The Nation looks backwards-PPT

July 22, 2009

Telling it as it is

Political Prisoners in Thailand: July 17, 2009

The Nation continues to print opinion pieces by Pornpimol Kanchanalak. PPT has mentioned her chequered history here.  Her views seem somewhat reflective of a growing Sino-Thai, middle-class despair over the state of Thai society and politics.

In the latest epistle (16 July 2009: “Looking for the holy grail in all the wrong places”), Pornpimol takes a swipe at almost everyone, blaming workers, government, politicians, tax collectors, demonstrators and sundry others for all that is wrong.

Her comfortable world seems to be collapsing. She believes that all of that is wrong has a root cause of this anarchy is the attacks on the monarchy: “Hateful and venomous websites are proliferating like wildfire. They are anti every ‘establishment’ in the book. What goes around on the grapevine is even more menacing.”

In hindsight, and reflective of a broader rethinking that seems to be going on, Pornpimol blames PAD for dragging the monarchy into politics: “Once that was done, everything was fair game, nothing off-limits. The pictures of the airport seizures by protesters holding photographs of His Majesty and the monarchy’s yellow f1ags palpably sent the unsubstantiated impression to the whole world that there was an ‘invisible hand’ behind the movement…”. Her beloved monarchy was “already judged blindly and harshly – guilty as charged by the kangaroo court of some circles…. Six decades of honest and earnest public service by His Majesty regrettably got lost in the viciousness of banal politics.”

Of course, she is wrong. The monarchy has long been involved in politics. The palace’s involvement in the planning and implementation of the 2006 coup is well-known. PAD served the interests of conservative forces when they attacked elected governments and their symbolic use of the monarchy was apparently accepted in high places.

That Thaksin has remained influential and the horrid red shirts want democracy, liberty and freedom is a real worry for Pornpimol. She opines that the red shirts don’t even know what democracy means!

Indeed, she now believes that everyone has got it wrong: “As much as religion does not create virtue, and money does not solve every problem, the bilious pretension of false hope and blind faith in unbridled freedom is not the Holy Grail of democracy…. We should stop looking for the Holy Grail of democracy in all the wrong places.”

Confused? Yes. She doesn’t like PAD and the reds are impossible. Pornpimol seems to desire a return to order and the old institutions that she feels make life simpler, less conflicted and more comfortable for the middle class. If that’s anti-democratic, so be it.


Loving Abhisit

Political Prisoners in Thailand: May 7, 2009

In a column entitles “TELL IT AS IT IS”, Pornpimol Kanchanalak has an article in the Nation (7 May 2009: “One hundred and forty one days and counting”) which is little more than a propaganda piece about Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

PPT wonders if Abhisit needs posterior polishing by this author. She was convicted in the United States of disguising foreign funding to American politicians. “Pauline” may have turned over a new leaf now that she writes for the Nation, but admits to being “a jaded person … who has been around politicians of all stripes for almost all my adult life…” until Abhisit came along to offer “a breath of fresh air. He does not posture, does not brag, does not complain, does not do hyperbole, does not lie.” PPT has shown the latter not to be the case several times.

Pornpimol states that “he has been trying his mightiest to restore the TRUST of the people in their government and their leader and the rule of law.” Abhisit displays all kinds of wonderful characteristics: “The public never knew that during the Songkran riots, a group of red shirts stood in front of his house in Bangkok hurling lewd and vulgar obscenities at his wife and children, who they thought were in the house while the prime minister was in Pattaya. He did not complain about the incident to the public and did not try to make an issue of it to gain sympathy for his personal pain. We never heard him recount his deeds during his visit to his alma mater of Oxford and was confronted by Jai [sic] Ungpakorn. He never told the public what a superb job he did of explaining the logic behind the much-criticised lese majeste law in a matter-of-fact and honest manner that cut down his interrogator to size, and earned a hearty round of applause from an amazed and stunned audience. The best of minds – always critical to a fault – they would have jumped on him had they found a hole or a lapse in his logic. Time and again he has defended the blue colour of our flag without dragging the institution down to the level of dirty politics.”

Pornpimol is a true fan of the royalist Abhisit. So true, in fact, that she ignores evidence that is contrary to her views. The comments on the Oxford meeting with Ji Ungapakorn are simply wrong – and recall that it was at this meeting when Abhisit lied about Chotisak’s case having been dropped. And, there have been plenty of “best minds” that have faulted Abhisit’s logic on lese majeste. So rather than telling it as it is, Pauline is telling it as she wants it to be.

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