~Meaw & More~

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Reactive blogger (~and more~)

We still need opposition parties…

I don’t think that Dr. Prawes Wasi’s “critic” published through the Nation (http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2008/01/07/politics/politics_30061365.php) will help the country stirring through its crisis of faith. Simply because we need opposition parties.

During the Thaksin regime when the number of opposition party was less than meaningful, the mechanism for check and balance through the parliament was crippled. Thus, other elite institutions were asked to intervene, yet none could event challenge the regime’s legitimacy until the final blow to the state was administrated. Then that coup make the country even more weakened and yet, people still want PPP.

Asking the Democrat party to share ministerial post is different from consulting the opposition parties during a white house breakfast meeting. Opposition parties should be free to question and inspect conducts of the government. Who would perform the duty when Democrat MP has to debate another Democrat assistant ministers?

Reconciliation does not, perhaps, mean that we will have to follow the majority lead when something is not just or right. Being a part of majority cannot automatically make anything right. We still need some parties to warn the rest to travel in the right and just ways, not many parties that agree to cover for one another or stay quiet in return to because of ministership. The parties in the parliament can reconcile without being lumped into the same cabinet.

The country needs reconciliation and forgiveness, but the forgiveness should be given when every parties involve know what is wrong and what will be forgiven. It would not be superficial as to forget misconducts of any parties and let it be forgiven because no one can turn back time and no one can point out what is good or bad to the country– what the country should not tolerate and let it happen, though the past will be forgiven.

Still we need opposition party rather than relying on other intervention from non-parliament institution like courts, anti-corruption commission alone.

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Filed under: Political Sciences, Truth and Reconciliation

An “x” mark and a Protest: a Comparison

Protests are fragmented. I like to join them all if I have more time. This week, there are or will be a protest against censorship, Constitution Court ruling, that Thaksin should return and that Buddhism be the national religion in the new constitution. They exhibit what Thai democracy syndrome could do— if the system does not work to allow normal people to voice their demands, protest should be a channel to do it.

Thus, the problem in the system is how to give people sufficient channel to raise their voices and be responded to, not how to keep them silent. Protests is a sign of a healthy society as it also indicate some “lack,” that has been intentionally or accidentally overlooked or ignored. Hiding or concealing motivation and demands of an interest group that protests might mislead assessment of problem.

A good example is series of protest in the south. When one side said some of them are students, the government denied and said they are insurgents and sympathizers. Despite we never know who they really are, I am interested why there are so many so called “sympathizers,” despite the state say they are being treated well.

This forced reconciliation and hindered “truth” from the government make me reluctant to estimate what have been going on. I only know that lame news from the official news maker make me doubtful.

In a vote-this-or-that (or now vote “yes” for draft constitution), what people can do is to go back to their home provinces and vote. Our choices are limited according to what elite offered. Protesting should be the ways to say what other choices people wanted to have apart from what had been promoting by the government.

I doubt if there would be enough space on the constitution voting card to write anything but “yes, I take you a my constitution.” Then we have to revote and redraft and revote the new constitution. Seem like protest is a quick and effective way to say I do not want it now. I do not want Thaksin either.

However, the Cons of protest is you can be taken and represented as a collective opinion. If I went to former PTV protest, I could be mis-taken as a pro-Thaksin. I went to PAD protest, and being taken as a coup-supporter, so I stopped. It is easy to be taken as taking the whole package though you are not. Yet, paying and negotiating for some excessive labeling is better than accepting an “x” in a ballot from time to time.

Filed under: Free speech, Political Sciences, Truth and Reconciliation

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

Whatever happens tomorrow.

It was said that tomorrow would be one  of the “red” alert day in the Southern border provinces. For most of people reading this blog, they would know why. Whatever happens tomorrow could either change the way those people deal with the South or make us more reflective about function of violence. If we still believe that those violences sent some meaningful and purported messages, demand or negotiation.

Whatever happen tomorrow  should be look and read critically and creatively. Hopefully the previous post of an outsider, which also resemble many calls for justice, not to arms. 

Filed under: Political Sciences, Security, Truth and Reconciliation

Make bullets expensive (i)

As I log in to my Yahoo account I saw this news Haiti, U.N. to disarm gang members Contary to what the media had been reported in August of something like Haiti tells gangs to disarm or face death. The disarmament attempt would, according to the UN Envoy

[R]eceive 1,000 armed people who would willingly give up their weapons and arms. […]We have kits to provide for their families, food and economic assistance.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Ideas, Security, Truth and Reconciliation, Uncategorized

Taking side: Which side is “right”? and how to go beyond that…

Following the “fail-state” debate raised by Anand Panyarachun saying “I always stay on the right side.” Apart from polarization by two major parties and taking side with political articulation of the “monarch”

One thing to mentioned about broad based participation that I always worry is whether it will work with taking side. There are many side to take now, not only two or three. When engaging broad based participation could we simply exclude those that taking different side with us or tell them to “seek unity and preserve discord.” It is not that taking side and and participation cannot walk hand in hand but unity is not silencing different sides and viewpoint.

I think the challenge is now to let those from the “north,” where it has been generalised as pro the premier to dialogue with the “south” where it has been perceive as anti the premier. But I don’t want to think about wrong sides and right sides. when we label something as right, then secretly we are pointing our fingers to the other as there must be something wrong. Now the “right” and “wrong” need to talk, first, without finger pointing who is right and who is not, who is democratic and who is not. Either we forget the right and wrong for now and engage, we’d finally fall into trap of more polarization. Taking side is fine but to simply superimpose one side over others by claiming “Mine is right” is too simple for now and we would not go anywhere.

Among the popular rhetoric of harmony permeated the country right now, harmony that sometime excludes those taking side and directly participate the matter. Thus taking side should not be only finger pointing and judging right against wrong. it would simple create widening gaps and finally, as it usually happen, an excuse for intervention will come from the so-called “neutral” party(ies).

This is why neutrality is powerful and full of power. Claim of neutrality can be used to exclude engaging people who, unfortunately, are not-non-partisan and disqualify them from decision making as nit is believe that to be neutral is to be able to make better judgement, to see better what is right apart from wrong.

The majority of right ands wrong will need extreme transformation.

Filed under: Methodology, Political Sciences, Something To Remember, Truth and Reconciliation