Some attitudes towards red shirts shameful

With the red-shirt rally into its third week now, a lot of Thai mainstream media outlets had ample opportunity to display their patronising attitude towards the lesser educated and poorer Thais who constitute the majority of the protesters. These media outlets have been sneering at the red shirts for their perceived naivete, political immaturity and violence-prone nature. In fact, the contempt displayed has been so blatant and numerous that a tome could be compiled from it.

Editor of Post Today, Nakarn Laohavilai, wrote in his March 26 column that the protest "reflects [the fact that] many people have yet to attain maturity when it comes to a real democratic system". His solution was for Thailand to have "higher quality people".

In his March 11 column, Nakarn patronisingly wrote that the red shirts were coming to the capital because "they have been fooled or bought", so Bangkokians should not fault them. Instead, he said, Bangkok residents should "smile, pity, sympathise and extend loving-kindness", because it's really ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra's fault.

Others, such as Arglit Boonyai, the editor of free weekly magazine "Guru", sneered at a red-shirt protester in his publication's March 19 edition for not knowing "how to use a tap with a sensor".

"He kept banging the top of the faucet. He would then move his hands under the tap and water would come out. When it stopped he'd bang the top again, and repeat until his hands were clean. At least his hands were clean. Now he can get out and fight for justice with clean fingers," he wrote.

Arglit, the "better" educated urbanite then went on to say: "As it stands, we have protesters, many of whom are uneducated, damaging Thailand's image in the name of certain individuals"

Moving on to the ASTV-Manager Daily newspaper's March 29 edition. Its page 12 political cartoon had two panels: the first showed a typical traffic jam in Bangkok with a caption reading: "Mon-Fri for car traffic"; the second depicted a horde of water buffaloes led by Thaksin, with the caption reading: "Sat-Sun for walking water buffaloes". The cartoon was playing on the traditional Thai notion of uneducated people having the mentality of a water buffalo.

This analogy was also employed by INN news service when its SMS news yesterday stated that the red shirts were being "herded" to rally again on Saturday.

To be sure, such caricature and sneering is never a one-way street, even though an overwhelming majority of Bangkok-based mainstream media harbours deep contempt for the less educated, poor red shirts.

The Khao Sod daily was more sympathetic in a column written on March 26 by Kadchuek Kathaphan, who noted that red shirts were "gathering peacefully and simply. They eat simply and naturally and are not pretentious like the high-society [yellow-shirt People's Alliance for Democracy] protesters who wear sun block while participating in a 'save-the-country' picnic".

The mainstream media is quick to characterise the red-shirt protesters as being violence prone, though funnily enough it said very little about the violence generated by the 2006 coup that ousted Thaksin or the shutting down of the Suvarnabhumi Airport in 2008.

It is perhaps painful for the many "well-educated" and well-heeled Bangkokians to understand that these poor, "uncouth" red shirts are using or at least collaborating with Thaksin to advance their political agenda, much like the yellow shirts depended upon the coup-makers and the aristocrats* to advance their plans.

It's more comforting for many yellow- and white-shirted Bangkokians to continue believing that the poor red shirts must be stupid, corrupt and violent. That way, they can feel smug about their perceived morals and intellectual superiority no matter how dubious these perceptions might actually be.



*The word "ultra-royalist ideology," originally used by the writer, was replaced by "the aristocrats" by The Nation's editor.







"like dogs with Rabies"

and this from a former judge?

The insults should really be

The insults should really be kept to a minimum if Thailand is to move forward, in my opinion. The media should realise their need to act more responsibly, and self sensor their sometimes hurtful generalizations.

It is a pity that the red shirts have automatically been stereotyped and classed in this way because many of the speakers have shown true bravery and courage by appearing and should be able to leave the protest (whenever it ends!) with some form of dignity.

I see little difference in juding someone from the colour of their shirt to the colour of their skin. True, there are very different ideologies at stake but this shouldn't be a reason for Thais not to be able to give each other the respect they deserve.

One red shirt speaker I would like to give serious praise to is the 19 year old who spoke yesteday, who literally wooed the audience with his good looks and charms and oozed in natural confidence and public speaking ability.
I have no idea of his name though, but would like to wish him the best and hope that he may one day enter the political field and retain his confidence and not be swept away in a current of controversy, corruption and character assination. Is there a Red Abhisit within our midsts?

Abhist is also absorbing

Abhist is also absorbing pressure extremely well, and it is remarkable how calm and collective he is able to appear. Although I do sympathise with the reds, mainly due to the media labeling of them since black Songkran, I also have to sympathise with Abhisit in that he has had little chance to implement some very good looking policies that will benefit many Thais. I really hope that the atmosphere will eventually cool and that he can eventually vist Isaan!

