Thursday, November 27, 2008

When Democracy Backfires

The beauty of Democracy is that everyone gets their say.
When the people speak through the ballot box, the result - no matter what - is clear and final.

However, as I write, yet another state of emergency has been declared in Thailand. This time it centres on the capital's main airport at Bangkok.

A small minority of the country's population disagrees with the government they got and have taken to the streets. This has led to government buildings and the airport being occupied by protesters. Today Bangkok's busy streets are once again filled with gunfire and clashes between those factions who are for and against the government, the Peoples Power Party [PPP].

The PPP are democratically elected by the vast majority of Thailand's population who live simple lives in the countryside and work their fingers to the bone.

The problem is the PPP are notoriously corrupt. In 2006, Thailand's most infamous Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had to be ousted by a military coup leading to his exile, the disbanding of his political party, and the eventual formation of the PPP which was to replace it.

It is true to say that rural Thais, who love the PPP, were bought off by small grants of money and farm animals and the promise of having the needs of the country's poorest foremost on the agenda of national government.

All the while, Thaksin, his family and friends, and government officials were shamelessly engaged in shady business and land deals in which they continued to use their privileged status and public monies.

The ordinary Thai person is so far removed from the centre of power and wealth that they neither understand nor believe what their elected representatives are up to. Most country people are far too busy with their daily toil for survival to follow news and current affairs.

Bangkok is the world's gateway to Asia.
Its bright lights and hustle-bustle barely conceals another daily struggle for survival.

The majority of the city's population are drawn from the countryside.
They industriously and ingeniously reinvent themselves in a variety of ways to make enough money to get by and, of course, to Western Union down home to their families.
Some will never return home.
Most inevitably will, after the city has robbed them of their best years and the precious exuberance that goes with it.

That said, there is an emerging, well- established city population who are educated, successful and on the up.

The People's Alliance for Democracy [PAD] provides a political forum for a mixed bag comprising royalists, the urban middle-class, educated liberals, thriving small and large-scale business people, and the country's snooty elite some of whom look down on the farmers and village folk whose alleged stupidity and short-sightedness has gotten the country into its present sad and sorry mess.

The urban-rural prejudice aside, the political analysis and goals of the PAD are more like our own in the West. They espouse modern economic models for Thailand's future.
But for those goals to be realised, the PPP must go.

In an almost medieval feudal twist to a thoroughly modern tale, PAD supporters have laid their lives on the line in a last ditch all-or-nothing crusade to ignore the wishes of the majority and overthrow the corrupt PPP regime.

Many countries around the world are currently facing the same question... What can you do when the political opinion of the majority is wrong?

When Democracy backfires, and a bad government is elected, what can you do to change things?

The current Thai issue is becoming ever clearer.

Another election would deliver the same result.
For lasting change, or even temporary change, to occur there must be radical upheaval.

Perhaps the next stage will be for the military to get involved. Another coup may be imminent.
Over the decades there have been several already. Some unexpected and mercifully quick, other coups have been bloody and prolonged.

If indeed a military coup happens this time in Thailand, it will surely meet widespread resistance outside of Bangkok and possibly lead to the most dreadful massacre.

One thing is certain.

The whole country, city and country-dwellers alike, are utterly united by their love of the King. And this is the key to lasting peace and prosperity in Thailand.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the world's longest reigning monarch and without his blessing the fledgling democratic monarchy that is modern Thailand can achieve nothing.

His background is also very important for giving us a glimpse of the direction Thailand is gradually taking.
The king was born in the USA and educated mostly in Switzerland. Today he is one of the world's wealthiest men and regularly gives his own personal money for large-scale charitable and economic projects throughout the land.

His main public profile has always been above party politics.
Traditionally, his role is more spiritual in nature.
In a mainly Buddhist country, the king is seen as the one trustworthy individual who can be relied upon in all situations to uphold, preserve, and embody the qualities of the Buddha - Peace, Compassion and Wisdom.

Therefore, the king cannot condone violence. If there is violence, the king's hands are mainly tied. He has 2 options: to stay out of it altogether, or to plead for calm and an end to violence.
His role is to promote a peaceful outcome and guide the nation forward.

Today my thoughts are with beautiful Thailand - its wonderful people, their politicians, the army, and the king.

May peace and stability break out suddenly, like a revolution!
May Wisdom and Compassion flow like a refreshing river across the land!
May the hearts and minds of the people open to eachother, radiating unconditional love and random acts of kindness!


  1. Thanks, at least someone out there understands the situation in Thailand.

    The government keeps claiming they were "elected" ........but vote buying surely doesn't mean democratically elected. No one seems to recognize that.

    And these corrupt politicians are hardly the people to lecture PAD on lawlessness and treason - when their acts of corruption are much more treacherous.

  2. Dear Hopeless in BKK

    thanks for comment

    hope you are safe and well there in bkk
    what part of the city are you in?
    are you thai?
    what exactly is going on today?
    please keep in touch
    best wishes