So, Southeast Asian countries have become democracy’s bad boys, according to activists on the sidelines of the latest Asean summit. I have no problem with that declaration, since this part of the world is democratically naughty, to say the least – a nightmarish classroom where all the juvenile delinquents are grouped together. If you are a strict democracy teacher, better go somewhere else.
I don’t mean to spoil your Songkran, but in years to come what you do this week may be illegal. Even worse, we may not even need a law to prevent people from throwing water at one another. The treasured practice will likely be seen as an act of total insanity, or simply undoable.
Last week, two men displayed very different ways of dealing with embarrassment after the Thai national football team were humiliated by Japan in a World Cup qualifier. Football Association president Somyot Poompanmoung went public to announce “I’m ashamed.” Soon after, team coach Kiatisak Senamuang thanked his players, fans and family and promptly quit his job.
It’s a story of two camps going out of their way in a bid to outsmart each other. If the renewed efforts to tax Thaksin Shinawatra over the 2006 sale of Shin Corp to Singapore’s Temasek are baffling, the scheme he allegedly used to evade that tax is no less perplexing.
Round One is going to Marxism. There are two possibilities regarding the alleged Russian interference in US politics: Either the claim is true or it is false. Either way, people in the Kremlin must be rolling on the floor laughing right now. Wait. It’s Capitalism that is actually on the floor at the moment.
“I have stopped, but you haven’t,” the Lord Buddha said to Angulimala, setting the stage for the ruthless killer’s redemption. Angulimala had exhausted himself “chasing” a sage who appeared to be standing still but was able somehow to keep his pursuer at arm’s length.
Many of us had been involved with bribery even before we were born. Our parents called them “gifts” to the doctors who delivered us, but in many cases those gifts were just bribes with their hair combed. After we die, the “name” changed again, this time to something like “merit money”, with the recipients being senior monks or temple staff who know the way around a tight funeral queue.