Archive for November, 2009

Thai Airways president calls for national unity against… foreign competitors

My mistake.

I praised -loudly- the courage and the honesty of Piyasvasti, the newly appointed president of Thai Airways.

He had the courage to call a rose a rose… and a pile of manure a pile of manure.

“The management had not really been allowed to manage the company,” Mr Piyasvasti said in an unusually frank interview.
“The company had been interfered heavily by the board, by the politicians.

Alas… natural behavior is coming back with a vengeance…. !

Thai Airways International (THAI)’s chief executive says Thai-owned carriers should form a united front against foreign rivals, especially the fledging budget carrier AirAsia, whose rapid expansion is seen as a “threat”.

“Instead of fighting among ourselves, it would be better for us, Thai airlines, to stick together, co-operate and fight AirAsia, which is the biggest threat,” said Piyasvasti Amranand.

“They [AirAsia] are expanding rapidly, taking a lot of passengers away. Their Thai market share has been increasing rapidly.” (Bangkok Post)

Voila. Disappointment. Again.

That’s the curse of Thailand.

To call other companies to combine force against a player, why not. It’s competition. It’s deals. It’s healthy. It should be the natural course of capitalism and free entreprise.

But, it’s stronger than him : Piyasvasti sees the problem through a despicable (and so over done, and so cheap) nationalism.

Like for many other thai officials (government and business)  it’s a burning obsession : “Them against us” . The world against Thailand. The foreigners against the Thais.

A mind frame.

And this is precisely why Thailand won’t be able to develop itself furthermore.

They are all dinosaurs, and for that matter condemned to vanish from the surface of the Earth.

And the astonishing success of Air Asia (an asian player, absolutly not a western player) is a striking proof of it.

And it’s like a card to announce the dinosaurs’ funerals.

Bye bye Thai Airways.

[Last point : eventhough this story is a small one… it tells a lot about politics. It helps us to foresee the future… It helps us to understand that all the projects of political union in Asean or in Asia are just… nice fictions designed to entertain the clowns. 😉 ]

Dong devaluation and Dubai’s debacle : “no worries but… we are going to talk about it”

Korn was the first to show his gun : “no alarm” he said.

The alleged Finance Minister was reacting at the vietnamese currency devaluation and the Dubai’s debacle.

You have to understand that the first duty of any thai official is to come on TV after any kind of intrinsic negative event (terrorist attack, bad news for the economy, Michael Jackson death,  new hair style of a famous singer etc.) to say that this event will have no or minimal impact (on Thailand that is to say).

The Prime Minister had to follow the rule too.

Mr Abhisit said he believed their impacts on the Thai economy would be minimal. (Bangkok Post)

So no worries, however…

The economic ministers will meet on Monday to discuss the debt crisis in Dubai and the devaluation on Vietnam’s dong currency, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said in his weekly broadcast on Sunday.

He said the government will continue monitoring the global economic situation closely, and the Council of Economic Ministers will discuss the details of the Dubai World’s debt and dong’s devaluation on Monday.

… however they are going to talk about it. 😉

A perfect summary of the (reversed) way thai politician’s brain is working :

-first : talking
-second : thinking (or trying to)

“Beggar thy neighbor” : Vietnamese Dong devaluation affects Thailand

That’s the beauty with cheating : you always find a bigger cheater than yourself.

And this is exactly what is happening in Asia (and around the world).

The crisis is worsening (see Dubai’s default), tensions and imbalances are increasing, and all the clowns try the same thing : The Beggar thy neighbor policy, in order to save their own exports, at the expenses of somebody else.

That’s the principle of the Beggar thy neighbor policy.

This is why it’s  absurd to pretend that everybody can do it, at the same time. The Beggar thy neighbor policy implies that someone loses.

Someone has to lose.

Vietnam has devalued its currency (by 5,4 %, read here) and increased interest rates. Why ? “To contain inflation“.

The first part (devaluation) is of course totally surreal when you pretend to fight inflation. Sure Vietnam can survive without importing L’Oreal beauty creams for instance… but It can’t avoid to import oil. And already, gasoline prices have increased in the country. And like Thailand (and China), economic growth is based on cheap fuels.

So the devaluation increases the costs, costs are passed onto the consummers : prices rise. Inflation.

The vietnamese government, like the thai government, is living in Lala Land. They just want to boost their exports.

Effect on Thailand ? Overnight, thai goods, like rice, are 5,4 % more expensive compared to vietnamese rice.

Now, let’s see what Korn, the alleged Finances Minister, has to say.

“Vietnam’s decision to devalue the dong will not affect exports or other currencies in the region,” Korn told reporters. “Thailand has no plan to hike its interest rate any time soon.”

The minister said the premium quality of Thailand’s rice insulated it from competition with Vietnam. (Nation)

Insulated from competition ? Korn is an expert in bozoness. Not affecting other currencies in the region ? Ah ah ah, another medal.

