In the early 1990s, we thought we were in competition with the likes of South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore. By the early 2000s, we settled for competing with Malaysia.
These days, we are scared Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar might one day surpass us. Deep down inside however, we know the word “might” doesn’t apply to Vietnam, it will surpass us.
Many reasons may explain why Thailand is a one-legged runner in the race for progress. One of which is, a tank keeps rolling over one leg or another, i.e., military coup.
Another is an education system created to cripple intelligence, castrate independence and cast aside innovation.
Another is a cultural norm designed to keep the people cowed and submissive, rather than encourage them to stand tall and — in the words of Rihanna — shine bright like diamonds.
We can keep on doing “another is” until the emergency decree is lifted, and there still would be many more to do. But specific to this article is one word, cronyism.
Cronyism is defined as the appointment of a friend or a family member to a position, which he or she is absolutely freaking clueless about and utterly freaking unqualified for.
Enter Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s little brother, General Preecha.
General Preecha has never worked a day in the tourism sector. But he was appointed to the senate committee on tourism. Why? Is it because he has so much experience traveling the world and this was thought essential to the committee?
In the words of the late great Whitney Houston, “hell to the no.”
He’s the prime minister’s little brother. The same reason he was appointed to the senate and to the National Assembly in the first place.
What about all the generals that sit on the boards of so many state enterprises, including Thai Airways? The air force has planes; the national airline has planes. Same thing?
What did you say, Whitney? “Hell to the no.”
In fact, the prime minister himself got his gig because he’s little brother to the most well connected general of them all, General Prawit Wongsuwan.
But let’s be fair. The disease is in the culture. The military is but a lingering symptom. The present government is but the latest symptom.
Cronyism plagues every government Thailand has ever had, just as it plagues all levels of society.
The result of cronyism? Incompetence.
It is no wonder then that other countries raced past us by.