It was today, 22 May, seven years ago, when tanks rolled into the capital. In the eye of traditionalists, it was a joyous occasion. General Prayut Chan-o-cha has saved the day. All will be well in Siam-land once again.
General Prayut even penned his promises in a song, “Return Happiness to Thailand.”
“I will do as promised / please give me a bit of time,” echoed through the airwave. The promises were to clean up corruption, reform politics, and protect the institution.
Seven years later, outside of the people and some media, there’s no independent organization or a government body to provide checks and balances on corruption.
Case in point, last December, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) awarded the army, which answers to no outside checks-and-balances mechanism, the kingdom’s “most transparent agency.”
Then there’s Deputy Prime Minister Wisanu Krea-ngam always to say, “It’s fine. It’s done.” While General Prawit Wongsuwan always mumbles, “I don’t know.”
Meanwhile, General Prayut always insists, “There’s a law for everything,” omitting that the law doesn’t apply to his ruling military patronage network. Moreover, he fails to understand that it was him who destroyed the rule of law with his military coup.
Old-style godfathers still rule Thai politics, both in military uniforms and in suits. Case in point, General Prawit and Thamanat Prompow. In public, the call for monarchy reform is more deafening over the past year than at any time in Thai history. Not to mention, even without COVID-19, the economy has been suffering for the past seven years.
Supporters would struggle to directly criticize General Prayut, portraying him as an innocent victim of the “Grimma Wormtogues” surrounding him. Those shady individuals who use the general to abuse and exploit power for their own benefits.
However, even if General Prayut is personally blameless, it only means he lacks the intelligence, the strength of character, and the capability to manage the country.
Nonetheless, supporters still must think well of him. It’s their only comfort. For otherwise, the horrific reality of the banal truth about General Prayut would destroy their seven years of delusions and might lead to mass suicide.
The ugly truth about the future of Siam-land is this: With the 250 junta-appointed senators still in play, we are looking at six more years of General Prayut for the sum of 13 years (at least) of lies, delusions, and broken promises.