PPT was about to post on Thailand’s great leader, The Dictator and General with sundry other high titles, Prayuth Chan-ocha and his misogynous claptrap of recent days, when Saksith Saiyasombut at Siam Voices wrote all we could say and more. Well, almost. As ever, PPT has something to add.
As Siam Voices explains it:
The murder of two British tourists on the southern Thai island of Koh Tao has raised questions about tourist safety in Thailand. [Two tourists] … were found dead on Monday morning half-naked and with severe wounds to their heads. Local police initially (without any substantial evidence) suspected migrant workers on the island of the crime, before turning their attention to a British backpacker, who was a roommate of one of the victims and another British man, who has been asked not to leave Thailand before the investigation is complete.
As usual, Thailand’s incompetent cops have made a mess of what should be professional police work. Thailand’s police are mostly bumbling and unprofessional, more used to shaking down criminals and taking bribes than in anything like the investigation of crime. One of the best examples of this is the Saudi gems scandal. In this case, the other usual incompetence is displayed by the media.
Yet this usual incompetence and unprofessional behavior is topped by the crass misogyny of the country’s leader, boss, prime minister and dictator. His first comment was disturbing:
I have been following this matter very closely,” Gen. Prayuth told reporters as he arrived at Government House this morning. “We also have to look into the behavior of the other side [the tourists]. (…) This case should not have happened in Thailand at all. I think it will affect foreign opinion of our country.
His second comment was even worse:
There are always problems with tourist safety. They think our country is beautiful and is safe so they can do whatever they want, they can wear bikinis and walk everywhere,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who is also the army chief, told government officials. But “can they be safe in bikinis… unless they are not beautiful?” he said, addressing the issue of tourist safety in a speech broadcast live on television.
Blaming the victims and being misogynist is a trait of Thailand’s ruling elite. When he was deputy premier, the anti-democrat leader Suthep Thaugsuban blamed red shirt protesters for being killed by the Army. His view was that they ran in front of bullets. Misogynist rants were common at the elite-dominated anti-democrat rallies. In this context, Prayuth is speaking in exactly the same terms that much of Thailand’s elite does.