If you were a non Thai who was a bit novice about Thailand and looking at the events evolving around the Thaksin 76 Billion Baht asset case, it is certainly understandable why you would wonder what all the hoopla was about. You will quickly find yourself asking, Why are so many people in an uproar about money that does not belong to them.
There is no easy way to present this without taking in some personal accounts of people who were visiting or recently moved to Thailand. So with that said this particular Connecting the Dots entry will have a slightly different flavor than what we normally have. So with that said, here is a bit of a time line of what the average Joe would have seen if he arrived in Thailand in 2003 or 2004.
The first time Joe visits Thailand, politics are the furthest thing from his mind. He is either taking a long overdue holiday or simply planning to move to Thailand. After a day or so of straining his neck muscles he quickly discovers why men simply love Thailand, particularly so when coming from a place where attitudes and snarls are the norm. The first few weeks he is completely absorbed in bleeding off stress and for the most part doing his best to forget the politically correct hell he left.
After the first month or two, Joe starts to become aware of things that are happening just below the surface. Corruption seems to be the underlying lubricant that keeps Thailand a wonderful place and free of nitpicking perfectionists seeking to make Thailand like the hell he just left behind. Over regulating and strict enforcement just has a way of ruining things, particularly so when it involves recreational time.
Then suddenly one day the Thai government or more particularly Thaksin’s government does something that just does not sit well with Joe. Some bit of his new found happiness is being trounced on by someone who he does not know. At that point the seed of interest in Thai politics gets planted because very simply Joe wants to know who took a piece of his happiness away with some new rule that makes absolutely no sense at all.
That is the key phrase that summarizes the Thaksin asset case is ‘Things that make no sense’. To Joe who is from a country where corruption is little more than a bump in the carpet, in Thailand it more resembles a winter Olympics mogul course. In this case Thaksin was sinking yet another tentacle of power to skim more money for himself.
As Joe continues to watch and starts to develop habitual eye rolling as in a daily basis, Joe sees Thaksin making decisions that clearly benefit Thaksin’s wallet. At the same time Joe starts discovering that Thaksin is very skilled in hiding his tracks with layers of deceptive dead ends. All the deceptions are meant to hide the massive corruption Thaksin was undertaking. Although difficult to prove in court, it did not take much to see and figure out Thaksin was in the process of milking money from every place he could. And Being Prime Minister of Thailand, outside of the royal family everything else was up for grabs.
Next part 2