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Not the way you understand

June 30, 2010

Khun Thanong Khanthong,  Managing editor of  The Nation, sent me this Twitter DM today: < “I know what you’re up to. Europe is being destroyed. We have our problems. But we have to sort it out our way — not the way you understand.” >

My reply, which I also posted on Twitlonger , is here: 

 “Thank you for your DM, khun Thanong. Though I prefer not to DM you back, I appreciate your reply. I agree with you that Thais must sort their own problems by themselves. But a history teaches us that in times of crisis it’s better to open the country up then shut it down. Thai society is in a deep crisis now, indeed. You know Thai society your way; I know Thai society my way. It is at war with itself, strangulating free expression, pontificating about its virtues that do not really exist. I have lived through communist absurdity in my early years, and I can recognize totalitarian society, thank you very much!
The “banker/merchant class over the past centuries has emerged as the most powerful” is also the one that needs to wake up and see why it is so despised by the Thai poor and not so poor. They’re a caste of its own, many of them behave and think the same way as Communist Party members and their demagogue economists used to. They’re as vile and exploitive.
Thailand needs to move on. Thai people will not be fed totalitarian propaganda forever. In Buddhism, as you know, everything’s impermanent.
And I wonder, what do you think I’m up to?”


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One Comment
  1. Jaded permalink

    If that guy writes to you then its a very clear warning… In the land of thoughtcrime, promoting Charter 77 is very provocative. I know what you are up to just like Thanong. And you are playing with fire encouraging Thai’s to think for themselves and discus things openly. That sort of thing is against more than one law in Thailand… Its all very well obliquely deconstructing the political process in the Chang Noi style but when you start suggesting free speech and openness have a role to play in a healthy body politic you are being about as subversive as you can be in this culture.
    Its very brave of you to reactivate your blog. But you are a Czech with a great heritage of outspoken anti-authoritarian intellectuals willing to suffer for their views. Thailand’s intelligentsia seems mostly to consist of cowed, subservient, placemen who gain their academic standing and position through patronage. Of course there are one or two figures who do speak out but the cost to them personally has been a warning to anyone else with an inclination to speak freely that they need to keep their heads down or pay a high price personally. I know that didn’t stop some heroic czech figures but this sort of intimidation seems to be quite effective in Thailand. Ironically the man who writes to you does speak out… In fact he seems to have the reputation of being somewhat of a loose cannon intellectually. I doubt if he meant his words as a real threat. But a quick look at a few of his articles should reveal to you a gentleman who will accept and incorporate any testimony from questionable or dubious sources if it confirms his own well known prejudices. In that sense, his attentions are always threatening because there seems in his own thought processes, no inhibitions when it comes to accusing others of things that he cannot possibly be in a position to know about. He’s now aware of you and your penchant for free speech. If he categorizes you as a potential source of comfort to the people he opposes, you might run a risk of gaining new insight into the realities of Thailand’s reconciliation process…
    Recently I have seen a number of literary references to Orwell appearing in places like the Washington Post. And as a Czech the question you should ask yourself might be whether Thailand’s legal system is Kafkaesque? But I actually think Huxley’s analysis of how govenment’s will control populations is the most interesting of those in the literary pantheon of anti-authoritarianism. Perhaps you might enjoy watching this speech from 1962.

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