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Samui Bodoh

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  1. An interesting read as always, and a welcome recap of the week. In this 'Week That Was', we saw the tenth anniversary of Thais being killed/injured in the streets of Bangkok; it was a tragic element of the (on-going) events of 1976, 1992, 2006, 2009 and 2014. Yes, it is true that some of those events aren't completely 'Black and White' and that good people can disagree, but I hope all would agree that when citizens of a country are killed/injured in the streets of their capital city with few repercussions, it leaves a stain. A very ugly stain. If ever Thailand is going to progress politically, there will have to be a reckoning for these past actions; the thing about stains is that they fester, they blotch, they spread, they discolour things, they mar and scar the places they exist, and you can never really forget about them or ignore them, no matter how hard you try. In a similar vein we saw, with both hope and trepidation, the on-going re-emergence of pro-Democracy/Civil Society groups. I wonder what tactics we are going to see; the previous use of the laser pointers was brilliant as it drew attention to their message without causing any damage. Will we see 'flash mobs'? Some new graffiti (will Thailand's Banksy emerge?)? More music/music videos? Peaceful sit-ins? Demos on campus'? Targeted economic boycotts? Some new and even more creative methods and techniques? I still recall an interview with a student activist during the uprising against Mubarak in Egypt years ago; she was asked "Where did you learn to do all this?". She smiled and replied "An on-line University course...". I have great respect for those willing to take risks to create a better society/country for their fellow citizens. And, despite some setbacks, I take heart that every time there has been a reasonably free and fair election in Thailand over the last 30 years, the 'Establishment' has lost, even if that didn't mean actually ceding power. It is a truism that any society or country, especially a diverse one like Thailand's 70 million people, will have a variety of political opinions; methods need to be created for them to be aired constructively. One of the lessons of the last 50 years is that when political opinions aren't permitted to be expressed constructively, they might be expressed destructively, and that is not a long-term recipe for a healthy and productive society/country. Thailand's old paradigm is coming to an end and a new one is slowly forming; I hope that it (eventually) becomes a positive one that reflects many of the desires of the average 'Somchai on the street', but that is far from certain at the moment. Many will argue, with justification, that Thailand's Elite and Military are simply too 'dug-in' to ever be ousted, but when a society faces massive economic dislocation(s) and (especially) hunger, all previous truths are suspect and it is a leap into the unknown. Interesting times.
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