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A Week in Review: June 19-25, 2010

And the winning number is...nah, it's gone!

You wouldn’t normally propose a candidate for a by-election in a city that he has just encouraged people to burn to the ground. But what’s normal got to do with it? This is Thailand. Read our week in review here...

To mark one month since the military crackdown that cleared red protesters from the centre of Bangkok – leaving almost 20 dead and dozens wounded – red shirt supporters held religious rites for their fallen comrades and a forum of rights activists and academics gathered at Thammasat University.

The independent think tank concluded that the government “violated international human rights principles by endorsing the military’s indiscriminate and excessive use of force” and that the state used propaganda to gain support for its actions, reported the Bangkok Post.

While this represents one half of the truth, there appears to have been no mention of the nationwide violence instigated by red shirts, their intimidation of opponents or their own propaganda campaigns.

Sadly, the truth is that one month on, little appears to have been done by either side to get to the root of the problem and offer a viable long-term solution. While the Democrats have at least drawn up a roadmap to reconciliation and reform, it has been heavily criticised by the red shirts. However, the fact remains that neither the red shirt UDD nor Phuea Thai has ever presented anything resembling a manifesto of their own to solve the problems of the people they claim to represent.

Complaining that the party is badly run, lacks transparency and is rife with nepotism, some Pheua Thai MPs have even begun calling for much-needed party reform. Phuea Thai currently has neither an official leader of the opposition nor any party executives because they fear being banned from politics if the party is dissolved – a very real threat in Thailand’s political system. Thailand desperately needs an ideologically strong socialist party to represent the real needs of the red shirt supporters, but Phuea Thai – I am afraid to say – is most definitely not it.

In the red shirt heartlands of Isaan last week, a nurse was arrested for selling pickled aborted foetuses to customers who believe that baby ghosts can help them become rich by telling them the lottery numbers – which is only slightly more ludicrous than believing that Thaksin genuinely cares about them.

Back in the city, the occupation of Bangkok may be over, but the lingering threat of violence remains as was seen last Tuesday when a 26-year old man admitted he had been hired to leave a bomb concealed in a fruit cart in front of the Bhum Jai Thai headquarters in Bangkok. The man was seriously injured when the blast was triggered by remote control after he had confirmed by telephone that he was in position, suggesting that whoever hired him, planned to kill him so as to leave no loose ends.

There were certainly enough suspects, especially after the very public spat between Bhum Jai Thai and their fellow coalition partners Phuea Pandin after Phuea Pandin MPs refused to support Bhum Jai Thai MPs in the recent censure debate. However, two red shirt guards were arrested on Friday and allegedly confessed to planning the explosion to cause chaos because they were still angry with the government. Plans to detonate a second bomb were aborted after their first bodged effort. Four more warrants have been issued in connection with this case.

Meanwhile, it was announced that in an effort to regain lost support in Bangkok following their allies’ recent attempts to destroy it, Phuea Thai was considering fielding Natthawuth Saikua as their candidate for a Bangkok district by-election next month. Natthawuth, one of the UDD leaders who had encouraged red shirts to burn down Bangkok, would certainly have been a strange choice. However, Phuea Thai finally decided not to field Natthawuth – not because he encouraged his supporters to terrorise the city, but because he failed to fulfil the technical criterion of having lived in the district for five years.

Phuea Thai instead chose another currently incarcerated red shirt leader – Korkaew Pikulthong, who was given permission by the Criminal Court to register as a candidate and will be escorted from and back to prison to do so.

The somewhat indecisive New Politics Party (NPP) also registered a candidate for the upcoming Bangkok by-election. However, they withdrew the candidate the following day. The NPP – which was formerly the PAD and wore yellow shirts – is now the NPP and wears yellow and green. They are believed to be considering changing from yellow and green to green and yellow and they may or may not make a decision about whether they will be deciding to do anything or not. Maybe.

Alternately, their perceived indecisiveness could just have been a power play aimed at the Democrats, from whom they would have taken votes if they had contested the by-election. Oh, the cynicism!

Finally, to prove that justice is blind, the Supreme Court approved the hearing of asset concealment cases against – in the red corner – Thaksin Shinawatra, and – in the yellow corner – Democrat MP Chumpol Kanchana.

Incidentally, none of the customers who bought the dead babies ever won the lottery.

Paul Snowdon – June 26, 2010

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29 Jul 2014, 15:02
I have viewed the Mekong many times from Nong Khai and Phon Phisai. I've mnilay been sat at market restaurants and once in the Tha Sadet market in Nong Khai myself and Wi were sat there eating fish looking at the quiet waters when all of a sudden a storm brewed on the Laos side and then whoosh, it whipped across the water and battered Nong Khai for a good twenty minutes. It was awesome. The river is a big big economic source for traders on both sides of the Mekong but when I look over at Laos I can't help but think as much as Thailand has its troubles Laos lags a long way behind in the standard of life its people live. A river that in someways divides two very different ways of life..-= Martynb4s last blog .. =-.
28 Nov 2015, 05:18
This book is romantic and sweet and at other times the mood is kind of sad baseuce both Kirati and Nopphon are cheating on Chao Khun Attigarnbodi. I don’t really like the book baseuce I didn’t find this book particularly fun and interesting, but it was a very good book to read and it gave me some great comments about love and life.
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