~Meaw & More~

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Reactive blogger (~and more~)

Banned books/articles are good

This news will prompt me to abandon my noodle soup, catch a motorcycle to the nearest mag shop and check the Economist. As you may have read earlier, the Economist article resurfaced again this time, despite the ban, in Thai on the internet, thank to kind people that translate it and to my friends who sent thai article and asked for English one.

The article would have not generate not so much wave had it not been banned, like the King Never Smiles, once it was banned, the book was made available in both English and Thai online for free. So I give the credit to anyone that ban those books and articles and try to save my money spent buying them when they were not banned.

The matter I discussed with my friends was some Thais know about the interventions and they think it is legit or even beneficial to do so. We are aware of tacit domination in rumors, a chat with taxi drivers after returning from the red rally or an endorsement from the yellow rally. The red believe that they could convince the king to pardon Thaksin. There are red that love him and Thaksin while dislike her and the general. and Some even petition for national government, thus, they can hardly not to think about the picture of intervention-free politics. The mutual attraction between father and never-grown up children are, much needed by some as an easy, less bloodless and less sweat life support. It is not, as the Economist pointed out, a remedy for any parties.

Responses like, “Yes, I know he did it. If not him, who can stop the crisis,” was again, overwhelming, comparing to those people who think that he should not involve in exerting his intervention or domination. Even some foreign friends, my parents and my friend’s parents think it is a good thing to have a backup royal safety net, as opposed to social safety net that could collapse anytime.

It was long after BE 2475, we are celebrating fake constitution day, and many think ‘democracy’ was granted.

And thank you for banning those stuffs, make more people read them more at zero cost and become more aware.

Then after reading it, some Thais will say, “Yeah, I know that and it is ok/not ok to do so.” Oh, heard many do have the less perfect and unofficial narratives of him that they would not tell the foreign press about it. It was a negotiation between their perception of “good deeds” and those things. If they senses the good deeds are effectively transformative to their lives, then another eyes would pretend to ignore the other stuff. Well, you know, like the famous relationship between Thaksin’s corruption and his populism.

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Filed under: cut and paste from somewhere else, Free speech, INTERNATIONAL, , , ,

PPP about to set up a New Party, New Politics and Old Dictatorship

Prior to Yongyuth Thirarajjakij’s verdict, Bangkok Post already reported: 

The People Power party (PPP) is preparing to set up a new political entity if ex-deputy leader Yongyuth Tiyapairat is disqualified by the Supreme Court today in the conclusion to the vote-buying case from last year’s general election.

 

The ruling by the Supreme Court’s election cases division could affect the future of the PPP because Mr Yongyuth was an executive member when the alleged poll fraud took place.

 

A PPP source said yesterday Songkram Kitlertpairoj, a Samut Prakan MP, had been assigned to register a new political party called Puea Thai.

 

Banjongsak Wongrattanawan would be the leader and Olarn Kitlertpairoj, Mr Songkram’s step-brother, would be the secretary-general, the source said.

 

The new party would take in MPs from the PPP if the PPP is ordered to be dissolved, the source added.

 

Those MPs who move to the new party are required to form a government. But if they fail, Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej would be asked to exercise his authority to dissolve the House and call a general election, the source said.

 

Mr Yongyuth could not be reached for comment yesterday.

 

But Sakorn Sirichai, his lawyer, quoted him as saying that the former House speaker will respect the court’s ruling whichever way it goes.

 

Business leaders played down the potential economic impact of the case as the country’s investment atmosphere is already weak regardless of today’s court ruling.

 

Representatives of the Board of Trade and the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) said investor sentiment, which was already unfavourable, was unlikely to deteriorate much further.

 

“In the worst-case scenario, where the [Yongyuth] ruling leads to the PPP’s dissolution and we have to have an election, this would not have a significant impact on investor confidence,” said Board of Trade deputy secretary-general Pornsil Patcharintanakul.

 

“At present, the business sector has very little confidence in politics. I don’t think investors will commit to new ventures in Thailand at the moment.”

