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Bringing Harmony to Thailand

Posted by Stuart at 11:34 PM on March 17, 2006

One of the most interesting things to me about the current political situation/stand-off in Thailand is that the opposition is focusing entirely on removing the Prime Minister from power. It is not about changing the constitution (although they want to) and it is not about removing the TRT party from power (although they also want to do that). But these protests have one goal and one goal only: select a new Prime Minister. At least that is the goal that the protesters are publically chasing.

And it's understandable, since Thaksin has been such an important (perhaps the only?) powerful figure in the Government for the past 5 years, it is easy to point all fingers at him.

But it is also interesting to me that the opposition is arguing that because of Thaksin, Thailand is now divided. Before, there were no arguments and no disagreement. But now, because of Thaksin, the Thai people are "fighting" among themselves about what should happen next. If Thaksin steps down, they argue, harmony will be restored. (Not that there is violence, but there is disagreement.)

This seems to me to be a very "Thai Way" of looking at things. Being in agreement (in public) and putting on a good face, a happy veneer, seems to be the most important thing. And it is very strange coming from my American perspective. The last two Presidential elections in the U.S. have been amazingly close. America for the past decade or so has been split politically right down the middle 50/50. Can you imagine Americans asking George W Bush to resign so that the 50/50 split will be closed and we can all get along again? What would we argue about then?

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