20.15-The adviser to this blog, Uncle Tavivoot, gave me a bunch of notes he just took from having a beer with Bruce, an Englishman, who called him up for beer. The following is what they talked about.
Bruce is a very staunch anti-Thaksin foreigner in Thailand. He works for an accounting company who has a great deal of inside information, that the high-up, in accounting business talk about when talk about Thaksin. And so this is his I-Hate-Thaksin-Roots. But somehow he caught on to the PAD movement and have been reading Thai Intelligent News. Hating this blog greatly, he finally called Uncle Tavivoot out of nowhere and asked to meet him for a beer.
At Singh Beer House, next to uncle’s Tavivoot’s condo on Soi Asoke, they met and talked shop.
Uncle: the latest news is that even Amnesty International has changed its tune and now is against PAD and supports the red shirt, or at least neutral about it?
Bruce: I don’t agree with everything Sondhi does or say, but I see it as a necessary of ridding Thailand of Thaksin’s influences. And I don’t mean the shallow stuff Sondhi put out like Thaksin wanting a republic and wanting to destroy Buddhism and all that crap, but I mean fundamentally Sondhi got it Right in saying that Thaksin is corrupt to the core and wants to take-over Thailand to support that massive corruption.
Uncle: But Bruce, there are independent agencies that rates a country’s corruption, by talking to people like you in different countries, and under Thaksin, the rating didn’t change much-so where is that massive corruption taking place?
Bruce: It is a new type of corruption that leaves very little trace, like the Thai President the rice exporter, that suddenly got the entire 100% quota for exporting rice from Thailand. Most don’t know it, but in the accounting circle, we know that it belongs to Thaksin. There are many many more of these types of very intelligent, well hidden, types of corruption that took place.
Uncle: I don’t know about Thai President, but it seems that Thaksin got rich before politics, and after that, the growth was just about on the same level that the stock market appreciated. Off course you will say he hid it well, but then that sounds like a one sided statement without real proof-a belief?
Bruce: I am not going to say he hid it well, because he put a great deal right in the open at Thai banks. But I am just saying, when you know for certain things like Thai President took place, which involved profits of countless of billions, and you see what he says in the open, something is missing and don’t add up.
Uncle: But they are going after what he made and kept in the open, not really the hidden corruption money-if that is the case. I mean every corruption case against him, is really not about corruption is it, they are just twisting the rules and regulations?
Bruce: You got to stop him by whatever means available, even going after what he made legally and kept in the open.
Uncle: Nation Multi Media had to apologise for getting the TCX corruption scandal wrong, and then Duty Free is also found to be without a base, and the Ratchada Land-looks like the courts had ruled before that the institution Thaksin is accused of meddling with to get the land, is in fact, not under the PM powers-like the courts now finds. Then the lottery is again about regulations and interpretations of laws, then the rubber tree is just a small 1 billion project that ended up saying about 100 people were involved in its corruption. Any of these cases makes you wonder if you have got the right picture or not?
Bruce: Not really, Thaksin is a crook on a massive scale and all the facts in the world and all the reasoning will not change my mind. You just got to be in the accounting business in Thailand for about 20 years like I have to realize how bad Thaksin is.
Uncle: OK, I will take your word for what it is, but why do you, a foreigner, go to PAD rallied at the occupied government house, as you tell me, all the time and even spoke at the meeting on behalf of PAD to foreign press?
Bruce: I know you will say as a foreigner who can’t stand corruption, how can I break the law myself and go to the occupied government house-against stated warrants not to do so. If that is the real question, I just want to say that it is a form of protest. If it were just a few people, perhaps it is breaking and entering, but when it is thousands, it is a form of protest. And I exerts my Right as a foreigner who has been in Thailand for 20 years and pay tax here with children in Thai school, to protest against Thaksin also.
Uncle: But Bruce, the airport occupation, the armed guards and all the violence they committed, how do you justify for those things?
Bruce: Let me put it this way, if this was India and Gandhi, would Gahndi go and occupy the airport, if he knows it will get the British out of India? Obviously yes he would shut down the entire country to rid India of British occupation. And as far as violence is concerned, I have never saw Sondhi called for the use of them. They are there for mostly protection and defensive purpose, and I can accept that. You never saw us go out heavily armed and go on attack do you, it is always a reaction to violence that we also become violent.
Uncle: Doesn’t sound like what Gandhi would do, but I guess that is what you believe. Still, Chamlong and Sondhi failed to bring out millions to support them, and finally had to rely on a twisted judiciary system, to deliver the winning. Doesn’t sound like something one can be proud off?
Bruce: I am proud of the fact I took part in ridding Thailand of Thaksin. But as a tax attorney, I don’t like the idea of twisted courts, but then how else can you get rid of Thaksin?
Uncle: Just going back a little, as a tex attorney, don’t you understand Thaksin tax-plays at all? Seems like a common thing not to want to pay tax. Millions try to avoid it. The rich ones goes to the likes of you to do it, do they not? You don’t buy that crap about politicians have to go above doing it only by law do you? But they must also do it with ethics as well?
Bruce: They say kill a few and you are a mass murderer, but kill a million and you are a conqueror. The problem is that this is Thailand and not an advanced country and so people don’t understand the concept of taxation, except very basic like you should do your duty and pay it. The international tax attorney circle in Bangkok are divided on this one. Many say Thaksin did the right thing, and others say even in the states, what he did would be illegal. I am of the opinion that Thaksin just used the loop-holes too much, it crossed the ethical boundary. But if you ask me have I seen worse, I have. And if you ask me does Sondhi use offshore companies to work at his taxes also, the answer is yes he does. But the differences, is that public figures should know better than to be smarter than the average voter. Thais just can’t understand that. I don’t hate Thaksin for this reason.
Uncle: The Bangkok Post, perhaps one of the staunchest supporter of your movement, even says “the end doesn’t justify the means,” I mean lots of people really were hurt and angered at your movement. Still feel proud?
Bruce: OK at times I do question if my own actions, in trying to bring about something, goes against the principle that I have. And with Sondhi, that questions comes up a great deal, because there are a lot of wrong things that went on-like coming out and say the red shirt at their big gathering, staged an anti-monarchy play. That is obviously a point blank lie and he knows it is a lie. Things like that upset me a great deal. But overall, when taking it all together, in balance, Sondhi still told a straight story mostly.
Uncle: Before we stop talking shop and start to talk about the cute girls around here, just one last question, Economist, WSJ, Times, Sentinal, Newsweek, BBC, Reuters, and just about every other international press have repeatedly, called Sondhi anti–democracy. What is you answer to that, is democracy important? Or do you think Thaksin has bought off all the international press, as Sondhi said?
Bruce: There needs to be a way of preventing vote buying in Thailand, and my understanding of it is that Sondhi finally came to the conclusion that it can’t be stopped and there for because the case still needs to be solved, the best thing is to have appointed MPs to counter balance those that comes into politics through vote buying. As a foreigner, I support democracy, but I also think a country’s development level, does have to do with how democracy should take shape in a country. I mean if there is no vote buying, and Sondhi propose MPs from appointment, I would be against it. But as it is, what can I say except lets try it.
Uncle: Bruce, check out that girl, those legs are somethings aren’t they?
Bruce: I bet she gets it from going to PAD protest.
Uncle: (Laugh) That is a good one, maybe I should switch side!