 

FTI vice-chairman Adisak Rohitasune agreed, saying businesses were more worried about rising oil prices and the anti-government protests led by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD).

 

“We can accept changes in the democratic system,” said Mr Adisak.

 

“But the deadlock brought on by the anti-government protests should end peacefully. This is our main concern.”

 

The secretary-general of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok, Tsuyoshi Inoue, said Japanese investors are not worried by recent political problems so long as the situation does not end up hurting the economy.

 

“Last year, the political situation was very bad but the Thai economy still grew by more than 4%. Japanese firms, therefore, have not lost any confidence in Thailand,” he said.

 

But Japanese companies which have not yet set up in Thailand may adopt a wait-and-see stance before investing here, added Mr Inoue.

 

For today’s case, the court completed its witness hearings on May 20.

 

The Election Commission accused Mr Yongyuth, then a PPP deputy leader, of offering money to a group of kamnans [tambon heads] in Chiang Rai’s Mae Chan district in return for helping his sister, La-ong Tiyapairat, win the election.

 

Chaiwat Changkaokham, a 52-year-old kamnan in Mae Chan, was a key witness testifying against Mr Yongyuth.

 

In his testimony on May 8, Mr Chaiwat said each of the kamnans in Mae Chan district was paid 20,000 baht.

 

He said that in October last year he was contacted by Mr Yongyuth’s aide, who asked him to travel to Bangkok to meet the Chiang Rai politician with fellow kamnans from the same district and Banjong Yangyuen, municipal mayor of tambon Janjawa.

 

His group agreed to travel to Bangkok on Oct 28, 2007. They met Mr Yongyuth at a hotel.

 

Mr Yongyuth asked them to help canvass for his sister, a constituency MP candidate for the PPP, and other PPP candidates, Mr Chaiwat told the court.

 

After his group agreed to support Ms La-ong and the other PPP candidates who were Mae Chan natives, Mr Yongyuth left the hotel room where they had met, Mr Chaiwat said.

 

Mr Banjong then allegedly gave each member of the group an envelope containing 20,000 baht in cash.

 

Sakorn Sirichai, Mr Yongyuth’s lawyer, said the case is a civil one and Mr Yongyuth and Ms La-ong will not necessarily turn up in court to hear the verdict.

It is certain  that every member of Yongyuth’s families and relatives could be recruited back to the new party if formed, thus, people would not be missing him until the next election.

It is also not likely that if the entire parliament to be dissolved. It is a costly decision for the PPP and the Democrat alike. It is also costly to set up a new elections after election, and trust me, people will not make the ‘right’ choice because the right choices are not available in Thailand for now. And who will dare to tell people that the other party is the right choice?

What about New Politic proposed by PAD last week, sMichael Connor aptly put that 

New Politics turns out to be a startlingly reactionary proposal to move Thailand’s parliamentary system towards a form of appointed corporatism, or what might be called a selectoral democracy: 30% of MPs would come from elections, perhaps one per province, and the rest of the MPs would derive from various occupations and associations. Mr Sonthi says the proportion is not fixed, it’s up for debate. 

But the intention of the new politic to stop voting power of provinces who elected any breed of Thai Rak Thai, do they think it will work? Does Mr. Sonthi think that occupation and association will not like promises of wealth and prosperity as a PPP selling points? Come on.

It does not amke much different when both players do not believe that the parliament does not work and external nomination or interventions are actually an answer to Thai politic. The backdoor or backyard politics still prevail because most people do not care about the mean when the country get its problem solved. Thailand is a goal oriented country.

Filed under: cut and paste from somewhere else, Political Sciences, , , , ,

Love Thy Nation

Bangkok Post published a comment “For the love of the country” by Ploenpote Atthakor, Deputy News Editor

  If patriotism really has something to do with listening to the national anthem and seeing the national flag fly up the pole at exactly the same time, twice a day, let’s start with parliament.

If it works – and Mr Yuranand believes it will – this might be the easiest way to eradicate the use of vulgar language, corruption, abuse of power and other unethical political behaviour.For the love of the nation, some politicians might voluntarily correct their actions and serve as a model for our children.

