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Just1Voice

Death Of A Nation? Paradise Lost? Death Of Paradise?

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Just1Voice    13,346

DEATH OF A NATION? PARADISE LOST?

OR THE DEATH OF PARADISE?

There was a time, not that long ago, when Thailand was considered as just about the closest thing to Paradise on earth. In spite of the numerous military coups, it was a beautiful country, with people who were warm and friendly, welcoming visitors with that famous Thai smile, and where the sights and attractions, as well as the prices of things made it a "must go to" place for foreign travelers.

Thailand was the undisputed leader in Southeast Asia in just about every category from the production and exportation of rice, to manufacturing, and the unquestioned leader in tourism.

In 2005 the national elections were hailed in the international media as the most fair and corruption free in Thai history. Thailand was "on a roll" and it seemed as if nothing, or anyone, could stop the progress they were making. But it all came to an end with the coup which overthrew Thaksin.

Was Thaksin, as many claim, on his way to become a dictator? We will never know, as the curtain came down on that play before the final scene. Was Thaksin corrupt? Most likely he was. But was he, or is he, the only corrupt politician in Thailand? Not by a long shot. But what I find interesting are comments made by General Sonthi, who led the coup, and who stated to international media that the coup: "….was necessary because we couldn't find any way to democratically remove him (Thaksin) from power." And a statement by Sondhi Limthongkil who stated, while giving a talk at a U.S. University, that: "The coupe was necessary because the Old Powers of Bangkok were losing their power and wanted it back." In other words, we can't win at the ballot box, so we'll win at the point of a gun.

I am not here to defend Thaksin, but merely point out a few things. Such as, since the coup there has been a steady decline in Thailand that is obvious for all to see. Recently Transparency International stated that Thailand is now more corrupt than it was during the days of Thaksin, yet, those who staged the coup said it was to rid Thailand of Thaksin and his corruption. To an outsider it would appear they got rid of the garden snake to bring in more vipers.

POLITICS

Politics in Thailand are controlled by the military. This is a fact that everyone inside and outside of Thailand recognizes. Some make the comparison to Burma, but with a more "polished veneer" to it, but the fact is, Democracy does not truly exist in Thailand. When the choice and votes of the overwhelming majority is ignored, then tossed out by the elite few who feel they have the right to control who is in charge, Democracy is merely a word with no meaning.

After the coup the 1997 "People's Constitution" was tossed out and a new one presented to the Thai population. And while proponents will tell you that the majority of Thai voted for it, they seem to conveniently forget that the Thai people were given an ultimatum: "Vote for this one or remain under martial law indefinitely." What would you have done in that situation?

Yet, even after the coup the following elections once again, by overwhelming majority, brought back into power those who fell under the Thaksin banner. This was too much of an embarrassment to the coup makers, and as a result the coup appointed courts found reasons to disband those political parties, and politicians, who did not meet the approval of the coup makers, setting the stage for the current government.

There are arguments, pro and con, in regards to the "legitimacy" of the current government. Many say it is "illegal", and is a result of military intervention, while others point out that it was formed by the "legal" process of voting within Parliament, citing other similar coalition governments such as Great Brittan. But the bottom line is this: Without the coup, and without the disqualification of the duly elected governments by the majority, and then the "switching of allegiance" by factors who had previously supported the Thaksin camp, this government would not exist. There are many who believe that this government now clings to power by any means necessary because they fear a new election and the possible embarrassment and humiliation of a defeat at the polls.

And it would appear to many that they are "clinging to power by any means necessary" if you follow the events since the breakup of the demonstrations by the Red Shirts. With the enforcement of the Emergency Decree any voice of opposition in the form of radio stations, television stations and print media that does not support the government is being labeled as "terrorism" and being silenced. Web sites are being shut down by the hundreds by the governments "watch dogs" whose sole duty is to surf the net and find any site that has anything detrimental to say in regard to the government, then block it, or threaten the owners with jail if they do not shut it down. There is no such thing as "Free Speech" in Thailand, and with each passing day, the grip of the government censors becomes more iron fisted.

