Saturday, April 18, 2009

Whither Thailand

Is Thailand in a pre revolutionary stage? Some observers think so. Town against country. An elite split. An ailing king. A military at loose end. Now an attempt on the life of the 'yellow shirts'leader, the firey Sondhi Limthongkul. The ingredients are certainly there for violent change. Is violence the Thai path? Other talking heads say no. It is not in the Thai temperament. Rather some sabre rattling, massive street demonstrations, occupations of government buildings or aeroports are in line with what happens in Thailand. Then the king like a 'deux ex machina' settles matters; a kiss 'n make up period ensues, and the orderly balance of palace, military, and elites take up once again assigned roles. And yet...and yet...the chinaware is broken, and the discontent in the hinterlands and in the slums of the capital want more than the crumbs thrown to them. So where does this leave us? Well, for one thing, it gives rise to a favourite game of foreign talking heads to tell it all...which more oft than not, is more wishful thinking than an overview of conditiosn on the ground. One thing is certain, Thailand has to change; to open up the crack in the door to those left out.
The king revered as a 'god'is not in the best of health. His successor has neither the charisma nor the wit nor the talent to command his father's stature. The military well the military might stage yet another coup, but that won't bode well. And more than what, no one is talking about the spreading Muslim insurgency in the south. Yes Thailand is fighting a guerrilla war with an uncertain outcome. And the government and the world of money...have knives drawn among themselves.
So where to do we stand? On shifting sands for the moment. Will the country finally settle on a Burmese junta solution? That remains to be seen. The masses are stirring, and the downtrodden when aroused without proper and wise leadership will end in a jacquerie. And that is heady spirits for the generals to return to power.

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