Alien Thoughts

14 Jun 2009
One aspect of the Tak Bai inquest that I ignored last week concerned the judges who gave the verdict. Press reports described them as ‘youthful’.   You see, in many judicial systems, getting to be a judge takes a while. Normally you first have to prove your worth as a lawyer and then, in riper years, with a proven reputation for mature judgement, you may ascend to the bench.  
5 Jun 2009
The verdict in the inquest on the Tak Bai case has set new standards of Thai jurisprudence. A quick recap for those who only listen to what the government want them to hear.
29 May 2009
I’m not quite sure why he should choose the week when the North Koreans stuck two fingers up against the rest of the world (one finger for an underground nuclear test, the second finger for firing more missiles). But PAD leader Phipob Thongchai has decided to borrow part of the policy of the new green PAD party from Pyongyang, of all places. Phipob says he wants to adopt the idea that every citizen has a plot of land to make a living from.
22 May 2009
Many farangs have figured out that the patron-client system is one of the more important pieces of glue that holds Thai society together. Unfortunately, this valuable insight is spoiled by a misunderstanding of how exactly this glue adheres.
15 May 2009
MPs the world over, as we all know, are terribly overworked and underpaid servants of their constituents, constantly striving for the betterment of their voters and the nation as a whole, with no thought of personal gain or glory. And nowhere more so than in the Mother of Parliaments at Westminster.
8 May 2009
Electoral Commissioner Sodsri Sattayatham has revealed that at an attempt to register a socialist party in Thailand has been foiled by the vigilance of the EC. She said a “socialist” party could be defined as a “communist” party, and the commission ruled that the name may violate democracy.
1 May 2009
  Conventional wisdom has it that one of the besetting failings of Thai democracy has been the failure to develop strong political parties. 
24 Apr 2009
 The Nation, 21 April 2009: The government will launch a publicity campaign at home and abroad to counter the propaganda of the red shirts, PM’s Office Minister Satit Wongnongtoey said on Tuesday. “The media war will be designed to counter the smear campaign of the red shirts and explain the true situation to the international community,” he said.
17 Apr 2009
Instant charges have been laid against the UDD leadership (whereas the PAD leaders have suffered months of torment waiting to know what they will be chargedwith) and some of them are being held without bail (whereas the PAD leaders have the worry of having to walk about in public places not knowing what dangers lurk out there). 
10 Apr 2009
First, a disclaimer. Our young, good-looking, English-educated Prime Minister has a Masters Degree in economics from Oxford, whereas your columnist, er, … well, I’m English-educated.
4 Apr 2009
An unconfirmed April 1st report in Matichon says that foreigners in Thailand must seek prior permission from the Ministry of Culture if they intend to post material on a website while they are in Thailand.  This new regulation also covers contributions to an internet forum or blog.
27 Mar 2009
HIV/AIDS organizations around the world have reacted with predictable outrage and incredulity at the Pope’s latest comments on the use of condoms as a way of preventing HIV infections.

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