If I were Thaksin Shinawatra, which of course I'm not, I would stop giving ammunition to my detractors. Reporters will always stick the microphone in my face, because my name makes for an alluring headline. But that doesn't mean I should say things which would allow my opponents to call me a liar.
All men are capable of good and evil; such is our nature. But conviction is the word that defines the manliness of a man. One may be a saint, one may be a sinner, but one should not fail to live up to what makes a man a man.
Sure, we all tell lies here and there, such is the nature of everyone, and in doing so we risk losing the trust and respect of those we lie to. But when a man lies to the entire nation _ not a white lie for the good of the whole, but a selfish lie to serve himself _ he's then nothing but a two-faced fibber, a coward who deserves neither trust nor respect, and certainly no man.
But Thaksin, a man so loved and revered by so many, is not guilty of the above charge. Definitely, he would want to dispel such a foul and baseless accusation against him. To do this, if I were Thaksin, which of course I'm not, I would show manly conviction and stick to my word.
He has said that he's no longer involved in politics, that he's happy in retirement and content to stay abroad, and that he's making these sacrifices for the good of Thailand. As such, the following is what he would be wise to do to prove that silly accusation wrong.
First, if I were Thaksin, which of course I'm not, I would not hold meetings where politicians and officials come to seek favours. I'm a retired individual, not an emperor holding court. They can pay me homage, because I'm just an awesome dude, but there will be no seeking of favours, because I'm not involved in politics.
Second, I would not hold Skype meetings with government politicians. I would Skype with my family, my friends and my gigs, but not politicians during party meetings. This is because I'm a retired person, not a CEO issuing directives to his board of minions.
Third, I would humbly ask the Pheu Thai-led government to specifically state in the amnesty bill that in no circumstances should an amnesty be granted to Thaksin Shinawatra. An amnesty does not clear anyone's name. It doesn't reverse any conviction. It doesn't say ''you're innocent''. It is simply a whitewash of the guilty verdict. So an amnesty shouldn't matter.
I would recognise that while the government may stumble and fumble, with the rice-pledging scheme and whatnot, overall things are fine, if fragile. There may be protests here and there, but all is thus far manageable.
Things may no longer be manageable, however, if an amnesty for me becomes a reality, and so in the interests of the nation I would make a sacrifice, as I've often said I would. I would stay true to my word and stay out of politics and even out of Thailand.
Fourth, if my intent is to clear my name and reverse the earlier conviction, I would come back to Thailand and fight it out in the courtroom. Meanwhile, I would make sure that my prison cell is decked out in Italian furniture and a state-of-the-art theatre system, with an Xbox and everything. I don't have to give up on luxuries while fighting to clear my name. But as I've said, I'm no longer involved and I'm making a personal sacrifice, so no matter. I'll stay away so as to not inflame the sensitive political situation.
Actions speak louder than words, and there are possibly a number of other things Thaksin can do to prove to Thailand and the world that he's a man true to his word. But the above examples should already be enough to make the point.
On the other hand, if I were Thaksin, which of course I'm not, and I want an amnesty and to return to Thailand, and to even become prime minister again, I would just tell it like it is.
I would tell the world over and over again that I'm the rightful, democratically elected leader of Thailand, who was wrongly ousted by a military coup d'etat and I deserve justice. That all the charges I was found guilty of are but the political ploy of undemocratic, coup-ist elements that undermined my democratic regime. I deserve justice.
I would even go so far as to ask the world how can I be guilty of anything, since I had already changed the law (excise tax) to legalise my actions. Call me unethical, brand me shady, but I had the democratic right to do so. Don't hate me just because I know how to exploit democracy better than anyone else. I deserve justice.
I would tell the world that in the two general elections following the 2006 coup, my nominee parties won overwhelmingly. This is what the people wanted. I have the blessing of the majority. This proves my democratic legitimacy. I deserve justice.
If I were Thaksin, which of course I'm not, I would define justice to the world. Justice is my democratic right to return home a free man, my democratic right, and if I choose to stand for another election and win, to become the prime minister again. This is the right I've earned and the right I will continue to earn. This is justice.
Then behind the scenes I would use the threat of my majority voting base, of my tens of thousands of loyal red shirts in the streets, of my business empire and political muscle, and all my allies, and of lucrative government positions which can be awarded or taken away.
I would use all these threats and weapons _ plus the all-important incentive of sharing the cake _ to harangue the old establishment elements that stand against me to come to the negotiating table and work out a deal.
The haters may say many things about me. They may say I'm corrupt. They may say I'm disloyal. They may say I'm unethical. They may even say I'm evil. The one thing they cannot say about me is that I am a liar and that I am not a man _ for I am a man true to my word and I will earn my justice.
When I step off the plane at Suvarnabhumi airport, the first thing I will say to the people is this: ''Thailand and democracy, you deserve me, you really do _ group hug.''
This is what I would do if I were Thaksin, which of course I'm not, so never mind.
Contact Voranai Vanijaka via email at email@example.com.