The People in Power

Having devoted me last few blogs to the learning of the Thai language and the seedy goings-on in Kanchanaburi I thought I would do a u-turn and and go back to one of me fave subjects and that is, the gory details surrounding the ins and outs of the country’s leaders.

Thailand has many a great rivalry. We have Pizza Hut vs Pizza Company, Man U vs Liverpool, Nana Plaza vs Patpong, Channel 3 soap operas vs Channel 7’s but at the end of the day, nothing quite matches The Thai Army vs The Thai Police. For many a strange reason the two great forces behind ‘protecting’ the country have had it in for each other over the years and the story of a certain Maj-Gen Sae Dum vs Pol-Gen Sun says it all.

Well, our army friend in writing here, Mr Dum, had a fascinating infatuation for a collection of guns with which the police weren’t too pleased about and so they tried on occasions to have Mr Dum quit the habit of driving around Bangkok with a hundred machine guns in his car. Eventhough just a little Major General, Mr Dum had won admiration for all sorts of dangerous missions and was not in the habit of being spoken to by the pompy police. The police on getting pretty cheesed-off with the lawless behaviour of Mr Dum decided to arrest him outside his office a few years back only for the arresting officer to be on the receiving end of a dozen kickes to the head live on TV with Mr Dum swearing at the cameras to the likes of ‘Darned police have no respect for an Army Officer!’

Well, that was the start of a barrage of verbal assault thrown from both sides and especially Mr Dum’s. It grasped the attention of the country’s police chief Mr Sun and he arranged to dice up a bitta revenge and had a whole string of commandos, fifteen helicopters and three tanks pursue Mr Dum at some hotel on Ratchadapisek Road while Mr Dum was stashing up a whole car full of ammunition while a team of TV reporters are ‘in on the action’. All the viewers were soon witnessing Mr Dum madly throwing a few punches and smacking a couple of the police round the back of the head with one of his guns. Absolutey infuriated at the disrespect shown by Police Chief Sun, Maj-Gen Dum who was/is an incredibly influential military man and a personal friend of the PM’s was seen after, on a few chat shows swearing about the corrupt behaviour of Mr Sun and calling for his resignation. Well, by this time no-one was listening to his complaints as Mr Sun had become famous for cleaning up the image of the police and known for his well-known ‘anti police corruption stance’.

That was, until Mr Dum had somehow managed to receive copies of a whole stack of bank-books ‘made in the USA’ and millions of dollars in the name of Mr Sun’s minor wife in California. Not long after, Mr Sun, on getting a bash in the face by his formal wife and a right telling off by the PM Thaksin decided to hand in his resignation only for him to swear avengance against Mr Dum. As I said, Maj-Gen Dum has made quite a name for himself for his ‘dangerous missions’ and his last one, just last year, saw him sunbathing for two months, growing a two foot beard, learning the southern dialect and infiltrating the Mujahadeen in a top-secret mission in the restless deep south provinces. That was until the former police chief Mr Sun somehow got to contact the terrorist organization and give them the lowdown on Maj-Gen Dum and his antics dressed-up as a Muslim Roti Vendor pushing a cart outside the Mujahadeen’s main office. Finally, Mr Dum fled for his life and is now back in Bangkok (I think) and back to a cozy office job and still enjoying his collection of ‘big guns’. As for the former police chief, he has fled the scene.

Besides just Maj-Gen Dum, a whole flurry of other folks have had a full-on confrontation with the country’s police and the most famous of such folk over the past couple of years or so has had to be…a certain Mr Chuwit. Our massage parlour tycoon friend here Mr Chuwit was the owner of a whole fleet of naughty massage parlours on Ratchadphisek Road and made a name for himself along the lines of ‘mafia-like’. Mr Chuwit first made headlines when he decided to bulldoze down a hundred or so bar-beers along Sukhumvit as they hadn’t paid the rent owned to him for the use of his land. Next, the police got into the action and before we know it they are arresting Mr Chuwit for naughty goings-on behind the curtains of his massage parlour rooms. Fuming at this, Mr Chuwit was seen ranting away live on TV for the next couple of months claiming the reason behind his arrest was that he hadn’t paid enough money under the table to the local police. A total of more than fifty high ranking police officers got transferred out of the area because of the so-called ‘kick-backs’ they had been receiving from Mr Chuwit over the years.

