Many of the traditional Thai elites do not like General Prayut Chan-o-cha, nor do they want a military dictatorship. They see the former as vulgar, delusional, and incompetent, the latter as outdated and an obstacle to progress.
They don’t mind a military coup now and again to “set things right,” they just don’t want a military dictatorship afterward. They don’t necessarily embrace democracy either. Not that they have anything against democracy, they just don’t think Thailand is ready.
Hence the elitist mindset still dictates their view.
Instead, they prefer the rule of “a good man.”
They would cite the days of General Prem Tinsulanondha as a shining example. With King Rama 9 as the heart and soul of the nation, and General Prem quarterbacking in the field, to them, all was fine in the kingdom.
It wasn’t a democracy, but that’s neither here nor there.
Dr. Arthit Ourairat is proud to have served the kingdom by nominating Anand Panyarachun as prime minister in 1992. This was a time when Thailand was in a political struggle between the military establishment and civilian politicians. The struggle saw a military coup and pro-democracy activists’ massacre, Black May 1992.
For many among the elite class, as with upper and middle-class Bangkokians, Anand was the ideal leader. They viewed him as intelligent, skillful, hard-working, and, most importantly, “good,” but Anand also has a long list of detractors.
Be that as it may, it is per this perspective that Dr. Arthit proposed a government of good people once again. Not in General Prayut “good,” which the elites don’t even believe is true.
But as in Anand “good,” which the elites believe is right.
But that’s not what the protestors want, nor what Thailand needs.
Dr. Arthit proposes a “national government,” a system in which a “poo-yai” group gets together and selects the prime minister, and then have the parliament vote for “the good man.” The upside is, they likely won’t appoint another general. The downside is, it’s an oligarchy, not a democracy.
Many among the elites and conservative Bangkokians dance at the idea of perhaps Anand becoming prime minister again. But this is not what the people protesting in the streets want.
Among the many trending hashtags on social media is #ไม่เอารัฐบาลแห่งชาติ (say no to the national government).
The year is 2020, not 1992, nor 1552.
Remember the election campaign of General Prayut?
“Vote for him; he’s good people.” Like a bedtime children fairytale, people fell for it. Over 8 million people fell for it, in fact. Now they are waking up to find out, Santa Clause isn’t real.
The elitist mentality is fixated with cults of personalities. It’s a medieval mindset longing for a heroic warrior wearing shiny Portuguese armor, riding in on a white elephant to save the kingdom.
This isn’t reality, nor is it a sustainable system of government. Good government comes with good governance: checks and balances, transparency, rights and equality, justice and accountability.
The future of Thailand lies with a sustainable system, not fairy-tale personalities. Real-life isn’t a movie franchise directed by Chatrichalerm Yukol.
Instead, if he is genuinely earnest in finding the way forward for the Thai nation, Dr. Arthit should step down from the clouds and have an open heart-to-heart talk with protest leader Anon Nampa.