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It seems they have belatedly recognized that their message wasn’t getting across to a foreign audience.  Talk of overthrowing a democratically elected government in order to create a democratic form of government wasn’t exactly the clearest of messages.  So the newly mis-named Civil Movement for Democracy has decided to use one of its great strengths – the superior education of its supporters.

English-speaking CMD-ers have been trained to give vox pop interviews to foreign journalists.  Although perfectly confident in their ability to become international media stars, they have been given an answer sheet in case the questions get too difficult.

Prachatai has not managed to obtain a copy of this crib sheet, but some of its contents might be guessed from the following transcript of a recent interview in the grounds of an occupied ministry:

‘Your protest started over the amnesty bill.  But you won that victory more than a week ago.  Why are you still on the streets?’

‘Yes, amnesty was wrong because of Thaksin corruption.  If we have not punishment for corruption, go to jail for Thaksin, the country not progress.’

‘OK, but the amnesty would also have whitewashed the killings under the Abhisit government.  But as I said, the amnesty is a dead issue.  Why are you still protesting?’

‘Yes, we protest Thaksin corruption and Yingluck and Thaksin regime.  If have Thaksin regime, still corruption, so must end Thaksin regime.’

‘Do you mean that all corruption comes from Thaksin?’

‘Yes, Thaksin most corrupt in Thailand.’

‘But there were many cases of corruption in Thailand before Thaksin.  For example, in 1995, the government was forced to resign because of a corruption scandal.’

‘Not Thaksin?’

‘No, the Minister of Agriculture had given Land Reform plots in Phuket to wealthy people, and the government decided to resign rather than face a no-confidence debate in parliament.  And the Minister’s name was Suthep Thaugsuban.’ 


‘And Suthep tried to defend himself by organizing a march by his supporters, a bit like this one.’

‘Minute please.’  (Hurriedly consults her crib sheet.)  ‘Ah, OK.  Here it is.  Despite many baseless accusations, Khun Suthep has never been convicted of any corruption charges.’

‘So rather like Thaksin?’

‘No.  Thaksin guilty of many corruptions.’ 

‘Technically no.  I’m not saying that Thaksin was not corrupt.  He was involved in dozens of very suspicious deals.  But the only conviction was the Ratchadaphisek land deal.  And that was abuse of authority because by law he had to sign his wife’s bid.  The court didn’t say the deal was corrupt and she was first allowed to keep the land and was later given her money back, plus interest.  That wouldn’t have happened if it was corruption.’

‘You say that Thaksin not corruption?’

‘No, far from it.  Just that the evidence that he is corrupt is like the evidence for Suthep.’

‘But So Po Ko was long time ago.’

‘OK.  In 2009, Suthep was on the Police Commission and blocking his own Prime Minister’s choice of Police Chief.  Rumours say police officers bought lucrative postings for millions while Suthep was in charge.  In 2009, Suthep resigned as an MP before the Election Commission could prosecute him for illegally owning shares in a company that had a government contract.  In 2011, Suthep was chairman of the National Palm Oil Policy Committee when a strange shortage of palm oil forced prices up 50%.  The producers must have made millions.  And one of the major producers is Suthep’s family.  And …’

‘No, listen.  Despite many baseless accusations, Khun Suthep has never been convicted of any corruption charges.’

‘OK, so explain how you are going to get a true democracy without elections.’

‘Yes, we have People’s Council with good people, not politicians.’

‘But who chooses this Council?’

‘Good people choose.’

‘OK, and who chooses the good people?’

‘Who choose?  We know who is good people.  Is people with good family, good job, knowledge.  Like us.  Not like red shirt.  They uneducated, no knowledge.’

‘But the red shirts have rights under the constitution.  And the constitution says nothing about any People’s Council.  You’d be breaking the constitution if you denied every Thai the same rights or formed a People’s Council.’

‘No, Yingluck break constitution, by not follow court.’

‘But when I read the constitution, I think the court’s decision was wrong.’

‘You read constitution?  How?’

‘Well, there is an official English translation and I can read Thai.’

‘Why you farang read Thai constitution?  It belongs Thailand.  Something like that, you read and you know too much.’

‘Too much?  Is that illegal?’

‘Yes.  You stop knowing about Thailand or I call guards and beat you up like German red shirt reporter.

About author:  Bangkokians with long memories may remember his irreverent column in The Nation in the 1980's. During his period of enforced silence since then, he was variously reported as participating in a 999-day meditation retreat in a hill-top monastery in Mae Hong Son (he gave up after 998 days), as the Special Rapporteur for Satire of the UN High Commission for Human Rights, and as understudy for the male lead in the long-running ‘Pussies -not the Musical' at the Neasden International Palladium (formerly Park Lane Empire).


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