Sufficiency manure

1 05 2020

The regime seems to have plenty of money for supporting palace propaganda, doling out taxpayer-funded equipment that they claim is from the king; that’s standard palace propaganda. They are even promoting a perception that give the impression that the king and queen are actually in the country.

Yet readers will recall that Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha has been pleading for the support of Thailand’s tycoons in the regime’s virus response.

The Bangkok Post reports that two more of the super-rich have agreed to throw in a few million in loose change to be seen to be doing something for what Gen Prayuth calls “Team Thailand,” promoting the notion that “we are all in this together” when this is clearly not the case.

Red Bull’s Chalerm Yoovidhya and Prayudh Mahagitsiri of the PM Group are claimed to be “allocat[ing] multi-million baht budgets to help the newly-established Team Thailand fill the state’s coffers…”.

Party time for Boss (clipped from The Daily Mail)

The report concentrates on the Yoovidhya family’s efforts. (Where is their murderous son?)

As is often the case, the Red Bull moneybags are “donating” to celebrate monarchy and cement their place in the ruling class.

They claim they will “spend 300 million baht to help make Thailand more self-reliant…”. This from a family that manages to buy expensive digs elsewhere. But this is often the double standard that emerges when the wealthy promote the dead king’s “sufficiency economy.”

Sounding like a throwback to the 1997 economic crisis response, the Yoovidhya clan wants “to help get the economy back on its feet” through a “self-reliance for the nation project for the next three years.” The family states: “We want to support and mentor people who want to adopt the ‘sufficiency economy’ approach as their new path to life…”.

It seems the clan hasn’t got a new idea in its collective head so it falls back on royalist nonsense from more than two decades ago. They go on to state that their “project” will see “the family … turn part of its land into a learning centre to equip people with a self-reliant attitude” and “build food security for the nation…”.

We hadn’t noticed that Thailand’s food security had become an issue from the current virus crisis. Presumably “their land” will be priced in and that they will still want “a self-reliant attitude” to include buying Red bull.

Hunting red shirt backers I

28 05 2010

The Washington Post (28 May 2010)has a long story on the military-backed Abhisit Vejjajiva government’s continuing withch hunt for political opponents. It begins: “Victorious over rice farmers in flip-flops and riffraff with slingshots, molotov cocktails and a few guns, the commander in chief of the Royal Thai Army has moved swiftly to contain another menace: a golf-loving steel tycoon and maker of Nestle instant coffee.”

Funny enough, but a serious topic as the government looks likely to seek to cripple its opposition.

The report states that “Multimillionaire businessman Prayudh Mahagitsiri is now No. 21 on the latest installment of an expanding financial blacklist issued by the Center for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation…”. The whole list has 151 names on it, beginning with Thaksin Shinawatra and his family. The military-backed government wants to crush them. It also includes businessmen, politicians, lawyers and others alleged to have financed the red shirts.

Prayudh makes instant coffee and is chief executive of Thainox Stainless, a steel company. Panlert Baiyoke, owner of the Baiyoke Sky Hotel, an 88-story Bangkok landmark is also listed.

Emphasizing the military nature of the Abhisit regime, the emergency decree was signed by army chief General Anupong Paochinda. Anupong claimed to want to “root out threats to ‘national security and the safety of citizens’ and ‘get rid of this problem effectively and immediately’.”

In other words, the military and the government have joined hands in an anti-democratic alliance to crush all threats to the monarchy and, essentially, to cripple all potential opposition for years to come.

The article claims this as evidence that “Thailand’s far-from-resolved confrontation is also a clash within Thailand’s elite.” It cites historian Chris Baker as saying that the conflict is an “ideological conflict mixed up with a business conflict.”

We can see the point, but PPT feels that this spin is one that tries to make too much of business. Businesses try to pick winners in momentus conflicts, and we wouldn’t be surprised if some businesses supported both sides in the conflict. We can think of Mao’s comments on the role of the “national bourgeoisies” in this context. But, the focus is the conflict and the issues it throws up.

The author gets this right when he notes: “Some of those on the blacklist sympathized with the red shirt cause, which boiled down to a demand that the government quit and call early elections…”.

Following comments made by PPT several days ago and over several months,  Chulalongkorn University’s Thitinan Pongsudhirak is cited as saying that “[a]rrests, censorship and the financial inquest have put Thailand on a slippery slope….The creeping fear is that this could become a witch hunt. The question is: Who is next?”

Indeed. However, as we noted, this slipping began as soon as the Abhisit government was shoe-horned into place by closed door deals brokered by shifty politicians, the military brass and by the filthy lucre of specific businessmen. We have also seen this government associated with assassination, murder and mayhem (think 10 April). It may not be at the bottom yet – gulags for political prisoners and torture perhaps? – but the bottom is in sight.

The dolt acting government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn lies agin in this article, making the truly ludicrous claim that the government is not engaging in a political vendetta. He says the money probe is “not a tool for political conflict.” Rather, it is “a response to a security threat.” Right, security has nothing to do with politics when you represent the party that controls political power at the behest of the military and palace. And then the fool comes up with the same claim that Thaksin made when he was engaged in politicized investigations of finances of opponents: “People who have nothing to hide have nothing to worry about…”. This man’s gall and stupidity is impossible to swallow.

The dedicatedly repressive government “has given no evidence of misbehavior by Prayudh other than a long association with Thaksin.” The same is true for almost everyone else on the list.

The witch hunt has gone beyond business to include anyone the government thinks might support red shirts. It needs no evidebnce to harrass, intimidate and even jail. It is a government without any legal controls on it.

So we have long-time peace and human rights advocate (and liberal royalist) Gothom Arya being vilified as a red shirt supporter for helping to arrange the sanctury at Wat Pathum Wanaram that was fired on by government troops, as medics worked on the wounded. Such an action by a well-meaning person are now considered almost criminal and gets the yellow-shirted media and the bloggers frothing at the mouth with rage. They are disgusting in their baying for retribution and blood.

This is a witch hunt that is likely to easily get out of hand and is going to destroy many good and innocent people. This will be Thailand’s first civilian regime dripping blood.