Mr Chuwit spent just a night or so behind bars and even got a prison warden sacked from his job after the warden had charged him a few thousand baht for his wife to bring in a plate of fried rice for him. Fearing for his life of course, Mr Chuwit decided to become a politician and after a decent showing in the Bangkok Governor Elections in which he came in third, is now a party-list MP for the Chart Thai Party. Quite amazing really, for a guy with a Masters Degree from the US and a ‘lover-of-the ladies’ to be liked so much by the Thai people. Then, just last year he was down the police station again after his wife had reported him for ‘punching her in the face’ a few times. On being questioned by ITV News he stated ‘This is personal business, but all I want to say is that she deserved it. I also told her to watch her big mouth from now on or I’ll give her another big slapping!’

In fact, along with the thai-blog’s blogger – BKK Inkslinger, I’ve actually seen Mr Chuwit just the once, and that was ironically at a Catholic Church along Soi Ruam Rudee one Christmas Eve Night while listening to Mass by Father Joe!

Then we have the very well-known story of a certain former police captain cum lawyer cum politician from the Bang Mot District of Thonburi named something like Mr Chalert, famed also for his ‘mafia-like’ stance and the three obnoxious sons of his. Following in their father’s footsteps, the three sons were soon terrorizing the bars, pubs and discos of Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket and being arrested on a handful of occasions for physically assaulting anyone for staring them in the eye or not showing them enough respect. After a certain ‘happening’ at a disco (on Ratchadaphisek Road again!) in which a police sargaent was shot in the head, one of the sons fled the scene for 6 months and gone missing while ‘dad’ collected enough evidence to prove his son had nothing to do in the killing. As it is against the law in Thailand to critcize a judge’s decision I can only say that ‘It must have been a fair trial’. I don’t think many people in the senate were too pleased with the behavior of this one time popular politician and we rarely see his face on TV these days. As for his three sons, they have been banned by the police from entering any disco/pub for the next five years!

One other very familiar face to be seen virtually every night in the country’s pompous cocktail lounges and expensive discos has to be Mr Patong-ko, the beloved son of the Prime Minister. Well, not so long ago ‘dad the PM’ must have gotten tired of his sons behaviour which included flunking the exams of a dozen universities, drinking with a whole stack of lovely ladies every night and getting out of bed at three in the afternoon that ‘dad’ set up an advertising business for him. Even though Mr Patong-ko hadn’t a clue about such a business, his company were soon, miraculously, winning a fair share of ludicrious contracts including a massive one for the Bangkok Underground. When asked whether his father had been influential in winning some of the deals, quoted to the press, ‘Don’t talk nonsense, I won all those contracts all by myself!’

After a grand total of fifty years in the planning our new airport ought to be opened just a year late, next year. Unless you’ve been living on the Planet Mars you must have heard about the supposed corruption going on about that one. So much so, that i can’t be bothered writing about it, as it would take up the whole of the main page of thai-blogs. You may of read about some of the ‘wacko’government ideas in a couple of me old blogs but one of me favourites had to be the propostion to extend the skytrain route to the new Suwannaphum Airport miles outside of Bangkok. What a ridiculous plan that was after the government had decided that all the foreigners on arriving at the airport would be next seen climbing the stairs of the Skytrain with all their luggage in order to get to their hotel, downtown.

I have to admit, since being a teacher, I’ve known quite a few people during the time that I’ve spent in Thailand but can’t go giving away some of their so-called secrets on a public website. But for sure there are a lot of decent influential figures in Thailand and my favourite politician has to be ‘Ong Art’ the Head of The Democratic Party of Bangkok, based in Bangkok Noi, he has spent all his time fighting the poverty in this certainly ‘seedy’ area of Bangkok and not even a famous TV Presenter cum actor for the ‘Thai Love Thai’ Party could knock him out in the last elections.

This is the thrid part of the series and me two other ones on Thailand’s Leaders are in me archives. Titled ‘Are you being Serious?’

Related category: Stories from the Past

Also see: Are You Being Serious? and Are You Being Serious…Again?

You can contact me by sending an e-mail to

VOCAB FOR TODAY;

Gory = horrible
To be cheesed-off = to be angry
Dice up = to make up
Infuriated = really angry
Stash up = fill up
Bash = punch
Cozy job = easy job
A flurry = a decent variety
Rant = shout
Pompous = หรูหรา
Wacko = crazy

12 responses to “The People in Power

  1. Strewth ! Who needs “soap operas” or gangster films on Thai TV -you could not make this stuff up!

  2. khunlungphudhu

    Steve, love your blogs, I am a most ardent follower!
    I have been ‘connected’ to Thailand for very many years now, and it never ceases to amaze me how all this can go on for so long and the country still functions extremely well.
    I have told my friends similar tales in the past and they have taken my stories with the proverbial pinch of salt, believing that I have made up at least part of the tale.
    Truly amzeing Thailand!
    Keep them comming Steve.

