“Stupid Foreigners…!”

The Nation has put up an article that can only be described as simply astonishing.

The international community is showing varying degrees of understanding concerning the political situation in Thailand. There are two groups – those who reside outside the Kingdom and are looking in through a somewhat distorted lens, and the Bangkok-based foreign community, who have to suffer through this turmoil on a daily basis like the Thai people.

The first group, including some media outlets, has only a superficial comprehension of the crisis. Comments are mostly narrowly focused; they see the turmoil simply as a righteous struggle between the haves and have-nots. Moreover, they see it solely as a cry for democracy. These two key messages dominate their discourses. (…)

But one thing is missing here. The role of fugitive ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as the main culprit is seldom being mentioned by the international community and international media. Obviously, it is beyond their imagination to conceive that one person could be responsible for such massive civil disobedience. But this is exactly the point. Thaksin has channelled his money, via his divorced wife and crony associates, to finance the demonstration. (…)

Certainly, there are red supporters on the streets who are genuinely crying for a real democracy and who want to highlight and remedy all the social ills of Thailand. (…) There is no denying that extensive reforms are needed.

But these issues are symptomatic of all developing countries. The disparity between rural and urban areas – even in the most developed countries in the world – is a dichotomy that we continue to struggle with. What is strange is that nobody reacts like this in other countries. In Thailand this issue has been manipulated by certain people for their own interests.

Inside Thailand, for those foreigners who have gone through the same experience as Thais in the past several weeks, there has been a strong sense of anger, sadness and bitterness. They feel the same way as many Thais. (…)

It is imperative that the international community gains a thorough understanding of the situation. Both the media and all governmental organisations have to do their job more effectively.

Do They Really Know What’s Happening Here?“, The Nation, April 30, 2010

In a related news story, foreign minister Kasit Piromya is at it again.

The crisis spilled into the diplomatic arena Thursday, with Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya censuring some foreign diplomats for meeting last week with Red Shirt leaders.

“We do not want to see that happening again,” Kasit told reporters during a visit to Jakarta, Indonesia. Kasit said he had earlier met with Philippine Ambassador Antonio V. Rodriguez, dean of the Bangkok diplomatic corps, to express his concern.

In a note to other diplomats based in Thailand, Rodriguez said Kasit accused some ambassadors of voicing opposition to the constitutional monarchy and criticizing the government’s handling of the crisis. Kasit was a public supporter of the Yellow Shirt movement before becoming foreign minister.

“These actions have gone beyond the limits of diplomatic practice and were unacceptable to the Thai government,” Rodriguez summarized Kasit as saying. “The envoys’ opposition to the government and to the monarchy was inappropriate and will not be tolerated.”

Thai protest rivals want military to end ‘anarchy’“, Associated Press, April 29, 2010

New Mandala has some excerpts of the memo that has been passed to the diplomats, worth a read.

Do I sense a theme here? It seems that the “being a foreigner and not in Thailand”-talk is still a legit argument for some Thais and also a convenient one to shoot down foreign criticism. Also, there is an ongoing fascinating fixation on Thaksin by Kasit and The Nation, especially since rumors of his death are persistently popping up this week again.

And don’t get me started on who should do a better job…

P.S.: Remember Kasit’s rant in Washington against several countries that have let Thaksin from a few weeks ago? Well, one of the countries ‘strikes’ back.

In a separate development, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Thai Ambassador Chalermpol Thanchitt to accept a diplomatic protest in response to Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya’s remarks on Russia’s role in sheltering Thaksin.

Thaksin, family dispel rumours of death, coma“, The Nation, May 1, 2010


8 thoughts on ““Stupid Foreigners…!”

  1. Saksith…

    yes, the Thai elites, business, military have manged to hang on to their wealth creation strategies and power over the people for so long seems they still wont accept the writing on the wall

    the reason Thailand “is different” is because its like a hangover from feudal times

    the people are at last awake and determined to modernise

    part of being modern is to no longer confer immunity on those that destroy elected governments and commit crimes and human rights abuses

    it is this threat that is making the military so desperate to retain power and why they wont allow Abhisit to accede to reds demands

    hopefully the reds can maintain their numbers on the rally site, face down the military and allow the rank and file solders to defy their wealthy corrupt commanders and hence defeat the government and the yellows

  2. I think abhisit is rite, the two ways to solve the issue; first is that the government must stop anyone who acts against the law and the second, the government must not ignore the needs of the people.

    First, the rule of law must be respected, meaning a proper govt shud not be removed by tanks, street violence or repeated whim and fancy; second the needs of the majority must be respected, thru the ballot boxes. But arent these exactly what the red shirts were clamouring for? And what is wrong about the foreign mediators coming in to help resolve the problems… by holding elections?

  3. The first time I came across this article in the Nation I wondered if the author had read any amount of the foreign coverage of the crisis. Following the international press coverage of the crisis for my work, I find that western sources often over simplify the conflict. There are times that the oversimplification takes the form of the rich-poor narrative that the Nation so despises, but frequently reports characterize the conflict exactly the way the Nation would like. Countless captions and news stories refer to the red shirts as supporters of ex-Prime Minister Thaksin. A briefing report I happened across at work focused primarily on the conflict between the current government and Thaksin in its explanation of the events. Given the source of the article I am hardly surprised it misses the mark.

  4. Right on! I do agree with Lorenzo’s comment completly…Undoubtedly: they need to wake up and see what’s going on in this country.

  5. I’m curious, are the “Red Shirts” still on the payroll? Toxin’s money can buy a lot, more than some will admit. Unfortunately the average person is just a pawn for either side, be it Red, Yellow or Multi-Colored Shirt. It is all sad, exploitation exists everywhere, it is nothing new.

  6. I find your comment strange. I live in Silom, have done so almost 4 years, I have been inconvenienced by the demonstrations as everyone else in Silom, and feel that my “nice Silom life” has been destroyed. But I can still understand the Red Shirts, not some of their utterly stupid leaders, but the basic cause they fight for. There is a huge disenfranchised group of people in Thailand that have a very legitimate reason to be on the streets and be angry. When I go to Paragon and see the affluence, the Ferraries, the Dolce&Gabanna shops etc where “the haves” spend 5-10 times of a farmers annual pay on one transaction, it does not take too much to see why they are angry. 5% of the Thai population has exploited the rest for years and years, and with education, TV, news etc, they are bound to revolt. What I find amazing is the stupidity of the “haves”, that they don’t see they have to give a bit to preserve their privileges and affluence, if they insist on status quo, their are in for big trouble! As a European I find the lifestyle of the “haves” in Thailand amazing. This is a lifestyle you don’t see in the top ten-twenty UNDP human development index countries, even though the GNP per capita is 10 times that of Thailand. Because these countries invest in all the population, not just the top 5% ! If the “haves” don’t give in soon and change their ways, I predict a revolution in Thailand in the next 5 years. End of monarchy, end of democracy and a communist state like Vietnam, Laos or dictatorship like Burma. Than can’t possibly be in the interest of the elite? Please wake up someone!

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