, December 20, 2014
…Taking on manspreading for the first time, the authority is set to unveil public service ads that encourage men to share a little less of themselves in the city’s ever-crowded subways cars.
The targets of the campaign, those men who spread their legs wide, into a sort of V-shaped slouch, effectively occupying two, sometimes even three, seats are not hard to find. Whether they will heed the new ads is another question…

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Dissolve The Royal Thai Police

55% of Thais want to see the Police Commission and Royal Thai Police dissolved – The Nation, December 21, 2014
An opinion survey by the National Institute of Development Administration found that 55.28 per cent of the respondents wanted to see the Police Commission and Royal Thai Police dissolved and replaced by the National Police Council in police personnel management…

Also: Thai police made 100 million baht in June running a World Cup betting business

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Four Years Ago: Red-shirt resurgence looks nightmarish for Abhisit

Four Years Ago: Red-shirt resurgence looks nightmarish for Abhisit

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Did you know that Loxley Plc, one of Thailand’s largest trading companies, is a partner in North Korea’s sole internet service provider?

Sony hack puts spotlight on Pyongyang ISP – Bangkok Post, December 20, 2014
…Loxley Pacific has been involved in the telecoms business in North Korea since 2000, when it received a licence from the Pyongyang government to operate landline and cellular services in the Rajin Sonbong Free Economic Trade Zone.
The services are operated by Northeast Asia Telephone and Telecommunications (Neat&T), 70% owned by Loxley Pacific and 30% by state-owned Korean Post and Telecommunications.

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Instead of blaming others, we shall start doing

Instead of blaming others, we shall start doing

The billboard reads: Instead of “blaming” others, “we” shall start “doing.”
Chevron is proud to be a part of restoring the Pasak watershed through the King’s philosophy and local wisdom.
[Refers to the project launched by Chevron Thailand, together with the Institute of Sufficiency Economy and the Agri-Nature Foundation, with the aim of uniting the public as a force to learn the King’s philosophy about the management of soil, water and forests from the upstream to downstream of the Pa Sak Watershed through the sufficiency economy principle.]

Posted in Signs and Billboards | 1 Comment

Thai newspapers on The King’s Birthday

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From BanMuang, December 6, 2014
Respect the King – Thais are happy to know that the King and the Queen stay healthy. People wearing yellow shirts show their royalty outside the hospital.
The doctors from Siriraj hospital say the King and the Queen’s health condition are good as their ages. A number of people wait for show their royalty to the King and his royal family on his birthday. People in the whole country wear yellow shirts.
The Supreme Court seizes 68-million-baht asset – ‘Narumol’ a daughter of a closer assistant to Big Jew – The Supreme Court order to seize 68-million-baht assets Narumol, a daughter of Gen. Samrit Nonthachot
[The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political Positions ordered Ms Narumol, daughter of Gen. Samrit Nonthachot to hand over assets worth more than 68 million baht to the country after convicting her for being unusually rich.
This was the event that apparently caused Gen. Chavolit (Gen. Samrit’s boss) to petulantly declare that the junta’s reforms could trigger a counter coup.]

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From Daily News, December 6, 2014
The Bureau of the Royal Household announces that the King cancels his royal activities.
The doctors agree that the King is not ready to appear in the public to mark his 87th birthday.

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From KhaoSod, December 6, 2014
Queen Elizabeth and President Obama send birthday wishes to the King
People in the country wear yellow shirts to show their loyalty to the King outside the Siriraj Hospital. The Ministry of Justice releases 130 prisoners.

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From Komchadluek, December 6, 2014
A crowd of people wait for showing their loyalty.
Obama sends a birthday wish to the King.
People are happy to know that the King and the Queen stay healthy. They gather outside Siriraj Hospital waiting to see him appearing in the public on 5 December. Leaders from around the world send him birthday wishes.
NACC investigates three Pol Lt-Gen. on the ten billion assets.
Pol Lt-Gen Pongpat was jailed. There is rumor on catching ‘Nopporn’
NACC’s panel begins probing ‘Pongpat-Boonsueb and Chaithat’ on the sources of the assets. Meanwhile, there is the rumour that Mr.Nopporn was caught in Cambodia. The case related to him expected to be finished by Dec 10.
[Refers to the National Anti-Corruption Commission’s examination of the assets of Pol Lt-Gen Pongpat Chayapan and two senior officers, Pol Maj-Gen Boonsueb Praithoen, former commander of the Marine Police, and Pol Maj-Gen Chaithat Boonkham. Meanwhile, it was alleged that Mr Nopporn was paying bribes to Pol Lt Gen Pongpat’s oil smuggling gang in the Deep South.]

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From Matichon, December 6, 2014
Queen Elizabeth and President Obama send birthday wishes.
The King will appear in the public on his birthday.
A crowd of people wait to see him. The doctors from Siriraj Hospital say that his health is in a good condition for his age. The age of 88 is a lucky number in Chinese.

More Thai newspapers on the King’s birthday celebrations

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Crime buster

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From Arun, December 5, 2014
Title: Gen. Somyot Poompanmoung, Chief of the Royal Thai Police
[Gen. Somyot was selected by the National Police Policy Commission to be the new police chief. He is well-known for cracking high-profile criminal and political cases. The statue above him is the symbol of the Royal Thai Police.
Gen. Somyot is pictured with a bug sprayer and he is routing wild animals, symbolizing dangerous and powerful people, who have control over the thoroughly corrupt Thai police.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons – Arun, Thai Police | Leave a comment

Deep roots

watering

From an image on social media: The kindness of the father is like water pouring to people’s hearts and deeply rooting in the country.
[Refers to a poem written to cerebrate the King’s birthday on December 5.]

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CUPT proposes model for political reform

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From Matichon, December 6, 2014
CUPT proposes the model for political reform
Politics
– Separation of the executive power and legislative power
– Direct election of the PM
– MPs are not required to belong to a political party
– MPs can come from national elections as well as elections within professional fields
Establishment of a People’s Council: 900 members selected from heads of municipalities around the country [this would be another measure to mute the power of a dominate party like the Pheu Thai]
On the table: CUPT: Council of University Presidents of Thailand

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11 Years Ago Today: Purachai book ‘outrages’ TRT faithful
วันนี้เมื่อ11ปี่ก่อน : หนังสือของปุระชัยโจมตีความเชื่อมั่นของพรรคไทยรักไทยอย่างรุนแรง

11 Years Ago Today: Purachai book ‘outrages’ TRT faithful

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Shinawatra’s farm

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From Manager, December 6, 2014
Shouts: Long live the King… Long live the King…
A red buffalo: Don’t listen. Our father’s day is 26 July.
On the sign: Shinawatra’s farm
[July 26 is Thaksin’s birthday. To refer to a person as a “buffalo” is an insult meaning they are stupid. Here it is used to refer to the pro-Thaksin Red Shirts.]

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