PAD protests : the final showdown ? Or the final Benny Hill show ?

The PAD has launched several protests in Bangkok today. They even have “seized” a TV channel, the finance minister, police station etc.

You’ll find many live infos on Bangkok Pundit and Absolutly Bangkok.

What to think about this “veritable rebellion” (like says New Mandala) ?

A “Final showdown” like writes Absolutly Bangkok ?

As for myself, I see nothing but a total void, a poor show on the boundaries of ridicule and surrealism, a badly designed mask of Benny Hill on the face of a grotesque political adventure.

A revolution ? My arse.

I mean, let’s cool off and recap : 20 000 people from the PAD. And after ? They have absolutly no legitimacy, they have no popular support, they have no weight on the elections scene.

It’s just a small group of people who want Samak to resign.

Eventhough I share their absolute distate for Samak and his government (a bunch of pathetic clowns), we have to remember that those people have been elected. Over and over (2001, 2005, 2006, 2007).

And if new elections were to be organized tomorrow, they would… WIN AGAIN.

This is Thailand, afflicted by a total political stalemate (core reason : the royal succession).

The PAD, with its weak forces, can’t pretend to defy the PPP in any elections.

So what they can achieve, on a political level ? Basically nothing. This is why what is happening since 3 months is absurd.

The only thing they could achieve is to instigate some ultra violence to force the army to intervene.

Well… that might be the plan. 😉

After a direct coup, a judicial coup, a silent coup, we could have a… coup by proxy. 😉

It would be the classic soviet style operation in the good old days of the cold war “… “we’re coming because… we have been called“.

UPDATE
New Mandala asks a rather disturbing question : “Has there been a royal statement urging the protesters from the People’s Alliance for (Sufficiency) Democracy to respect the fact that there was an election held last December and that this government is the result? […]

Still no word of reason (or moderation) from the king directed at those who campaign so vigorously in his name.”

Indeed.

15 Responses to “PAD protests : the final showdown ? Or the final Benny Hill show ?”


  1. 1 Ian 26 August 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Was down there at around 4.00pm.

    A few of the photos taken are here….
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11401580@N03/

    from talking to many people who wanted to know if this farang was a journalist “no, I am not, I work here” they seemed most bothered about the corruption of Thaksin and Pojo, and whether they will get sent back to Thailand.

    It was all about “corruption” in my discussions.

    I doubt many even know of the PAD aims regarding changing parliamentary representation.

  2. 2 fdl 26 August 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Thailand have an idiot-nominee for a PM in Samak but as you aptly mentioned Samak was elected democratically so whazz up with Sonthi-and-Chamlong unfunny show? I watched a few lecherous Benny Hill shows but I have yet to point out who the Thai Benny Hill is? Samak, Sonthi or Chamlong?

    But it is a madcap Thai politics and they are all clowns, I agree.

    But nobody is laughing . . .

  3. 3 ThaiCrisis 26 August 2008 at 2:21 pm

    –>FDL.
    Indeed, Benny Hill was funny (sometimes). 😉

    I just wanted to point out the fact that the whole situation, in my opinion, is a big comedy.

    A cheap show to entertain…us.

    The key questions and issues are carefuly hidden in Thailand. Face(s) must be saved. To protect the culprits.

    Instead, they throw at the people some goodies, toys and knickknacks to play with and get excited with.

    Vah Preah Vihear temple, corruption, mega projects, lese-majeste, PAD, PPP, Democrat Party, Samak, Abhisit you name it.

    It’s not Thailand, the land of free. It’s Smoke And Mirrors Land. Deception Land.

    Call me a compulsive maniac, but I stick to my first analysis, the very core of the creation of this blog : the royal succession.

    Voila. There is nothing else. It’s the key issue.

    The King will pass away. One day. What will happen that day ? How will the monarchy evolve ? Can it evolve ? Who will succeed ? What will be the consequences on the political situation ? On the constitutional situation ? Can the current elite keep the power ? etc.

    So for that matter, when I hear the PAD protesting about “corruption“, I’m laughing.

    I repeat : all the rest is smoke and mirror.

    The number of questions that flow from this key is huge. And frightening.

    Thai Crisis. Indeed. 😉

  4. 4 chinesethai 27 August 2008 at 4:02 am

    Right on, Thaicrisis!
    It’s all about the succession.

    Ian,
    Changing parliamentary representation is no longer the issue. Everybody that joins PAD knows it but it doesn’t mean that the proposition is well received among the protestors as they too questioned the feasibility of this idea since it also opens another loophole. The chief causes of the protest are about corruption and, not openly, uncertainty about royal succession. However, PAD has made a big mistake that could change course of the situation. They should not have stormed and trespassed into the TV station and Government House.

