Thaksin Focus: 2) After years, still Invoking of Corruption, Coup & Royalism against Thaksin

  • By Ranger, Thai Intel’s political journalist

There I was, with a foreign educated Thai friend, waiting in line to have Japanese food at Siam Paragon, at the restaurant Fuji, looking at the massive crowd of rich Thais and foreigners, thinking to a member of the Thai royal family being part owner of Siam Paragon.

“Thailand’s anti-royalism movement, exploded after the 2006 coup,” I remember the head of the unit that cracks-down on anti-royalism sentiment on the internet said to New York Times.

  • Taksin, Coups and King:

And she said quote, “Thailand crisis started with the Yellow Shirts demanding every Thai to love and respect the King. But for many Thais, that is not a reality.” Then latter, that Thai friend, said, quote: “The only way to stop corruption in Thailand, is by a “Total Dictatorship of the Good People.”

For much of Thailand’s modern political times, the “Hero of the People” like Predi Panomyong and Puey Ungpakorn, have had a hard time. Taksin, very much the “Hero of the People” to many Thais, also, like others is also having a hard time-like the others, outcast by the establishment.

And for much of that modern political history, countless dictatorships of the establishment, involved in countless blood-bath, have had an easy life-welcomed by the establishment.

Even with Thai royalism reputation suffering at the hands of the establishment, to many Thais-Thailand is still about “Coup and King.”

  • Thai E-News Reports:

Today, Thai E-News reports two news items, as related to Yingluck’s exploring ways to grant Taksin amnesty.

One, is a report of an academic, as part of a group of academic calling for Yingluck to scrap that exploration, openly calling for the military to stage a coup. Then the second news, is about some local press, openly saying that Yingluck’s exploration, “Tantamount” to “Bending the King’s Will” since the amnesty needs to be approve by the Thai King.

Both news reports, tend to confirm, that there are many in Thailand, who continues to link anything about Taksin, with Coups and King.

  • Elections Indicates Thailand is pro-Taksin:

For those, not so familiar to Thailand, the 2006 coup, that got rid of Taksin, invoked Taksin corruption and Taksin anti-royalism, as the two main causes of the coup.

What have occurred to Thailand, briefly before and after the 2006 coup, is nothing but political instability that climaxed about two years ago on the crack-down of the Red Shirts that cost the life of about 100 protesters and civilians-in a brief Civil War in Bangkok.

The civil war in Bangkok, takes its roots, from a Thai establishment rejecting democracy, liberty, justice and human rights, as the Thai people, mostly the grassroots, embraced it, and resulted in that political parties in the Taksin sphere of interest, have won every Thai election, in the past 10 years, especially, every election after the 2006 coup.

The majority of Thais, it appears, are pro-Taksin.

  • Unique Thainess Reject Changes:

But the Thai establishment is anti-Taksin.

The Thai establishment, as can be seen by the Bangkok Post, Nation Group, Thai Rath and a string of other far extreme right wing press, truly believes the Thais are “Too Stupid to Vote.” The Nation Group, editor, Thanong Khanthong, says it all the time, quote: “Democracy, liberty, justice and human rights, are non-Thai values.”

What the likes of Bangkok Post, Nation, Thai Rath and other propagate, is a concept called “Thai Style Democracy” to go with the “Unique Thainess.” Off course, if you are well read about Hitler, you know that this “Unique Thai Style Democracy” is nothing more than some form of a “Dictatorship” along the line of Hitler’s Germany.

The point here, is that the Thai establishment and its media, are not interested in adaptation, to a “Democratic Thailand” but continuing to throw, “Coup and King, against democracy, just like before the 2006 coup with Royalism hype going ballistic.

  • Would “Coup and King” work again this time?

The problem is, the only way not to repeat past mistakes, is to learn from history-such as learning something from the brief civil war in Bangkok.

But many Thais have not learned a thing-and are ready for another civil war in Bangkok-as the talk of “Coup and King” is the rallying point, for anti-democracy. Yet that minority view of Thailand, is getting old and have lost much of its edge. The majority of the Thai people it seems, is sick of political turmoil.

