By Frank, this blog political journalist
The typical Thai is very proud to be so special and unique that Thailand never was colonized by a European power. Today, the Thais say again that they are unique and special in many ways.
Yes, Thailand is unique in many ways today. Like since democracy some 77 years ago, there has been 17 Constitutions and a coup on average every 3 years. And economic wise, from starting at the same point with Japan some 100 years ago, it fell to competing with Taiwan, then Malaysia and Singapore-to currently the worry about Vietnam.
Well, the reason those European powers went out to colonized the globe, was because of the “White Man’s Burden” in that the European saw the world as undeveloped, un-civilized and the globe’s people were ignorant and stupid and did not deserve independence, justice or democracy.
That European empire type of thinking is clearly wrong for many reasons, but then again many today say the Europeans actually bought and installed a sense of law and order-or the respect of the system, into many of its colonies. Just look at India, Malaysia or Singapore. Even Indonesia learned a great deal.
So while being a colony clearly is not the way to go, there are still nevertheless some valuable lessons about law and order and institutional integrity.
Then if you look at the uniqueness of Thailand since the coup of 2006, one can pretty much say that Thailand never learned about law and order or institutional integrity at all.
Worse-off, while Thailand escaped the White Man’s Burden, most Thais really never escaped the “Upper-Class Thai Burden.”
Just take a look at the upper crust Thais, and they say things such as the poor are stupid to vote and that democracy does not work in Thailand-all the way to putting people in jail for long sentences for insulting the symbol of the Thai class system. So Thailand looks and feel like a colony these days-and to many Thais, there is a war of independence and liberty going on.
My argument is, Thailand might be better off today, if it was colonized, because the concept of independence, law and order and institutional integrity-like the constitution, would have been learned in the struggle for independence. The current event in Thailand, proves that these important lessons never were learned.
Thailand never became a colony to a foreign power, but these days, most Thais are living in a colony condition-and the ruling class Thais are the master of all Thais.