The Prime Minister appears before international media and claims that "Everything is back to normal" in Thailand in an effort to boost the country's image and improve foreign investments. Yet, the government then extends the S.O.E. for another three months. My question is: How can things be normal if you are enforcing a State of Emergency? What is the purpose of the S.O.E., other than to control and silence the opposition? This question has been raised, in various forms, by a number of individuals and organizations, both internationally and within Thailand itself, with no clear or reasonable explanation coming from the government, other than "national security".

JUSTICE

Sometimes I joke that the word "JUSTICE" in Thai means "Just Us". As in "Just us with the money and/or guns and tanks can do whatever we want, while the rest of you will face the full punishment of the law." It's no secret that, for example a poor man who steals a second hand television gets twelve years in prison, and is sent away immediately, while the son of a rich family only gets 10 years for deliberately driving his Mercedes into a group of people at a bus stop out of frustration, killing 3 of them, and has yet to serve more than one night in jail, and even now is out on bond pending his appeal.

The son of a politician shot and killed a policeman. In most countries, especially the democratic ones, he would be serving life behind bars, and possibly even facing the death penalty. But in Thailand he has never spent a night in jail.

There are hundred of cases, and perhaps even thousands of them, like this that play out daily in Thailand, which only serves to make a mockery of the justice system, and further divide the country between the "haves" and the "have nots".

But over the past 2 years the most glaring example of "justice", or lack thereof, falls on the treatment of those who support and lead the Reds, and those who support and lead the Yellows. Even the most casual observer can see the determination of the government to go after and prosecute the Reds as swiftly as possible, and by every means necessary, while the leaders of the Yellows, who illegally occupied Government House and the International Airport walk free with minimum bonds, and no court dates set for them. Or dates that are set, but then are continued so the prosecutors can "question more witnesses". I can only wonder if the prosecutors watched the same (government controlled) television, and read the same (government controlled) news media that I did, which clearly showed example after example of lawlessness and violence on the part of the PAD. If so, my question is: "What more evidence do you need?"

While I do not disagree with the arrest and prosecution of Reds who clearly broke the laws and incited violence, if the government wants to rid itself of the blatant "Double Standards" tag which it has been labeled with, then they must show the same fervor in the prosecution of the leaders of PAD. Failure to do so will only create more animosity, anger, angst and potentially violence in the future by those who feel they are being discriminated against.

TOURISM

Despite the hopes, wishes, and optimistic predictions by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and others, Thailand will never again see the tourism numbers of the past. There are many reasons for this. One which can not be overlooked is the current financial crises that is besetting nearly every country. Quite simply, people do not have the money to travel that they used to.

Yet, Thailand itself is also to blame for many things. The strength of the baht against the Dollar, Euro and Pound is seriously detrimental to vacationers who are looking for the best value they can find. Many of them are finding that places such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Bali, Indonesia, and even Cambodia have as much to offer as Thailand, and at a much better price.

A prime example is that a couple of weeks ago I went online to check prices for round trip tickets from Bangkok to LA. Thai Airways, which prides itself on being the "National carrier", quoted a price of over 98,000 baht for Economy Class, while EVA quoted a price of less than 60,000 baht for their Emerald Class, which is equivalent to "Business Class" in other airlines.

But even if you were to set that aside, there are other factors which are causing potential tourists to change their destination plans. The S.O.E. is one of them. They feel that if the government of Thailand doesn't feel safe, and needs the S.O.E. to maintain law and order, then it must not be safe to come here. They look at the political demonstrations of the PAD and UDD, and the violence both of them brought about, and do not want to take a chance on being caught up in that should violence break out again.