    Personally, as a Thai living close to the situation, I DO NOT BELIEVE IN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION AND DEMOCRACY as a way to solve the crisis in Thailand now. Most westerners tend to generalize Thailand from only Bangkok because they do not have much chance to taste what grassroot, local, village elections are like. They are not democratic as you imagine. In contrast, they are full of frauds, bullet threats, and local mafia influence. The more you push Thailand towards decentralization, the worse Thailand becomes. Vicious circles.

  5. 5 fdl 27 August 2008 at 2:10 pm

    The royal succession indeed looms as HMK\’s mortality approaches even as the nation celebrates his reign every December. \”The number of questions that flow from this key is huge. And frightening.\”

    AND FRIGHTENING.

    All the Thai power plays I see progressively each day progressively frightens. Every player it seems are making their own assumptions about how their power games will play out to their advantage oblivious to the dangers to the stability and peace of the nation.

    FRIGHTENING.

  6. 6 amazed 28 August 2008 at 3:50 am

    Th big problem here is endemic corruption in Thai politics and corporate society (if not society at large) perpetuated by a culture which reasons that asking difficult questions of those in positions of power is somehow disrespectful and confrontational and should not be done.

    On the surface Samak’s government looks legitimate, they won the election in December by an overwhelming majority, but anyone that has been to rural Thailand also knows vote buying there was prolific and orchestrated.

    The rural uneducated poor, who make up the bulk of the electorate, sell there vote for as little as 200baht (£3.25, $6.50). They will also do this without the knowledge that behaving in such a way is actually limiting there possibilities for a better life in the future as corrupt practices are re-enforced as acceptable. They are very easily manipulated and very accepting of the status quo with most still being animist/buddist and putting a lot of what life throws at them down to luck, chance and how often they make merit at a temple.

    Now the Bangkok elites and middle classes, who make up the bulk of the PAD know this and can’t accept the corrupt practices of Thaksin and his government and Samak and his current administration. They are educated, many have lived abroad and realise that corruption is fundamentally stalling the development of there country.

    This is fair enough, Thaksin IS a criminal and a thief and it is the Thai people that he has ripped off, which your average Tuk-tuk driver doesn’t realise.

    The west doesn’t really care as long as things are stable politically so they can make money. Thaksin was good for business and economic growth and thats enough for foreign business who couldn’t give two hoots about the rights of individuals or the development of Thai society into a meritocracy.

    I don’t know how this will pan out, and I’d rather things didn’t get violent, but fundamental change takes time and needs pressure on those in power from all angles when they do wrong. If the educated elites have the balls to do this then that is a good thing. Methods are questionable with regard to storming TV stations etc but it should be noted that the protests so far are far from violent. There was a party atmosphere last night on the lawns of government house with singing and dancing and orderly protest. No one was trying to break into the government house itself.

    Finally someone like Samak would have been laughed out of office in most European countries for the way he responds to the media. Thaksin would have been tried and jailed for many years, and the media would have created a mass of pressure questioning their every move and stopping them creating the damage they have done.

    Thai journalists and editors need to face up to responsibilities and walk out if pressured on how to edit. Thai people need to stop accepting this status quo and rise up – for the benefit of all.

  7. 7 ThaiCrisis 28 August 2008 at 4:31 am

    Well Amazed, in theory you’re perfectly right.

    But the problem is, again, smoke and mirrors.

    Yes Thaksin is a thief, yes Samak is a bozo… the world (?) is laughing, should laugh.

    But look at history… The Coup… The Junta. How could you qualify the 18 months of Junta with General Sonthi and the Prime Minister Surayud… What could you say about the performances of their administration ?

    Now you’re getting my point. The other side… is fundamentally as ugly as PPP-TRT.

    Corruption ? The Junta gave huge budget increases to the military. The military bought stupid aircrafts from Sweden, etc. Some members of the Surayud gvt didn’t respect the law about assets declarations, etc. And I don’t speak about the tons of inane laws that the corrupted “nominated” assembly “voted”.
    I mean the list is long.

    Educated people in Bangkok ? Sure. But they are just as easily fooled.. Like the poor blokes in North East, up country.

    It’s a powerplay. Absolutly not a fight of the Good Against Evil, of the non-corrupted against the corrupted.

    This is a false rethoric.

    Show me a political alternative, real, competent and sustainable ? There is none in many countries… You can be sure, that’s is also the case in Thailand.

