PPT can’t resist this one. The Bangkok Post has an editorial titled “Putin is afraid of girls.” It probably seemed a good bit of fun to come up with a mildly sexist headline. But the editorial writer didn’t do to much thinking about the comparisons with Thailand.
We can begin by comparing one autocrat with another. Is Army boss General Prayuth Chan-ocha also “afraid of girls”? After all, he is taking legal action against an “unidentified woman” for doing nothing more than translating a speech.
Taking the comparison a little further, think of the fear of Darunee Charnchoensilpakul (and several other women) and the “threat” she apparently posed to the monarchy and the world as the conservative elite knows it. To use the words of the editorial: “the monarchy has been used by the elite as a centre of power and force. In 2008, that power was challenged by the elite’s political opponents…”.
Apparently, to “deliver a one-minute anti-monarchy tirade” is punishable with 15 years in jail, and that is okay for the Post, whereas an ant-Putin tirade deserves no punishment. We agree with that, but not the Post’s double standards. Who was it in Thailand who “lowered his iron fist on the opposition, in an all-too-familiar use of state power against political opposition”?
If the “suppression of Pussy Riot was a demonstration of Russian state brutality at its ugliest,” how ugly is the repeated use of lese majeste in Thailand? When the Post expresses outrage that the state “always sought to demean the women without a thought to ‘innocent until proven guilty’. They were even caged in the courtroom,” what does it say about Thailand, where all lese majeste victims are guilty from the day they are charged and kept in chains?
If “Mr Putin will succeed for now in his aim of intimidating some political dissenters. But he is damaged goods,” what does lese majeste say for the monarchy and the royalist state?