Tag Archives: Thailand

Stai Away From Thailand!

It is increasingly clear Thailand is divided between those who enjoy a modern urban existence and those living in rural areas who believe themselves bypassed by history. Thailand’s army is gearing up for a fight that will include death and destruction. It has announced that central Bangkok is a “live firing zone” and anyone wandering into it can be shot. At least 16 are dead as result of street demonstrator clashes with the army and over a hundred are wounded. Road blocs are all over the capitol and barbed wire is strung across many streets. Red shirted opponents threaten to fight fire with fire and the government and Army have made clear they will not back down.

During a difficult moment in World War II, Denmark’s King walked through the streets of Copenhagen to show support for the people of his nation. Perhaps, it is time for the King of Thailand to do something similar and calm down rising talk of violence?

Tyres And Tempest In Thailand

Burning tyres, walls constructed with any material available, barbed wire to prevent the police from climbing over barriers, and chants of protest echoed through the streets of Bangkok as angry Red Shirts made clear their desire to force an overthrow of the government. After weeks of deadlock created by thousands of people from rural areas who have entered the city in order to make clear the need to change leadership of the nation, Thailand is deadlocked and anger increases with each passing day. As Molotov cocktails were hurled at troops, as troops fired into the crowd it became impossible to determine who had fired first. In a sense, that was not the question. The question is whether the urban elite retains power or do they allow rural poor and other impoverished people to influence government forces.

Both sides are determined not to budge. A perfect plan for death and destruction.

Open Letter To Tyrant King Of Thailand

Dear your Lowness:

I have been following the trial and punishment of the Australian novelist Harold Nicolaides who is currently enjoying the pleasure of being a resident in one of your medieval prisons. As I gather– not having read his self published book which sold all of 50 copies and blackened the name of the Thai royalty– a character in his book made a disparaging remark about the Crown Prince of your family. A novelist includes characters who he likes as well as dislikes because the nature of a novel is to present the views of fictional people. Honest, King, the character does NOT EXIST! It is fiction, for God’s sake. Are you claiming a novelist is responsible for what each character in a novel says? Do you read novels?

I really have zero knowledge about you or your son or your children or the entire royal family. I have no idea if what the character in the novel expressed had the kernel of truth about the Crown Prince. But, one thing is very clear. The Crown Prince has absolutely no idea regarding the nature of human rights or the right of novelists to express their ideas.

The Thailand royalty is a disgrace to the people of their country.

P.S. How about spending a day in one of your medieval prisons. Do you think it would be pleasant defecating in the open hole in the cell? Or how about washing in the trough?

P.P.S. I do not intend to take any trips to your lovely country. From what I gather the people of Thailand are wonderful.

Burmese Muslims Tossed From Nation To Nation

Myanmar is a nation ruled by a group of thuggish military leaders who constantly wage war against ethnic minorities who reside in a Buddhist society. The plight of the Rohingya people illustrates the indifference felt by the Burmese government and other non-Muslim societies in Asia. Rohingya have been expelled from Thailand and set adrift on rafts in the Indian Ocean in order to get them out of Thailand. Daw Aye Aye, a Burmese official made clear his government did not want the Rohingya to return and would prefer if they were sent off to some far away Muslim nation.

The Rohingya are a symbol of the world’s indifference to human suffering and our inability as humans to confront issues of persecution, particularly when oppressed people inhabit faraway lands and are of a different religion or ethnicity that fails to attract sympathy in the media. It always fascinates this writer how the plight of one group can become a media sensation while similar persecution does not even rate a line in the media.

The King Is Always Right In Thailand!

In Thailand, there is a monarchy whose view of le droit de roi is not that far different from those kings in olden times claimed to possess. Australian writer, harry Nicolaides has been held in jail for over six months for writing a novel that contained passages the King of Thailand did not enjoy reading. The arrest warrant accused the Australian writer with defaming Thailand’s royal family. Recently, a drunken Swiss man was sentenced to a ten year sentence for defacing images of the monarch, but pardoned after spending a month in jail. Mr. Nicolaides appeared in court dressed in a prison orange uniform with feet shackled. “I’m pleading guilty,” he said. “I would like to apologize. This can’t be real. It feels like a bad dream.”

Gee, I guess after writing these words about the autocratic king of Thailand I had better never get near the Bangkok airport. I wonder how many other writers would be sentenced to jail for daring to make negative remarks about a human who happens to be a king and shits just like other men. I guess in his case, the shit comes out royal.