And anyone who goes online can read report after report, and comment after comment about the taxi scams at the airports. Of how the illegal taxis and their drivers refuse to use their meters and quote prices that are double and even triple what a normal trip would cost. Or who tell you that the hotel you have reservations in "burned down" last night, but will take you someplace just as nice, but end up taking you to a hotel that is not as nice, but will charge you the same rate, or more, than the one you booked, leaving you little choice in the matter.

They read how the tuk tuk mafia in places such a Phuket and Pattaya gouge you for every baht they can get, and will even harass you if you refuse their services. They read of how tuk tuk drivers blocked the roads and "demanded" that U.S. Navy personnel use their services, at grossly inflated prices, and instead of being arrested by the police, a "negotiation" was conducted in which the officers would be allowed to use the vans provided, but the enlisted men would be forced to comply with the demands of the tuk tuk drivers.

They read about the two tiered pricing that charges foreigners up to 10 times more than a Thai in some places for admission.

They can go online and read daily about rapes and attempted rapes of foreign women by tuk tuk drivers and others. Or the muggings and beatings of foreigners by Thai while out walking at night, and sometimes in broad daylight, especially in the tourist "hot spots" such as Phuket and Pattaya.

They read of the scams by the jet ski and watercraft owners who will demand you pay for damages they say you caused, even tough the damage was there before you rented the craft.

They read about how the quality of service in 5 Star hotels is less than a 1 Star hotel, with staff that are rude and abusive, with an "I don't care" attitude towards guests.

They read about how the once beautiful and pristine beaches of Thailand have now become filthy with garbage, and how they have become inundated with overpriced hotels and vendors who take up every available space possible in order to hawk their wares.

They read of how they are approached and hassled to buy porn videos, DVD and magazines, many of them involving child pornography, while walking down the street with their families.

And then they read the comments from people who have been to the countries I have listed previously, and how they extol the virtues and services of those countries, and how they were truly made to feel welcome and wanted, not to mention how much less expensive it is, and then they make their decisions, crossing Thailand off their list.

I have to shake my head in amusement when I read the "forecast predictions" by TAT in regards to tourism, and wonder where they get their overly inflated numbers from. When I read that tourism for this month is up as compared to this month last year, I wonder what they are basing that on. Do they bother to read the reports of the hotel association which clearly shows that occupancy is down, not up, when compared to this month last year? Do they have any idea of how many hotels, and smaller businesses have been forced to close their doors due to lack of business? There is a "joke" among many that say the TAT is getting their numbers by counting everyone as a "tourist" who gets off a plane in Thailand, even if they are getting on another to go somewhere else, as well as all the individuals who have to make "border runs" to renew their visas. Perhaps the Ministers of TAT should put aside their fortune tellers, crystal balls and get out of their air conditioned offices and actually visit a few places and talk to some people, finding out the truth about the tourism industry.

NO LONGER THE LEADER

Each time I read where Thailand wants to become a "Hub" for something in Southeast Asia, I don't know whether to laugh or merely shake my head and wonder "What are they thinking?" As I mentioned earlier, Thailand once lead Southeast Asia in nearly every category, but that is no longer the case. Five years ago they led the world in the exportation of rice with over 60% of the export market. Now they are barely holding on to 30%, and have been replaced by Vietnam as the Number 1 rice exporter.

A few months back there was an article in regards to scientists in the U.S. developing a new strain of rice called "Jazzman". Many Thai thought this was a poor attempt by the U.S. to copy the famous "Jasmin" rice of Thailand. When it was pointed out that the U.S. could produce over four times as many crops with the Jazzman rice as the Thai Jasmin rice, a Thai official, either in arrogance or ignorance, declared that Thailand had nothing to worry about, as people would always select the better Thai Jasmine rice. I don't think the other countries who import rice heard him, as they are ignoring Thai rice and going with the less expensive Vietnamese rice to feel their people.

Thailand wants to be an "Education Hub" as well. This makes me laugh, as the Thai school system is well known for "rote memorization" and the suppression of "free thinking" and "analysis" by students, and it is made even more laughable by the recent revelation that over 80% of the teachers failed tests on the very subject they teach.

