Are You Being Serious…Again?

Well, in the second part of this series, here are just a few more sordid stories from the back-bench…and yes I’m being serious. Would I ever exaggerate?

There is a ‘saying’ in Thai that goes something like ‘Just sprinkle some parsley over it’ which means to make something, which is obviously quite bad, nice-looking on the outside, and our friends in parliament have successfully done that on plenty of occasions for the sakes of VIPs from foreign countries arriving in Bangkok.

Over the past few years, no event has been made more fuss over than the APEC summit a couple of years back and the arrival of a certain American president himself. Arriving in Bangkok, the VIPs must have stunned by the sight of the roads with hardly a car insight! “What a crock-of-rubbish, those rumours are, about the Bangkok traffic congestion!” a few of the VIPs were supposedly have said! Obviously having been disappointed not to witness one those world famous ‘jams’, they probably weren’t informed that our beloved leaders had told the capital to ‘relax, fellow citizens, take a few days off work and stay at home!’ Thus, making it look as if such daily traffic scenarios certainly did not exist in The Big Mango. Then, to follow this up, all the vendors selling garlands were banned from making any money for the week and cleared from the streets.

Of course, Bangkok has more than its far share of flea-ridden stray dogs and our leaders before APEC ordered that all the mongrels be rounded-up. “Where are we to dump all the draggled dogs?” was the next question and then broadcast on TV we see all the hounds being rounded-up off the streets in ‘mutt vans’ and waltzed off to Sra Kaew province to the obvious distaste of the local villagers there!

Then finally, for the APEC summit, it was decided that all the world leaders admire a traditional boat show from opposite the The Grand Palace. The politicians soon realized that if the VIPs looked just a little down the river they’d get a sight of some supposed riverbank slums! Not needing the VIPs to think that such a thing existed in Bangkok, a massively long 150 metre banner was erected with ‘A Warm Welcome to all the APEC Delegates’ written on it, stuck right in front of the slums barring them from view.

Now, we all know that the country’s leaders may lack a few qualities and one of them certainly has to be ‘religious sensitivity’. Well, right after Sept 11, one of the country’s ‘big’ politicians stood up and gave this advice to be passed on to the American government “Since the people and government of Afghanistan have no shame, I advise that they should be on the receiving end of some of their own medicine and that all their big cities be bombarded with…..pork fat”

Having to listen to such slanderous remarks you could well have imagined that a few tempers have been lost in Parliament over the years. Just a few months ago one of the ruling party’s members stood up and complained that ‘the’ MP sat opposite was involved in crooked drug deals up there in one of the border provinces only to told back that it was ‘he’ himself that was running dodgy deals. A verbal fight soon erupted before the former policeman turned MP run from his seat over to the other MP and give him a few punches to the face live on TV. After, when asked whether he was going to apologise to the Mae Hong Son MP retorted by saying “Get out of it, the animal deserved it!”

Our friends in parliament have been famed over the years for their supposed ‘influence’ in trying to sway voters to vote for them. Just there in last year’s general election one of the candidates took this a little too far and was photographed carrying a gun into a local voting booth, and instead of using a finger to point his name out to the voters was using his gun instead! When being grilled later by the police to such an act, he replied “It was only a plastic water gun!”

Everyone knows that our leaders have a name for ‘supposedly not’ exactly being the most honest of folk and one of the classics is this one and it actually concerned a former PM a few years back. – It had come to the opposition’s knowledge that the PM’s qualification from a well-known university was rather suspicious. The thesis he had supposedly written for the degree was astonishingly good as it had been written completely in French and read almost identical to ‘this one’ – and there in front of the viewers was a thesis written up 50 years ago. “Complete co-incidence!” was the PM’s reply, and when asked by one of the opposition MPs to the likes of ‘How old are you? (in French lingo)? Replied “I’m fine thank you and you!” to the laughter of the opposition. Of course the PM, on having being able to write a master’s thesis in French couldn’t speak a single word of the language.

Next, if that wasn’t enough for the former PM’s disgust the opposition had managed to get their hands on his supposed ‘real’ birth certificate which read ‘Born in China!’ meaning he didn’t have any rights whatsoever to be a politician let alone the PM. This is Thailand however, and such sordid accusations were soon forgotten.

Talking about honesty, or lack of it, it was brought to the nation’s attention a few years back that the quality of the ‘milk’ given to all the country’s school kids was supposedly ‘poor’. Having no sympathy for the kids whatsoever, it was found out later that this MP was supposedly getting a roaring commission fee to pass this obviously low-nutrition milk on to the nation’s kids to the complete shock of every mother.

