Yesterday was Children’s day. Entire families were out en masse watching airplanes, dancing, singing and having quality family time. Shops and restaurants were filled and everywhere there was a queue. You’d think food was being given out for free.
Tomorrow, it’s the Bangkok Shutdown. Literally. Major roads and intersections will be filled protestors, protesting against the government and the election. They call for reform before election. At the same time, there are protestors out in support of the government and symbolically lighting candles. The government wants election then reform.
Both have valid reasons. Anti-government protestors have lost faith in the government despite the government’s reassurance they will reform after the election. The government is skeptical of what will happen next if there are no elections. Who will be in power and will democracy prevail?
Meanwhile, the election date has been set for 2nd February 2014. The problem though is that 28 constituencies do not have candidates and even if elections were to go through, the number of MPs would not meet the minimum required to convene the House of Representatives. The Election Commission is suggesting the government move the election date to 4th May 2014. The budget is 3.8 billion baht. (~$115mil.)
Is the cost of holding this election worth the outcome? I can’t help but try to make sense of all this and think about what will happen next for Thailand. What is the best way out of this? What is the best solution for Thailand?
In my opinion, I think the best way out of this is for both sides to just take a step back, put away their personal egos, fear of losing face, and really just ask themselves this, “Am I doing what is best for my country?”
Will holding elections for the sake of having elections resolve the political situation?
Think of this: 1) There are millions on the street protesting and closing major intersections. The people clearly are not happy even if they are not the majority. 2) The House of Representatives will not be able to convene as the number of MPs will be insufficient. 3) There is no guarantee elections will cause the protestors to disperse, forget and accept the results. 4) There is a chance the protestors will come out again the protest the results
Taking all this into consideration is the election worth the 3.8 billion baht of taxpayer money?
Some may argue that elections ensure we remain democratic and that the people will have to accept it. The government has promised it will reform after elections. This should be sufficient given that we live in a democracy. The government should not give in just because protestors are out on the street.
My only problem with this argument is that it fails to address the issue.
The issue is that a significant number of people (millions) have lost faith and trust in the government. They say the government is corrupt and is pushing policies for personal gain. And like any relationship, once the trust is broken, the relationship fails and breaks apart.
The government will have to work hard if it is to get the people to trust in them, to believe that the government will truly undergo reforms that will help the people and be for the benefit of the country. These things take time, and words are insufficient. It’s the action that counts.
In the end, no matter what you believe in, actions always speak louder than words.
Good night Bangkok. I pray all ends peacefully. I love you Thailand.