And while the government is to be commended, to some degree, on their proposals of "free education" for everyone up to the university level, let's be honest about something. That "free education" is not truly free, as parents still have to pay for uniforms, shoes and books, often at inflated prices, and the quality of that education for a school in Issan is far below that of a school in Bangkok. Recently I read a report about a school demanding that their students must wear a particular style and brand of shoe, and were give one week to get them. If they did not have them by then, they would not be allowed to attend school.

With the exception of two, and possibly three universities in Thailand, the degrees issued by most are not even recognized by Western countries. A case in point is that I know a young Thai couple who both received Master's Degrees in English from a Thai University. After graduation they became teachers here in Thailand for a few years, then decided to go to the U.S. and "greener pastures". They returned less than a year later, rejected and saddened. When I spoke to them upon their return they told me that time after time their employment applications were simply rejected by the school systems in the U.S., as their degrees were not recognized. The husband ended up getting a job as a counter clerk in an automotive parts company, and the wife finally landed a job in a library. She said the only good thing to come from her job was that it gave her time to read, and that she was completely shocked when she read books on the history of Thailand, as all of them gave a nearly totally different version of Thai history when compared to what she was taught in school.

Thailand wants to become a "Manufacturing Hub", yet continues to be one of the "leaders" in restrictions and red tape that deter investors from coming here, and don't seem to understand that many of the companies they would like to invest here are going to China, Vietnam, Lao, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, where there are better deals and less red tape.

CORRUPTION

It was somewhat sad and disheartening to read the results of a recent poll in which the people of Thailand basically said that corruption was not only accepted as a way of life in Thailand, but ok as well. Yet, at the same time we are bombarded with stories about corruption from the highest politicians to the lowest police man, with cries for and end to this corruption within the Thai society.

Everyone knows how the police set up their "check points" on certain days of the week, or month, to "enforce the law" in regards to wearing a helmet while riding a motorbike. I've read comments where, in some places, everyone wears a helmet during the day, but at 5:00 they stop wearing them because the police have gone home for the night. Many people joke that these "check points" are usually set up in mass at the beginning and ending of each month so the officers can get money to pay their bills and have money for their girl friends. The foreigners who get stopped, and who are smart, demand that the police give them a ticket they can go pay at the local police station, refusing the pay the "fine" on the spot the police demand, as by doing this, and sticking to it, the police almost always simply "wave them on" and allow them to pass.

And while government officials deny that both police officers and military officers 'pay "bribes" to their superiors to gain promotions, it seems they are the only ones who don't know this is happening. My guess is they do know, but pretend shock and surprise at hearing it, and vow to put an end to it, but their rhetoric is wasted as nothing is ever done. I am reminded of Diogenes of Sinope, a Greek philosopher who used to walk the streets during the day carrying a lantern, and when asked what he was doing, would reply: "I'm looking for an honest man". He never found one then, and sure wouldn't find one now in Thailand.

Until Thailand truly tackles the corruption that is prevalent in every part of government, and society as a whole, this country can not move forward. Some say it can't be done, while others point out that both Hong Kong and Singapore were just as bad, if not worse, but finally said "Enough is enough!" and put a end to it. If they can do it, why can't Thailand?

FAILURE TO RECOGNIZE AND ADAPT.

In my opinion, one of the biggest problems in regards to Thai politics, and Thai society as a whole, is the failure to recognize that times have changed, and adapt to those changes. There are too many "elites" who still want to live the way Thailand was 50-100 years ago where they were the "masters" and everyone else was the "slave". They fail to understand that in this modern age when just about everyone has a mobile phone and can tweet, send messages, and log on to the internet, or go to an Internet Café, that they can no longer control the "thoughts" of the masses the way they once did. Information and enlightenment now comes at the touch of a fingertip and people are learning. This is a frightening change of events for the old powers as they realize that their word is no longer taken as "law", and that people are now starting to question them, and their laws, in ways they never dreamed of.

