Lalaland : the “special allowance” changes again


(original painting : “King Saint-Louis and almsgiving”, Jacques Stella 1596-1657… Sorry Jacques.)

Almsgiving or vote-buying, we can wonder. The clowns have changed -again- the special “allowance” of 2000 THB.

The monthly salary ceiling of employees eligible to get one-off allowance of Bt2,000 from the government is now at Bt14,999.

The ceiling was originally at Bt14,000.

“We have raised the ceiling because we want the allowance to cover more people at the time of economic crisis,” Labour Minister Phaithoon Kaeothong said Wednesday. (Nation)

First, it was… 10 000 THB ! 😉

So more than 8 millions of people should receive this little gift in april…

For once, I totally agree with Devakula, ex Finance Minister (Junta) and ex BOT governor.

Former finance minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula said the 2,000-baht grant scheme had caught him off guard.

“I cannot imagine how the government came up with such a plan. I do not want to say that I cannot believe this is from an Oxford or Cambridge graduate,” he said of some cabinet members with backgrounds at prestigious British universities, including Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

“I am baffled. The 18 billion [earmarked for this scheme] will just disappear. It will not stimulate the economy because it is a one-time payment,” he said.

I think paying people 2,000 baht per head is to lure votes,” he said. (Bangkok Post)

Indeed, Oxford is loosing quickly its prestige !

And Abhisit is definitely a clown (with a nice hair cut).

19 Responses to “Lalaland : the “special allowance” changes again”

  1. 1 absolutelybangkok 15 January 2009 at 3:09 am

    Dare to say that this is actually more populist than any Thaksinomics ever was?

    Great photoshop – you just tapped a vast arsenal of other options showing the neo-populist as … Let your fantasy play.

  2. 2 ThaiCrisis 15 January 2009 at 3:19 am

    I’m creative because I feel uber-stimulated.
    Thanks to Abhisit and the BOT.
    I’m going to buy a dozen of new condos. With my 2000 THB special allowance (before it was “I want my MTV”. Now, it’s “I want my special allowance”).

    As for my skills with Photoshop, unfortunatly I’m really bad.

  3. 3 hobby 15 January 2009 at 3:22 am

    I think the money is supposed to ‘disappear’ (as in be spent) and that means it will go towards stimulating the economy, although it will obviously not be enough to hold off the coming storm.

    Thailand/Abhisit are not the only ones doing this stuff – here’s an example:

  4. 4 ThaiCrisis 15 January 2009 at 3:32 am

    Of course, Abhisit is not alone. This is precisely why it’s so scary ! It’s a worldwide hysteria. The consequences will be on the same scale.
    Abhisit could have studied the effects of the “stimulus check” of Bush, sent last spring…

    But no, Abhisit wants to do like his peers, the politicians. He wants his “stimulus plan”.

  5. 5 hobby 15 January 2009 at 3:35 am

    I forgot to add that these ‘stimulus’ packages are targeted towards lower income earners because they are more likely to spend it (rather than save it)

    Not to say there is not a political motive, but really Abhisit is in a no win situation here, because if he does nothing, they ask ‘why dont you do something?’ and if he does something, they just say ‘it’s just buying votes’.

    I prefer if politicians be criticized for real wrongdoings, like appointing an entirely unsuitable person as FM, or using tax havens and nominees, or promoting/condoning/jusifying extra-judicial killings etc.

    Not directed at you, Thai Crisis, because I know you are more into all the economic stuff rather than the political stuff.

  6. 6 hobby 15 January 2009 at 3:38 am

    Our posts overlapped – I accept what you say about the chances of success, but I still think he is in a no win situation here, and has to be seen to be trying something.

  7. 7 ThaiCrisis 15 January 2009 at 3:58 am

    Well Hobby, i think it’s a mistake to sort politicians actions.

    FM, PAD advisors, etc… and economic lunacy are part of the same problem. It’s a whole.

    One leads to the others.

    How can we trust a government on political issues, when for the economy, they say monday “10 000 THB”, then tuesday “14 000 THB”, and then the day after “14 999 THB” as the limit to be eligible for the special allowance ?

    Lunacy is a whole.

    He never promised before to give this “gift”. So he was not tied. I would support him if this allowance had any chance to help the low income earners.
    But it’s not. 2000 THB it’s a mobile phone, or a party night at the karakoe, or 3 refills at the gas stations. Nothing more.
    It’s surreal.

    Abhisit has absolutly no excuses. And probably less than a guy like Samak. Samak was a representant of a defunct political specie. It was difficult to ask him a lot.

    Abhisit with his so called Oxford education, his much younger brain cells… should have done better.

    Anyway, the bottom line is : it’s too little too late.
    Check the latest report about retail sales in the US in december… It’s a pure nightmare.