I may be wrong, but I doubt that the west has so many TV commercials made up by the government that go something like this – ‘Be a good family man, love your wife, love your children and don’t smoke, drink alcohol or thump your wife in front of the children’. Then just last new year (what a time to start!) it was made forbidden to sell any alcohol between the hours of 2-5pm and midnight to midday! What a quack-wack law! Then even sillier than this, it was propositioned a few years back that ‘since Thais drink too much, the amount of their alcohol consumption be limited!’ and one MP went on to say “I suggest that it be made forbidden for any person, on entering a pub, to order anymore than two bottles of beer for himself”. And, for the bartender to know whether a patron had reached his limit or not, the drinker’s hand was to be stamped every time he ordered a drink! Of course, this wacko idea was never implemented as it would have been the end of the nation’s tourist industry!

And finally, to top all things off. Just last week the big news headlines of the previous seven days, were – ‘Bosses of the Anti Corruption Panel found guilty of affording themselves an over the top salary pay rise, all given a suspended jail term!’

17 responses to “Are You Being Serious…Again?

  1. Yeah… who wouldn’t turn skeptical about laws after living in Thailand for a while? I sure did, and by now I have little if any respect remaining for Thai politicians, lawmakers or the law in general. There is a saying “If you like sausage or law, don’t watch them being made”. 😉

    “Get out of it, the animal deserved it!”

    I think that the extent of the insult has somewhat diminished in the English translation. I assume that the guy used the expression “ai sat”, which is more insulting than its English equivalent, “animal”.

    I don’t think that laws limiting alcohol consumption are wacko ideas at all. On the contrary. In the light of Thailand’s strong anti-drug stance, I found it strange that this widely available drug has been so weakly regulated.

    I don’t see how the stricter regulations would end the tourism industry, unless you mean the folks who “explore” Thailand from inside bars, to which I would say, good riddance.

    Bosses of the Anti Corruption Panel found guilty of affording themselves an over the top salary pay rise, all given a suspended jail term!’

    Not only that, but they also chose to remain in office afterwards, despite proven to be guilty of what they supposed to fight against. They reasoned that there are lots of cases that still need their “expertees”. They resigned only after they were forced to do so by threats of the opposition. Well, I guess this is Thailand, too. :/

  2. A bit off topic, but congratulations to Miss Canada, who is now Miss Universe 2005.

    Today is, as is everyda, a great day to be Canadian!

    Vive le Canada!

  3. Is that comment being serious? Actually, i thought Miss Canada this morning actually looked more Asian than most of the Asian entrants.

  4. Of course that comment was meant in all seriousness and glory be to the toothsome beauty Miss Canada, scratch that, Miss Universe! Most beautiful woman in the world, from the same country loins from which I meself once sprung.

    Back on topic, that Thai MP who suggested that Thailand ‘pork-fat bomb’ the US – only two days after the September 11 attacks mind you! – he wrote this suggestion in an official letter to President George W Bush! It appeared to arrive as an official suggestion on behalf of the Thai government!

    I could be wrong, but I believe that move forfeited his chance at a Cabinet posting.

    As for the liquor laws, I disagree completely with Siamjai in his assertions that they are in any way a positive thing. You can’t forcefeed your views down the throats of another. I agree that many ills are caused my drinking but it’s up to individuals to recognise that and make changes in their lives, it is not the role of government to parent the nation.

    And believe me, if Thailand were to enact any such law, Stevesuphan here is correct in the toll it would take on Thailand’s tourist sector. And while Siamjai, a teetotaller, would not miss the commerce, thousands of businesses and the people who make a living from them certainly would.

    People who tour Chiang Mai’s hilltribes, for example and then proceed south to get horribly sloshed on Koh Phagnan (or vice versa) are not rare and I don’t think they should be made to feel unwelcome.

    And once again, Miss Canada, santez!

  5. Oh! And about the National Counter Corruption Committee, another funny adjunct to that story is that as the constitution currently stands, a new committee can not be selected to replace the current one!

    This is because at the time the rules were made for the selection process, there were five parties in parliament, and the process called for a representative from each of these parties to sit on a selection panel. Now they’re only four and the legal requirements still call for five, making selection impossible until a change to the Constitution is made.

    Given the fractious nature of Thai political parties, this is something that perhaps should have been thought out in advance.

  6. it’s up to individuals to recognise that and make changes in their lives, it is not the role of government to parent the nation.

    This argument could be used for any social vices currently controlled by the government. “Self-rule” fails even in the case of a small village community – apply it to a country of 60+ million, and it surely would plunge the nation into chaotic anarchy.

    Like it or not, governments took up the “parental” role for their nations for centuries, and for good reason: it works. Your argument doesn’t.

