Military claim ‘vicious harassment’, appeal to NHRC
The military junta who have taken total control of Thailand have started to make public complaints of political harassment, claiming that ‘unscrupulous opposition forces’ are mounting relentless attacks that leave them humiliated, frustrated and barely able to administer the country.
It appears that the military see their major enemy as the various student groups who have repeatedly endangered national security by secretly holding placards in public places, forming underground cells of more than 4 people who are discovered demonstrating on the street, and expressing opinions that show a complete disregard for the dignity, sanity and self-satisfaction of the armed forces.
‘We are doing all we can to counter these people, who seem to think they have a right to say how the country should be run,’ said a spokesperson for the coup-makers’ National Council for Peace and Order who requested anonymity for fear of repercussions.
‘But every time we arrest them or take them away for friendly discussions where we have the guns and they have the handcuffs, it seems to have no effect. They just do it again. They say that they simply want the freedom to think for themselves, but we find that hard to believe. I mean, we in the military never want to do that, why should they?’
While the military have taken pride in strictly following the rules that they themselves make up as they go along, their greatest fear is that one day they will be provoked into drastic retaliation that will rebound on them if the general population turns against them.
‘Our own opinion polls show that when asked by armed men in uniform, the vast majority of Thais think we are the best government they have ever had,’ said one insider. ‘But you know opinion polls in Thailand; they never seem to work, just like elections.’
The situation has deteriorated to the point where the military top brass have become convinced that their rights are being routinely violated. They have asked the NHRC to investigate anyone who threatens their right to tear up the constitution, write their own laws, and get angry when the media ask awkward questions. The NHRC has reportedly set up a committee to look into this.
In the meantime, the military establishment is doing what it can to minimize the danger. Instead of tackling minor national problems like the economy, corruption, land rights, the education system and police reform, they have decided to focus on the big issues – the price of lottery tickets, teenagers racing motorbikes and whether Thailand should have casinos.
Minister blames ‘miscommunication’ for running red light
Transport Minister ACM Prajin Juntong told police last night that he drove through a red light because of a ‘miscommunication’ with Deputy Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith. According to the Minister, although he knew the light was red, his deputy had told him that no one else would be able see it and so he would not have to stop like other drivers.
ACM Prajin argued that the traffic police had shown no consideration for his manner of driving and should not have compromised his good name. ‘We have worked hard during the six-month grace period that the police gave us to improve our driving habits. We formed committees, wrote manuals and re-organized a number of agencies. But they still hit us with a red light when we are in a hurry to get somewhere. It’s just not fair.’
The Ministry later issued a statement saying that the incident would not jeopardize Thailand’s standing as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for traffic accidents.
Thailand cries foul over early end to World Cup dreams
The Thai women’s football team says that only an arbitrary cut-off point ended Thailand’s progress in the Women’s World Cup in Canada.
‘The organizers insisted on going by the score after 90 minutes’, complained team manager Nuanphan Lamsam. ‘But Thailand did much better in an extra period after losing 4-0 to Germany in regulation time.’
‘Many matches go into extra time’, said the manager. ‘We were very upset to be 4-0 down after 90 minutes, so we carried on after the final whistle, although the Germans didn’t, and we did much better.’
The Thai team took a series of penalties at the now unguarded German goal and scored 7 times from 43 attempts until the groundskeepers turned on the sprinklers and chased them off.
According to the Thai captain, this means they should really have been awarded full points for a victory and allowed to continue into the knock-out stages. But this was refused by FIFA who said that the 90-minute cut-off was the same for all teams.
A statement from the Football Authority of Thailand said that the treatment of the women’s national team by the World Cup organizers was regrettable and discriminatory. They offered to open negotiations with the FIFA hierarchy provided the Lamsam family, who were bankrolling the woman’s team, provided sufficient ‘resources’ to make it worth their while.
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).