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Patronage politics in Thailand

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Bangkok Post columnist Suranand Vejjajiva describes how patronage works in Thai politics in his Friday column. 

Today's extract below is the core part of the article which discusses how patronage works. The rest of the article discusses recent cases in Thai politics. The full version of the article is here.

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Under our patronage politics, little work gets done by Suranand Vejjajiva

bribe...And as the political bosses meddled more in administrative affairs rather than sticking to the policy level as they were supposed to, the bureaucrats catered upwards in the hope of getting promotions and a piece of the pie.

With money politics, important positions come with a price tag attached. The general public is left behind in terms of development, but not when being extorted - everyone has to pay somebody to get things done or to get off the hook.

For politicians, to be able to appoint senior positions in the Interior Ministry means a certain amount of control over the provincial governors to the district chiefs, and the same with the police force which has police stations nationwide under a single command structure.

And since their authority affects the day-to-day life of every Thai citizen, the ministry's bureaucrats and the police are the best political canvassers.

Thus, for political parties in power, to transfer or promote an official favourable to their cause could help them win elections, local or national...

patronage - a system of help or protection given to people, often in return for their support ระบบอุปถัมภ์
core - the central most important part (example: the core curriculum at the school is studied in the first year)
political bosses - powerful leaders of politicians (who can deliver votes and determine who will win an election and form a government)
meddle - annoy people by getting involved in some situation or activity that is "none of your business"
X is none of your business -
X is another person's private affairs or business, so you should not involve yourself in it
(noun) - the activities involved in managing a business, organization or institution
administrative (adjective) 
affairs - events and activities relating to the government, politics, economy etc of a country, region, or the world ความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างประเทศ
policy - a set of plans and ideas used for making decisions in politics and economics and other areas นโยบาย (See Wikipedia)
bureaucrats - people who work in government departments ข้าราชการ
cater - take care of someone, provide them with something special they need
promote (verb) - to move someone to a job at a higher level เลื่อนตำแหน่ง
promotion (noun)
getting a piece of the pie -
getting part of the money involved in an important project 
come with a price tag attached - costs something (not free as it normally should be)
left behind - when everyone is going somewhere, but you can't go too (here: politicians and their cronies get rich, but not ordinary people)
extortion (noun) - the crime of obtaining money from people by using threats and force
extort (verb)

get off the hook
- when you are in trouble and may be punished in some way,
development - economic development, the gradual growth and formation of the economy, and people getting higher and higher incomes
appoint - to choose someone officially for a job or responsibility แต่งตั้ง,ตั้งให้เป็น
nationwide - throughout the whole country ทั่วทั้งประเทศ
single - one only ดี่ยว
command - to control an electronic device
under a single command structure - one person controls everyone in the whole organization

authority - the power to make decisions or tell people what to do อำนาจ, อำนาจในการสั่งการ
citizen - someone who has the right to live permanently in a particular country พลเมือง (See Wikipedia)
canvasser - person hired by a politician to deliver votes in an election (by whatever means possible)
political party - an organization of politicians working together to win elections (See Wikipedia)
in power - have control of the government (either because they have been elected or because of a coup)
transfer - to move someone or something from one place, vehicle, person or group to another ย้าย
official - the high level people in an organizations who have the authority to make important decisions
local - the small area that you live in ท้องถิ่น
national - the whole country

(Source: Bangkok Post, Under our patronage politics, little work gets done, 24/09/2010, Suranand Vejjajiva, link

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