Saliva and the military hindquarters

8 06 2014

Forgive us, it’s Sunday and the military dictatorship is causing us angst and so we are feeling about for an appropriate header for this story that conveys disgust without being too coarse. We are keen to express our disgust.

Here we go with the grovelling before the power of the junta that is, well, simply disgusting.

The first story that caused us to gag on our Sunday coffee was a dribbling and sycophantic use of the muscular hydrostat that comes from the Bangkok Post’s “About Politics” column. This column is often a retelling of things that appear in the Thai-language media, but this one appears to be the Post’s own work. It tells us that Thais are really happy about the coup and includes a pin-up picture of the dictator. Maybe a centerfold would be more appropriate:

The May 22 military coup has brought back hope for many people as it ended the six-month political deadlock and turmoil that inflicted huge damage on the country.No coup

For the coup supporters, the putsch pulled the country back from the brink. Many believe the coup makers led by army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha are showing good intentions about restoring democracy and steering the country forward.

Okay, “many people” has morphed into “coup supporters,” but the thrust is clear. If you missed the intent, here it is:

Many Thais believe the coup may be a blessing in disguise.

It provides a chance to “get the house in order” and transform the country’s political system from a half-baked democracy to a fully fledged one, according to coup supporters.

Hang on. Is the Post recycling a “good coup” story from September 2006? Apparently not. This is support for yet another military coup from the Bangkok Post.

According to this piece of posterior grooming, it is only those nasty and conspiratorial Westerners who dislike the coup. Yes, the same ones who rented and trained the Thai military for a couple of decades during the Cold War. The understanding chaps in China and Russia were far more accommodating of the junta.

The second story is from an unusual source and reports on an unusual story. It comes from eTN Global Travel Industry News and reports on the Tourism Authority of Thailand press conference during the Thailand Travel Mart. The TAT joined the anti-foreign media chorus, demanding: “We want positive coverage from the international media!”

Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Thawatchai Arunyik asked the media to “spread the word that Thailand is safe for tourists.” Well, only if they keep their fingers in their pockets.  Speaking at the Thailand Travel Mart, TAT Governor Thawatchai then aded this remarkable observation:

We would like to inform you that the word ‘coup’ in Thailand is not considered as sensitive as it means in other parts of the world. ‘Coup’ in Thailand is still peaceful and safe for both the local people and visitors to the country.

Yes, a coup in Thailand is different. There are certainly plenty of them. That’s different. The military throws out constitutions like they are waste paper, even the ones it designs itself. That’s different. And the average coup doesn’t result in hundreds of deaths. Rather the military engages in the massacre of its own citizens when it feels the lower classes need to be taught a lesson. That’s different. Tourism-Authority-of-Thailand

We hope he had a way to wipe up all that dripping watery and somewhat frothy substance.

Even a travel writer reckons Thawatchai is a bit dull, commenting:

But Thailand is at crossroads, and despite the idyllic description of the bloodless peaceful military coup, the situation remains uneasy. This can be judged by the fact that Bangkok remains under curfew. And according to [Thawatchai], there is little chance that the curfew for the capital might be reviewed anytime soon, in contrary to other destinations. This is also for security reasons.

There is also the ugly part of the recent military intervention, which of course has little to do with tourism. Hundreds of people were arrested around the country as they were considered a threat to security due to their difference of opinion or their opposition to the military coup. This is likely to create a certain malaise among some people concerned about the respect of freedom of speech around the world.

The reporter needs to understand that Thawatchai would also consider “respect for freedom of speech” different in Thailand. There’s no freedom, so there is no need to respect speech. Or even silence if it comes from anti-coup protesters or from lese majeste convicts who said nothing but still got dragged off to prison. Yes, it’s different.





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