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Hope and change in Thailand

Some good detail on Thailand from the BBC. I'll single out two vignettes:

Away from the stage I came across Noong Lak, a demure lady in her 50s. She and her sister had made a long journey to join the festivities.

"We had to sell all our rice to come tonight," she says. "Maybe later we won't have enough to eat. We might have to catch frogs or live off fish but we wanted to support our radio station.

"Now the government only looks after the rich - it doesn't care about poor people like us."

At one of the tables I meet Ploy, a young woman with a red ribbon in her hair.
She has just graduated from a university in Chon Buri, south of Bangkok, where she had to keep a low profile as the only red-shirt in her class.

"Many people hate Thaksin and say he is a thief," she says. "But he is the first prime minister who has given something back to this country.

"Perhaps he is corrupt - I don't know. Everybody in power is corrupt but he at least gave some benefits to the poor".

Yep. And no multi-trillion bailouts for banksters, either.

Of course, the movement these two women were part of, the red shirts, has been suppressed. I doubt very much it will stay suppressed long.

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MsExPat's picture
Submitted by MsExPat on

to get himself elected? But meanwhile, he was enabling his rich cronies?

That is what Thaksin did during the time of his prime ministership--except he wasn't enriching cronies as much as he was enriching himself and his family. He used the most heavy of hands to supress the media and the opposition and enable his plunder, as a quick scan of his dossier at Human Rights Watch reveals

The poor folks in Thailand's northeast received a small fraction of the pie, which nevertheless was enough to ensure their fierce loyalty, even now.

It makes me sad to read anecdotes like the ones in the BBC. Thai people deserve real systemic reform, not an obscenely wealthy demagogue who tosses them a few gold coins from the back of his Mercedes.

Submitted by lambert on

But it's better that they participate, and also get a few gold coins, too. Maybe this is just a start! (And in a way, it's good that the leadership called things off. So far as I can tell, the Thais can't really stage a good riot, and that's a good thing.)