  8. 8 ray 15 January 2009 at 4:59 am

    nightmare retail sales in the US means nightmare exports for asia/thailand in 2009. this is just a tip of the iceberg. we are headed for the great depression 2. we will see crime rates go up in bkk this year. tourism will drop 40%. i dont believe the official figures. look at the street and talk to the hotel operaters. they tell the real stories. real.. no stimulus plann is working because there is no confidence and smart people know that after getting drunk u need a hangover before a recovery.

  9. 9 hobby 15 January 2009 at 5:43 am

    I’m not sure Abhisit is the man to blame for the worlds financial system being a ‘house of cards’ (or if you are not familiar with that term, a giant ‘ponzi’ scheme)
    He might share some of the indirect blame, but even then, I doubt it was he Eton/Oxford boys who pushed things to the brink of collapse.

  10. 10 Frank 15 January 2009 at 9:59 am

    Hobby, how could Abhisit not be one of the people to blame when he is doing absolutely nothing to press for arrest of the people who flaunted the law and occupied the airports like their own club house? He pretends to be a law-abiding politician while turning a blind eye to his PAD cronies and their supporters. This sets a very dangerous precedent to any interest groups in the nation that should they be unhappy with whatever: seize the airports. For all the smooth talks and incessant reiterations of their embrace of democracy and the rule of law, it is hard to believe that the Democrats are a God-sent alternative for Thai politics.

    The recently announced ‘allowance’ might make some people squirm at the Democrats’ being a bunch of sell-outs. After all weren’t the Democrats denouncing Thaksin and Samak for resorting to populist policies? The truth is the Democrats have been desperately copying Thaksin’s policies since back in 2006. THB 30 per hospital visit by Thaksin? The Democrats would charge you nothing!! Completely free education up to high school by Thaksin? The Democrats would give you free university education!! (How? One can only wonder… Only Scandinavian countries can truly claim that amazing feat.) The list, sadly, goes on.

    The allowance scheme is a pathetic ploy. At least when Thaksin introduced his policies, they were aimed at generating investment (admittedly, some of the village funds, for example, went directly into pure consumption. However, that was a case of fraud on the receiving end.). Again, the whole tragedy currently on display only goes to show that the Democrats are incompetent at economic management. They might appear more professional and, understandably, more knowledgeable and credible. But so did the investment bankers in New York, London and Zurich, and Madoff. Any economics-educated person should know that it’s investment that creates and sustains wealth, not consumption.

    Last but not least, if Hank Paulson’s failure as a scramble-as-we-go treasury secretary is any indication of a likely result of choosing an investment banker to do an economist’s job, the result of having Korn as finance minister would have been laughable would it not have been so disastrous.

  11. 11 chinesethai 15 January 2009 at 11:20 am


    PAD may have been split into 2 sub-camps. They share Anti-Thaksin agenda but are differing on measures to solve the economy. If you watch ASTV, while one host defends Abhisit, the other host on the next program criticizes. The Chief Editor of Thai Post, a Pro-PAD Thai language newspaper, today starts to criticize Abhisit’s measures as “uncreative”. He asks why Thailand needs to follow the herd with the same old Keynesian Theory, knowing full well that Japan and now the U.S. are failing.

  12. 12 thaichris 15 January 2009 at 11:44 am


    Abhisit learned from developed countries.

    – Germany intends to give every citisen a check of 500 €

    – Obama itends to give every taxpayer a one time present of 1’000 $

    And don’t forget. Sonkla for Thais i like Christmas for Europeans. An you give presents on christmas. The good thing is, that the 2’000 THB each will be spent in Thailand (you can not really buy a lot for 2’000). It will help to ‘stimulate’ the Thai economy. The people in Germany and US will buy goods made in Asia with the money. There tax money will help to ‘stimulate’ the Asian (Thai) economy.

    Bet who is more stupid?

  13. 13 FDL 15 January 2009 at 1:08 pm

    The Baht 2,000 one-time give away to low income earners, I suspect, would also give one-time ‘jolt’ to Thailand’s economy because as hobby pointed out, the billions given away will immediately be spent. But outright give-aways encourage mendicancy and laziness.

    We were expecting bright ideas from Abhisit’s bright boys . . . instead we are served dumb economic knee-jerk responses to very serious economic problems urgently requiring well-reasoned measures that would alleviate or markedly alter the oncoming economic rot.

    I am disappointed.

  14. 14 nganadeeleg 16 January 2009 at 3:28 am

    Frank: You are drawing a low bow to link the world financial collapse to the PAD occupation of the airport, let alone to Abhisit.

    btw, what exactly can Abhisit do regarding the PAD case? (other than request the legal process be pursued expeditely, without fear or favour)
    Or would you rather him act extra-judicially?

