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Bangkok: Angels or Demons


Personally I find it a little sensationalist, but an interesting and important article to read. Always tricky to give a whole story in Thailand. Certainly, Thais reading it would not like the style. To influence a Thai, it would need to be less direct and less pointed. Thais read between the lines but don’t like direct criticism of their country.

Take a quick look at the CNN piece and my brief comments. And by all means, give your own views. Either here on WordPress or on my facebook page or by email. (

A good article but I would make a few points.

“a few elitist snobs” is a sensational way of putting it but, particularly for Thai readers, is over-simplistic. No elected government in Thailand has ever been able to govern unhindered. As well as checks and balances, which may be acceptable, there are a number of “power brokers” (as Declani refers to them)who can influence how the country is governed. Not least the army, big business, and the establishment.

Since 1932 the country’s constitutional democracy has evolved, in a Thai and not a western way, with Thaksin making significant inroads. Yingluck is continuing in that direction but, in my view, working with the networks (power brokers) rather than against them. Hence, her softly softly approach and non-inciting speeches, giving no excuse for a coup.

A coup (army or judicial)could still happen. But I doubt it. Neither is a civil war likely. Thais would, I believe, buckle under before that happened.The Prime Minister’s knife edge strategy may just work. Going in too hard, as Thaksin might have done, would certainly not have worked.

“city devoid of intelligent thought?” I would not totally agree. Thais try to avoid problem situations but there have been several, though not overly reported by the media, “candle vigils” and rallies where pragmatic and rational ideas have been aired in support of democratic elections.

Change is needed. But by the ballot box not by violence. Yingluck’s Peua Thai party is not without serious faults and, left unbridled, would not resolve the grievances many legitimately have.

Just a few observations; but yes a good article. Always difficult to give detailed summaries in Thailand.


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