Payback Time

 The scene: Pheu Thai Party headquarters a few days after the election results have been announced.

‘Just like I said, an overall majority. So we can tell that clown from Buriram to go back to running his football team.’

‘Yes, but we have to keep our eyes open. We’re getting reports of something going on in the camps in Lopburi and Prachin.’

‘They wouldn’t dare. Not with the world’s media doing fashion spreads on the new PM.’

‘I dunno. Winning the election could be just the start of our troubles.’

‘What’s that noise outside?’

‘Well judging from the placards they’re waving, it looks like graduates wanting 15 thousand a month.’

‘But we’ve only just got here. They can’t expect to walk straight into jobs.’

‘Er, they’re not walking into jobs; they’re being thrown out of them. It seems that employers have decided to fire all the university graduates they already have rather than pay them 15,000. They’re hiring high school kids instead. They say the quality of university education is so dire in this country, there’s no appreciable drop in quality.’

‘You mean our policy to make graduates better off …’

‘… only loses them jobs. It’s bound to happen if you think the government can set rates of pay in the private sector.’

‘Is that noise getting louder?’

‘It is. A few more thousand more have joined in, about the minimum wage this time.’

‘But we signed the executive order this morning. 300 baht a day, effective immediately. Don’t they know that?’

‘I think they do, because they’ve also been thrown out of work. Hear that whistling sound?’

‘Eerie. What is it?’

‘That is the sound of factories moving to Cambodia and Bangladesh and anywhere else where labour costs are cheaper.’

‘But, that’s, that’s just unpatriotic. Don’t Thai businesses realize that we’re trying to help them? We’ve lowered corporate tax like we promised.’

‘But raised their labour costs by far more than that.’

‘So what are we going to do with these millions of unemployed?’

‘Nothing. With all these give-aways, we don’t have any money to do anything anyway. And while you’re here, could you sign these contracts?’

‘What contracts?’

‘Well this is for the mega-dyke to stop Bangkok flooding and this one’s for the construction of the land bridge down south and …’

‘Whoa, look at all those zeroes. But don’t we need feasibility studies and tenders and bidding and all that?’

‘Well, not if the Cabinet says they are urgent, which they will, because that’s what we said in the campaign.’

‘I don’t know. They can’t be as urgent as the new rail lines in Bangkok. That really got the voters excited. Why don’t we build those first?’

‘Well, because no one wants to build them.’

‘Why not?’

‘Well, we did also promise a flat fare of 20 baht. The skytrain and the underground both charge more than that and they haven’t been able to turn a profit for years. So there’s almost no interest in it.’

‘Almost no interest?’

‘Well, there is one company showing an interest. A certain Oak Solutions, no track record, no experience in construction work of any kind, no paid up capital, and it looks like it’s just a scheme to get its hands on property on where the lines will go and make a killing that way.’

‘But how do they know that? It hasn’t been decided yet.’

‘Well, it is called Oak and there is a sort of family connection.’

‘This is hopeless. It looks as if implementing our manifesto will chase away business, cause mass unemployment, wreck the nation’s finances for years to come and keep us at the bottom of the corruption league table.’

‘Well if you put it like that, you won’t be upset at the latest news.’

‘Which is?’

‘The Army is advancing on Bangkok. Looks like they want to re-arrange the election results.’

‘Hmm. You know, I think we’ll just let them. The other lot’s promises were as half-baked as ours. Let them ruin the economy.’

Yes, indeed... the 4th of

Yes, indeed... the 4th of July will have to become Independence Day here in Thailand. People will have to start planning for their future and the future of their country independently of all the lying legates vying for votes.

It's not so difficult. We, and I say we because exactly the same process needs to be (re)inaugurated in my country, the USA, on the same day. Which is, coincidently, traditionally celebrated as Independence Day there as well. We must gather together in ban and tambon, ward and district; in amphoe and jangwat, county and state, and decide just what it is we do want from ourselves and from our governments, and plan how to accomplish our agreed upon aims, and put forth candidates to do so.

We do not need to watch TV, or to read the MSM, or to pay attention to 'pundits'... we need to build a consensus among ourselves on what our requirements actually are and decide how to satisfy them. Politics is not rocket science. We need to solve our problems at the lowest level possible, escalating the level of government involved only as required. Many of our problems do not even require the active participation of government, once exiting laws and regulations skewing outcomes in corporate/plutocrat favor are undone, and real, effective regulations rescinded in corporate/plutocrat favor are redone.

Remember... Thaksin sued people for reporting news of his misadventures. Thaksin had editors dismissed for the same 'offense'. Thaksin decreed the present Emergency Decree, and escalated the 'troubles' in the South. Pol. Lt. Col. Thaksin's police effected thousands of extra-judicial murders in a nominal 'war on drugs'. Thaksin and his government were no less corrupt than any other government in Thai history... the problems outlined above are the least of it.

We may be out of the fire here in Thailand on the 4th of July, but we'll be back in the frying pan... and the only ones who have we the peoples' interests at heart, worldwide, are we the people.

'Let them ruin the economy.’

'Let them ruin the economy.’

SLOWPOKE, they already DID.

To the author of this piece, you are slow to the scene.
And the jest was in bad taste, the punch line is hollow. Comedy is all about timing, you need to try harder.