Legacy politics

Re: "Rift over Speaker's job erupts", (BP, May 25).

For all its great and glorious culture, Thailand recognises, studies, follows and studiously applies Western sciences and technologies, from algebra to zoology, medicine and other specialisations. Yet in adopting "democracy", the very basis of the current Western model, it bends not just the rules but the very definitions.

Senate, according to the authoritative Oxford Dictionary, consists of a "group of... elected politicians who make the laws", a basic legal definition, unchanged and undisputed since hoary Roman days.

In Thailand, sticking a fancy English term onto something that not even remotely qualifies for it (i.e. limousine for a battered Toyota; resort for some cheap huts on a rice field, etc.) is now a tired old hat, old hype. And so is, for all its pompousness and pretensions, this militarily-appointed "Senate", now giving itself airs about whether, or whether not, to "accept" a MFP-led coalition (don't hold your breath, dear Mr Pita!), or is just pretending to?

To the incredulously-watching "democratic" world, it is obviously these junta-debris senators who are not acceptable by any rule of genuine Democracy. Yet the MFP is sternly directed to respect this blatantly undemocratic "legal" trap.

By all these tired, wearisome old tricks, they are just laying the ground for a yet-fiercer loss next time around, if not now -- time being, relentlessly, in youths' favour, as the old die off! Let's fervently hope they will finally see the light and make way for the nation's decision, and its clear wishes.

Hal O'Stephen

Open speakership

Re: "Rift over Speaker's job erupts", (BP, May 25).

Within only a few days after the election victory in which his party won the projected 151 MPs -- or 30% of the 500 House seats that have yet to be officially declared by the Election Commission -- Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of the Move Forward Party, gave interviews to the media as though he were our country's sitting prime minister.

Today, the situation seems to have developed further: MFP spokesman Rangsiman Rome came out to insist that by tradition, the elected winner would take the House Speaker chair, and his party wishes to continue with that tradition.

Mr Rangsiman has only to look back to 2019, when Chuan Leekpai of the Democrat Party, with only 53 MPs and the fourth largest coalition party, was elected House Speaker.

The House speakership does not always go to the biggest party; it can be given to any party through consensus.

Vint Chavala

Give MFP a chance

Re: "30% not a majority", (PostBag, May 25).

As an observer of Thai politics and not at the age of those youngsters but an octogenarian, the letter needs corrections.

First, the Move Forward Party (MFP) never called themselves as having a majority of the house of 500 members but, from the declared unofficial results, claimed rightfully out of 67 contested parties, commanded the highest number of members, 151, followed by Pheu Thai (PT) of 141. And it immediately called for partnership with PT, thereby commanding in total 292 members, the House's majority, and both parties agreed immediately to form a coalition government by adding more members from former opposition parties. If this coalition is successful by August, one should never fail to credit Paetongtarn Shinawatra, the leader of PT, in conceding the role of leading the coalition to MFP's leader, Pita Limjaroenrat, because of her statement that the role should fall to the party with most votes even though PT is only short by 10 members.

Mr Pita, a Harvard kid, is more than able to count and immediately took the initiative in having a strong bargaining chip to preclude the military-lead parties from wriggling themselves to remain in power. Without any doubt, the ideology of the MFP is not evolutionary but "revolutionary", especially on the election of provincial governors and economic policy bordering socialism. That has stirred up objections from a large number of those affected or those used to the old school of thought. Unfortunately, some of their objections against MFP are vicious, irrational and pitiful.

Yet, one can also see the ugly side of the supporters of MFP in coercing and some even threatening those unelected senators to side with MFP in making this coalition successful, hoping for a further 60-odd votes. It is this ugliness that may have brought out extremism in opposing this hopeful coalition.

However, those disenchanted may take comfort that a coalition based on a multi-party system is fragile and not as strong as a country with two parties competing for power like Britain and other English-speaking countries.

Italy is often quoted as having a weak government because of short-lived coalitions. Since 1945, Italy has had 69 governments, an average of one every 1.11 years.

