Land of Smiles... The Way We Were

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Land of Smiles... The Way We Were
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Land of Smiles... The Way We Were

Written By - Patra Manas. 02-11-2020.

We use to smile a lot. We don’t anymore.

What is there to smile about?
 
Our country is a Covid free nation and yet our level of happiness is in the extreme negative like our GDP.
Our country’s name Thailand, means the ‘Land of the Free,’ but we are fast gaining the reputation of ‘Land of the Enslaved’.
We are a democracy but its just a system we manipulate to allow people who are not qualified to run the country to come in and run the country. 
Buddhism is our religion, where compassion is the rule, but we have none for those who don’t follow our beliefs. 
Our people believe the monarchy needs to stay, but we are confused by how the institution needs to remain.

What went wrong?

The pandemic changed everything for Thailand
The sheer economic hardship that came with it coupled with years of poor governance has drawn student protestors out in large numbers.
Many who are not students cheer them on, also drwn to the movement because of our country’s economic disaster.
Conservatives are appalled at how students have no boundaries and lines they don’t dare cross.

Who do we blame?

The military backed government, under PM Prayuth, of course, for bringing the country’s economy to the brink, for dragging their feet on constitutional changes, for not heeding the protestors demands and for treating the students as the ‘enemy’ to be squashed and silenced. Continue Reading Below ... 

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All true.
But what were we, the people, doing when we allowed the coup to happen?
And when the junta changed our constitution?
And who are the 8.9 million people who voted for pro-army Palang Pracharat in 2019, the party that won the popular vote?
Seven years is a long time to suddenly wake up.
We, the people are to be blamed for our negligence.
To quote a famous 19th century French philosopher Joseph de Maistre “ Every nation gets the government it deserves.”

Thailand’s crises calls for an agonizing introspection on how, we the people, contributed to this mess.

Our country is a democracy under a constitutional monarchy. Full Stop.

Both pro-democracy and anti-dictatorship movement accept this but both are guilty of infringing on the others ‘sacred’ ground.

The problem lies when the actions of the people allow for the military which is a completely different institution, connected to neither the monarchy nor the mechanism of democracy enter into play.

Conservatives and yellow shirts love the monarchy, but does their support also mean they support PM Prayuth and a military backed government? 
Do they not believe in true democracy?
Can the military backed government claim that the huge turnout for our King and Queen is the same as a vote for their government to stay?
Yellow shirts need to be clear, if they believe in democracy, then their yellow colour should be pure and not mixed with green.

Pro-democracy movement are also guilty of infringing into the conservatives’ ‘sacred’ ground. 
They say they do not want to abolish the monarchy and only want to bring the institution under the constitution as it was before.
But their actions speak of disdain and disrespect and hurt the sentiments of the conservatives, who feel the need to come out in large numbers to show their support for the monarchy.
The military-backed government, self proclaimed protectors of the monarchy, now have every right to stay and are beyond reproach, absolving themselves of all responsibility and accountability for the state of our economy.
If it is true democracy the anti-dictatorship movement desires, then they cannot afford to alienate a vast number of Thai people who sincerely revere the monarchy.

Our Majesty The King reiterated his position very clearly in a short interview with CNN and Channel 4 News during a royal function at the Grand Palace in Bangkok on Sunday. Asked about what he would say to protestors who have been calling for reforms, a smiling King Vajralongkorn said “We love them all the same” which he repeated three times.
Asked whether there was any room for compromise with protestors, His Majesty said “ Thailand is the land of compromise”.

And there we have it. If we can move from here to ‘Land of Compromise’ then we are just one step away from reclaiming our ‘Land of Smiles’.