13 April 2009

Abhisit declares emergency in Bangkok over Red Shirts

The political situation in Bangkok is deteriorating rapidly, as different forces act in their own interest. The crucial test to come may well be the army rank and file's loyalties. Full essay.


Anonymous said...

Dear Alex,

Thank you for a fascinating account.

One question, though: just what made Abhisit bite when he was offered the job, if indeed he had no "ground forces" of his own?

Anonymous said...

Not forgetting that Thaksin was once a senior cop, hence it has always been suspected that the police would tend to be pro-Thaksin..

Chee Wai Lee said...

Anon 13 Apr 10:41,

Perhaps Abhisit is a Thai version of Mr. Siew Kum Hong? When given a chance, he wanted to pursue his civic duty in spite of knowing his impact will be highly limited?

By now, I guess everyone knows the army has opened fire on/around the crowds. Things have gotten worse.

It feels like there's open class warfare now in Thailand, where people cannot respect the results of an election or work with a government that they did not support at the polls.

In the US, the Democrats "sucked it up" for 8 years - technically 6, since they regained the house then. This is despite the fact that many Democrats felt both the 2000 and 2004 elections were "stolen" by Bush.

I am somewhat fearful that the mentality where people cannot accept an election result (one that is deemed fair, which really is the crux of the problem, isn't it?) exists in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

your comments are very ill-informed and very miss leading and bias. it shows how much you know or don't know about thai politics. Thaksin and his former Thai Rak Thai party MPs were behind of all of this trying to cause chaos to return back to power. So you think its right to lure people to Die for Thaksin while he and his family shop in Dubai? He corrupted the whole system while he was in power and wanted to stay in power by giving hand-outs to entice rural people while he increasing his family's wealth.
Abhisit and the government used vey cleaver tactics with very little violence. what the reds did during the ASEAN meeting needed to be addressed and the government handled things very strategically. i'm sure in "other countries" they might handled things very differently.

Anonymous said...

The Thai democracy is strictly speaking, a flawed democracy. People do not respect electoral results. There were curbs on freedom of expression, thinly disguised as protecting the dignity of the monarchy. Rapid economic development in the past few decades have not seen a fairer distribution of wealth across the nation. Although Thaksin was alleged to be corrupted and accused of being authoritarian, he had brought improvements in living standards of the poorer people who were mostly located in the northern part of the country. His style had made the powerful elite in Bangkok felt threatened. They are not willing to lose their privileged status. The putdown of the Red Shirts by the armed forces will not extinguish the anger and frustration they felt because of their poverty. The poor are now not willing to accept poverty as their lot in their lives. The only way that Abhist could pacify them is to bring economic improvement to the country and share the fruits of economic development with them.

Anonymous said...

YB wrote: Thailand's army is mostly made up of conscripts. Either they wouldn't know how to react calmly and with discipline to protest situations or their obedience to their commanders could be shakey. However, there are crack units who will probably obey orders to shoot if given.Led me to think about the parallel wrt Singapore's NS conscripts, gurkhas (crack unit) and one old man's declaration to send in the army in the event of a freak election.

Sawadee Khrap said...

I agree with Anonymous who said, "your comments are very ill-informed and very miss leading and bias. it shows how much you know or don't know about thai politics."

My dad and my step mum, who is Thai, live in Khon Kaen and their assessment of the situation is quite different from your opinion, and more in line with what Anonymous wrote.

Nevertheless, thanks for your insights.