 

 It is back-to-school time and as several hundred thousand students are busily preparing for the new semester, they may have little, if any idea, about a new plan to instil more patriotism in them.

That particular plan, which will require all schools to play the national anthem at the flag-hoisting ceremony at 8am and 6pm sharp, comes from Yuranand Pamorn-montri, a People Power party politician who now serves as adviser to the Education Minister.

Obviously the actor-turned-politician is not happy with the fact that some city schools have opted to delay the timing of the ceremony to 8:15am (with many others slotting it for 8:30am) theoretically to avoid traffic problems. He says such delays prevent students from properly expressing their patriotism.
In his opinion, the best time to show one’s patriotism by standing in line for the anthem song is at 8am and 6pm sharp, and the show of patriotism would be even stronger if all the schools played the anthem simultaneously.

“Students should not be thrilled only when the Thai flag is raised to the top of the pole at a sporting event,” said the adviser.
In fact, he thinks such feelings must be reinforced (twice) the same time every day. This is the way, he further adds, to make students think more of the nation.

Unless he encounters any hiccups, Mr Yuranand says, he will hand in his plan – which would also be applicable to all state offices – to the Education Minister in the hope it will be implemented when schools reopen this week.

Mr Yuranand is not the first politician who wants to boost patriotism through the anthem and flag rite. Mr Yuranand’s plan reminds us of a move by a group of NLA members (mostly with military background) who came up with the controversial idea to have all vehicles on the roads stop at the same flag-anthem time. Mr Yuranand and the NLA people share the same thought: that standing up for the national anthem when the flag is raised is the proper way to show one’s love for the nation. Like it or not, this has been the practice in Thailand and some others countries in this region.

However, I have to admit that I find Mr Yuranand’s idea more entertaining (without giving much thought to his background as an entertainer) than realistic.

And I also have some questions.

Initially, I just can’t help but doubt his theory that links the national anthem with patriotism. Besides, I don’t think children (and adults, too) who are stuck in traffic can really think of the nation at that particular time.

But what if Mr Yuranand is right? What if one’s patriotism really has something to do with one’s listening to the national anthem and seeing the national flag fly up the pole?

In that case, I think the very place where such a rite is badly needed would be none other than Parliament. And yes, Mr Yuranand should see to it that his fellow politicians come outside the parliament building and form a line in front of the flagpole to observe the rite daily at 8am. Don’t forget to have them sing the national anthem out loud, too.

Mr Yuranand must see to it that no one is excused from this flag-anthem rite. Regularly enforced, the practice might help certain politicians to realise their duty to serve the nation and eventually behave.

This could probably be the first step for some politicians to learn that it does not do the nation any good to verbally – and physically, in one particular case – assault their fellow parliamentarians and to lie.

Yet, love of the country, for me is different from not standing at any anthems. Being students that had to reach school by 8 am sharp for the national anthem blasting from the radio helped shaped me to be what I am, as for me, it would not make I love the nation more or less.

Yet, we have to love the nation critically And the patriotism should not be reduced to the “thrill” and nostalgic appreciation of the institutions twice a day. The nation should be loved and “protect” by constructive engagement, investigation and monitoring by the people.

Filed under: cut and paste from somewhere else, Free speech, Political Sciences

The Banjong Proposal

Critics rap arms-freeSouth plan

Samak, under fire, says army chief will decide

SURASAK GLAHAN & WASSANA NANUAM (Bangkok Post)

Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej yesterday backed a call for the selective disarming of civilians and progressive disarming of junior military officers and policemen in the far South, a proposal which has drawn heavy flak from experts and security officials.

Mr Samak voiced his support for the proposal at a meeting with representatives of the Central Islamic Committee of Thailand yesterday.

The prime minister conceded he was not an expert on the insurgency issue but would act in his concurrent role as defence minister in assigning the authorities, including the army, to implement the idea.

Central to the proposal, initiated by committee vice chairman Banjong Somanee, is the disarming of all civilians in the strife-torn border provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and parts of Songkhla, and telling rebels to lay down their weapons. They would be given money for the weapons they hand in.

