The Economist: Thailand’s very unity is now under threat

You go your way, I’ll go mine – The Economist, January 25, 2014
…Thus most red shirts in the north and north-east now contemplate—indeed they seem to be preparing for—a political separation from Bangkok and the south. Some can barely wait. In Chiang Mai a former classmate of Mr Thaksin’s says that in the event of a coup “the prime minister can come here and we will look after her. If…we have to fight, we will. We want our separate state and the majority of red shirts would welcome the division.” Be afraid for Thailand as the political system breaks down.

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4 Responses to The Economist: Thailand’s very unity is now under threat

  1. %%% says:

    “a former classmate”.
    Oh how the country has to suffer for a bunch of childish old fools who still haven’t grown-up enough to realize that the World doesn’t completely revolve around their fascistic & kleptocratic university frat houses.

  2. Wiz says:

    the idea of National Partitions as the way to revive the old kingdoms and please the egoistic politicians is foolish to say the least – and the reprisal from doing so will be severe – Armed Force will NEVER let any politicians and any activists or even their own classmates DO that kind of things – and the crime of bringing Superpower to partition Thailand pay heavy price-
    http://www.komchadluek.net/detail/20140120/177152.html

  3. Wiz says:

    Here is the feedback from reader:
    Quote Originally Posted by MEWvEZ9Hs
    The Shinawatras are proverbial interlopers. Thaksin had a lot going for him until he invited the inexcusable coup, and the urban middle-class was more than willing to give his sister a chance until they screwed up with the Amnesty bill, and showed their true colors. Support for the Shinawatras upcountry has been waning. Not sure that this is right. They’ve alienated farmers and even factions within the red shirts think the amnesty bill was outlandish and obscene.
    Quote Originally Posted by NeverWrongSometimes
    Poor reporting. Very little truth in this article. I have noticed that magazines associated with investing & economics typically write articles very biased against the protesters and pro-Thaksin. That’s because they can relate to him and his greedy corrupt ways. Typical of many wealthy people, they believe corruption is like speeding, it’s only illegal is you get caught. This protest is about the middle class being fed up with gross corruption. Just like in the US, the middle class pays for everything. Of course the poor vote for Shinawatra’s, they get the handouts and the middle class gets the bill. But the joke is the Shinawatra’s use the old 2 for me, 1 for you game when giving the poor handouts for their votes
    Quote Originally Posted by Hamptonsin
    NeverWrongSometimes, you are spot on.

    According to Transparency International, Thailand fell from 60th least corrupt country in 2001, when Thaksin was first elected, to an abysmal 102nd least corrupt country in 2013. According to a recent news report, corruption under our current government is now estimated at an incredible 25-35% of the government procurement budget, rising up to 50% in the administration’s heartland in the north.
    Quote Originally Posted by DeRudio
    The are no good guys here. Just competing bands of the corrupt. Thaksin and his cronies have excluded the traditional elites from feeding at the trough, and they’re tired of it. The traditional elites would go back to the old ways of maintaining their own cherished kleptocracy, and would once again disenfranchise the poor of the north and northeast if they regain power. A physical division? Not likely, as one side of the geographical divide needs the other. Bangkok, after all, accounts for 40% of the country’s GDP, and the northeast is the rice bowl and source of cheap labor. Until the cultural DNA of this country somehow undergoes a complete metamorphosis–an end to the traditional corruption that Thais believe is an acceptable part of life, especially if they benefit from it too–this sad cycle is doomed to repetition. Repeat–there are NO good guys here.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluhorizonin
    Hitler was democratically elected. Some people seem to think that democracy is the golden touchstone but in fact history is full of demagogues who have led people down the primrose path. Mr. Taksin has done some good things for Thailand and for the poor. If he had just been less greedy he would have been universally loved and considered the father of modern Thailand. But he is a man consumed by greed. How many billions does a man need? There is no amount that will satisfy him and no amount of power and control that is enough.

    Thailand is at a crossroads. If Mr. Taksin loses, he will die in exile. If he wins he will be the equivalent of the ultimate ruler of Thailand until he dies. Thailand will fall back into being the Third World country looted endlessly by Mr Taksin and his cronies. Taksin knows this and all his billions and all his power is going into this effort.

    Mr. Taksin’s government is a classic Kelepto-patronage system. The money comes in, a lot of it disappears, the kleptocrats get rich and they dispense a little of their wealth to their patrons, the farmers, who do not care in the least if Thailand collapses as long they get their money. Mr. Taksin is not a fool. He gains their loyalty by throwing some solid benefits to the poor while looting the treasury.

    Unfortunately for Mr. Taksin, his people have been just a bit too greedy. The larder is bare. The treasury has been stripped right down to the paint on the walls. There is no more money to keep paying the poor and now his surrogate sister, Yingluck is out scouring the banks to see what can be squeezed out of them as a loan to pay off the farmers.

    The outrageous “rice subsidy” a pure and simple populist ruse, is a joke of a name since rice sells for $360 a ton but with the subsidy the farmers get $550. Only they have not ben paid in many months. A gigantic Everest of rice, unsold because of the astronomic price paid, remains not only unsold but magically hard to locate. Even the big players like the IMF have complained about this scam.

    Do not be deceived by the many articles written by Mr. Taksin’s paid staff. It is the middle class that is out in the streets but one even sees people in fancy cars showing up to protest. Every effort has ben made to divert foreigners into believing that it is the “elites” always the “elites” never any other word is used–that are behind the opposition. But when you go into the streets it is indeed the people, the middle class who is against him. Do not be confused. This is a war between a multi-billionnaire who can never have enough wealth –and the people. Pray for the people.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hamptonsin
    Allthingsconsidered, despite this state of affairs, which seems very unnatural to westerners, the Thai people generally have a lot more confidence in their military than in their elected leaders. For example, a study conducted by Gallup after the 2006 coup, when Thais had a reason to fear military meddling in politics, found that only 34% had confidence in the honesty of elections, 86% had confidence in the military, and 79% had confidence in the courts. This study did not measure confidence in the police, but, in other studies, it has been measured at less than twenty percent.

    Bluhorizon, you are right that Thaksin’s PR people must have done a good job framing the conflict as elite vs. poor. Many well-meaning foreign journalists who should know better have been caught up in this script: they visit poor villages in red territory and are told how much they love Thaksin, then go to Bangkok and interview someone rich who hates him. They could have just as easily visited a poor village in the south, where they would have told you what an unmitigated disaster Thaksin has been to them, opening up the Muslim insurgency and ignoring southern rubber farmers in favor of northern rice farmers, then talked to a Chinese-Thai tycoon in Bangkok who would profess his love for Thaksin. I don’t think journalists are doing this intentionally, they are simply lazy or short of time, like the rest of us, and uncritically accept talking points planted by Thaksin’s PR agencies. Two of the poorest provinces of Thailand – Tak and Mae Hong Son – vote for the Democrats. All of the wealthy provinces surrounding Bangkok – Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi and Samut Prakarn – vote for Pheua Thai. Phrasing this as rich vs. poor is not helpful.

  4. Wiz says:

    Alibi of the new UDD flags does not hold the water – this kind of action reminds us that many UDD leaders are such extremists who advocate secession of the country – expect the hard reprisal from Armed Forces and Thai people who want to preserve the Union – have you written your wills and cut your nails and hairs into your will yet?
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203186197284123&set=a.2213903075448.132095.1483692496&type=1

    Reminder to those UDD extremists who advocate secession ideologies: We are going to reunite our Trirong flag together after you have torn them apart – This is our main ideology
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200458019251823&set=p.10200458019251823&type=1

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