    FDL: To me politicians generally are disappointing – the most I hope for is that they are ‘clean’, and anything better than thatis a bonus:)

  15. 15 ray 16 January 2009 at 4:04 am

    i agree with chinesethai. abisit has to do something. the democrats have always been accused of acting slowly so this time they are hitting the ground running. today i was watching bloomberg and the singapore govt has come out and said that the citizens should save money and try to ride out the storm. i think that is absolutely correct.
    in thailand the mega projects should start immediately. these projects will pump some capital into the economy. right now only the govt has the financial firing power. i just hope the govt doesnt go ahead with the zero % down paymnt scheme. this will be worse than subprime. with the bad economy the rentals will fall and people with low paying jobs can afford it.
    the govt should come out with schemes to increase deposit rates to encourage saving.

    people staring new business in 2009 should be exempt to pay income taxes for 5 years. no registration fees. make it cheaper for small businesses to start up.give foreign capital ready to start up factories incentives to do business here. in thailand it is easy to start small business unlike in the eu. here i am an advocate of pad where they are against hyper store( lotus/big c etc.) one lotus store = closure of 300 -500 small mom and pop stores( my guess without any studies).

    we have to go back to how things were in the 80s. since all this foreign investments have come in, real estate is now too expensive for thai people. all the new projects condos etc are aimed to sell to foreigners. now wiht this economic collaspe we can fugget it.

    the only way the thai poiticians will learn is if we can drag thaksin and co. to jail as an example. until that happens nothing will change.

  16. 16 ThaiCrisis 16 January 2009 at 4:36 am

    Of course “he has to do something”. But doing something, doesn’t mean doing wrong.

    -“mega projects should start immediately”. Sure. We say that since 2005, when Thakin launched this idea…
    Instead of spending 115 billions THB on totally inane ideas (read the details of Abhisit plan), or increasing the military budget like they did the previous years… they should spend the money to start the infrastructure projects.
    Instead, they rely on foreign loan to pay for it… They could wait long time.

    -new businesses : sure. and soften the Foreign Business Act, so foreigners can start businesses too. But it won’t happen.

    -cut corporate taxes. Thailand is way too expensive (30 %). But again it won’t happen (the government has already said it will not choose this path).

    -new condos : yes we all know that those stupid units over priced all over Bangkok are done for the suckers, the thai flippers, and the foreign buyers… One very easy decision : reactivate the “investment visa” (minimum 3 millions). They did it before, before to scrap it of course. That would immediatly help to clear the stock of unsold condos. But again it won’t happen (they don’t want long term foreign residents).

    -land : allow foreigners married to thai to buy one piece of land (only to build a house). Set some maximums (surface for instance), and again, it would immediatly prop up the market and the construction sector. This would not be like “selling Thailand to foreigners”. Just one piece of land per couple…. Here it’s just basic human rights… But again, it won’t happen.

    Voila. We could find many ideas to improve the situation. But instead, Abhisit prefers to go on the easiest path : a special allowance of 2000 THB…

  17. 17 chinesethai 16 January 2009 at 10:59 am


    I do not agree with you on some of your proposed measures, particularly on land ownership by foreigners married to a Thai.

    Yes, we need to solve the immediate economic problems but it is important to avoid long-term consequences too. I am fiercely against it! Unlike North America, Australia, New Zealand and some European countries, Thailand is not an immigrant nation. We have enough problems of peasants selling their arable land at dirt cheap prices to the rich and ending up in shacks and slums.

    I agree that Thailand should speed up mega-projects but again we are talking about Thailand, not China. In Thailand, a public project, particularly large constructions like subway, highways, bullet trains, airports, is likely to be fraught with corruption. Not only that, these projects are like a big gold mine for Thai politicians. Thai politics is very unstable. Let’s say Abhisit is gone tomorrow, I bet the next PM would find a cause to revise and scrap all the bidding and reallocated the delicious food to their cronies as always.

  18. 18 Frank 21 January 2009 at 3:46 am

    “btw, what exactly can Abhisit do regarding the PAD case? (other than request the legal process be pursued expeditely, without fear or favour)Or would you rather him act extra-judicially?”

    nganadeeleg: For starters, commit that he is going to do something with the people who occupied the airports? Perhaps not appointing a PAD supporter as foreign affairs minister?

  19. 19 nganadeeleg 22 January 2009 at 7:47 am

    For starters, commit that he is going to do something with the people who occupied the airports?

    Do what, apart from what I already said above (Request the legal process be pursued expeditely, without fear or favour)

    Do you really want politicians interferring in the judicial process?

    Perhaps not appointing a PAD supporter as foreign affairs minister?

    That’s not a good look, but it should be a separate issue from the legal process.
    (If the FM has done something illegal he should answer to the law, irrespective of whether he has the backing of the 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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