Community leaders would play a role in keeping civilians disarmed.

Once all civilians and militants are disarmed, it would be illegal for junior security personnel to carry weapons, Mr Samak said.

Military and police offficers ranking lower than lieutenant would be all disarmed, a process which would take about three months.

The Banjong proposal also recommends that those who defy the order to disarm be executed. Mr Samak, however, found the proposed punishment too extreme. The maximum punishment should be life imprisonment, he said.

”I agree with this idea. It’s easy enough to understand. I’ll inform the military of it. This shouldn’t be difficult,” Mr Samak told the committee at the People Power party (PPP) headquarters.

But Mr Samak insisted army chief Gen Anupong Paojinda would have the final say on the issue.

”I’ll talk to Gen Anupong, and whatever he considers to be appropriate I will agree to,” he said.

Mr Samak said the proposal would take effect soon, after it has been adjusted.

Southern violence escalated in early 2004 during the Thaksin Shinawatra administration. The situation has worsened with daily attacks against local residents, policemen, soldiers, teachers and monks. More than 2,000 people have been killed.

The Banjong proposal, however, was opposed by a fellow member of the Islamic committee Suriya Panjor.

Talking on the sidelines of the meeting with the Bangkok Post, Mr Suriya said the plan may be impractical.

”It would be very difficult to put this thought into practice. This is not the right time to be focusing on it,” said Mr Suriya, also a former member of the National Legislative Assembly’s panel studying and investigating southern violence.

The government should tackle injustices _ blamed for perpetuating the insurgency _ suffered by local people.

He put forth the idea of rooting out injustice at the meeting but it was ignored. However, Mr Samak said: ”Keeping accusing one another of injustice will never bring an end to the story. We have to say the [injustice] issue is over, period.”

Mr Samak also told the group he expected ”the wound to be healed in three or four years.”

But the military also disagreed with Mr Samak’s proposal.

”It’s impossible to disarm civilians, who include state officials. Southern insurgents will not lay down their weapons even if all civilians are disarmed,” said a commander of a military unit.

The officer said civilians who possess weapons include teachers, local leaders and village defence volunteers.

Army spokesman Col Acra Tiproch insisted local residents had the right to carry firearms in self-defence.

”If we can order the rain to stop, only then can we tell the people not to put out their umbrellas,” he said.

”My question in return is whether insurgents are willing to lay down their weapons if local residents are disarmed.

Local residents have the right to protect themselves,” said the spokesman.

In the far South, people are now required to open up motorcycle seat covers when they park them within the Yala municipal area following Monday’s blast in the municipality which wounded six people, three of them policemen.

People are also banned from placing crash helmets on the front basket of their motorcycles while they are parked.

The measures are to prevent rebel attacks using bombs tied to motorcycles, police said.

———————-

Buy-back must be more expensive than  black market price or in another meaningful contribution to the community.

Someone must address the state officer procurement program if the want to disarm junior officers.

Need to think more about it. Need to reduce demand not forcing people to simply “give up.” Engage people to design their weapon collection or weapons for … program.

It might not be that easy.

Filed under: cut and paste from somewhere else, non proliferation

Blackwater Ordered Out of Iraq

yesterday, several links in my inbox reported that the Iraqi government order explusion of Blackwater, a private security company working as protector for diplomats and westerners in the Green zones.

The Guardian reported:

The ministry of interior yesterday took the decision to expel Blackwater after eight Iraqi civilians were killed and 13 wounded in Baghdad when shots were fired from a US state department convoy on Sunday.

Diplomats, engineers and other westerners in Iraq rely heavily on protection by Blackwater. The Iraqi decision created confusion on the ground, with uncertainty over whether protection was still available and whether Blackwater staff should leave the country immediately.

Ms Rice called the prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, to apologise for the shooting. They agreed to run a “fair and transparent investigation”, according to a statement from Mr Maliki’s office.
It added: “She has expressed her personal apologies and the apologies of the government of the United States. She confirmed that the United Sates will take immediate actions to prevent such actions from happening again.”

