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Monday, June 02, 2008
When shepherd boy rules the country
June 2, 2008
Our close brush with what could turn out to be a violent confrontation between police and anri-Thaksin protesters as a result of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej's loose tongue reminds me of Aesop's fable about the shepherd boy and the wolf.Â Â But in Aesop's fable, the foul-mouthedÂ shepherd boy just tends to his herd of sheeps.Â In our case, we have a foul-mouthed shepherd boy who is leading the government - which is much more worrisome.
Frankly, I must admit that I don't know what are the exact reasons which prompted the prime minister to change his mind about his threat to use force to break up the protest at the Makkawan bridge in the heart of Bangkok.Â However, there are press reports that the top brass as well as the other coaliton parties opposed theÂ violent approach to end the protest.
But Interior Minister Chalerm Yubamrung has a totally different story about why Mr Samak changed his mind.Â He claimed that the ill-intentioned elements linked to a man with a ''black teeth and thin face'' who planned to carry out terrorist acts to provoke violence had been dealt with and thus there was no need for the police to break up the protest.Â The protesters can carry on their protest, he added.
However, I don't buy Chalerm's fairy tale.Â But I think what is more interesting is not why Prime Minister Samak changed his mind about the use of force than why the prime minister threatened to use force in the first place.
Mr Samak might have been angry with the protesters some of whom accused him of being disloyal to the Monarcny and of attempting to introduce presidential system to replace constitutional monarchy.Â He might be disturbed that the protest had blocked the roads and caused a lot of inconvenience to many bus commuters.Â But I guess he might have been duped by someone close to him who had fed him with disinformation about the ill-intentioned provocateurs who tried to provoke violence.Â This fact was mentioned by Mr Samak in his Saturday's address to the public and was again referred to by Chalerm in his televised statement about Mr Samak's about-face regarding the use of force to break up the protest.
If my guessÂ about Mr Samak might have been duped about the terrorist plots is right, then I think we are having a bigger problem - not just a prime minister who has a loose tongue butÂ one who tends to be credulous too.
There seems to be odd similarity between Mr Samak and Jakrapob Penkair, the former PM's Office Minister, who is facing lese majestie charge for his controversial speech given last August at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand.Â Â Both appear to have a loose tongue which has landed them into trouble.Â Â Jakrapob remains definat and unrepentant to the last minute that he did nothing wrong although it was seen in a totally different light by most of the people who have read the text of his speech.Â Meanwhile, a defiant Mr Samak denied he ever said he would use force to break up the protest although the public at large thought differently when they heard him speak on the television.
But the young foul-mouthed politician, Jakrapob, was already gone - forced to resignÂ in fact.Â What's next for Mr Samak?Â Will he face the same fate as Jakrapob?Â
As in Aesop's fable, the shepherd boy paid dearly in the end for his foul-mouthing of wolf cries.
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