Daily Archives: March 10, 2006


Not so long ago I did read that soon Laos will have free elections, there will be just a very, very small peculiarity: only one party will be allowed to contest, obviously the one in power, no opposition allowed. Fair elections, indeed.
I then thought: ”it is Laos, look at the bright side, it may be the first step towards democracy”.
I could never imagine that same thing would be happening here in Thailand. Our beloved PM called new elections in a hurry, leaving the opposition unprepared and, in this way, making sure of his win.
Then the opposition rightly did decide to boycott the vote, maybe hoping that some dignity will somewhere surface and the whole farcical elections would be called off.
Nope, the greed of power is too strong and on April 2nd, Thailand will witness the most farcical election ever seen (pity it is not April 1st, that would have made more sense).

I always thought of politicians as the big business and financial power’s puppets. The real power is never in their, tied, hands but in those who “remote control” them (see Bush/Cheney/Halliburton). In Thailand we went a step further, the business grasped power, the financial power came out of the shadow and took over, not needing a puppet anymore, now its POWER is total, either financial and political.

Call it democracy?
Someone may object that nearly all Issarn (for example) did vote TRT. True, but with all respect due, I do live among these people. They are truly nice and good hearted people but with absolute no awareness about politics. They are ready to take a 500 baht note from anyone, a box of Mekhong wiskhey and cast the vote for the “benefactor”.
Why? Maybe they have been neglected, subdued for so long that, with their typical “Mai pen Rai attitude”, they know that whoever they may vote nothing will change and nothing will improve for them, so better take some immediate profit.
Maybe they are wiser than myself who I still believe in justice, I still get angry when I am witness of abuse of power, of the exploitation of the poor and when I see absolute no concerns for Human Rights.

Call it democracy? What is the alternative?
Absolute Monarchy? Maybe in Thailand it would be working, I sincerely think His Majesty the King would be a great leader for this country, people really love him and He is really genuinely concerned about them.
Impossible I fear. I wish, at least, that someone like Him will come up from the political ranks.
But then I look a bit further north, in the Kingdom of Nepal whose crown is still red with blood, where the present King had no hesitation to kill his own brother (the previous King) and his family to get power, thus igniting a cruel civil war in the country.

Dictatorship? Left or right? No difference, it scare me just to look across the Cambodian border and think what did happened not so long ago, with the world watching .. but of course there was no oil in Cambodia.

Anarchy? A dream, but clearly an utopia. A world where men would not need any government where human being could live in peace and harmony with self-governance, where there would be no rich and no poor… but better I stop dreaming, without awareness this will never happen.
And who shall give awareness to the masses? The ones in power who, in any case, only are attempting to become more powerful and the shortcut to achieve that is:
keep down the masses, never give awareness to the them. So?

Back at the starting point and I begin to wonder if those poor unaware Issarn farmers have understood things much better and faster than me… nothing will ever change… so take some money and enjoy some “Sanook”… and “Mai pen rai”.
I don’t know if I ever will be able to do that but it may really be the only option left.

Sad isn’t it?

© – Copyright

Ajarn yai, the greatest teacher of all

Ajarn yai – many of you may know this phrase as “school principal” in Thai. Today I want to tell you about a Thai custom that will give this phrase a very different meaning. 🙂

If you visited our university last month, you’d have been greeted by the solemn sight of black-and-white drapes hanging from the walls of the doorway, and the throng of neatly dressed undergraduates lining the entryway. As you’d step inside and walk down the hallway, you’d be aware of the large flower garlands all along the walls, sometimes surrounding lists of names. You could suspect that something or someone is being honored there. The chants coming from behind a closed door would confirm that notion.

If you’d step closer and peek inside through a window, the first thing you’d notice are the nine monks sitting on elevated platforms, chanting to an avid audience of Thais dressed in black. Something strange in the middle of the room: large black bags, holding unknown things. The group of skeletons standing in a corner give an eerie hint of the bags’ ghastly content…