Letters to the Editor
Democrat's ultimatum to Thai Rak Thai shows party in a poor light
The Democrats are doing their party a major disservice by giving Thai Rak Thai an ultimatum to take action on alleged electoral fraud by three Thai Rak Thai executives "or I [Democrat secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban] will expose other Thai Rak Thai deputy party leaders who have committed similar misdeeds".
As good citizens, the Democrats should reveal all they know, stating what is factual and what they suspect but cannot prove, and let the Election Commission carry the ball from there.
The Democrats should also help keep the matter before the public, to keep it from being buried, but it should not set itself up as judge and jury.
Also, what happens if, say, Thai Rak Thai gives in to the ultimatum? Will the Democrats forgive the misdeeds by others that they claim happened? What right do they have to do that? What about the temptation to say, "We'll forgive your legal offences if you'll forget ours?"
The Democrats should keep the moral high ground, not leave we the people having to choose between two peas in a pod.
Verdict against Egat listing is just the first victory
Let's salute the Supreme Administrative Court for its historic verdict that revoked the plan to privatise Egat! Let's salute the fighters and the many behind them for their dauntless spirit and unyielding efforts that won them this historic victory!
The verdict has certainly dealt a heavy, if not yet fatal, blow to embattled caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who, no longer his old self, nowadays has the words "we always play by the rules" on his lips all of the time. Actually, innumerable facts have shown that he has always breached the rules.
To the thousands upon thousands of people who are at the moment waging a struggle to right wrong and oust Thaksin, this historic victory certainly has given great encouragement to carry their cause through to the end, to the day when victory is finally won.
Don't wait for a saviour: only you can save democracy
I certainly sympathise with Khun Chul "Cho" Chang, who complains that we monkeys have only bad choices available to us in terms of political leaders (Letters, March 25). We Americans have exactly the same problem with our corrupt political class, all representing those who have paid to put them in power through our system of legalised bribery, of "campaign contributions". We have no representation, and no chance of representation, by the incumbents of either our "Republicrat" or "Demopublican" parties.
But Chul's cry, "Where are you, our saviour, the knight in shining armour?" is a recipe for disaster. Please don't forget that, though it's hard to believe sometimes, things can always get worse.
"Give the people a chance to see you, our saviour," Chul continues. "Let us hear what we need to hear. Wake us up! Speak what all the great leaders before us have spoken. Mesmerise us with your words and actions."
Now I'm really scared!
Democracy is hard work. We in the United States must simply band together, swear not to accept "campaign contributions" from the various war, oil and Likud lobbies that have bought and own our incumbent politicians, and run for office to represent ourselves. Not the office of President of the United States but as district representatives in the House of Representatives. That's where the money gets appropriated.
No money, no war. No war, no crony capitalism, no deficit. It really is that simple.
In a democracy we the people are ultimately responsible for our government. No one likes politics. It does have an unsavory aura. But if we don't get our own hands dirty seeing to our own affairs, then someone will ride up on a white horse and take our democracies away.
John Francis Lee
Government is paying price for helping the poor
There have been misgivings over a brand of democracy that is peculiarly Thai. As a resident here at this time and also in 1992, I certainly share this anxiety. Sadly it can take but a few megaphone-wielding protagonists, intentionally or otherwise, to raise the fervour of those attending mass demonstrations to violence pitch. This has happened here more than once before with very unfortunate consequences, but it seems lessons were not learned. Those rural electors who rally to Thaksin's support are the poor and needy folk he is endeavouring to help. The majority of them will sustain him.
Neglected as they often were by successive governments, who primarily sought the backing of and catered to the affluent, influential members of Thai society, these country folk have gained the most from Thaksin's attempt to achieve a more equal distribution of wealth. It is primarily the rich who can regularly afford to leave their homes and businesses to cause traffic jams by partying in the streets and to listen to their favourites such as Sondhi Limthongkul and Chamlong Srimuang.
When the Thaksin government announced early in its term a social programme including schemes for universal healthcare, village funds, cattle for rural villages and communities, education, housing and welfare, I felt, in the light of what had happened with such schemes in the UK, that they would never work. That they have to differing degrees so far is surely something that should be welcomed. If you set out to uplift the underprivileged, there will inevitably be some among the well endowed who cry foul.
It is a slow transformation, but already bringing about some improvement in the social and physical health of the nation as a whole. Instead of being welcomed, it is decried by a number of individuals representing the undoubted failures of the past. No government of whatever political complexion can possibly right the wrongs and social injustices built up over decades of previous mediocre administrations overnight.
That attempts to do something about evils afflicting life in this country should have stirred up such ferocious opposition among a number of Bangkok's affluent residents suggests to me that these efforts are succeeding. Possibly it disturbs their home comforts and bank balances.
Thaksin Shinawatra is indeed a rich man but let the opposition not pretend he is the only affluent national who has ever sought to take advantage of loopholes in the country's law. These are at times framed for that very purpose.
Nowadays we hear a lot about ethics and moral values. Where, pray, are the ethics of attempting to coerce a popularly elected prime minister out of office, not by the ballot box, which he has offered over and over again, but by mass hysteria? If they are so confident that the nation no longer wants him to lead them, what prevents them from putting it to the test? What do they want from him, acknowledgement of defeat in advance?
Frankly it is about time that that portion of the Thai political scene that calls itself the opposition and their protesting followers began acting like members of a truly democratic society rather than like juvenile sheep. The longer they take to come to their senses, the longer it will take the country to overcome the economic downturn their antics are already beginning to achieve.
Details of Privy Council would be welcome
Just who is on the Privy Council? And who are the secretaries? Considering the news these days, it is understandable that readers should demand more details.
Now would be a most appropriate time for the Thai press to describe the duties of the Privy Council and list the names of all 19 members. Not a single website provides an accurate up-to-date listing of Privy Council membership. The press should also include biographical details about the Privy Council members.
The press should also tell the readers something about His Majesty the King's secretaries. After all, they too are often in the news these days.
China softer on Taiwan than the US was on the South
W Knight from California asks what we are to make of China's "blinkered, obsessive approach" to Taiwan (Letters, March 23).
I suppose, as an example, we could look to the United States' approach to the southern states seceding from the Union and the subsequent war of 1861-1865 which left the South devastated and which took about 60 years for those states to recover.
Talk about calling the kettle black!
The difference is that China has not used a big stick like the US when it lost some territories and instead has allowed Taiwan to flourish and will continue to do so as long as Taiwan doesn't rock the boat. Seems a fair deal to me!
Better manners will generally get you better results
Re: "Immigration ordeal inflames sense of isolation", Letters, March 24.
Michael Weldon, why would anyone go to Immigration without a pen? To then throw a borrowed pen back is rude and ignorant anywhere, not just at Immigration.
Then you write in and display your ignorance to all the readers. You are lucky they didn't throw you out on your backside.
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