Just the way it is...
The headline on the March 26 Sunday editorial, "Politicians must put public first", caught my eye. "The interruption gave the impression that some politicians are still self-serving, rather than serving both their voters and their country. This is unfortunate." It may indeed be unfortunate, but self-serving politicians are a Thai political reality, a way of life, and no amount of rhetoric, public or private, will ever bring this practice to an end.
If the electorate wants to clean house, then it needs to follow the measures taken by the citizenry of Sudan. Massive rallies, a shutdown of the country, and a tenacity not to stop until demands are met. But this is Thailand, not Sudan. Palavering is the Thai way, all potatoes, no meat. In Sudan it is all meat, no potatoes.
As a resident farang, I seldom feel I have much to complain about in Thailand. My tax bills are invariably high, but I pay willingly. And, unlike a lot of my fellow ex-pats, I don't get too worked up about Thai politics and the absence of democracy.
Democracy in most countries is just a sweet-sounding word, bandied about so that everybody feels good. True democracy only exists when every citizen has the same opportunities, especially the same educational opportunities.
I would go so far as to say that not all dictatorships are undesirable. Take the example of the late Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore. He turned a fledgling city state into one of the world's best functioning meritocracies. Lee was a benign dictator. What's more, he was honest about the kind of leader he was.
It's honesty that I respect, and dishonesty that I do complain about.
To take a current example of the latter, the political grouping that calls itself the "Democrat Party" should surely not be actively supporting a junta-inspired dictatorship.
To be worthy of their name, they should be working to improve the opportunities of all citizens.
Instead, they are doing exactly what they said during the election they wouldn't do, and allying themselves with the PPRP. So isn't it time for the fake Democrats to start calling themselves the "Dictatorship Party"? Or do they feel no shame at their dishonesty?
Linus A E Knobel
Brewing tea culture
Re: "Enjoying a cuppa with Harold the milkman" by Roger Crutchley, (BP, May 26, 2019).
It is heartwarming to say that after the British exited India in 1947, the tea culture remains as their most powerful legacy. Tea has become an integral part of the blood of North Indians. The Brook Bond tea brand is still available. Lipton and other new brands have saturated the tea market. Even today, every household in India and other South East Asian countries starts with morning tea. The people on the streets throng to the nearest tea stalls. Every bus depot, every railway station and every airport in India serves millions of cuppas of tea every day.
The newly elected prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, started his "chai pe charcha", meaning "discussion over tea" campaign during the 2014 polls. It was touted as one of smartest campaigns resulting in his election victory. In 2013, The New York Times published an article, "Narendra Modi and the Calculus of Tea", by Zach Marks which said Mr Modi in his youth carried tea in a kettle from his father's shop to customers waiting for trains at the Vadnagar train station. This week, tea lover Mr Modi has been re-elected. George Orwell eloquently said, "Anyone who has used that comforting phrase 'a nice cup of tea' invariably means Indian tea."
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