The loudest protesters are not always the "voice of the people" they claim to be.
POLITICS: Majority of Thais 'don't back reds or yellows' by Lamphai Intathep
The majority of Thai people do not support either the yellow shirt or red shirt movements, according to a survey published yesterday.
The Asia Foundation polled 1,500 Thais in 27 provinces in September and October last year and found 76% backed neither the yellow shirt People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) nor the red shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD).
The two "colours" have dominated Thai politics over recent years and both claim to represent the voice of the people.
The Asia Foundation's lead analyst James Klein, who was once the non-government organisation's Thailand representative, said the respondents also believed the PAD and UDD both suffered from internal divisions and were not convinced the groups' stated objectives were the same as their actual motives.
The survey was the second to be conducted by the Asia Foundation looking into national consensus and political party colour polarisation in Thailand.
It aimed to provide reliable data to policymakers, opinion leaders in government, the international community and the broader public in decision-making and crafting future policy.
Of those expressing an affiliation in the survey, 13.6% claimed to be red shirt supporters and 10.3% sided with the yellow shirts.
The survey also sought opinions on other points.
Fifty-four percent of those polled said they believed Thailand had moved in the wrong direction in terms of its political development, down from the 58% who answered the same way in the the first national poll, conducted in 2009.
Mr Klein said 42% of respondents felt political conflicts were the biggest problem facing Thailand last year, while the economic downturn topped the list in 2009.
According to the 2010 survey, Mr Klein said 62% believed decentralisation of power would ease political tensions between the red and yellow shirt movements, while 58% believed it would also help resolve the insurgency in the deep South.
Sixty-six percent of the respondents said large demonstrations should be banned, while 79% were confident that any conflicts that might arise due to the upcoming general election could be resolved through reconciliation efforts.
Eighty percent thought the media lacked neutrality, Mr Klein said.
Phichai Rattanadulok Na Phuket, deputy dean of the School of Social and Environmental Development of the National Institute of Development Administration, said around 10 million Thai citizens expressed their political stance and beliefs publicly.
"However, the core values in society, such as social pluralism, majority rule and freedom of political expression, are indifferent," he said.
(Source: Bangkok Post, POLITICS, Majority of Thais 'don't back reds or yellows', 29/03/2011, Lamphai Intathep, link)
majority - more than 50 percent of a group เสียงส่วนมาก, คนส่วนใหญ่
support - support or help, by giving money, for example สนับสนุน
survey - gathering information about what people think about different subjects (public opionion) by asking large numbers of people questions and counting their answers, and then using statistics, graphs, and tables to present results (See Wikipedia) การสำรวจความเห็น
poll (verb) - ask people what their choice is (opinion, political candidate, etc)
poll (noun) - a survey (see above)
backed - supported ให้การสนับสนุน
dominated - controlled ถูกควบคุม ถูกชักใย บงการ
claim - to win something มีชัยชนะ
claim - saying something is true without proving it yet
represent - to act, speak or be present officially for another person or people เป็นตัวแทน
voice - to express your feelings or opinions ออกความคิด
voice of the people - when one group or one person claims to speak for all the people in society
Non-Government Organisation (NGO) - an organization that helps disadvantaged groups in society (a non-profit organization that is neither a company, nor part of the government)
representative - typical of people or things in a group
internal - existing or happening inside a person, object, organisation, place or country ภายใน
internal divisions - when an oganization loses its unity and separate groups form within the organization
convinced - certain; sure แน่ใจ, มั่นใจ
objectives - goals; aims; things that you plan to achieve จุดมุ่งหมาย
stated objectives - what a person says their goals are
actual - real; existing in fact จริง
motives - the reason for doing something (taking an action)
actual motives - real reasons for doing things
consensus - one generally accepted opinion or decision among a group of people ความคิดเห็นของคนส่วนใหญ่
national consensus - when all the people in a country agree about a certain set of things
political party -
polarisation - split into two opposing sides with different beliefs
provide - to give someone something that they want or need
reliable - (of things or people) able be trusted or believed because they work or behave well in the way you expect เชื่อถือได้, ไว้ใจได้
data - facts or information used for making calculations or decisions ข้อมูล
international community - the people living in one particular area ชุมชน
crafting - making objects ทำด้วยมือ
policy - a plan of action to guide decisions and achieve outcomes (See Wikipedia) นโยบาย
affiliation - a connection with a political party or religion, or with a larger organisation การผูกพัน
development - the gradual growth and formation of something
poll - an occasion when a lot of people are asked about what they feel about something
respondent - people who answered the questions in a survey
conflicts - angry disagreements and fighting between people or groups ความขัดแย้ง
downturn - ระยะตกต่ำ, ตกต่ำลง, ตกต่ำ
economic downturn - a period of time when the incomes of companies and people are reduced, bad economic times
topped the list - was the most common or frequent thing (here: answer to survey)
decentralisation - the process of moving the control of an organisation or government from a single place to several smaller ones การกระจายอำนาจ
power - the ability to control events, situations and people
decentralization of power - changing government so that local areas make more of the decisions that affect them at the local level
ease - to make less severe บรรเทา
tensions - disagreements and lack of trust that could break out in conflict and violence ความตึงเครียด
resolve - find a solution to and solve a problem, difficulty, or argument หาทางแก้ปัญหา
banned - officially not allowed to do something ถูกห้าม
confident - being certain of your abilities or of having trust in people, plans, or the future มั่นใจ
upcoming - will happen soon ที่กำลังจะมาถึง
election - the process of choosing a person or a group of person for a position, especially by voting elect (v) electoral (adj) synonym: the polls การเลือกตั้ง
resolved - when a problem has been solved
reconciliation - the process of creating a new and friendly relationship again with someone you argued with or fought with การปรองดอง
efforts - people trying to accomplish something, achieve a goal ความพยายาม
media - radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group สื่อ
neutrality - the state of not supporting either side in a competition, disagreement, war, etc. ความเป็นกลาง
deputy -a person who is given the power to do something instead of another person, or the person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation รอง, ตัวแทน,ผู้รักษาการแทน
dean - a senior official at a college or university อธิการบดี คณบดี (ทางการศึกษา)
stance - an attitude or view about an issue that you state clearly; position จุดยืน ความเห็น
political stance - political opinion or belief
core - most important แก่น สิ่งที่สำคัญที่สุด
core values in society - the most important central values in a society or country that holds the society together (example: in Thailand monarchy and Buddhist religion are important)
social pluralism - the belief that different opposing groups in society is natural (not a problem to be solved)
majority rule - when the government acts to do what most of the people in a country want (usually as determined by winning elections in which much of the population votes)
indifferent - don't favour one or the other (here: reds or yellows)