Tag Archives: Thailand

Turkey A Secular State Warns Constitutional Court

The ruling Justice and Development Party of Turkey breathed a sigh of relief after its nation’s Constitutional Court decided not to close down the AKP on grounds it has been fostering creation of a Muslim oriented government which threatens the rights of those who believe in secular values. The Constitutional Court warned that the AKP had become a gathering ground of those who wish to impose Sharia law which would violate the traditions of the Turkish nation. Prime Minister Recep Erdogan pledged to acknowledge the gravity of the situation and to be cognizant of his party’s need to ensure those who believe in secular values would have their rights protected. “The AKP, which has never been a focal point of anti-secular activities, will continue to defend the basic principles of the Republic.”

Erdogan and other AKP leaders promised to reach out to secular leaders in an attempt to ensure their views are respected an work to avoid having the nation become split on religious grounds. Erdogan is expected to establish a constitutional reconciliation commission to reach consensus and guarantee the secular values of Turkey continue.

The Constitutional Court of Turkey is to be commended for not closing down a major party and by urging the AKP to be more mindful of the rights of those who support secularism. There is hope Turkey will address human rights issues in preparation for submitting its request to enter the European Union.

Muslims In Thailand Offer Cease Fire

The United States and European nations tend to focus on terrorism as it pertains to the Middle East or to regions on the border of Pakistan, but few are concerned with the long term Muslim insurgency in Thailand. The people of Thailand are overwhelming Buddhist, but southern provinces have always been populated by people with Muslim backgrounds. For years there has been continual guerrilla warfare conducted by these Islamic insurgent groups. Thailand’s Army chief, General Anupong Paojinda has refused to negotiate with insurgents and disregarded the latest offer of a cease fire. He does not believe those claiming to speak for Muslim insurgents really have the power to enter into negotiations.

In a pre-recorded video broadcast by the army run Channel 5 television station, three unnamed Muslim men claimed to represent 11 insurgent groups and announced their intention of halting all attacks in the three southern provinces. They indicated a desire to proceed with a peace process. General Anupong admitted he was taken by surprise by men who boasted they represented the Thailand United Southern Underground(TSSU).

The Muslim rebels initially made their offer of a cease fire to General Chettha who leads a coalition party rather than directly dealing with Thai leaders. General Chettha said the insurgents do represent a sizable portion of those fighting the government. The video was made in Germany.

A solution to the Muslim insurgency most probably requires political concessions such as increased local autonomy and economic incentives for southern provinces.

Thai Middleman Role In Dealing With Burma

Thailand Prime Minister Samak Sunaravej is arriving in Myanmar today where he will personally hand over an appeal to the military junta to allow more aid from the United Nations and other countries. He carries a personal plea from Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urging the junta to allow in critically needed specialists whose expertise are invaiuable in dealing with the cyclone crisis. This is not the first time Samak has used his connection with the murderous thugs who run Burma in order to find a way to aid the people of that nation. Mr. Samak has cultivated good relations with the Burma generals and even called them “good Buddhists” after they cracked down on monks demonstrating for democracy.

The Thai government has even offered to use its own planes in order to fly in supplies from the United States but the gesture was declined by the xenophobic generals. They insist only Burmese will handle relief supplies and have even placed stickers on aid from other nations which claim the goods are donations from the benevolent rulers of their country. As of this date, only one US plane has been allowed to land with supplies.

Story Of A Nation’s Rice Supply

Nations of the world are increasingly facing the reality their stocks of rice may not be sufficient to handle normal demands from the population. In East Malyasia’s Sabah region, the supply of rice is enough to last for 1.6 months. This is about one third the amount normally in the reserves held by the nation. Minister Datuk Yahya Hussin admitted the “rice supply is presently a complicated problem not only in Sabah but across the globe.” He said his nation is expecting shipment of additional rice within the coming weeks from Vietnam and Thailand. “Our country is still getting supplies from these countries although they are now reducing their exports of rice.”

It is becoming increasingly necessary for governments to assume some control not merely of supplies but of price in order to protect consumers against price gouging. The assumption is traders will cooperate with government in maintaining supplies and prices. That, of course, is an assumption and the situation might become worse in terms of being able to obtain sufficient amounts of rice for the population.

There is need for international action to halt the use of food to deal with fuel needs and get nations focused on the importance of using food to feed people. What happens in East Malaysia if either Thailand or Vietnam is forced to curtail rice exports?

Sweatshops Send Shrimp To America

The American labor organization, Solidarity Center, funded by the AFL-CIO, issued a report which blasted the Thailand shrimp industry for its abuse of workers in the industry. Thailand is the world’s largest exporter of schrimp, and in its interviews with Thai workers, the American labor institute discovered workers are forced to put in long hours, are paid very low wages, are abused by employers, and the unsafe and unhealthy working conditions pose a threat to human life. The report also expressed concern about overuse of antibiotics, use pf pesticides, and the impact of shrimp production on local turtle populations.