[Chart of USD Index]

And in the background… the USD dollar is sinking. And will continue to sink. And Korn will continue to make inane comments, and the economic situation will continue to worsen.

Life is sweet. Let’s have another drink.

[You want to understand the reasons of Dubai’s debacle ? Look here… Asthonishing pictures… Everything was written, on the walls and at the top of hundreds of cranes, and the clowns, as usual, pretend today to be “surprised” ! ]

The government imposes special Security Law… for 2 weeks

[do you remember april 2009 ?]

It started on november 20.

ISA may be invoked

That’s sweet. “may”, “might”.

Then, we had other details 4 days after:

Speaking to reporters after a meeting with security agencies, Suthep said he will ask the Cabinet to approve the enforcement of the ISA for Dusit district, Rajdamnoen Road and Bang Khun Prom area during the period. (Nation)

Let’s stop here for a moment. What is ISA ? The Internal Security Act. It’s a politically correct and modern version (style Abhisit Change Yes We Can’t) of martial law. Yes ladies and gentlemen : martial law.

The Internal Security Act (ISA) allows troops to impose curfews, operate checkpoints, restrict movements of protesters and act fast if rallies by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) turn violent. (Reuters).

So what would you say about the proposal of Suthep to impose martial law… in some streets of Bangkok, here but not there ?

The word you are looking for is : clown. 😉

Of course.

But let’s continue, with eventually, the real version of this grotesque new thai  drama.

The cabinet on Tuesday morning approved the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) throughout Bangkok from Nov 28 to Dec 14 to cope with the red-shirts’ plan for prolonged anti-government protests.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, who is in charge of security affairs, said on Monday that the ISA would be limited to only in Dusit and nearby Sommanas and Bang Khun Phrom sub-districts.

However, the cabinet decided to invoke it across all of Bangkok since the red-shirts had declared they would rally and split into groups that would protest separately at many different locations in the capital next Monday.

The cabinet made this decision because the protesters may go separately to many different locations. The wider coverage of the law will enable security units to effectively perform their duty throughout Bangkok. (Bangkok Post)

Suthep is a liar and a clown.

A liar because, the decision to use ISA on the whole city of Bangkok , not only parts, was taken long time ago. And a  clown because the propaganda he uses is so cheap

Now. Other issue : why 15 days ? I mean why not… 360 days ? Yeah. That would be so convenient for all those friends of “democracy” and “rule of law” (you remember the fetish words of our dashing Prime Minister, Abhisit).

No more opposition, no more trouble, welcome Burma, welcome China, welcome North Korea. Yeah that would be so cool, right Mister Abhisit ?

And as usual, they use the monarchy as a grotesque toy, a tool, to justify their own political agenda.

Sure we have the birthday of the King on december the 5th… So what ? Why is it necessary to keep ISA until december 14 ?

But let’s go back to our beloved Abhisit. What does he think ?

The government needs to enforce the Internal Security Act (ISA) across Bangkok between Nov 28 and Dec 15 to deal with the red-shirt protesters if they split up and rally at different locations, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Tuesday. […]

“There are reports that people, including foreign workers, have been gathered from different regions to join the demonstration,” Mr Abhisit said. (Bangkok Post)

Ouh we are scared… legions of mean foreigners (cambodian perhaps ?) ready to crush Thailand…

You see. Since last december, I tell you that Abhisit is nothing but a vulgar thai politician, hidding inside a smiling puppet.

Abhisit has no shame. No shame to use this dirty trick : the fear of the foreigners…

It’s pathetic. Abhisit is pathetic.

Times On Line gives the finger to the thai government

The “Times Online” has unofficially refused to comply with a request by the Thai government to hand over the controversial taped interview with former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to Thailand, which contained parts that are deemed lese majeste, according to the Minister to the PM’s Office Satit Wonghnongtaey. (PRD)

And even deeper into the Rabbit Hole :

The government will not stop requesting the tape of an interview by ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra from the Times Online although the latter has unofficially rejected the request, according to Minister to Prime Minister’s Office Satit Wonghnongtoey.

Mr Satit stated that the news agency had already denied Thailand’s request, claiming that it was the right and freedom of the press.
However, the government had assigned officials concerned to submit another letter to the Times Online demanding an official statement to clarify the matter, he said.

The minister affirmed that the government would not stop asking for Mr Thaksin’s interview tape since the issue has hurt the feelings of Thai people. He added that if the Times Online was sincere and did not have any deals with the ex-prime minister, the news agency should give cooperation to the Thai government in the investigation process. (PRD)

Paranoid. And hysterical. Totally. Those are the proper words to qualify such behaviour.

To read this famous interview and my comments, click here.

So to summarize : an english media has given the finger to those thai maniacs who think that the world is besieging Thailand, that there is a universal conspiracy to “hurt the feelings of Thai people“, that there is a global threat against “thai national security“, orchestrated by Thaksin and legions of devil foreign journalists who don’t understand Thailand (of course).

