This is Why I Protest

It’s politics today. It kept me up last night and to sleep I had to get this out of my system, so here goes.

I’m not a red shirt, I’m not a yellow shirt. I don’t think the Prime Minister or her government is stupid.  In fact, I think they are smart and know exactly what they are doing.  I don’t think the opposition is better and I don’t think the protestors should break barriers.  I empathize with the policemen stuck in the middle between doing their duty and the people.

I have friends on both sides.  So why do I go out and participate in the protests ?

Here’s why. I am against corruption. I am against the amendment of laws for personal  benefit, the changing of versions, and of rushing it through in the wee hours of the morning.  Yes, thai politics and the opposition are also guilty of corruption, and I too am against it, but never before has corruption been at this level.

I am an advocate of transparency and believe the opposition should be allowed to voice their opinion no matter what.  I believe constitutional verdicts should be upheld and cannot simply be denied.

I am against a culture of “cash is king” and one where political goals override the needs of the country.

I am against a culture of where every action is a new “marketing” opportunity and money wasted when there are still people suffering. 

If any other democratically elected government abused their power, I would protest too. Being elected and a majority doesn’t give you the right to abuse your power.

I participate so that I can look at myself in the mirror and know that I have at least tried to do something for the country that I love.

Remember this as Lord Acton once said,  “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

And ask yourselves as Benjamin Franklin once asked, “What good may I do in this world ?”

Whatever you believe in, everyone has the right to voice their opinion and should fight for what they believe in. Don’t let others fight for you.  Fight for yourself and stand up for what you believe in.

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19 thoughts on “This is Why I Protest

  1. 99% of people are against corruption. The question is: what is the solution now for Thailand? How to install a non corrupt government and non corrupt officials, which could be accepted by the majority of Thai people, poor & middle class?

  2. I don’t think anyone would disagree with you. We all want a government that is not corrupt. But what you are supporting or what the protesters want is a non-elected government. The protest leadera are asking people to fight for the right to be enslaved and to demand a system where not all votes are created equal.

    Let’s say we do just that, may i ask who then will monitor those in power? The same rights that allow you to protest are exacty the rights that can be taken away if you let the few dictate the many. As you said power corrupts, so why leave it to the few?

    Again I applaud and agree with your belief and it is only through democracy, equality under the law and freedom of speech that will allow you to flourish.

    1. I agree with you. Also, that bill she was talking about was ultimately dropped by the government DUE to these protests. So the protesters won, they got what they asked for already. – Why are they still on the streets so many days later?

  3. I am a fan of Lord Acton but he was mistaken in thinking that power corrupts. Integrity is present in men regardless of power or place in society. As such, power itself does not corrupt, but it does tend to attract the corrupt. Unfortunately those of strong integrity do not want to rule over their neighbors but those of little integrity demand it.

    So, being against corruption – fantastic. But there is a moral imperative to vote and act FOR something, not simply AGAINST. This particular protest is led by a man and a group explicitly calling for a fascist state. So if you’re protesting alongside them that is how your voice is being interpreted. It would be nice to see a group actually come up with some good proposals like amendments to the Constitution (which we are about to have a holiday for) that support protections for rights of the individual, better free press, and perhaps encourage better enfranchisement of the population by allowing people who don’t hold a college degree to run for office. You understand that this means Thailand’s equivalent of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates couldn’t even legally get on a ballot!

    But right now all protesters are simply showing their support for what can only be described as their lesser of two evils. Remember it’s not a matter of destination as much as it is a matter of direction. So things need to be judged in terms of whether they will help take the country a bit further away from its problems and a bit more towards a better future.

  4. The solution is quite simple but will take a huge step to achieve. Have election which probably will see Pheu Thai get about 60% of the votes and the Democrats about 30%. Then let these to parties form the goverment = no more fighting on the streets and there might be a chance they can steer each other out of to much corruption!

  5. Corruption is a word thrown around a lot, but the fantasy that an authoritarian government will eliminate corruption is just that, a fantasy. In fact, undemocratic governments themselves are a corruption, since they are a corruption of the democratic process.

    Corruption isn’t the only issue, and it will not be tackled by a so called “people’s council” which would be more interested in a witch hunt and settling old scores. First, a legitimate government must be allowed to govern before corruption can be tackled. If the protesters were really interested in tackling corruption, then first off Suthep wouldn’t be there leader, and they would actually be in the streets talking about corruption instead of shouting that the PM is a whore. India has developed a very strong and real anti-corruption movement, which has now formed a political party. If the protesters adopted that model, then I might be willing to believe their rhetoric about corruption.