The office did not specify whether the apology was sufficient to reverse the expulsion decision.

The gap between the have and the have not start to be filled in by local communities as AP also publishes a photo of “A private security guard paid for by the Shiite community”

Obviously the security development in the “Green” zones would not offer the first priority to Iraqi, as it is reported that Blackwater, which is paid for by the US government to protect westerners, according to the Guardian, put Iraqi civilains at risk. What other Iraqi who are also at risk like the Shiite communities that could not afford protection from military depolyed to Iraq will have to adapt hiring their own private security guards. The question of not enough troops deployed is noto avail. Troops distribution to protect civilians in Iraq are probably less important than troops to protect some national interests.

By the way, I hope if they were out of iraq, they will not seek job in the South of Thailand.

Filed under: cut and paste from somewhere else, INTERNATIONAL, Security

paper vs word processor

Clipping http://insidehighered.com/views/2006/01/30/wilson

I just discovered while reading Derrida and Braidotti with my friend that paper and pen (or pencil) is faster than opening a word processor and type up note. Actually I wrote better conclusion on paper, too.

Filed under: cut and paste from somewhere else

Blood Gem?

Bangkok Post reportedBurma to hold special gem auction

(Agencies) – Burma is to hold a special gem sale in Rangoon starting on July 4 to boost foreign exchange earnings, the Central Committee for Sponsoring the Special Sale of Gems, Jade and Pearls announced

Domestic gem traders are being urged to display their quality gems, jade and pearls at the special show scheduled for July 4. The foreign exchange proceeds from the sale will be designated as legal export earning, the sponsor said.

It will be held as a “competitive bidding system,” presumably meaning auction.

The country’s special gem sale for both foreign and local gem merchants is the third of its kind introduced four years ago in addition to the annual and mid-year ones.

During the last special gem sale held in June, 2006, nearly 1,500 foreign and local gem traders bid on the available jade, gemstones and pearls.

At the 13-day, 44th annual gems emporium held last March, 3,652 lots of jade, gems and pearl were sold out of nearly 6,000 such lots displayed. They gained a record high 148 million euros ($185 million).

That emporium was attended by 3,421 merchants, 2,000 of them foreign. The foreigners came mostly from China, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Thailand.

Burma began its gem shows in 1964. The mid-year one was first held in 1992 and the special one was introduced three years ago.

Burma, a well-known world producer, is the source of nine gems – ruby, diamond, cat’s eye, emerald, topaz, pearl, sapphire, coral and a variety of garnet tinged with yellow.

To develop the gem mining industry, Burma enacted the New Gemstone Law in 1995, allowing national entrepreneurs to mine, produce, transport and sell finished gemstone and manufactured jewellery at home and abroad.

Since 2000, the Burmese government has become involved in the mining of gems and jade in joint ventures with 10 private companies under a profit-sharing basis.

The military regime will grant 319 new more unexplored jade mining blocks in Kachin state’s Moenyin and Sagaing division’s Khamhti to local entrepreneurs to encourage jade production, according to reports earlier this year.

There are six mining areas in Burma under gem and jade exploration: Mogok, Mongshu, Lonkin/Phakant, Khamhti, Moenyin and Namyar.

Jade sales represent one of Burma’s major foreign exchange sources, the fourth largest export earning sector in the fiscal year 2005-06 with $205.47 million, according to state statistics.

Of the top 10 exporters for 2006-07, dominated by the state sector, the Myanmar Gems Enterprise was third with sales of $296.9 million. Only Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise and the Myanmar Timber Enterprise sold more.

The government’s Central Statisitcal Organisation reported that in fiscal year 2005-06, Burma produced 20,390 tons of jade and 28.458 million carats of gems, including ruby, sapphire, spinel and peridot, as well as 177,692 mommis of pearl. The production in the first half of 2006-07 (April-March) went to 10,388 tons from jade, 10.042 million carats for various gems and 56,607 mommis for pearl.

Burma also is working to establish the first ever gem merchants’ association as part of its bid to enhance the development of the country’s gem mining industry.

The Burmese mining sector, which also includes other minerals such as gold and copper, contributes 0.4 per cent to the national economy.