  8. 8 chinesethai 28 August 2008 at 9:09 am

    ์NEW MAJOR DEVELOPMENT:

    General Pallop Pinmanee has responded to Chamlong Srimuang’s request, to take up 2nd-generation PAD leadership, had Sondhi & Chamlong been arrested.

    I think this is the sign that Samak may be in deeper trouble!!! Making an TV appearance, Samak played down his threat to use force against PAD protesters.

    He may be under pressure to cancel Thaksin’s diplomatic passport to ease pressure. But that is not the end of this story.

  9. 9 ThaiCrisis 28 August 2008 at 9:47 am

    Hum… Scary.
    We need to refresh our memory :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pallop_Pinmanee

  10. 10 fdl 28 August 2008 at 12:00 pm

    “Show me a political alternative, real, competent and sustainable ? There is none in many countries… You can be sure, that’s is also the case in Thailand.”-ThaiCrisis

    I did not peg you for a Pessimist, ThaiCrisis! Have more faith in humankind TC . . . because I believe the Thais carry the capability to self-correct direction, and throw out their Captain, when their ship is headed for disaster.

    I think myself an Optimist. And while outsiders may see chaos and instability in the current Thaksin-Samak-PAD-HMK-Generals-Judges tug-of-war, I see a nation struggling to right itself, and a nation fighting to rid itself of parasites and corrosive corruptive influences towards a path to modern society where rule of law will be supreme that would pave equal opportunity for all.

  11. 11 ThaiCrisis 28 August 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Have more faith in humankind

    Since I’ve gave up such grand and foolish ideas, I feel much better. My cardiac function has improved. My headaches are gone.

    I feel closely connected to the grand order of the things.
    😉

    More seriously, no great nation without great leader.

    I’m still looking for him… in Thailand and actually in many other places (again I don’t want to say that it’s a thai exclusivity, it’s not).

  12. 12 amazed 29 August 2008 at 2:07 am

    @ thaicrisis

    “But look at history… The Coup… The Junta. How could you qualify the 18 months of Junta with General Sonthi and the Prime Minister Surayud… What could you say about the performances of their administration ?”

    Your right, they cheated their way through their time in power, just like everyone else, as you point out…

    “Corruption ? The Junta gave huge budget increases to the military. The military bought stupid aircrafts from Sweden, etc. Some members of the Surayud gvt didn’t respect the law about assets declarations, etc.”

    And this is what i’m trying to get at. I don’t believe the removal of Samak/Thaksin led administration will suddenly improve the transparency of Thai politics. I question whether the implementation of a PAD semi elected semi appointed administration is the right way to go.

    However like fdl i try to be an optimist. Surely Samaks past history alone should prove his unsuitability for the position now.

    And i disagree with your comment

    “Educated people in Bangkok ? Sure. But they are just as easily fooled.. Like the poor blokes in North East, up country”.

    They may still be fooled, but certainly not as easily as your average Issan farmer, no disrespect to them. The point is the educated middle class’s know that their country is being ruined by corruption and incompetence. That is a HUGE part of the reason they are on the streets. Bankers, engineers, teachers, with the majority over 30 yrs of age. A large chunk of these people have lived through the crisis of ’76, ’92 and understand the way things go in their country.

    A simple power play between politicians it is not. These protestors don’t have the answers as to how things should develop when Pig Face is gone. Some of them have opinions of course but the underlying reason they are out there on the lawn at Government house is that they have had enough of corrupt Thai politics and being cheated by their own elected officials.

    They are out there campaigning for change and an end to institutional corruption. This can not be changed overnight of course, they know that.

    Thai folk are fundamentally good but the power corrupts argument certainly bites hard in this country. That is because people let it happen. They don’t question authority, they don’t question themselves. The ‘mai bpen rai’ attitude which is so nice in one respect is also their downfall. Checks and balances, face up to your problems and do what you think is right. Be bold.

  13. 13 chinesethai 29 August 2008 at 8:42 am

    amazed:

    I truly hope that your prediction will come true.

    But you know what, considering the reality, His Majesty is the only one that has the capacity to reunite the country; however, he is turning 81. We can’t deny that his health is of our top concern. I do not see anybody else under the sun besides His Majesty who can reunite and keep Thailand in shape.

    Despite living in exile, Thaksin is still alive and well and wealthy enough to re-exert his influence in the future.


  1. 1 Live: Finally, The Final Showdown Trackback on 26 August 2008 at 10:06 am
  2. 2 PAD’s Credibility, Not Samak, Toppled in ‘Final Showdown’ | The Pattaya Ghost - Pattaya News Blogs Trackback on 26 August 2008 at 2:19 pm

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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.


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