Be richer, smarter, and live longer!!!

In a previous post, I listed a number of broken promises made by Thailand

10 Comments so far

  1. นํ้าใจ (unregistered) on December 20th, 2004 @ 10:54 pm

    Great analytical post. Let me just add that one should never associate “Thaksinomics” and pork-barrel politics with sound socio-economic policies. Unlike the Ancien R

  2. Carl Parkes (unregistered) on December 20th, 2004 @ 11:49 pm

    Great post, to follow up your previous great post. Keep up the good work.

  3. Paul (unregistered) on December 21st, 2004 @ 10:48 am

    Excellent post indeed. I’m still clinging to Toxin’s promise that he made while he was being investigated by the corruption commission after his election to his first term: if we give him the chance to serve 2 full terms, he will eradicate ALL poverty in Thailand. Of course, he will probably try and reduce the definition of the poverty line to zero, then declare victory with great fanfare and many many photo ops.

  4. him (unregistered) on December 21st, 2004 @ 11:09 am

    Maybe he’ll just declare that all the poor are on drugs, and kill them. That’d eradicate poverty.

  5. isriya (unregistered) on December 21st, 2004 @ 12:32 pm

    I think he won (and will win) the election because that time Thai people just want someone who may be “hero”.

    The one who could make miracle.

    It’s not about political, policy or another things.

  6. Ben Harris (unregistered) on December 21st, 2004 @ 1:39 pm

    The one thing that most people always mention to me about Thaksin is that he used to be poor and he’s from Chiang Mai.

    This tells me that Thai people like someone who is from a humble back ground (even if he’s not-so-humble now) over someone who can do some good for Thailand.

  7. Paul (unregistered) on December 21st, 2004 @ 2:06 pm

    Ben: the problem with this is that his “humble” beginnings are a populist myth that he continues to propagate to win votes. Both he and his wife descended from several generations of successful Chinese merchant families, and while his family hit the occasional rough patch, he never really wanted for anything. He likes to brag that his wife worked at Burger King while he was scraping by during his PhD studies (as if most Thais who get the opportunity to get any education at all MUCH LESS graduate work MUCH LESS a doctorate in the United States are on the welfare dole), but in reality, they actually bought themselves a Mercedes in their time in Texas and had the means to ship it back to Thailand after his studies. His whole “local poor boy makes good” routine is a total farce.

  8. Scuba (unregistered) on December 21st, 2004 @ 3:05 pm

    Thanks everyone for the great comments and the kind words. I am especially intrigued by Isriya’s observation about Thais looking for heroes and miracles. I think that’s a great summation of the big problem in Thai (and increasingly American) politics – all too often, this reliance on magic and power leads to disaster. I’m sure I’ll rant further on this.

    Paul is also spot on about the “myth of Thaksin” spun by his party and supporters vs. reality. As I can’t read Thai, much of my information regarding Thai politics comes from reading works by Pasuk Phongpaichit, an economics professor at Chula (though I think her political analysis is a lot more solid than her economics analysis). She’s got a great website at:

    (Sorry if this doesn’t link, I’m not sure how to do that…)

  9. Cog (unregistered) on December 22nd, 2004 @ 4:35 am

    Scuba: Thanks for the link. I’ve read some of her papers and found them very informative and spot on. I also found the photo of her receiving an award from Thaksin – the primary source of her research and inspiration, somewhat ironic and amusing.

  10. Scuba (unregistered) on December 22nd, 2004 @ 9:41 am

    My guess is that Thaksin doesn’t read her stuff, and even if he does that he’s not smart enough to understand the criticism. She is actually pretty careful with her wording – in her book on Thaksin, she mentions that his PhD thesis was about 15,000 words (pretty thin for a dissertation), never mentions Thailand, and constantly refers to the US justice system as “our” system – but she never outright accuses him of hiring someone else to write it, though that’s clearly the implication. In fact, in print people go out of their way to be respectful, constantly saying things like “we know that the PM has good intentions but…” or “even though he’s a smart businessman…”. It’s appalling, IMHO; I can only hope that someday the haze will lift and people will see this crowd as the destructive selfish bastards they are.

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