Monday, February 17, 2014

Thailand Has Reached Political Fork in the Road

For too long the city of Bangkok has floated in a kind of First World wealth – replete with sky trains, high rises,Lululemon Women's PantsWholesale Lingerie Sexy Lingerie luxury condos and marbled mega malls – while its rural populace stayed stilted in the mud of Third World poverty. Perhaps the greatest fiction The Land of a Thousand Smiles has managed to tell itself and the rest of the world is that it is a bona fide democracy. But behind that infamous smile is an ancient feudal system that was built on the roan backs of peasants for a millennium.That system relied on the lower class's continual servitude and, in some way, their acceptance of a deeply embedded caste system in which reverence for the king, who is accorded god-like status, carried over to reverence for anyone occupying a higher social strata. The caste and status consciousness, as construed by a simplified if misunderstood religious idea in which past karmic debts sent one to a permanent level of society, is so deeply ingrained that it is reflected in the Thai language itself. 

However, that old superior-inferior fiction is eroding and eroding fast. In the last decade or so, what was once remote and rural has been integrated with the rest of the world, thanks in large part to the distribution of electricity to even the most remote areas – provided from sparsely populated Laos next door with its mega hydroeleIsuzu Auto Partsctric dams – which brought TV, radio,Authentic Replica lv monogram vernis handbags Internet and the cheap and ubiquitous cell phones, information being the true form of democracy. Those who once lived in isolated thatched huts are thus now highly aware of the wide urban-rural gap, and possess a deep and growing sense of injustice. 

What Thaksin and his political party,Nike Air Max Pheu Thai, gave the long suffering rural population was a sense of upward mobility, and a vision of shared governance. Critics point out that this has been done at the expense of tax paying middle class Thais. The party's rice-subsidizing scheme, they say, is not sustainable, and in fact, has turned some farmers against the government, which hasn't been able to'e up with all the money to pay them as promised.But it is also certain that with a majority of the rural poor politically awakened, the Democrat Party needs to deal with their long grievances rather than merely plotting protests and coups. "As long as it insists that losers in democratic elections are under no obligation to accept the results," warns an editorial in the Economist, "Thailand will slide downhill."

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