    So, in other words your reasons for protesting don’t make any sense, and you are a victim of propaganda. Instead of following the mob, I recommend leading a real anti-corruption campaign. It’s a lot harder, but would have much more legitimacy and positive effects.

  6. Thank you for this excellent articulation of why so many people in Thailand are fed up with many of those who are governing this country – a country with great potential that is being robbed and squandered.

  7. “Yes, thai politics and the opposition are also guilty of corruption, and I too am against it, but never before has corruption been at this level.” Sigh. If only it were true. “There is nothing new save that which has been forgotten.” “Vain hope, to make people happy by politics.” – Thomas Carlyle, 1831.

  8. agreed with almost every points you made, except one on “constitutional verdicts should be upheld and cannot simply be denied”.

    i’m strongly believe that the particular verdict from Constitutional Court on the structure of the Senate should be denied:
    1) I don’t think the Court has a juridical power to accept this case in the first place
    2) in essence, the intention of the amendment is to make Senate 100% elected (currently it’s roughly 50%-elected 50%-appointed), i don’t think this is against the spirit of democracy.

    as in many countries, Constitutional Court can be wrong.

    the US Supreme Court was very racist until recently. they were against black people, same-sex marriages, civil liberties, etc. The good thing is they recently improved in the past two decades. Thai Constitutional Court is no different.

    We need something to balance the executive and legislative power. And we need something like 21th century version of US Supreme Court, not a 19th century one.

  9. I agree with havingmetime, subject to the point made by anonymous. As I mention in my book “Thailand Take Two” – a fresh balanced look at the country – the idea of unelected “good men” was also raised by the Pitak Siam group in 2012 by retired general Boonlert. He resigned through lack of support. Suthep is making the same points now as anonymous is indicating.

    I am no fan of Thaksin but, given that Thailand is run by other networks and not just the government, I strongly disagree with the concept of unelected government (and would oppose it if I were Thai)

    With that one proviso, havingmetime, a very erudite, thought out, and well written comment. Most Thais are thoroughly fed up with the way this protest – by a minority it must be accepted – has been organised and propagandised.

  10. “but never before has corruption been at this level”

    The failure to realize that the above statement is “an opinion” rather than “fact” has distorted your judgement.

    And that’s the real reason why you’ve joined this idiotic protest which aim to rob millions people from their voting right leading by one of the most corrupted politician in Thailand.

  11. ..admirable thoughts and idealism….but are you really a Thai living in Thailand? You don’t seem to understand that these problems are at every level, high to low, in every city, town and village, including Bangkok, among every type of person, whether on the Thaksin side, the Thai Democrat side, the royalist side or the military side….it’s a system, the “Thai” system, an ancient patronage system…..endemic and impossible to get rid of without the type of change that many Thais fear “too much”……

  12. I agree with you in most points. The right to demonstrate is essential for a democracy and and a civil society. And with the promised withdrawl of the amnesty bill it was proved that demonstartions can have an effect. But: what happns now goes excactly against this civil society. The selfproclaimed leaders of the movemt have a state in mind where a few will rule without any transparncy or balance of power. So the question is are you prtestng against the current government or for Sutheps Utopia?

  13. Happy Birthday to the King. He has been an amazing unifying and stabilizing influence appreciated by all Thai’s and ex-pats . Thailand missed out of colonization and the many following wars. Even though Thailand has experienced periods of political friction over decades thankfully and largely due to the respect people have for the King it has been overwhelmingly peaceful. All countries have had transition periods. It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried. Sir Winston Churchill British politician (1874 – 1965).

  14. You have a right to your opinion, but in Thailand you do not have a right to protest, even peacefully, in any sphere. If you would rather be in a republic, better leave the country quickly.
    By your yellow-shirt protest, even if you are not a yellow-shirt, at this time of year, you severely damage the finances of Thailand. More, your actions prompt 36 embassies of c ountries other than Thailand not to visit Thailand. That’s bad enough for Thailand, which has slowing growth. But it’s much worse for Laos, since almost every western visitor to Laos comes in the cool season. Over the past year revenue from tourism surpassed that from any other source. But most of that is from western tourists ~ the Chinese and Viets c ome but don’t spend much. The timing of these protests was deliberate, like the occupation of Bangkok’s airport 5 years ago, and designed to maximise harm to the e conomy of Thailand and Laos. That is neither patriotic nor reasonable, it is hooliganism.
    You hate Taksin. I presume you loved the military.

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