Aussies’ Have Loose Lips

Australia will not intervene in the case of one of its citizens who currently is in jail in Kuwait for insulting the emir of the country. According to her daughter, Nasrah Alshamery does not even know the name of the bloke who is in charge of the nation. Perhaps, we can assist in this case by offering some remarks the emir might consider more insulting than those said — or not said– by Mrs. Alshamery:
“Say, who is the guy who runs this place?”
“I hear the guy who runs Kuwait is really Jewish, it that true?”
“Did anyone know the word “emir” spelled backwards is “rime?”
“Is it true that Kuwaitians are really very impatient people like the emir?”

Thai-based Australian professor, Harry Nicolaides, has been jailed in Bangkok since August, 2007 on charge of lese-majeste” for making a negative remark about the Crown Prince. What would I have to do to get jailed for “more-majeste?”

I guess it would be wise for this writer to stay clear of Kuwait or Thailand. It’s too bad the Thailand Crown Prince and the Emir of Kuwait aren’t like Prince Harry who goes around insulting we commoners without any punishment. How about those monarchs being given a few hours to insult Nicolaides and Mrs. Alshamery?

US Election– Lesson For Thailand?

Several Thai leaders referred to the Obama-McCain hard fought election as a lesson for their own nation in which the electoral victory of the People Power party was not accepted by the People’s Alliance for Democracy. The result has been governmental stalemate, conflict, and violence in the country. Wutthipong Priabchariyawat, director of a Thai think-tank, pointed out that in the United States, “two parties fought hard against each other but they didn’t prolong their competition after the results were announced.” The Thai government which still is attempting to organize itself in some coherent manner, was hopeful that Obama’s election would serve the cause of peace in the region. Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat sent a message to the newly elected American leader; “With your past experience in Southeast Asia, I look forward to seeing the US under your leadership enhance its meaningful role in the region.”

Most leaders in Southeast Asia expect the Obama administration will be less unilateral than that of Bush and more willing to engage in meaningful dialogue and cooperation with nations in the region.

Thailand Denies Talks With Muslim Insurgents

Yesterday, we cited an Indonesian source which claimed there had been secret negotiations between the government of Thailand and Muslim insurgents in southern regions of the country. It now appears the Thai team that took part in discussions with insurgent representatives acted in a private capacity and were without any official government support. Former General Kwanchart Kiaharn led the talks as part of his effort to resolve the insurgency without resort to military action. There was also speculation those representing the Muslim militants were not even official representatives of the Muslim community.

Failure to pay attention to demands from Muslims in south Thailand to have their rights acknowledged has only resulted in an ongoing conflict for which there is not the slightest evidence it will soon conclude. The private initiatives should have been those of government.

Thailand Government Reaches Accord With Muslims

Thailand has witnessed a revolt in southern areas of the nation who are overwhelming Muslims and who have been demanding equal rights from the dominant majority who adhere to the Buddha religion. Thai leaders have been utilizing military action as a means of crushing the rebellion and the only result has been a rise in violence. The government of Indonesia agreed to host a peace conference which included representatives from southern Thailand and the Thai government. Both sides pledged to resolve their conflict in a peaceful manner. A spokesperson for the government emphasized, “we have made substantial progress during the negotiation with both sides expressing commitment to end the conflict.” The meeting was the first time these opposing forces ever sat down to discuss issues.

There is never a guarantee discussions will ever result in peaceful resolution of problems, but it at least ends violence and killing. Southern Thailand has witnessed violence against teachers and businessmen and innocent farmers by the Muslim insurgents. These discussions are a happy change from what has been done in the past.

Bush Defends Far Eastern Policy

In an exclusive interview given the Bangkok Post, President Bush insisted his critics were wrong and he had not merely been absorbed in the fight against terrorism, but his administration had been fighting for human rights throughout the world. “In terms of foreign policy in the Far East, it is mistake if someone were to say that my preoccupation was on the War on Terror. You bet I wanted to make sure that we protected ourselves at home…Secondly, our foreign policy has been robust in the Far East. Our relations with your country(Thailand), South Korea, with Japan and with China have never been better.” The president defended his action in working with North Korea to end its nuclear military program and with cooperating with China. He expressed the belief “India, China, and the US will provide great opportunities for entrepreneurs an businesses throughout the region.”

There is no doubt the Bush administration has taken a strong stand against the oppressive regime which controls Burma and it has finally ended its rhetoric about “evil” regimes and worked with North Korea.