...another wordy though interesting attempt to explain how the swamp works:
Who's your daddy?
by Voranai Vanijaka
If you ever get into a haggling match with somebody, you should accuse that person of plotting to overthrow the monarchy. Street vendor try to pull one over on you? That's a plot to overthrow the monarchy. A police officer tries to write you a ticket? Plot to overthrow the monarchy. Girl won't give you her phone number? A plot to overthrow the monarchy. This is the surest way to get things to go your way in this, my dearest, Kingdom.
On June 1, the Constitution Court ordered parliament to suspend the third reading of the reconciliation legislation after accepting petitions arguing the charter amendment bill may constitute an attempt to overthrow the constitutional monarchy. If the court deems the charge fits, the Pheu Thai Party might face dissolution for sponsoring such a bill. We shall find out on Friday.
But in the two-day hearings last week, no one came close to proving any plot to overthrow the monarchy. Why? Because there's no such plot. There's only one plot: to return Thaksin Shinawatra to power in Thailand and get back his confiscated wealth. Whenever a plot to return Thaksin rears its head, someone is sure to scream that it's a plot to overthrow the monarchy.
The hearings on the charter change feature wrangling over the written laws, Section 291 and Section 68 - which is all Section 8 (release from the US military for mental health reasons) to me.
I can tell you how this will play out, and I do not need to know a single letter of the law. The decision is based on gang affiliation. To understand this, let's go back to my favourite system of governance, Thailand's feudal democracy.
Chulalongkorn University associate professor Sunait Chutintaranond explains the workings of Thai politics as tribalism, the gang or puag mentality. Allow me to paraphrase in my own words.
From the days of Ayutthaya, ministers (or khun-nang) were appointed to run the Kingdom. In feudal times, there was no such a thing as a salary or a mid-year bonus. But then, as now, there was always the 30% kickback, though possibly it was more back then, and did not need to be under the table.
Each minister would establish a patronage network to help him run the Kingdom. Since there was no such a thing as wages, though there was taxation, each network had to feed itself, through kickbacks, bribery, gift baskets etc.
So as the minister or the patron was the head of the network, the man who fed his gang, loyalty was given to him.
Running the Kingdom wasn't done for the country's benefit but for that of the patron and consequently the network itself. It wasn't just a matter of survival, but also of prosperity. Hence, there was no concept of citizenship or nationhood. There was only a piece of land, run by different patronage networks, competing to feed their appetites.
As such, there was a division, puag mun (their group) versus puag rao (our group) - such idioms are still rife in present society, whether in politics, schools or workplaces. The inner workings of any traditional organisation are highly territorial, that's why it's so difficult for the government or traditional organisations to get anything done, as we all found out the hard and wet way during last year's flood crisis.
This is the system that Mr Sunait said is still partly at work today, though I would say it plays a major role. Here we have two issues. One is the systematic working of feudal governance that is deemed corruption in a democratic system. The other is the ''puag mentality''. The former I have already written about, so we shall examine the latter.
There's a well known question that is very important to the everyday lives of Thai people. It is ''dek khong krai?'' or ''who's child are you?'' In other words, who's your patron, who's your tribal or gang leader, who's your daddy? The answer plays an important role in determining how far you will get whether in politics or in the workplace. The question is also asked if you're interested in a girl but not sure if she's taken - however that's an entirely different story.
To assess how important someone is, one asks around, ''Huaeh, ai nee maang dek krai wa?'' or ''Hey, who's child is this person?'' The degree of his daddy/patron's importance will determine how he should be treated. You've got to flash that name, make your puag known.
Comedian Udom ''Note'' Taepanich made a popular joke many years ago. He urged the people to try something. If you enter a building and the guard won't let you pass, just say ''I'm a friend of Toom.'' If the police pull you over, just say ''I'm a friend of Toom.'' If you want to get anything done, just say ''I'm a friend of Toom.''
Toom is nobody. The comedian made the name up. But the puag mentality is so deeply rooted in society, that if you merely appear to have a patron, or a friend in a high place, you are liable to get away with things.
In politics, we all know of the ''Friends of Newin'' network, those loyal to controversial politician Newin Chidchob. Other patrons are the usual suspects, like Banharn Silpa-archa, Suthep Thaugsuban and others. Smaller networks ally themselves with bigger ones, for example the Thaksin political machine. But those smaller networks have shifting loyalties, so they form a coalition with whoever can benefit each of them most. Loyalty is not necessarily fixed, as shown by Mr Newin on the network-to-network level.
Within a network itself, disloyalty has been shown, as in the case of the dek of the late politician and prime minister, Samak Sundaravej. In the 1997 financial crisis, some of Samak's dek defected in the no-confidence vote, siding with the opposition Democrat party, and helped to bring down the Chavalit Yongjaiyuth government of which Samak was a coalition partner. Samak called them the ''12 cobras'' and vowed never to forgive them.
