Ended: Live updates on Kasit at Asia Society

28 09 2010

At 8:30 US Eastern, Thailand’s Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya will be webcast from the Asia Society. Should be worht a listen as Kasit always under-prepares and says controversial things. Asia Society says: Online viewers are encouraged to submit their questions to moderator@asiasociety.org and to join the live chat during the webcast.

Update: It is 8:44, and all PPT can hear is the clinking of plates and cutlery. As is usual with anything Kasit does, it seems to run late and be shambolic….

Kasit Piromya

Live Update: Began at 8:45, with a quite odd introduction by the Asia Society rep. who reckoned Kasit is a democrat and great politician. Kasit began at 8:53. As is usual, he has a small set of handwritten notes. “I want you to know that we are all very determined to become a strong and mature democracy under the constitutional monarchy.” Immediately states that the monarchy is “non-negotiable.” No one can dream of getting rid of the monarchy. It is essential for stability and central to national security. Wow!

Kasit claims that the red shirts have no popular support in Thailand.

He is a remarkable hardliner. He says all the things that one may read in ASTV/Manager. Uses the same line as Abhisit: some people use violence while ignoring the state’s own violence. Mentions corruption at all levels and seems to blame “politicians” and praises Abhisit as clean and not evil. “Thank goodness [for Abhisit]” he says. Sees his government as the only way forward (forgetting Newin Chidchob perhaps). Mumbles about equity, honesty, transparency, defeating clientelism. Lots of words, but nothing that has any weight or conviction.

Also mentions the reform councils, as Abhisit did at the CFR. He argues that they are all from “civil society” and are all independent. Notes the government’s “welfare” provisions, again mirroring Abhisit: a socially-oriented society, but not a welfare state! Seems like he knows what the reforms will come out of the reform commissions.

Our computer view says there are only 33 viewers at 9:06.

Kasit doesn’t want to see any more score cards on Thailand’s democracy, freedom etc. He wants assistance but no criticism. A demand: please stop giving marks!

He finishes at 9:08. Q & A begins. First question from the commentator is on the economy and political links.

Kasit says that economic success is down to him, the premier, Korn and another minister. He sets out that these 4 ministers meet regularly with private sector groups. Business community is assured that there is no corruption requests – under the table – we are an honest government…. Kasit is no economist and mumbles about the nature of the economy as diversified. Commodity prices up. Government policies to farmers have helped a lot. “Every farmer owns a piece of land”!! No child and no farmer will be left out.

36 viewers at 9:16.

What about Thaksin? Kasit says “no compromise” for criminal acts. Again ignores the fact that it is the state’s forces who have killed and maimed most. Some compromise possible on political party executives. Doesn’t mention Thaksin except to say that he has many cases to face. No compromise! Kasit says he is from a law-abiding government.

The south and neighboring countries is next. All is fine according to Kasit. Moves to Q & A.

Prachatai and Chiranuch is raised immediately. Kasit says that Thailand is open and freedom of the press “is second to none in the world!” He says that media that urges violence, hatred, misinformation or challenges the monarchy must be repressed. Kasit seems to think Prachatai does this. He rambles on to avoid the issues. He thinks he gets attacked, so that is media freedom.

Next Q is on ASEAN, China and South China Sea. Rambles….

48 viewers at 9:29.

A Q on Burma. What’s happening there now. Kasit talks of his “friends” there and their desire for freedom of expression and so on. “The election is a first step back to an open, democratic society, so let’s support them…”. It may not be a completely fair, inclusive election, but it is a first step. Let’s support it. Kasit says he is going to do more about getting the intellectuals and emigres to return to Burma following the election. Is this a suggestion that they will be “trained and deported”? Wants release of Aung San Suu Kyi. Perhaps…. but adds little about this. Goes back to the elections.

Political compromise question: Chiranuch issue raised again. Kasit seems to misunderstand. He seems clear that Chiranuch is wrong. He seems to paint her and Prachatai as a red shirt agency. He complains of thousands of websites that have the “ideology of hatred.” He is uniformed? No he believes it. He says the justice system is one of “high integrity” and begins complaining about Thaksin.

Concludes at 9:38.

Comment: Most disturbing about this presentation is Kasit’s extremely hard line position on the monarchy and his lack of capacity to distinguish opposition and independent media from what he says are dangerous, hate-filled, violence promoting media. Kasit is firmly located in an authoritarian hole and can probably never escape it.


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28 09 2010
Red shirts on trial « Political Prisoners in Thailand

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12 12 2010
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28 09 2012
Yingluck at the Asia Society « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] gave a shambolic and crudely politicized speechthat was full of nonsense. For example, he claimed that red shirts have no popular support in […]




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