The Bike for Dad infection

5 12 2015

So many officials and others have been charged with lese majeste, jailed, died in custody, gone into hiding or fled the country over the royal Bike for Mom/Bike for Dad escapades that PPT was surprised to see that Deputy Prime Minister General Tanasak Patimapragorn lead “representatives of both the public and private sectors to accept commemorative shirts of the BIKE FOR DAD campaign.”

General Tanasak presided over the ceremony to receive royally-granted shirts for the event supposedly organized by Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn to celebrate his parents, the king and queen. Neither have been sighted for some time, and rumors continue to swirl about their health and how they are maintained in this life. Doctors claim the king is alive and at Siriraj hospital and can do things like watch television.

The king is meant to turn 88 today. This years seems to be the lowest key birthday for many, many years. Change is upon Thailand.

The Bike for Dad event is apparently in trouble. General Tanasak was forced to express “confidence in the readiness of all units for the … event. He insisted that every single problem discovered will be fixed in time, adding that a rehearsal of various ceremonies to take place at the Royal Plaza will be held on December 9.” A security rehearsal is to be arranged by the police tomorrow.

This event is hugely expensive as well as jinxed by the arrests, deaths and more. The “celebration” seems to have been overcome by scandal, corruption and the military junta’s determination for it to go ahead. We can’t help wondering who else will be infected by the Bike for Dad ignominious fiasco.

Loving North Korea

9 08 2015

The North Korea connection with the military dictatorship in Bangkok continues to develop and is becoming warmer and more loving.

We choose that last word carefully, understanding that the military dictatorship’s foreign minister, General Tanasak Patimapragorn has recently expressed his personal love for China and its foreign minister….

At the Bangkok Post Tanasak says a visit by North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong will “discuss a range of bilateral issues … especially existing cooperation between two countries.” It is reported that a “government source said his visit was seen as a symbolic trip representing the long-standing bilateral relationship.” Tanasak added that: “It is not unusual for the North Korean foreign minister to visit our country…”. In fact, it is the first visit for 10 years.

Tanasak also explained that “the [military] government is ready to build ties with any country seeking a diplomatic relationship.” The dictatorship seems desperate.

Of course, and in line with his understanding of the cult of personality, Ri “is scheduled to visit several royal projects…”.


Chinese love

7 08 2015

Thailand has had some pretty terrible ministers in recent years. Some of them incompetent, others incoherent and some just plain dull. Perhaps none has filled all of those categories at one time, until now.

An AFP report that has gone around the world tells us, if we didn’t already know it, that the military dictatorship’s foreign minister, General Tanasak Patimapragorn takes the cake as probably the dullest, most incompetent and most incoherent minister for a very long time. In this space, there have been others who were pretty awful, including Kasit Piromya, who repeatedly made mistakes due to his inability to speak to any script and for his apparent disorientation at critical times. Yet Kasit looks like an Einstein when compared with Tanasak.

The AFP report begins by acknowledging that the military dictatorship has “visibly cosied up to China since seizing power in a coup last year,” reflecting the cool relationship with Western countries following that illegal seizure of power.

Yet Tanasak has gone further and in a pres conference at an event where ASEAN members have been having trouble dealing with China on the South China Sea issue he has thrown his support behind China. This has probably flummoxed Thailand’s ASEAN partners, but Tanasak seems to care little for them. The report states that Tanasak “appears to be especially enamoured” of China. This feeling for China was ludicrously expressed as a personal love for China and its foreign minister.

Tanasak told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and the assembled press: “At this moment we believe this is the best time for our relationship. Especially for my personal contact with minister Wang Yi who is a very nice and polite person…”. He went further, saying that: “If I were a woman I will fall in love with his excellency [Wang Li]…”.

Tanasak, reportedly “a close confidant of coup leader and now Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha,” babbled on about a “relationship with China goes back more than 1,000 years” and claimed something more than a diplomatic relationship:  “We … talks [sic.] like personal, like family, like friend…”.

We are sure the Chinese, Thailand’s ASEAN partners, its treaty partners and the reporters were stunned by such a diplomatic dunce.

Missing the boat

21 05 2015

The Bangkok Post begins a story on boats and the human disaster of large-scale trafficking and slaving with this:

Thailand is prepared to help the thousands of boat people in the region only by extending humanitarian assistance, despite Malaysia and Indonesia agreeing to provide temporary shelter, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha says.

“Thailand is midway, so we have more problems [than other countries]. In terms of policy, we agree to help but all remains to be discussed,” he said.

The country will provide humanitarian assistance to irregular migrants, but not allow them to stay on Thai soil, he said Wednesday.

Like us, most readers probably don’t understand The Dictator’s contradictory dictum. Thailand isn’t “midway,”but is a major node in trafficking, with significant involvement of corrupt official and military, all of whom have enriched themselves by the suffering of those being trafficked. This case is just one of many; think of Burmese migrants and their huge movement into Thailand and how this has enriched so many. Think of the camps controlled by the military from the 1970s to the 1990s. And there’s more. Using people in these ways has been normalized for the rich and powerful.

What we do understand is this photo:

Thailand missing

Yes, that is the Thai flag on the right. The puppet Minister of Foreign Affairs, General Tanasak Patimapragorn is missing. Why? The report states “he had to first refer back to whether the move would be allowed by Thai ‘domestic laws’.” Naturally, he had to refer any decision to The Dictator. Equally naturally, he has to be careful about the powerful interests involved in human trafficking.

A PR disaster for sure, but more significantly, a humanitarian disaster.

Believe us, we are generals

29 09 2014

The U.N. has seen plenty of generals show up looking uncomfortable in ill-fitting suits. Presumably the arrival of one of Thailand’s military junta, out of uniform and “defending the political takeover by its military…”, was not particularly out of the ordinary.

But there must be some kind of cognitive dissonance when a General like Tanasak Patimapragorn shows up and says the military junta “won’t ‘go against the tide of democracy’.” See his speech here.

General in a suitWhen this General then tells the U.N. General Assembly “that democracy is about more than just holding elections,” he might strike a blow with other dictatorial and authoritarian regimes, but must worry more enlightened listeners.

When Tanasak says that the junta requires the “time and space” to” bring about reconciliation and undertake political reforms,” like the media, most will understand that the junta is simply seeking to “purge the influence of the ousted ruling party and benefit an elite minority.”

No amount of babbling about the monarchy and sufficiency economy can hide the nature of this repressive regime.

When Tanasak has the audacity to “remind” the General Assembly that human security is about “human dignity, human rights, equity, equality, social justice, and the promise of a better future for all,” the Orwellian nature of the regime is also on display.

No one should believe a spokesman for an illegal military regime.

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