Corruption complexities mar Thai politics
This summer seems hotter than usual to me, and the Songkran water splashes don't seem to cool me down at all. Well, the major culprit isn't El Nino, which is hitting the country this year, but rather the political tension that has been escalating since the March 24 election.
It was the first general election since the army took over in a coup five years ago and more than 74% of the eligible voters nationwide reportedly marched to cast their ballots.
Due to many problems with the electoral process, we have to wait nearly one more month to know which of the two leading political parties -- Pheu Thai or Palang Pracharath -- will take a decisive lead to form the country's next government.
Even though I dislike politics and hardly pay attention to any politicians, I am curious to know whether the party I voted for will be able to form a coalition and whether my favourite prime-ministerial candidate will win the top job.
This election is a contest between two political parties. The first is the pro-military Palang Pracharath, which has Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha or "Uncle Tu", as a single candidate for prime minister, and the latter is a chorus of many other parties, including Pheu Thai and the newly formed Future Forward that have vowed to bring back democracy while openly opposing Uncle Tu and his military government, accusing them of trying to hold on to power.
I believe many people must have had a hard time making a decision before they went to the polls. I felt uneasy after talking with an older friend as she warned me not to give the dictator a chance to return to power, trying to convince me that the country should go on in a democratic way.
Her words got me to look back and think more seriously. At last, I asked myself if I would be called dumb if I still wanted that very dictator to be our next prime minister, just because I was impressed with his ability to bring peace and order after leading the armed forces to stage a coup to end the political crisis five years ago. I also wondered if I should really vote for one of the other parties for the sake of democracy.
Throughout our history, we have had many coups and military governments that led to unrest and bloodshed. Also, we have had many civilian governments elected through democratic means that didn't only fail to bring prosperity to the country but, worst, were beset by widespread corruption.
I dislike politics because I find that it's full of greedy and corrupt politicians who vow to serve the people but instead pick the country's pocket. We have seen many examples of corruption that I no longer trust any politician, especially those with dubious backgrounds and hidden agendas that threaten the country.
Deng Xioping once said: "No matter if it is a white cat or a black cat, as long as it can catch mice, it is a good cat." In the same sense, as a Thai who loves the nation, religion and monarchy, I will always support anyone who I'm confident that can protect the three pillars, regardless of his status.
Honestly, one thing that has changed my perspective on political ideologies is an opinion regarding politics delivered by the late revered monk Buddhadasa Bhikkhu six decades ago.
He said: "It doesn't matter what political ideologies those who rule this world belong to. Only that they are good is enough. Good dictators will only lead us on a good and prosperous path and, undoubtedly, good rulers from the democratic system will be prompt to do only good things. But if they are bad, even though they hold on democracy, they will only be obsessed with seeking for personal pleasure and finally fall into decline."
His remark concluded with: "The point is that they must be good and it doesn't matter whether they are leftist or rightist. Only dhamma can turn us into good persons not any political ideologies at all."
It's quite difficult to determine who is good in the same meaning with his teaching. But, in my opinion, they should at least have a deep sense of gratitude to their homeland. I believe with this quality in their hearts, they will only do good things for the country.
Patcharawalai Sanyanusin is a writer for the Life section of the Bangkok.
Patcharawalai Sanyanusin is a writer for Life section of the Bangkok Post.