Filed under: cut and paste from somewhere else, INTERNATIONAL, non proliferation, Security

Which OS I am?

Taking more link from bact’

The personality indicated that
Which OS are You?

However, mom just called me that she had some error with something on the screen said Microsoft Visual Basic something error on Window XP. And that kind of thing I couldn’t help. (Mom, your daughter is not a programmer and you did not send her to SIIT.)

And she, err, now uses a mac. (Nevermind, I still have my Window XP skills intact)

Filed under: cut and paste from somewhere else

Refugee ID cards

UNHCR News Stories
Three refugees in Thailand’s Tham Hin Camp show off their new government-issued identification cards, which will improve their protection. © UNHCR/B.Han
“Hallelujah”: Myanmar refugees can now prove their identity in Thailand

THAM HIN REFUGEE CAMP, Thailand, April 12 (UNHCR) – Gay Htoo, a 38-year-old Karen refugee, praised the Lord for an unaccustomed feeling of security when he received his new identity card on Thursday.

“The card indicates my refugee status and if I am arrested, I know I will be returned to the camp safely instead of being sent to the Myanmar border,” the Christian pastor said. “Hallelujah.”

Distribution of Thai government identification cards began in two camps – Ban Don Yong and Tham Hin – in western Thailand along the Myanmar border this week, the culmination of three years of work by the UN refugee agency. Under the US$1-million programme, some 88,000 refugees should get the crucial plastic cards this month.

Htoo hopes the card will prevent refugee families becoming separated, as has happened to some in his congregation when they ventured out without permission and then vanished.

“The ID cards are an important way of improving protection of refugees, because the most basic element of protection is being able to prove your identity,” said UNHCR Representative in Thailand Hasim Utkan. “At the same time, we hope the ID cards will be only the first step in a series of measures that will open up the closed camps where refugees have been living for almost two decades.”

In Thailand, the 140,000 refugees – mostly from Myanmar – who live in nine government-run camps along the border with Myanmar are not officially allowed to leave the camps.

On his visit to the country last year, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres urged the Thai government to give refugees greater freedom of movement, especially to work outside the camps in Thailand’s labour-short economy. Guterres stressed that many refugees are already working illegally, and said they should be given a legal opportunity to build a better life.

If the government does allow refugees to work legally outside the camps, the ID cards will enable them quickly to prove their identity and special protection status if caught up in one of the country’s periodic crackdowns on illegal migrants.

The ID cards, issued by Thailand’s Department of Provincial Administration to all refugees over the age of 12, are the end product of the US$1 million computerised data project funded by the UNHCR.

During the month of April, the government plans to distribute about 88,000 cards; new ones will be issued later as children turn 12, or as new refugees are recognised by the government’s provincial admissions boards.

The cards, which come with a photo and a magnetic strip, will tell both UNHCR and Thai officials the name and age of the refugee, as well as the camp where he or she is registered. The left and right thumbprints are also encoded on the magnetic strip.

Refugee Ba Bar, a 46-year-old labourer, expressed confidence that the ID cards would improve his security and life, though he confessed he wasn’t sure how. At least, he said, “the ID card is better than a paper registration form.”

Representative Utkan stressed that UNHCR was “pleased that we have made progress with the Thai government on some of the issues the High Commissioner discussed on his visit last August, such as ID cards and greater education opportunities within the camp, including Thai-language training. “Now,” he added, “we hope for some relaxation of the regulations that have kept refugees locked up for so long.”

By Bola Han in Tham Hin
and Kitty McKinsey in Bangkok, Thailand

Filed under: Back up, Birth Registration research, cut and paste from somewhere else

Follow up to “Childhood History Lesson”

After I have written a small refelection about flags and democracy momument?Phoonsuk Banomyong and the politics of memory and truth
Many Thais and foreigners still believe that it was the elite who made Siam democratic in 1932 by Morakot Jewachinda Meyer in The Nation is definately a good read.

Keep class issues intact while reading.

Filed under: cut and paste from somewhere else, Truth and Reconciliation