THAILAND AND FOREIGNERS

While Thailand puts on their best faces, and parades their most beautiful women and picturesque scenery to the world to draw foreigners, many, especially those foreigners who live here, merely laugh at the hypocrisy of those ads. Yes, Thailand wants you to come, to spend your money, but then leave, and please don't think of living here permanently. As the words in the Thai National Anthem state: "Thailand belongs to the Thai", and foreigners are welcome to visit, but that's it. Even if you are married to a Thai national, you have no rights. Legally you can not buy a rai of land to build a house for your family, nor can you legally buy an already existing house for them. You can buy a car, IF you have a valid work permit, but if you are on a retirement visa, or marriage visa, even if you have been here 10+ years, legally you can not buy a car.

If you are involved in a traffic incident with a Thai, you are going to be blamed, regardless of whether it was your fault or not. I think one of the best examples of this is a case I know about first hand where a tourist was on a rented motorbike, sitting at a stop light, when a Thai driver swung wide to go around another car and make an illegal turn, clipping the motorbike, and then crashing into another vehicle. When the police arrived, and after talking to everyone, they blamed the tourist for the accident. When he, in stunned disbelief, asked how it could be his fault, he was told that if he had not come to Thailand he would not have been sitting at that light and therefore the other vehicle would not have hit him, causing it to then crash into another car.

WHAT NOW FOR THE LAND OF SMILES?

LOS, to some, no longer stands for the Land of Smiles, but for the Land of Shame as negative incidents seem to follow one another like the cars of a speeding freight train which continue to shine a light on Thailand that is similar to a city seen at night, and then during the day. At night the brightly colored lights are on, music and laughter fill the air, and everything seems wonderful. But then, in the light of day you see the garbage, filth, and decrepit conditions which reveal the true character of the city.

For Thailand the festive "night lights" have gone out, and the reality of the country is being revealed in the "light of day", and the picture it presents is not one of Paradise, but of shame for the state of affairs the country now finds itself facing.

Thailand has two choices. First, they can simply continue with the way things are, which will continue to worsen the image, not to mention the economic and political situation until a true revolt and revolution takes place, plunging the country into bloodshed and hatred among and between its populace. Second, they can take a serious and hard look at the reality of things, putting aside their "Thai egos" and xenophobia, and realize that changes have to be made, and they have to be made now, and then start making those changes. If so, then there is a chance they could save this country from what is currently a bleak and foreboding future. It can be done, but only if there are those who are truly committed to it, and who are willing to stand up and fight for it.

Along with this there needs to be a serious attempt to change the "mai pen rai" attitude of the Thai people, as well as teaching them that they are wrong sometimes, and that everything bad that happens is not the fault of someone else. Thai are notorious for refusing to accept blame or responsibility for anything, and while this attitude may have worked in the past, it no longer works now.

For the necessary and desperately needed changes to occur in Thailand, it is going to take determination by a few men and women who have the courage to stand up and fight against what has been acceptable in the past. It is not going to be easy, by any means, but it can be done. The question is: Are there any who are willing to accept this challenge, or is it going to take more violence, more bloodshed, more divisions of society, and the collapse of this country before that finally happens?

I, for one, seriously pray that it never comes to that.

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Slip    1,054

Did you write this or copy and paste it?

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Just1Voice    13,346

What a load of opinionated B.S.

And that's YOUR opinion, as well as your right to express it.

:lol:

And, by the way, it's easy to sit there and call it "opinionated B.S.", but I don't see you refuting, or disagreeing with the things I have said with any type of intelligent reply?

Have a nice day! :D

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Garry9999    11

Most of what you say is quite right. But instead of thinking along the lines of Death of a nation. Think of it as the evolution of a Nation. And there's a long way to go in the evolution process yet. One step forward, two step backward, three step forward.

