Power

7 05 2018

Voranai Vanijaka is a columnist, Bangkok Post. He was once with The Nation and has a reputation for biting op-eds. His most recent outing deserves some attention.

He observes that there have been a series of scandals for the military regime over the last six months. We think there have been far more and over a longer period, but let’s go with his six months of troubles, “starting from November of last year. It began with junta leader Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha berating a fisherman down south for daring to matter-of-factly ask him tough questions. Next came deputy junta leader Gen Prawit Wongsuwon flashing his posh taste for luxury watches, which supposedly were borrowed from generous friends.”

What has happened about those watches? The National Anti-Corruption Commission has gone very quiet since Gen Prawit told them their case was over. We assume the NACC has done as it was ordered and there’s no case for the boss to answer.

Voranai then mentions “former national police chief Somyot Poompunmuang, who ‘borrowed’ 300 million baht from a massage parlour tycoon…”.

Somyos and some of his loot

What has happened there? As far as we can tell, the wealthy cop is off the hook. His sloshing about in other people’s money is a bit like the watch saga; it is just normal behavior for the powerful.

And so on.

Voranai observes, as we do, that “[n]one of these gentlemen [sic.] think they have done anything wrong.”

Of course they don’t. They are powerful, entitled and deserving.

He adds:

These aren’t isolated incidents to be treated separately, mind you. Here the common theme is that the rich and powerful, the elders or phu yai, who are leaders of society, do whatever they want, however they want — as has been done for decades and centuries before. The sense of entitlement is of medieval proportions.

But these men are not behaving simply as feudal lords did. This is a Thailand dominated by market capitalism dominated by “whales” who reward their political fixers. The entitlements of these whales far outweigh those of the police chiefs and political flunkies who do their bidding and put them on boards or pay them retainers for services to be rendered.

 

Where we distance ourselves from Voranai is when he makes claims that we are all to blame, that it’s cultural. It isn’t. It is a system of political and economic power that needs to be smashed.


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9 05 2018
NACC on watch | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] was only a couple of days ago that PPT mentioned how very quiet the National Anti-Corruption Commission had been since Gen Prawit Wongsuwan told […]

9 05 2018
NACC on watch | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] was only a couple of days ago that PPT mentioned how very quiet the National Anti-Corruption Commission had been since Gen Prawit Wongsuwan told […]

13 05 2018
Somyos and his money | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] was less than a week ago that wealthy former police chief Somyos Pumpanmuang was mentioned in a post. Of course, long-time readers will know that we have been posting on his unusual wealth since it […]

13 05 2018
Somyos and his money | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] was less than a week ago that wealthy former police chief Somyos Pumpanmuang was mentioned in a post. Of course, long-time readers will know that we have been posting on his unusual wealth since it […]




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