Our record is not too bad -- 20 constitutions since 1932, with an average of one constitution every 4.5 years. If the MFP and PT are successful this time, for sure, there will be a 21st constitution.

With cool heads, can we give these youngsters a chance to make good on their words and hope for the least ill effects on our country?

Songdej Praditsmanont

Aim to reduce harm

Re: "A gruesome reminder", (Life, May 25).

The certainly gruesome and hopefully disturbing piece by the Bangkok Post's Pattarawadee Saengmanee revisiting Thailand's prison system, complete with officially prescribed torture, was an ever-timely reminder of how much more barbaric and cruel our not-so-remote ancestors were; nor do I exclude my own and other nations' law enforcement systems, which were also officially far more brutal than today so recently as only one hundred or even fewer years ago.

We can and should do better than the last generation. We should do far better than those of 100 years ago, let alone of centuries past when cat baiting was as popular a sport throughout Europe as was the entertainment, complete with presiding Christian clergy, of the public torture of dubiously convicted heretics and lesser criminals.

Contrary to authoritarians preaching law and order to excuse their lust for legalised brutality, harsh criminal punishments, including draconian prison sentences out of all proportion to any actual harm done to anyone, are no sign of good morals. They testify only to a viciously cruel character.

Felix Qui

Exemplary justice

Re: "A gruesome reminder", (Life, May 25).

The cyanide gorgon and her drug/alcohol crazed counterparts, as well as a senior gendarme known for his waterboarding habits with plastic bags, should be given a specially conducted tour of this establishment. They should be accompanied by an exotic watch enthusiast, the purported trader of flour abroad, the elite and impunitive scion as well as the organisers of various atrocities, both in Bangkok and the deep south of Thailand, and so on and so on.

I don't think educational therapy, worthy as it is, would work for them. Ever. Justice, in these cases, is given a cement overcoat and we generally forget, pretty quickly, if we know what is good for us.

Over to you Khun Pita and Chuvit Kamolvisit, the Crusader.

Ellis O'Brien

Rights for citizens

Re: "A policy for gun safety?", (Editorial, May 13).

As a shooting sports enthusiast, I was chatting to some gun shop owners in Bangkok's Chinatown the other day and they told me that the Interior Ministry department that issues gun permits in Bangkok has recently started rejecting all permit applications from anyone the new director in his wisdom regards as foreign. In addition to foreign nationals, his definition apparently includes naturalised Thais and any Thai citizen with a foreign parent. I am told that some applications from half-Thais have already been rejected purely on racial grounds.

It is not my intention to open a debate about gun ownership. The point I want to make is that whatever laws are passed by parliament should be applied to all citizens equally, as mandated by the constitution, which specifically prohibits discrimination on grounds of differences in origin, race, religion, gender or age. Naturalised Thais like myself are used to being told that Thais with white faces are not entitled to Thai discounts at dual pricing venues (including on one occasion at the BTS), but the discrimination against those born Thai with some foreign blood is egregious. This unconstitutional racial discrimination coming from the Interior Ministry itself is particularly alarming, and there is no telling where it may lead.

Second Class Thai

In the land of pagodas

Re: "Myanmar 'massacre' leaves 22 dead", (BP, May 18).

In the land of the pagodasThe coyotes are running wildKilling peaceful protestersAnd locking up prominent politicians with gleeCausing freedom-loving citizens to flee

Hyenas roam the streets of YangonSearching for innocent victimsNo one is safe in these chaotic timesAs predators and scavengers hunt to killWith loathing and disgust, my heart is filled

Where are you?Oh! Lady of justiceHave you forsaken us,Or left us to fend as best we can?

How can we dealWith beasts such as theseWho have no honour and no shame?Is justice simply a name?

The whole world is watchingAnd taking noteIn the face of unsurmountable oddsWe still hold on tenaciously to hope

But with each passing momentThe darkness nearsOur chance for salvationIs slowly but surely fading, I fear.

Myo Kyaw MyintSan Jose, CA

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