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Judgement day in Thailand

MsExPat's picture

Quite by coincidence, I find myself in Bangkok just in time for this.

This Friday, the Thai Supreme Court will hand down their judgement on whether Thaksin Shinawatra used political power for illegal financial gain (it's pretty clear he did.) If the verdict is yes--and it's likely it will be--then the Thai government gets to confiscate Thaksin's frozen 76.6 billion bhat in assets. And the streets here, they say, are going to roll.

Well, I'll find out. I'm supposed to be here through "Judgement Day" and over the weekend. Will report back.

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Submitted by lambert on

Would you like to me set up anything live so that Thai people can talk?

I could set up the chat in the sidebar as a page -- and I can also set up a module that allows audio recording directly into the site from a computer (no video, yet, alas) -- so if you have a laptop with a mike (or an Internet cafe with one) you could get live reporting.

Thoughts? Just give me a headsup, since this could take a little time...

P.S. I hope Princess Angel comes out the winner in all this...

MsExPat's picture
Submitted by MsExPat on

But I can and will post about what I see and hear.

The issue right now isn't about the royal family at all. It's about Thailand figuring out how to move forward from Thaksin.

Thaksin was and is corrupt. He used his political position to nudge affairs in Thailand in order to make him, his family, and cronies tons of money. The best defense argument that he and his red shirt followers have is a pretty sorry one: that Thaksin only did what the entrenched Thai elite has been doing for generations.

Thailand certainly needs to confront its corruption and crony society. But Thaksin can't do it and his moment is over--he needs to let go so that the Thai opposition can be about the issues, and not all about him.

That is what the upcoming Supreme Court decision will do--it will force Thaksin out of the game. (And force the opposition to re-strategize its tactics and goals). These are all good things, but the transition isn't going to be easy.

There's a really good summing up of the challenges to Thai society by the editorial page editor of the Bangkok Post in today's paper:

It's going to be an uphill task trying to make Thailand a more equitable society with welfare benefits that can be accessed by people across the social spectrum. But it is one that is worth fighting for. It is one that is going to benefit the country more than anything Thaksin has ever done. It is one that is worth much more than the 76-billion-baht that is the source of national belligerence, a huge choke on the partially blocked national air passage, at the moment. But to get there, this group of people who sympathise with "the cause" will have to transcend the Thaksin factor. It's a big mountain to climb but it's not an impossible one.