This morning, we woke up to the Twitter hashtag #ประเทศไทยต้องชนะ (Thailand must win). But it will never happen, as long as we have an undemocratic constitution, with half the country applauding military coups, while the other half living in fear of being branded, anti-monarchy.
It will never happen, as long as Thailand is divided by hatred and fear.
The greatest summary ever
Let’s analyze how Thailand came to be at this crossroad.
In 2020, the Future Forward Party is banned because of the undemocratic constitution. In 2019, General Prayuth Chan-o-Cha continued as prime minister because of the undemocratic constitution. Why is the constitution undemocratic?
Because in 2017, it was written under the guns of the military dictatorship regime, not under a democratically elected government. Because it allows 250 junta-appointed senators to choose the prime minister. How did we come to have this undemocratic constitution?
In 2014, this military regime came into power through a coup. A coup that was made possible by the violence and chaos led by the people who today sit as high-ranking ministers and officials in the current government. But why must there be a coup?
Because the ruling elites could not defeat the forces of Thaksin Shinawatra in democratic elections. Not in 2011, 2007 or 2005. (We don’t count the 2001 elections, because nobody knew then the trouble Thailand would be in.) So instead, the ruling elites defeated the forces of Thaksin via military coups.
Why must the ruling elites defeat the forces of Thaksin?
The greatest trick ever
The marketing campaign to the world was that Thaksin’s corrupted, which of course he was. The buzzword was “evil capitalism” (ทุนสามานย์). But if we take an honest look at the relationships between the current government and Thailand’s leading tycoons, we would understand that the ruling elites weren’t fighting “evil capitalists,” they just wanted the biggest shares of “evil capitalism.”
We were tricked. Hoodwinked. Bamboozled.
As a journalist who has been on the ground with every color-shirt protest — yellow, red, multi-color and the whistlers — corruption was just a buzzword. In truth, it was, and still is, about one thing:
The belief that whether the name is Thaksin or Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit; their aim is to harm the monarchy. Therefore, as loyal Thai people, we must defend the monarchy, even if we have to applaud coups and support dictators.
Getting half the country to believe this, is the greatest trick ever pulled.
The greatest institution ever
The truth of the matter is, the monarchy isn’t threatened in any way. There is no country on earth in which the people love and revere the monarchy more than inThailand. There are some 500,000 soldiers sworn to defend the monarchy. Barring the absolute monarchies that still exist out there, there isn’t a monarchy more powerful than the Thai monarchy.
In the check & balance system of democracy, there isn’t any politician or faction who can harm the monarchy in any way.
The greatest trick ever pulled is to convince half the country that the monarchy is threatened. As such, to defend the monarchy, we must support the robbery of an entire nation (military coups) and we must live under a body of law that is unjust (junta-inspired constitution).
And so here we are today, a nation plagued by division, hatred and incompetence, some 15 years in the cycle of coups and chaos.
Change cannot happen if a country is divided by hatred and fear, with people screaming at each other. That’s chaos in the making. Change will happen, if we unite in the shared goal of national progress for 69 million people, not just for a group of individuals or for one person.
Set aside the names Prayuth, Thaksin and Thanathorn. These are merely individual human beings. They come and they go. Invest, not in individuals or factions, but in the foundation of good governance that can be sustained from generation to generation.
A foundation in which the people respect the monarchy and the government serves the people. It is the foundation of democratic governance that the Thai people must unite to strive for.