Oh dear… we do understand… too well. That’s their problem. 😉

But the worst is : those clowns might indeed believe their own words and fantasies. That’s the scary part.

Because, beyond the obvious political manipulation (they push everything at their hand against Thaksin), there is a nefarious way of thinking gaining some momentum right now in Thailand.

It’s called Thoughtcrime. They arrest a doctor who wrote something on the web about the King’s health. They ask foreign medias to “comply” with their requests… etc. They accuse foreign new editor of lese-majeste. Shall we see a pattern there ?

Something is seriously wrong in Thailand…

And meanwhile, we still wait for some bright comments coming from Abhisit, our young, dashing and Oxford-educated Prime Minister. You know the guy who loves to speak about “democracy” and “rule of law” on CNN (and here)…

What does he think about this stuff ? Afterall, this minister is close to him.

So do we have to conclude that Abhisit agrees ? That Abhisit doesn’t give a shit about the freedom of the press ? That Abhisit has forgotten everything they (allegedly) taught him in Oxford ?

“Rumors mongers” hysteria : a doctor arrested

After 2 brokers, and the owner of  a snooker bar (!), a fourth individual has been arrested in the “rumors mongers and stock market” case about the King’s health.

She’s a doctor in Bangkok, and has no link whatsoever with the others. Talk about a conspiracy.

Police said they have evidence confirming that she had posted the information on a politically-oriented website and caused the plunge of stock market during October 13-15.

She admitted posting the information on the website .

Dr Thassaporn was charged with violating Section 14 of the Computer Offences Act for posting inaccurate information which threatens national security. (TNA)

Sorry to quote myself :

What’s next ? Are they going to arrest a maid, a taxi driver, a farmer, a hooker ? “Rumors mongers” and “national security”… it’s just amazing !

Deep into the Rabbit Hole, we are.

Striking and dark irony of the calendar : the King is in hospital since exactly 2 months (saturday september  19)… And since Loy Kratong, we have no news whatsoever.

So to summarize : you’re a doctor, you might have an opinion, afterall it’s your job, but if it’s related to the King and if you post it on the Web, you become a threat to national security.

This is the Thailand of 2009.

This is Thailand of Abhisit, the dashing “democrat” Prime Minister who could cancel the insane Computer Crime Act (read here) designed by the Junta, by the generals in 2007, after a Coup d’etat.

But no. Not a word. Not a move.

First, not to displease his masters (Abhisit was not elected PM, he was pushed by some puppet masters behind the scene) and second because obviously Abhisit feels at ease with this law (along with the lese-majeste law) : it serves his political interests, it’s a huge leverage against any opponent.

Thai Airways president : “management was not really allowed to manage”

Let’s say grace… At last, a thai official dares to speak the truth… and even more striking… the president of Thai Airways dares to speak the truth about the national carrier !

Fasten your seatbelt. And look for your life jacket.

The newly appointed head of Thai Airways was in London on a global road show to gather investor support.

“The management had not really been allowed to manage the company,” Mr Piyasvasti said in an unusually frank interview.

“The company had been interfered heavily by the board, by the politicians. That had substantially weakened the management of the company, and our response to the crisis.”

He has been the airline’s president for just four weeks. Mr Piyasvasti said it had taken months of negotiations to secure a strong enough mandate for his new job.

On Monday, the state-owned carrier reported a net loss of $121m (£71.8m) for the July-to-September quarter.

The results were worse than analysts had expected. They forecast another loss in the fourth quarter, traditionally high season for tourism. […]

Mr Piyasvasti seems an unusual pick to run the national carrier. As a fund manager, he refused to own shares in the airline.

Thai Airways was a company which did not provide transparent information to investors,” he said.

“Thai Airways management were not able to provide clear directions or policy to investors. Most of the big funds, whether in Thailand or outside Thailand, stayed away from Thai Airways stocks.”
He said one of the most serious problems was nepotism and favouritism in promotions and in the awarding of contracts.

“When you promote people who have connections but no ability, initially it’s okay, but eventually it weakens the company, Mr Piyasvasti said.

“It reduces the quality of the work. That is what has happened to Thai Airways.” (BBC)

Indeed. A perfect diagnosis.

Let’s put it that way : this guy is a saint. Respect.

But on the other hand… we have to be honest : his chance of success are slim as the space between seats on Thai Airways aircrafts. 😉

That’s the fatal beauty of the whole story : like an airplane losing its engines… you see the ground coming fast. No exit way.

You might ask me : why do I write so often about Thai Airways ? Because of course the company makes the headlines… but also because it’s a perfect symbol of Thailand, it’s a perfect microcosm of what is wrong in this country.


Anyway. Best wishes to Piyasvasti. And again : respect.

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.