The Promises of an Exile

The hot season precedes the monsoons in Thailand. The oncoming cooler weather provides the opposing political parties a good time frame for strategies designed to renew the conflict between the deposed PM Thaksin and the ruling leader of elite or ‘khong chan suung’. The upper classes are fighting to retain their aristocratic privileges, while the populist exile seeks to broaden his working class base. The Poo-yai promote tourism for the rich. They cast the ‘farangs’ as debasers of Thai culture, however the red shirts accuse the rich of suppressing.

In November of 2010 the protesters were fired upon by the army. The orders were issued from the government. Hundreds were killed and thousands were admitted to the hospital with grievous injuries. The ruling classes had won back the country by force.

The struggle is not over.

The most recent skirmishes with the Cambodians over the rights of visitation to ancient temples straddling the border are attempts to revitalize the weakened strains of nationalism naturally native to citizens of any land.

Divide and conquer.

Ex-PM Thaksin is a wanted man by the present Thai government on charges of corruption. His place of refuge is Cambodia. His missives to his supporters are aired from the frontier to Isaan, his power base. The wily politician is promising free computers to every child in school, lower taxes, free tourist visas, and many other pie-in-the-sky materialistic delights.

“Promise them anything, but give them the world.”

This strategy worked for demagogues throughout the ages.

Elections in July.

Pheu Thai is the favorite.

Jatuporn Promphan from Surat Thani will score big. He is the red shirts’ best speaker. A real crowd-pleaser. I’ve seen him on TV. The mob loves him. Thaksin probably has a contract out on the political activist. Big men hate rivals. Here, there, and everywhere.

Pheu Thai Party MP Jatuporn Promphan, a core red leader

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