  3. Khun Don –

    You took the comment right out of my mouth! Strewth!

    Time for work then dinner with friends tonight at Thai resturant. Reading the rest of todays blogs will have to wait until this evening 🙁

    Wit

  4. Yeah, “Thailand functions extremely well”.
    cf, 1997 economic crash, the war on drugs (heh), rampant corruption, kow towing to the Burmese Junta, poverty wages, anti-Issan snobbery.

  5. Can the police arrest an Army person in Thailand? Would they not have a separate Military Police to take care in such cases?

  6. Steve,

    Nice one.

    Have you heard something of Mr. Chuwit’s “park for the people” plan being put on hold (as in the kind of indefinite hold that translates to it never ever being completed)?

    I do indeed remember that Christmas Eve mass.

    Bit surreal in retrospect. Where else could one find, Mr. Chuwit, Father Joe, Stevesuphan and your humble Inkslinger here all singing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” together!

    Cheers, BKK

  7. Thanks for the comments again.

    Trangam asked there whether the Police can arrest an army officer.

    Sure, they can. But a lot of our military friends and especially a few of the high ranking ones over the years have enjoyed taking advantage of a law that says
    ‘No, if the guy is actually wearing his soldier uniform’.

    Just there in my first story is a fine example of this. I just didnt bothering writing the details in.

    As for the BKK Inkslinger. At the end of the day i dont actually mind Mr Chuwit. Sure, ive heard about his park over there on Sukhumvit which he is supposedly donating to the folks of Bangkok as a thank you for the 300,000 of them who voted for him in the Bangkok Governor Election.

    I hadn’t heard the plans had been put on hold but certainly beats ‘rub-a-tub’ business.

  8. Steve I vote that you relocate to America and begin writing political commentary on our pack of thieves politicans. They need a good kick in the arse!

  9. Yet another funny blog,Steve; it was an entertaining piece.

    You are lucky that Thai politicians are still fair game for ridicule and criticism… few other countries in the region can say the same. On the other hand, while legal action couldn’t be taken, I still think that we should proceed with caution on this line, as you surely know that influential figures in this developing country can easily resort to less-than-legal measures when an annoyance goes beyond a treshold. 🙂

    That’s why I said you’re lucky. If I were to spill the beans here on the stuff I know about other, ‘more taboo’ folks, I’m not sure if anyone in Thailand could view thaiblogs.com the next day! Not to mention personal safety… I think you had the same reasons in mind when you wrote: can’t go giving away some of their so-called secrets on a public website.

    Let’s just hope that the time comes soon, when ‘thought police’ will be nothing more than yet another ancient relic of Thai history.

  10. I dont exactly spill any beans as they are all well known stories.

    You don’t have to worry much in Thailand, just look at what is written in the daily newspapers etc… here! I mean in both Thai and English.

    For sure though, i know quite a lotta stuff from a variety of sources but that is their personal business. The only stories i write here are well known ones. Of course i forget a lot of stuff over the years and so often ask my friends in the know to remind me a bit.

    Once upon a time i did a blog on me acting in Thai soap operas. Now for sure i got some sordid stories from doing that but still havent written on that yet.

    Sure, i am a little bit careful.

    I think you as Siamjai ought to be too. Youve written some pretty risky stuff before.

  11. I think you as Siamjai ought to be too. Youve written some pretty risky stuff before.

    Yep, no denying that, lol! Sometimes it’s difficult for common sense to quell the spirit of freedom… 😉

    I wouldn’t take it granted that can write about things that I see in the printed media, however. They are, after all, a whole different category. Folks can’t just shut down Thai Rath or The Nation as easily as they could a private blogging site.

    Even book material is not safe from censorship, as I had to find out once, when I wanted to talk about Thai history as I read it in a published book over here.

    Now for sure i got some sordid stories from doing that but still havent written on that yet.

    Really? That’s interesting, I’m looking forward to reading about that when it’s ready. 🙂

    Take care,

  12. nice read… u seens to know lots of insider stories! Where u got ur source?! Damn, i’ve to learn to read the local newspapers…. :p