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Just1Voice    13,346

Most of what you say is quite right. But instead of thinking along the lines of Death of a nation. Think of it as the evolution of a Nation. And there's a long way to go in the evolution process yet. One step forward, two step backward, three step forward.

Granted, that is another way to look at it.

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Ulysses G.    25,572

I have not bothered to reply in any depth because in concerns Thai politics, so will probably not last long. I will be happy to comment further if it is allowed. ;)

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phetaroi    74

There is one sentence in the article that summarizes the problem: "The Prime Minister appears before international media and claims that "Everything is back to normal" in Thailand in an effort to boost the country's image and improve foreign investments."

I'm not referring to this Prime Minister, who is probably one of the better (at least in terms of honesty) PM's in Thai history.

I'm not referring to a desire to improve foreign investments, which is a rather normal thing for a nation to attempt to do.

I am referring to the attempt to boost the country's image...and in Thailand's case it is almost always about the superficial image, not anything of substance.

Pornography is illegal in Thailand. Yet customers to Pantip Plaza (and other places) are OPENLY offered pornographic videos EVERY DAY because the law was enacted to GIVE THE IMAGE that Thailand is meeting international standards.

Manufacturing and selling fake goods is illegal in Thailand. Yet it happens every day and the goods are OPENLY sold on the streets of Bangkok because the law was enacted to GIVE THE IMAGE that Thailand is meeting international standards.

How many LAWS are skirted everyday by the use of bribe money...at all levels of society? The laws are all too often for the purpose of presenting an IMAGE.

Many people on this forum talk about the deception of the friendly Thai smile. IMAGE.

The government is in charge. IMAGE.

The military follows the dictates of a democratic government. IMAGE.

The police department serves the needs of the people. IMAGE.

IMAGE, IMAGE, IMAGE.

Lack of SUBSTANCE, lack of SUBSTANCE, lack of SUBSTANCE.

And when a Westerner questions something, the Thai response is that, "You don't understand the Thai way."

Actually, I think we usually do. The Thai way is create an image, but don't worry much about whether there is substance to that image.

IMAGE OVER SUBSTANCE.

Thailand and the Thais have been blessed with many benefits and they certainly have accomplished some things of substance. They have a naturally beautiful nation with a variety of topography that blesses their tourism with beautiful beaches and mountains. They have done an excellent job of restoring historic sites all over their nation. Their agricultural system produces a bounty that does rather well at sustaining the agricultural needs of their people, while still providing significant exports. They have built a relatively modern capital city with subways, skytrains, skyscrapers, modern world-class shopping malls (at least there are still malls they have chosen not to burn down).

The most troubling example of my thesis is the situation in Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat. Is there a month that goes by that some government official doesn't claim that things are improving? Yet, is there a month that goes by that the death toll in the south doesn't increase by something approaching or exceeding one per day? Where is the substantive actions that would lead to real improvement? No, once again, officials attempt to paint an image of improvement.

In terms of national reconciliation, the only real hope I see is that former PM Anand is heading the main commission. He is one of the most honest and honorable politicians the modern Thai nation has had. My only question is whether that one man can rise above the Thai tendency to rush to improving an image, and actually improve things substantively.

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angiud    1,524

Well written, I agree with several of your points.

Don't listen too much Smiley. He like to be like a Contrary Joe.

Ah, and congratulation for the time you spent to write your post. I assure you most of TV reader will not completely read it!

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Just1Voice    13,346

There is one sentence in the article that summarizes the problem: "The Prime Minister appears before international media and claims that "Everything is back to normal" in Thailand in an effort to boost the country's image and improve foreign investments."

I'm not referring to this Prime Minister, who is probably one of the better (at least in terms of honesty) PM's in Thai history.

I'm not referring to a desire to improve foreign investments, which is a rather normal thing for a nation to attempt to do.

