Kavi Chongkittavorn appears in The Irrawaddy, attacking Yingluck Shinawatra’s first year as prime minister. Apparently the article was originally in The Nation, as an op-ed, but as PPT avoids those pages as if poison, we didn’t see his diatribe until The Irrawaddy reproduced it. In reading the post that follows, readers might recall that PPT has been critical of Yingluck Shinawatra and her administration (for example, here, here and here). However, we feel that Kavi’s account is simply a piece of undisguised political doggerel.
He begins his account with a bit of poor journalism by making his very first point a bit of macho nonsense: “all Thais agree without any hesitation that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is easy on the eye—her photogenic face closely linked with an above average approval rating.” In other words, where a decent political point was made the Abhisit Vejjajiva was only good at talking, Kavi descends to claim that Yingluck is a good looker but displays “no leadership whatsoever.”
What’s worse for Kavi is that “the media, both electronic and print,” has simply bought this as that media is “so gullible in championing her appearance and body language…”. This is nonsense and suggests that Kavi doesn’t even read his own newspaper.
He gets agitated that Yingluck has an “image” that is not about shooting people and having political opponents locked up but of “engaging with villagers and those suffering from last year’s floods with her index finger pointed at the needy as if it was a panacea.” Heaven forbid, she is also praised as a mother and as “Thailand’s first female prime minister.”
What’s wrong with all of that? Well, it seems Kavi is upset because the Puea Thai Party is more media savvy than Abhisit and the Democrat Party, who were good lads but “detached and stingy…”. He might have added that Abhisit and his lot were pretty good at gaining negative publicity by their repressive actions. Kavi might not have noticed, but the verdict of voters was a resounding rejection of his preferred lot.
For Kavi, the problem is that Yingluck is “a convener rather than a leader.” He seems to prefer a strong leader, perhaps backed by the military’s guns or who is greeted with derision in much of the country. Be that as it may, Kavi can’t but avoid this: “Recent polls, both professionally and unprofessionally conducted, have yielded one common result—Yingluck is not such a bad leader and should stay on.” Oops, the damned voters expressing an opinion again!
That seems to have really ticked Kavi off, for he responds with this: “In fact, the absence of her views is a blessing in disguise as her predecessor suffered tremendously from insightful and intelligent comments.” It has to be said that Kavi has long displayed an uncritical love and admiration for Abhisit. Back in 2009, PPT commented on another piece of Kavi’s Abhisit posterior polishing: “It seems, however, that he is serious, demonstrating his inability to distinguish between his admiration for Abhisit and reality.” That hasn’t changed.
Whereas Abhisit was “coherent and realistic,” the buffaloes in the countryside just want money: “The Thais want to feel good with some money in their hands to spend. In rural areas, 10 or 20 baht can make quite a difference.” It’s the old People’s Alliance for Democracy line that votes and support are all about (Thaksin’s) money and corruption. Kavi prefers it when Abhisit’s support was all about the barracks and the palace, where there are nice, clean, coherent and sensible people rather than a rabble.
“Yingluck and her Pheu Thai Party has made sure that funds are quickly dispersed to them, even with a lot of pilfering along the way. Corruption is epidemic in this government but Thais in general do not care as long as they have something in their hands, albeit briefly.” Of course, Abhisit was slow “due to stringent rules which caused public resentment.” It is all about corruption now and the Democrat Party government didn’t do anything wrong (see here, here, here and here, just as a few examples of Kavi’s disingenuousness).
On corruption, while the measures are contested, Transparency International shows virtually no change in Thailand in its perception’s index during Abhisit’s time as premier. Interestingly, the index for Thailand declined after Thaksin Shinawatra was thrown out by Abhisit’s friends in the military.
Kavi’s not interested in truth, just pompous claims that deride the people who vote: “Long-term negative consequences do not come to mind. Live and let live another day. Therefore, the government spins day-to-day policies and enslaves the public mind with the façade that they are enjoying a good life. The future has yet to come. There is no payback with the current government—the only way is forward—because the Pheu Thai Party will always win the next election.” Damn voters, again!
And it gets worse!: “Even in foreign policy, the government is changing all the rules. Yingluck is very proud that she has transformed all Thai ambassadors, who normally represent the Royal Court, into salespersons for the One Tambon One Product (OTOP) scheme overseas.” Forgive our stupidity, but PPT had thought the ambassadors were diplomats who represented a nation rather than the personalized interests of a monarchy that is meant to be constitutional. Kavi appears to prefer it that taxpayers money is wasted on the foibles of royals (with here, here, here, here, here, and so on).
You get the picture. In the end, PPT prefers a quieter, calmer premier who heads a regime that isn’t killing and imprisoning opponents. If we were to engage in the doggerel Kavi has served up, we’d be saying that not only does Kavi look like Larry of the Three Stooges, and not to put the Stooges down, Kavi sounds like a stooge, for Abhisit and his lot. It is at that level.