Can the Thai establishment love of coup and king, and their hatred of anything Taksin, out-weight the Shinawatra family’s track-record of electoral winning? What will Thailand be like in a few years? Would it just be another cycle, repeating itself?

Thai Intel’s readers be the judge.

  • The following is from Political prisoners Thailand Blog:

In PPT’s continuing coverage of Wikileaks cables, this leaked cable is yet another of U.S. Ambassador Ralph Boyce’s revealing accounts of his own political bias and the position of those he was close to in the palace. In this cable, Boyce refers to discussions he has had with Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda.

General Prem

This cable follows another where Boyce recounts a 4 July 2006 meeting with Thaksin Shinawatra, including expletive deleted attacks on Prem. In that cable Thaksin is reported to have claimed that:

Prem thought that a Privy Councillor was higher than a Prime Minister and that the political “elite” of the country think Thaksin is “a peasant.” He claimed that many of his opponents are “living off land given them by the palace” and said that the courts were being used in an anti-democratic fashion.

Boyce then meets General Prem on 5 July and discusses “rising political tensions caused by PM Thaksin, who launched a thinly-veiled attack on Prem…”. This refers to Thaksin’s public statements that “an ‘individual with charisma,’ who was ‘outside the Constitution,’ trying to bring down the government and become Prime Minister himself.”

For some reason Boyce feels it necessary to explain that Prem is “one of the most highly respected leaders in Thailand…”. He says that “Thaksin’s comments were construed by many as an open declaration of war against Prem, all the more surprising (or foolhardy) given Prem’s stature and close relationship with the King.”

Prem is reported as laying into Thaksin. Prem is reported as saying that: “over Thaksin’s first five years as prime minister, he had not met much with Prem; Thaksin thought he knew everything already.” Prem seems to have thought that he was the fount of considerable wisdom on government and politics, a bit like the monarch. More recently, though, Prem said Thaksin had been seeking counsel.

Hence, Prem was “shocked to hear the accounts of Thaksin’s speech [on the charismatic figure].” Apparently, Prem’s reaction was: “What does he think he’s doing?” Boyce concurs on this question. It is reported that “Prem sent word to Thaksin that it would help the PM politically if he made clear that he was not referring to Prem. Thaksin disregarded the advice…”.

Prem then blamed Thaksin for having “stirred everything up again, after a period of calm around the King’s anniversary celebration.” Boyce could only agree, noting “that Thaksin didn’t seem to be able to keep himself from making these provocative statements.” It becomes clear that Boyce saw himself as U.S. Ambassador to royalist Thailand.

Prem comments that:

from the outset of his time as Prime Minister, Thaksin had been personally unprepared for the fawning reception he gets, especially when he travels around the country.

That seems remarkable from someone in the palace who expects and demands appropriate groveling and fawning.

It is at this point that Prem reveals that he believes that Thaksin was in a competition with the king. He says the fawning:

had gone to his [Thaksin’s] head … and made him believe that “he’s number one.” But Thailand was not like America, Prem added. “We already have a number one.” Thaksin needed to learn that he was the manager of the shop, not the owner.

It seems to PPT that this is an important statement of the battle lines that led Prem to campaign for Thaksin’s ouster, including getting the military on-side for a coup that came in September 2006.

Further, Prem seems to believe that Thaksin’s appeal to provincial people is doomed:

The people upcountry liked Thaksin and voted for him, but they didn’t revere him. After seeing the adoring crowds on June 9, a million people in their yellow shirts who waited for hours in the heat just to catch a glimpse of their King, Thaksin should understand that he cannot rival the King for the people’s affection, Prem concluded.

It seems that Prem  is unable to grasp the nature of the changes in attitudes and politics that had taken place since 2001. This flawed perception is probably reflective of a palace and broader yellow shirt view. This mis-peception of rural support for Thaksin seemed to underpin the politics of coup and junta-backed government that followed the coup.

We wonder if they have now got the message following the repeated election of pro-Thaksin parties in 2007 and 2011?


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