Wal-Mart is among the biggest importers of shrimp from Thailand and its spokesperson insists the Thai shrimp industry meets high standards. Perhaps, a trip to Thailand might be in order for Wal-Mart officials to check out first hand what is gong on.

Eat Less Be Happy And Solve Rice Crisis!

Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej of Thailand urged the nation to eat less rice, pay the extra cost of it, and maintain a happy face in order to allow rice farmers to get a better price and export more rice. He said the people of Thailand should be happy that higher rice prices mean farmers are able to sell their rice stocks at more than double the usual price paid to exporters. “If you sacrifice and pay more for rice–a bit more, not much more– it will benefit farmers.” Latest figures indicate the people of Thailand have just started to to that–eat less rice. The price of rice has risen nearly 50% in a month causing the average person to watch carefully how much is purchased and to eat every morsel of rice served.

In actuality, few rice farmers keep the paddy for more than a few days or weeks. The typical farmer sells his rice almost immediately and most probably has not economically benefited from rising prices. In all probability, middle men are making the extra money, not farmers.

The world is entering a new era of extreme food shortages and this may well have a profound political impact on life. Telling people to eat less is certainly not a long-term solution.

A Story Of Modern Life– And Death

We pick up our daily newspaper, skim through its pages, perhaps an item catches our attention, we pause for a moment and then proceed to the sport pages. The item noted some Burmese people had died in a truck parked on a deserted highway in the southern region of Thailand. They were just some refugees trying to escape the hell of Myanmar and its crooked, cruel military leaders in hope they could secure some work and food in neighboring Thailand. They were refugees, part of the hundreds of milliions who leave their nation each year in search of a better life somewhere over the hill leading to paradise.

Human traffickers packed 121 people into a 10 wheel truck which used to haul seafood but now only carried human bodies bound for a quiet death on a highway leading nowhere. Villagers alerted the police and when they arrived on the scene, they found 54 dead Burmese migrants, and 23 others who had to be rushed to a hospital. No one knows if the truck ventilation system was broke before they left Burma or if it broke on the voyage. In either case, the 54 gasped for breath until they died where they were standing. The truck driver most probably panicked and fled the scene.

They were just some Burmese workers seeking a job in Phuket but they only found death in Ranong province in a southern region of Thailand.

Blame It On The Fortune Teller Says Thai Leader!

Thailand’s prime minister berated a local fortune teller for interfering in the affairs of his nation’s government by predicting the future. Warin Buawiratiert, the fortune teller, predicted there would be a coup in May by the Thai armed forces to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Samak Sundarvej. “I think the fortuneteller should consider whether what he said was an intrusion into my affairs. My reputation was damaged by what he forecast, but I’ll let him get away with it.” Of course, in these paranoid times, the prime minister asked: “Why is this fortuneteller taking this action? What is he thinking? Or, is someone asking him to do this? Or is he paid to do this?”

We live in interesting times when what we predict about the future is grounds for possible imprisonment. I assume if the fortuneteller predicted the prime minister would be successful this future note would be noteworthy for its accuracy.

Good News In Thailand-No Army Coup Planned!

The nation of Thailand has witnessed several efforts by its military over the years to exert its authority by overthrowing civiian governments. Army Chief Anupong Paochinda, assured the public on Saturday the army is not planning to tke over the government in the forseeable future. His comments came in response to those of Prime Minister Samak Sunaravej who warned there were conspirators planning to trigger unrest in the nation and use it as a pretext to take over the government. “Today some people hve not stopped. They are lobbying and meeting… They still believe that another coup is possible.”

There are several problems confronting Thailand, among them is the unrest in southern regions where a Muslim led insurgency has resulted in the deaths of at least 3,000. Hopefully, the army will focus on ways to handle the situation politically and economically rather than only relying on military force.

Thailand Sharply Rebukes US Policy On Myanmar

Thailand’s Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama told the United States its sanctions against Burma will not lead to any productive outcome and there is need for refocusing its policy toward a more multi-national process. He presented his views to Secretary of State Rice during a visit to Washington in response to her belief that exerting pressure on Burma will be successful. Mr. Noppadon told Rice that American policies of pressure will only result in furthering the drug trade and illegal labor seeking jobs in neighboring nations such as Thailand. “We have to help Burma and engage them” he insisted, rather than isolating the inner thinking Burma military junta.

Foreign Minister Noppadon believes “China and India should be invited to these talks since both countries can play a constructive role peersuading Burma to show better development.” He hit on the key issue of how best to aid the struggle of Burma’s people for greater freedom– persuading India and China to become part of the effort of changing the military junta’s attitude. American sanctions will have no impact on Burma unless they are part of a multi-national program which includes those nations which can exert the greatest leverage on the Myanmar government. At this point in time, the United States is not an important player in the lives of Burmese leaders. Sad, but true.