I hate to say this, but I do think we are losing the plot with these elections. There seems to be a widespread misunderstanding that they have something to do with democracy, compounded by a second misunderstanding that somehow democracy is good for everyone.
In what counts as an act of high bravery for a UN bureaucrat, UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education Director Sheldon Schaeffer recently argued for the preservation of languages.
Elections are here. Time to dust off the discreet envelopes, grease the old networks and practise the political skills. One of which is how to deal with the press. Let us eavesdrop on the refresher course for would-be MPs at the campaign headquarters of an unnamed political party, where the trainer is, perhaps unadvisedly, attempting a participatory approach.
Strange things are happening in the world of Thai secrets. We've long been used to the secret budget of the security forces, which is spent on secret things used in secret operations.
It is the self-appointed duty of this column to explain to Prachatai readers the policies of the parties planning to contest the general election in December. Today we will examine the stated policies of the party with the catchy name, the Matchimathipat-
Political circles in Thailand have been busy discussing the results of a recent ABAC poll that revealed that almost 2 in 3 voters were prepared to sell their votes. The poll, which surveyed almost 0.006% of the national population and was conducted in 19% of the kingdom's provinces, also found that over 4 in 5 voters would not report cases of vote-buying to the authorities.
The offer from the European Union to observe the forthcoming Thai elections has been finally rejected. The reasons given in the media range from Thai outrage at the implied slur on the integrity of Thai elections, to legalistic problems with a constitutional article on signing agreements which infringe national sovereignty.
Prachatai today prints the first of a weekly column by Harrison George. 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). And if you believe any of those stories, you might believe his columns.