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THIS IS THAILAND
A Week in Review: August 21 - 27, 2010




Join the links together and they form a chain with Thailand struggling to move forward on one end. But what is on the other end? Read our weekly review of the news from Thailand to find out...

The budget debate resumed last week with Phuea Thai MPs focusing their opposition on the budget’s geographical distribution of wealth, which they claimed favoured the Democrat Party’s coalition partners, including the Bhum Jai Thai party led by Thaksin’s former right-hand man, Newin Chidchob. Despite their opposition, Phuea Thai failed to prevent the budget from being passed after the third reading when eight of their own MPs broke ranks to support the government coalition.

In a totally unrelated incident, a grenade exploded on Thursday night in Bangkok near the King Power complex, which is considered to have close connections to the Bhum Jai Thai party and its de facto leader Newin Chidchob.

Newin’s defection from the red ranks was a deciding factor in allowing the Democrats to form a coalition government, keep Phuea Thai out of office, and prevent the fugitive Thaksin from returning to Thailand as a free man with his ill-gotten gains returned.

In a totally unrelated case, Thaksin took up the post of economic advisor to the Cambodian government soon after, a move which was seen as highly antagonistic considering the deteriorating relations between Cambodia and Thailand at the time. Last week, Thaksin unexpectedly resigned his post, thus easing diplomatic tensions between Thailand and its eastern neighbour at a time when the Thai-Cambodia border dispute is a hot, political potato.

In a totally unrelated case, Thailand’s Supreme Court belatedly returned 30 billion baht of Thaksin’s previously frozen assets the very next day. Having originally frozen a total of 76 billion baht from various Thaksin-owned accounts pending an investigation into how he had acquired such wealth, the Supreme Court ruled in March this year that 46 billion baht should be confiscated by the state as it had been acquired through abuse of power and other corrupt means.

In a totally unrelated case, Thaksin’s red shirted supporters went on a peaceful rampage of violence immediately after the Supreme Court ruling. After two months of attacking people, destroying property and preventing people from going about their daily business, the red shirts were rounded up and their leaders charged with terrorism.

Having recently been formally charged, many of the red shirt UDD leaders cried “double standards” as yellow shirt PAD leaders had still not been prosecuted for their siege of Government House and both of Bangkok’s airports two years ago in protest over the Somchai Wongsawat (Thaksin proxy) government.

In a totally unrelated case, fifty-nine yellow shirt leaders and members surrendered to police last week on a variety of charges, including terrorism, related to their siege of Government House and both of Bangkok’s airports two years ago in protest over the Somchai Wongsawat (Thaksin proxy) government.

After all the yellow shirts were released without bail, PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul claimed that the charges were “politically motivated” and meant to “bully” the PAD. He went on to announce that the PAD found the charges “unacceptable” and that he was planning to countersue the police chief in charge of the operation.

Sondhi pointed out that the yellow shirts had only been armed with clubs and that it was actually the authorities rather than the thousands of protesting yellow shirts that had closed the airports.

Join the links together and they form a chain with Thailand struggling to move forward on one end. Corruption, intolerance, violence, greed, moral bankruptcy, mercenariness, spite, gullibility, arrogance and hypocrisy are the names on the ball at the other end of the chain.

Paul Snowdon – August 28, 2010

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