News we missed

29 11 2014

PPT thought it time to catch up on some of the stories we’d seen but didn’t have time to post on. They are all making important points and worth reading in full. No particular order is used in presenting them here:

Asia Sentinel: “Thailand Junta Not Wearing Well

Six months into Thailand’s latest experiment with military rule, cracks are starting to show, with irritation rising at the lack of widespread reform and the growing realization that the military won’t give up power any time soon….

“Whatever hopes originally arose for reform are now being abandoned,” a banker with many years of experience in Thailand told Asia Sentinel. “There is lots of tension as people see that this junta is simply going to try to enforce the status quo ante, allowing the establishment to run the country more tightly than before.”…

“As discontent builds, will the military crack down more?” asked the longtime banker. “If so, will people put their heads down or become rebellious? If so, will there bloodshed in big way? These are the things that people are beginning to contemplate here.

IPI Global Observatory: “Understanding Thailand’s Monarchy Problem

One of the more telling decisions of the Royal Thai Army, which seized power in Thailand in a coup on May 22 this year, is to erect a new “Great Kings Monument,” comprising nine giant statues representing Thailand’s greatest kings, to honor Thailand’s monarchy and its aging king, the ninth in the current dynasty.

The monarchy also figures prominently in the military regime’s Orwellian “12 core values,” which it has ordered all Thai students to recite daily: “to uphold the nation, the religions and the Monarchy, which is the key institution”; “to understand and learn the true essence of democratic ideals with His Majesty the King as the Head of State”; “to be conscious and mindful of one’s actions in line with His Majesty’s the King’s statements”; and “to practice the philosophy of Sufficiency Economy of His Majesty the King.”…

Since Thailand’s political crisis began in 2005, the monarchy has become intensely politicized. The lèse majesté law has been used liberally. There are possibly hundreds of prisoners in Thai jails convicted under the law. Lèse majesté cases are so sensitive that trials are held in private; relatives, human rights organizations, and the media are usually forbidden from attending, so the exact number of convictions is unknown….

The military, bureaucracy, and the now powerful Thai-Chinese business sector, have all exploited this ideology of monarchy to stifle dissent from the rural and urban poor–those who have least benefitted from Thailand’s industrial transformation.

Prachatai: “3-fingered salute Khon Kaen students: we’re not red shirts

Q: Now that the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order proposed the reform agendas and suggested that the participations of the youth and students might be on the table, if you are invited to participate in this, would you join?

A: In principle they don’t go together. They have guns, but we only have empty hands. How can we cooperate for reform. If they really want the reform then they should remove the martial law first.

National News Bureau & Public Relations: “Khunying Pornthip examines locals affected by gold mine toxic waste in Phijit

The Forensic Science Institute Director has revealed a shocking discovery that more than half of the group of locals randomly selected around a gold mine in Phijit Province have a high level of heavy metal in their bodies.

Forensic Science Institute Director Khunying Pornthip Rojanasunand has conducted a toxic contamination examination on the locals around a gold mine in Thupklor District of Phijit Province.

The examination was triggered after numerous complaints had been lodged against a private company illegally disposing of its toxic waste from its gold mining operation, in the surrounding community.

The Director reported to the provincial administration and the truth finding committee that 329 out of 600 randomly selected locals have Manganese in their blood and arsenic acid in 70% of their body systems. Khunying Pornthip, however, could not identify the origin of the toxic waste, prompting environment-related agencies to launch a further probe into the case….

Prachatai: “Thongchai Winichakul on anxiety over the succession

… I would like to ask is this: if it is certain that the monarchy and the king himself is undoubtedly revered and respected by people throughout the country, genuinely respected, and if loyalty is assured, then I don’t see what the problem should be. It would be a normal change, wouldn’t it? Although there will naturally be grief and sorrow, it is normal and very understandable but it should not become a problem of politics or economics or anything else….

… I think that the people who are worried about this and those who are concerned that there will be a threat to national security and a crisis are in fact not really certain of the people’s loyalty. Aren’t you certain that people are incessantly loyal towards the monarchy? If they were certain, there would be nothing to worry about at all. This is my first answer. If they are sure then when it happens, the new king will take the throne, which is normal, so those who express concern are just those who are unsure….

If they really succeed in creating sincere loyalism, then there is nothing to be afraid of at all, but the reason why they are afraid is because they are not so sure that they can. This is because the honjao [โหนเจ้า. To cling to the monarchy] and ultra-royalist environment is illogical. It is like a doctrine or faith that when it reaches certain point, people will see that it’s just too illogical. If people are sincerely loyal, there is no need to coerce such a illogical [honjao environment]. This is why the law [lèse majesté] needs to be enforced, which destroys itself day by day.


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