The puag mentality is also rife in schools and universities - from such minor points as which faculty one belongs to, to violent vocational school gangs that adhere to the ''us versus them'' manifesto in an endless and senseless cycle of vengeance.
In the workplace, one's advancement may be measured by many things, not least of which is which puag one belongs to - ''Dek khong krai?'' There's sectional and departmental rivalry. There's a strict hierarchy and division, line of communication, chain of command: do not break any of them.
Loyalty to a patronage network is very important. It's a great sin in Thai society to nae-ra-khun (betray), while a great virtue is to know boon-khun (gratitude) _ this is how a person's worth is measured. Well that and the car that he drives, or how pale her skin is.
Or otherwise, one can - either by choice, or because no one likes you - become a ronin, a masterless samurai like massage parlour tycoon turned politician Chuvit Kamolvisit portrays himself to be. Though unless one has his money and power, it can get quite cold and lonely in a society that dictates who you are by whom you belong to.
So your puag is your gang, your tribe. It's a patronage network, an informal family/company. Loyalty and gratitude are a matter of honour and cultural value. Disloyalty and betrayal are great sins, widely condemned. Therefore, again the concept of citizenship and nationhood takes the back seat, never mind the patriotic songs and radio spots.
This then brings us back to the pending decision by the Constitutional Court. The wrangling over what the law says matters little. It's for show. Written words in the constitution can be twisted, misinterpreted and distorted any which way we like. I'm not saying that anyone would, of course. The Lord Buddha forbid, heavens no. Just saying that it could.
But the thing is, people interpret the law, the law doesn't interpret itself. So are decisions based on the law, or on which puag you belong to?
If ever you are confused and confounded by the words and actions of the PAD, the UDD, the Democrats, Pheu Thai or any person or group, just simply consider the question ''Dek khong krai?''. Then you might understand.
Already there is talk of more political chaos if the court dissolves Pheu Thai, but perhaps there'll be a typical Thai compromise. We shall see. After all, the ability to compromise is another important Thai virtue.
Having written all of the above, I must ask that you bear in mind that there is such a thing as last minute adoption, or even downright kidnapping of the dek of another. It has happened before.
If in looking at the overall scheme of the running of Thailand you are confounded that decisions are not made for the benefit and advancement of the country, know that it is not because Thailand is not loved. It is because there's a higher loyalty, from casting a vote, to passing legislation to implementing a policy and even taking a 30% kick-back. It's a matter of honour and gratitude toward your puag first and foremost.
And if anyone disagrees with my assessment, they are plotting to overthrow the monarchy.
...majestically enthroned amid the vulgar herd...
voranai is cool. he's my pal.
Of the puag, by the puag, for the puag. Got it.If in looking at the overall scheme of the running of Thailand you are confounded that decisions are not made for the benefit and advancement of the country,
There are few problems in life that cannot be solved with toast.
One of them, however, is opening a can of corned beef with that stupid key. This cannot easily be done at the best of times, and toast is of surprisingly little use in resolving the issue.
Where have I heard this before? and wasn't it Markle who said I was full of shit for writing it?...yes, it was...
Originally Posted by Thaitanium (stuff that can make you cry) June 4, 2012
The students are not subject to the administrative politics and are not part of the boss-minion hierarchy structure, so they pose no threat to the staff at the school...so they can be informed of things with little concern for a staff members status being compromised in any way...
But if the top bossman has information to share...he/she will give it to the closest minion who will pass it down to his/her closest minion and so on down the chain...and yes we falang are the last link in that chain...
Why do you think ass-kissing is the most valuable asset to a Thai?...because if you can ass kiss your way to becoming a closest minion to a person above you...then you can get information first at your level and that gives you more power amongst your peers and qualifies you to receive some ass kissing of your own...it also places you at the front of the line for any higher position that may open up above you...which translates into more money for less actual work...
That's the Thai system in a nutshell...
Last edited by Thaitanium; 8th July 2012 at 12:37.
"You really want to save the planet?...the next time you see a hybrid car with a childseat... smash the window, remove the childseat and replace it with a box of condoms..." Doug Stanhope
...insightful, TT: the bad news is...you're still full of shit...
coming from a guy who has shit on the brain...that's funny...
Originally Posted by Thaitanium
Not the best comeback ever ...
South-East Asia in general, way back in the mists of time, had a low population density. Europe had a high population density, so if you were an ambitious local lord, you captured the land and controlled the people on it. In SEA it worked the other way round. Getting land was pretty easy, but you had to get people to work it - specifically growing rice which could generate enough profit to support an otherwise useless aristocracy and religious hierarchy. With people being able to quite easily move into areas where there was weak state control, making sure that personal relationships and bonds of loyalty were established and maintained was quite important.
The result is what is outlined in this article.
Nuts In A Blender
^ You had me at the start but then you lost me at the end there. (To quote Good Morning, Vietnam.)
Why would they feel a need to support a hierarchy with little or no control over them?