I am referring to the attempt to boost the country's image...and in Thailand's case it is almost always about the superficial image, not anything of substance.

Pornography is illegal in Thailand. Yet customers to Pantip Plaza (and other places) are OPENLY offered pornographic videos EVERY DAY because the law was enacted to GIVE THE IMAGE that Thailand is meeting international standards.

Manufacturing and selling fake goods is illegal in Thailand. Yet it happens every day and the goods are OPENLY sold on the streets of Bangkok because the law was enacted to GIVE THE IMAGE that Thailand is meeting international standards.

How many LAWS are skirted everyday by the use of bribe money...at all levels of society? The laws are all too often for the purpose of presenting an IMAGE.

Many people on this forum talk about the deception of the friendly Thai smile. IMAGE.

The government is in charge. IMAGE.

The military follows the dictates of a democratic government. IMAGE.

The police department serves the needs of the people. IMAGE.

IMAGE, IMAGE, IMAGE.

Lack of SUBSTANCE, lack of SUBSTANCE, lack of SUBSTANCE.

And when a Westerner questions something, the Thai response is that, "You don't understand the Thai way."

Actually, I think we usually do. The Thai way is create an image, but don't worry much about whether there is substance to that image.

IMAGE OVER SUBSTANCE.

Thailand and the Thais have been blessed with many benefits and they certainly have accomplished some things of substance. They have a naturally beautiful nation with a variety of topography that blesses their tourism with beautiful beaches and mountains. They have done an excellent job of restoring historic sites all over their nation. Their agricultural system produces a bounty that does rather well at sustaining the agricultural needs of their people, while still providing significant exports. They have built a relatively modern capital city with subways, skytrains, skyscrapers, modern world-class shopping malls (at least there are still malls they have chosen not to burn down).

The most troubling example of my thesis is the situation in Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat. Is there a month that goes by that some government official doesn't claim that things are improving? Yet, is there a month that goes by that the death toll in the south doesn't increase by something approaching or exceeding one per day? Where is the substantive actions that would lead to real improvement? No, once again, officials attempt to paint an image of improvement.

In terms of national reconciliation, the only real hope I see is that former PM Anand is heading the main commission. He is one of the most honest and honorable politicians the modern Thai nation has had. My only question is whether that one man can rise above the Thai tendency to rush to improving an image, and actually improve things substantively.

We can always hope!

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Globalhot    1

The problems started prior to 2005.

So, the premise is false.

I started noticing serious problems right about the time Thaksin was elected.

Things changed after that, and not for the better.

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citizen33    421

A pessimistic assessment? Yes. BS? I don't think so: there are more than a few grains of truth there.

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Ulysses G.    25,572

The problems started prior to 2005.

So, the premise is false.

Paradise lost? What is this Thai Visa fashion to pretend that Thailand was full of nothing but loving, honest Buddhists until just recently and was somehow "better" in the past? Thailand has been known as a shady place for shady people for at least 50 years and probably long before.

In the 1970s the place was full of con artists and drug freaks on the Hippie Trail. Charles Sobhraj was murdering and robbing tourists and paying off the police to look the other way.

l have always loved living here, but - despite the complaints on the Internet - there was a lot more corruption and longterm visa hassles 20 years ago than there is today and just as much crime.

http://en.wikipedia....Charles_Sobhraj

As far as politics go, there have been numerous military coups and violent crackdowns (Black May for one) over the years. What is new about that? I would agree that the current situation might spin out of control, but we all thought the same thing in 1992.

How about when Thailand started the financial meltdown in this part of the world in 1997? That was mostly caused by a lack of honesty and that is just one example.

Don't get me wrong, I have always loved living here, but it has never been a shining beacon of democracy or human rights or unusual progress and the justice system has always been flawed. I just do not understand why so many members seem to think otherwise.

If you do not like Thailand, that is your right, but it has not been that much different for quite a while. :blink:

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BANGKOK 25 September 2017 22:23
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