The content in this page ("Someone writes to the General (with apologies to Gabriel García Márquez)" by Harrison George) is not produced by Prachatai staff. Prachatai merely provides a platform, and the opinions stated here do not necessarily reflect those of Prachatai.

Someone writes to the General (with apologies to Gabriel García Márquez)

Dear General Prayuth,

I am a Prathom 5 student and my teacher (before he was sent way for re-training in intensive history) makes us do ‘practical mathematics’.  Instead of choosing numbers at random for our exercises, he told us to find examples from the news.  So for long division, I chose to divide 427,000,000 by 67,367,943.  427,000,000 is the amount of money in baht that the government is spending to bring happiness to the people by showing all the World Cup games on TV for free.  67,367,943 is the population of Thailand.  After a long and difficult calculation, I found out that the government has spent 6.34 baht on the happiness of each Thai.

My problem is that I don’t like football, so free World Cup on the TV doesn’t make me happy.  And I can’t watch in the middle of the night and still be a good student.  But there is a khanom that is sold outside our school gate that costs 6 baht and if I can buy that, it makes me happy all the way home.  But my Mum and Dad say they don’t have the money for khanom every day.

Please can I have 6 baht in cash (you can keep the 33 satang to help the national economy) instead of free football?  It will make me much happier.  Thank you.

 

Noo Dee

PS  My best friend Noo Keng likes khanom more than football too, so can you please send us 12 baht?

 

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Dear Noo Dee,

General Prayuth read your letter and was very impressed with your arithmetic.  But he is a very busy general and has asked me to write back to you. 

When you study civic duties in secondary school, you will learn the difference between government policies that bring love and harmony to the people, like the free World Cup TV programmes, and government policies that are just populism.  Populist policies are brought in by corrupt elected governments who use the tyranny of the majority to ruin the national economy.

If the government had to give 6 baht to every schoolchild who liked khanom, the country would soon be bankrupt and I am sure you don’t want that.  So it would be bad for the country for us to use government budget that way.

But at the National Council for Peace and Order we think that in your case, your hard work in long division deserves to be rewarded.  So we have had a collection and enclose 12 baht for you and Noo Keng to buy khanom and be happy, courtesy of the NCPO.

         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *

Dear General Prayuth Sir,

On behalf of the Soi 31 Law and Order Preservation Society, I wish to congratulate you on taking command of the nation and instilling some much-needed discipline in Thai society.  Well done, sir.

We are however concerned that in your road map for national unity, you envisage, at some unspecified future date, the holding of elections.  We at SLOPS have given some thought as to how we can avoid the possibility that ignorant and bribed voters in rural areas and the lower classes will once again vote for enemies of the nation. 

We therefore propose that the qualifications for voting be expanded to include true patriotism, since only true Thais can be entrusted with the welfare of the nation.  True patriotism can be checked in a number of ways and we have devised a questionnaire for your consideration.  Sample questions include:

            How many times have you viewed The Legend of King Naresuan 5 (including free shows)?

            How many articles of red clothing are there in your wardrobe?

            (for civil servants)  How many colleagues have you reported for criticizing the NCPO?

            (for teachers)  How many students have you reported for un-Thai behaviour (questioning teachers, thinking independently, incorrect uniforms and improper personal grooming, etc.)?

 

Mr Privilege

 

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Dear Mr Privilege,

General Prayuth thanks you for your letter and will submit your excellent suggestions to the constitution drafting body when, in the fullness of time, it is formed.

 

Keep up the good work.

 

         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *

 

Chair, NCPO

Whereas Thailand is a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and whereas the various orders of the NCPO curtail rights and freedoms under this Covenant such as the rights to freedom of expression and assembly, and whereas Article 4 (1) of the said Covenant allows States Parties to take measures derogating from their obligations under the Covenant in time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation, and whereas Article 4 (3) requires any such derogation to be communicated to the other States Parties through the intermediary of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, I respectfully remind the NCPO so to make this communication.

 

Sitthi Manutsayachon

 

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Sitthi Manutsayachon is hereby ordered to report immediately to the Army Auditorium on Thewet Road for emergency attitude adjustment.

 


About author:  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).

 

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