    People who tour Chiang Mai’s hilltribes, for example and then proceed south to get horribly sloshed on Koh Phagnan (or vice versa) are not rare and I don’t think they should be made to feel unwelcome.

    Thailand needs such people, like Europe needed the plague. The Land of Smiles has her own abundant supply of native drunkards – it could do just fine without the unsolicited “imports” of this inferior commodity.

    IMO. 🙂

  7. Don’t forget the sudden price increase of 180% on the luggage scanning equipment equipment for the new Bangkok airport, of which the Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on graft has already predicted that the government will fail to find one bribe takers or witnesses to such !

  8. Well, it seems anyway that those eight bosses from the anti-corruption panel ‘resigned’ yesterday out of supposed ‘shame’ (source: thai raj).
    ‘Luggage scanning equipment’ and then we have the ‘entrance exam leak’ of last year and then we have the infamous ‘big’ politician family from Bang Mot and his sordid three sons who put shivers down the spines of the nation for years in fear of meeting them in a pub. Then we have the ‘biggest’ police chief and his run in with an influential army officer (with a liking for guns in his car).

    i got lots more supposedly scandalous stories up me sleeve but i think thats all for now and change the subject.

    By the way. Was the Miss Universe Title the first thing that Canada has ever won?

  9. Siam jai – nobody would ever argue against the importance of laws, just not stupid patronising ones like the liquor laws. And point stands (uncontested I may add) that those who make a living off the tourism industry would me mighty sad to see those gluttons go.

    The government is full of great and wonderful material. Why even a known, as in it’s put in the newspaper that he is a former brothel tycoon, mafia figure sits as a ‘folk hero’ in parliament.

    And do I sense a bit of sore loserness from stevesuphan? While it did appear that Miss United Kingdom would have been more at home at the pushing end of a plow then she was on the runway, that is little reason to make an assertion such as you have. As for Canadian achievements, they are numerous and include as of late the winning of the National Basketball Association’s Most Valuable Player Award. A great day, no a great year to be Canadian.

    Vive le Trudeau!

  10. Apologise for the two-at-a-time posts, but I just wanted to quickly educate stevesuphan on a fact dear to his British heart – there has never in the over 50 year long history of the Miss Universe competition, been a winner from the United Kingdom.

  11. I dont actually mind our former massage parlour turned Party List MP, the infamous Mr Chuwit. There are worse characters than him around, I can promise you that.

    As for Dougie’s comment there on a certain miss universe. Let it be known that she is actually Russian and moved to Canada when she was 12. Most other countries wouldnt have even allowed her to become their ‘girl of the year’. Moreover, since she has lived in Canada the same amount of time as i have lived in Thailand that makes her as Canadian as i am Thai. And i can promise you that.

    I can remember the right ‘stink’ the Canadian press gave Lennox Lewis when he took on British nationality when winning the World Boxing Title and claimed ‘he isn’t British at all!’

    Vive Le Truthe

  12. Being the ‘youngin’ that i am the worst legislation that the fanciful thai pollies ever put forward to passed was that one where they argued that a curfew be put on teenagers.

    I think its was like a 9 o clock curfew. I jus thought to myself upon hearing it was that if a kids going to go crazy, commit crimes or be a nusiance to society they dont usally take notice of the time of day.

    P.S wat happen to miss thailand in the competition..was she ever in the running?? and do prime ministers usally attend Miss Universe pagents?? Would Bush or Howard turn up if it was in their country?

  13. Um…the AP picture looks almost like the PhotoShop’ed in the PM…

    *shrug*

  14. I remember that one too about the curfew, another right mind-boggling idea! That was until the PM was informed that half of Bangkok’s students dont actually get home til later than that cause of extra tutor classes in the evenings and two hours in the traffic!
    Then, what about all the other teenagers from not-so well-off families who had to work in the evenings to save money for their studies.

    For those who havent read the first part to the series, there are lots more stories in the first part, a couple of blogs back.

    Oakmonster>
    Classic pic of that dog there, can thank Richard here for sticking that on.

  15. Didn’t that nice Mr Thaksin say that he would stop all this nasty corruption stuff during the last election campaign ? Or did I dream it ?
    (Ok – I have some weird dreams!)

  16. Let it be known that she is actually Russian and moved to Canada when she was 12. Most other countries wouldnt have even allowed her to become their ‘girl of the year’. Moreover, since she has lived in Canada the same amount of time as i have lived in Thailand that makes her as Canadian as i am Thai.

    Congratulations, Steve. I haven’t seen such a perfectly delivered coup de grace to patriotic pride before. Great laugh, lol.

    Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned there… 😀

  17. Steve you certainly seem to have your finger on the pulse with different topics but does some of your views conflict with the upper echelon in the thai ministry of education ?

    cheers terry