The yellow camp have also shown considerable self restraint, and that must also be given it's due respect.

I hope that there will be more balance to the political situation and the media. I do however think that a lot of what will happen in the future will depend on Thaksin, and hope that he realizes that his participation from a far is really having a detrimental effect upon the balance and the ability of the country to progress. It is obvious though that he still has an incredible amount of loyalty from his supporters.

People, especially the media are very quick to critisize Thaksin, but for many he would have been the only Prime Minister they would have been able to meet due to his numerous village visits and high level of interaction with the people that really matter.

I think during this Songkran Thais need to ask themselves, "Can I be more compassionate? Even to those with different beliefs or incomes or social status to mine, and can I accept them for who they are?"

To the Red Leaders, don't pass up a good oportunity to find compromise. What ever the time frame for house dissolution you have won already in my view because of your courage, passion and self restaint in the height of controversy.

That was

That was yesterday....

Perhaps the Red leaders feel that they have a right to inconvenience others because the PAD have not yet been brought to justice. The delay may seem unacceptable but still, I believe you don't have the right to infringe. To use the airports seizure and train strikes as an excuse makes you just as bad as them, no better.

The red shirts have constantly stated that they would not seize the airports and government house - which is good - but it seems they are prepared to push the government to its limits of tolerance in order to force a crack down on the protesters. That, in my opinion, is playing with people's lives.

Back to the media

Back to the media bashing......

Here is a definition of the word 'Predjudice' from a political and Racial Tolerance lecture.

What is prejudice?

Definition: an unjustifiable negative attitude toward a group and its members. Prejudice is an attitude, which comprises feelings, beliefs and inclinations to act (e.g., disliking group X, and believing they are ignorant and dangerous, makes it more likely to behave toward them in a discriminatory manner.)

Udom Fuangfung is a "special"

Udom Fuangfung is a "special" kind of judge. He was appointed by the present Thai Military Junta to the AEC (Assets Examination Committee) and to the ASC (Assets Security Committee) as well...

Scrutiny panel at pains to prove guilt

In the early stages of its fact finding, the ASC attempted to establish whether the 37.7-billion-baht income of the lottery scheme had been misused and gone into activities benefiting politicians.

But the probe team, led by Udom Fuangfung, was unable to establish this ground. It then opted for focusing on legal violation. It said the state lost tax revenues on digit lottery profits of 21.7 billion baht. But, in fact, the money had been kept with the GLO.

On Monday the team also added a new offence against the Thaksin cabinet: for embezzlement, which stipulates harsh punishment of up to imprisonment for life.

Mr. Udom insisted the spending of the lottery revenue showed their intention to misuse the money and was an act of embezzlement.

Some people viewed the move to charge the cabinet as a desperate attempt to prove the wrongdoings of Mr. Thaksin.

''It will be a mess if the ASC is predetermined to charge people who are not actually guilty with an alleged wrongdoing,'' said Abhisit Vejjajiva, leader of the Democrat party.

That was back in the days before Abhisit realized his true calling... dancing at the ends of the strings of those who appointed the "special" judge and the others, now including himself, to positions in their ongoing administration of Thailand, begun 19 September, 2006.

Pay no attention to the rabid slurs... And don't waste your time reading The Nation. If you lie with dogs, you get fleas.

From monkey's link: Udom

From monkey's link:

Udom Fuangfung, a former judge and member of the now-defunct Assets Examination Committee, said that if the red shirts had burned the real Constitution they would have faced jail. Since it was a fake, they broke no law.

Udom Fuangfung was of course appointed by the Military Junta that tore up the real Constitution... and who did not and have not since faced jail because... um... that's different... they're special.

Whatever the military does in fact defines the law.

Nixon's Views on Presidential Power: May 19, 1977

Q: So what in a sense you’re saying is that there are certain situations…where the president can decide that it’s in the best interests of the nation or something, and do something illegal.

NIXON: Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.

Q: By definition.

NIXON: Exactly, exactly.

The Thai Military Junta did appoint Udom to the AEC:

Potential election commissioners’ viewpoints

Udom Fuangfung: Disqualifying a candidate dose not require clear evidence like criminal or civil courts do. If the EC finds even a clue leading it to believe that a candidate cheates or attempted to cheat, it has to bot him or her out of the race. However, the EC needs to establish clear criteria on what violetes the election law or which actions deserve punishment for better understanding of EC justice.