Perhaps I should take the opportunity of these troubled times to clear my conscience. It was the coronation of the person who has taken over the mantle of the longest-reigning monarch in the world. I was a pre-schooler still trying to figure out how the world worked. One thing that I couldn’t figure out was why, if I wasn’t old enough for real school, I still had to go to Sunday school. Only much later in life did I learn the delights of the Sunday afternoon naps that my father enjoyed while I was sent to The Schoolroom.
A first-year Kasetsart University student was put in a coma after a near-drowning in a pond at the university’s Sri Racha campus. The university authorities strenuously denied claims on social media that this was part of a freshman hazing activity that went wrong. Anonymous posts (from, it must be said, suspiciously distant places) say that the freshman was ordered or challenged by senior students to go into the pond to wash himself after being muddied in other hazing activities.
You have nothing to lose but your chains! Unless you vote to hang on to them of course, which is what the good citizens of Thailand seem to have done. Let’s move backwards through the process to see where it all went wrong.
Ah, Ebbw Vale! That evocative name that conjures up the once biggest steelworks in Europe, the socialist ghosts of Aneurin Bevan and Michael Foot, and the gross affront to common sense that is Welsh spelling. Then the steel industry collapsed and the coal mines were savaged by Thatcher’s anti-unionism. By the beginning of this century Ebbw Vale’s people suffered chronic unemployment and its land suffered the toxic legacy of its industrial heyday.
Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn has attempted to put the kibosh on plans by the UDD to monitor the upcoming referendum. That much was entirely predictable. What was more surprising was the legal justification that he gave for saying that they couldn’t do it. He is reported to have said that the Referendum Act did not expressly permit it. But saying so you can’t do something if the law doesn’t explicitly permit you to do it – that’s complete bullshit.
The future of Wat Ratha Dharma Nun has been cast into further question by the discovery of yet more grisly evidence of corpses of democracy and apparent links to the shadowy world of international dictatorship trafficking.
In a police station in northern Bangkok So we’ve got the arrest warrant and that’s OK? Double checked. All the right signatures. No spelling mistakes. OK, good, so I think the way is clear, we just go in and … Hang on, have you seen the pictures on the front page? No. Why? They’ve parked two excavators right in front of the gates. So that’s put the mockers on that. How do we get in now? We’ll have to call it all off again. Pity.
Well that was a right farce last Wednesday in Geneva, eh? Talk about a dialogue of the deaf. I am of course referring to Thailand’s starring role in the latest episode in the UPR saga of the UNHRC. And for those who don’t follow the arcane acronyms of international human rights (so how the hell did you get to this website?), let me explain that it was Thailand’s turn to sit in the naughty chair and face a barrage of questions and recommendations about how to improve its human rights record.
But the newspaper article said this form was not mandatory. Who says so? It quotes Deputy Commissioner of Immigration Pol Maj Gen Chatchawan Wachirapaneekhun, whose name is also there as the person who ‘designed and arranged’ this form. Well, that’s right, it is not mandatory. But if you want to extend your visa or do your 90-day report, you are required to complete the form. Voluntarily. Because if I don’t, … You won’t get your extension and we will fine you for not doing your 90-day report. I see.
Who is doing this to our Dear Leader? General Prayut trots off to the US in search of more ‘oh look I’m in the same room as other world leaders so they must accept me’ photo ops and it is all promptly ruined by another burst of rampant paranoia. He told VOA he ‘met representatives of many countries’ (see, they do talk to him so Thailand is not the international pariah that some critics claim).