Permanent loss of face

With all of the trouble in Thailand evolving around the fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra, many Thais who are friends or cronies of Thaksin have yet to discover a something that is very un-Thai. If you do something for Thaksin that brings harm to others, you may never be forgiven.

There is a long line of dots that leads up to this and you must go back to when Thaksin was Prime Minister. Thaksin made it known that if you voted for him he would work for and with you, however if you voted against him you could go rot. That was one of the initial seeds that started the division in Thailand. There was very deliberate attempts by Thaksin to punish people who did not vote fore him. He was not at all content that he was not seen as above the Thais and that voting for him was a no brainer.

Fast forward a bit and you will see that Thaksin’s wonderful friend winning personality that made droves of enemies everyday was clearly not Thai as far as Thais could see. One does not deliberately cause another Thai to lose face as Thaksin did nearly everyday. Thai Pride and dignity are very important aspects of Thailand and Thai culture. Thaksin walked all over that daily.

In Thai culture one is allowed to regain face, but when it came that time when Thaksin was seeking insincere forgiveness, he was turned down flat. Thaksin had gone too far past the line of what was acceptable in the eyes of the Thai people.

Fast forward again to the People Power Party (PPP) and you will see a bunch of Thaksin cronies and puppets being Thaksin all over again. Only doing things that benefit Thaksin and basically letting the rest of the country rot is a Deja vu of Thaksin. It is no different that Thaksin saying support me and prosper and to not means to rot. The connection is all too clear in the minds of the Thais.

So now as for losing face, the Thais will forgive if they see you made a mistake and try to fix it. Do that and you will get your face back. But to deliberately do things that hurt other Thais while supporting Thaksin will get you permanent loss of face just like Thaksin.

So far on the list is former Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama. One of the very first things he did was give Thaksin his red diplomatic passport back. That is still a point of hot contention in that Thaksin is now a fugitive. That is the proverbial hot potato that is now with the new Prime Minister. The other thing that was the fatal blow for Noppadon was the agreement with Cambodia on the Preah Vihear Temple. Because of that many Thais saw it as giving up Thai land to Cambodia. The rumors that it was a sweetheart deal to benefit Thaksin’s relationship with Cambodia were floated. A few days later Noppadon resigned when he failed to reverse what he did. From then on he has dropped off the radar.

The next one was Thaksin’s puppet Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej. When Samak called a state of Emergency in Bangkok, he effectively took food off the plates of countless Thais who are in some way tied to the tourist trade all over Thailand. The fact that it was ultimately Thaksin serving by attempting to remove the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) from the government house, provided Samak with the loss of face. A few days later the court removed Samak from office for violating the Constitution on another issue. In Thaksin style arrogance it was said by a few slow learners that he would just be voted back in office a few days later. As it would be, several in the government were getting cold feet with Samak and saw that he had crossed the line of no return. So in an attempt to avoid guilt by association, Samak’s reelection bid failed being shunned by his own team.

The next person on deck to dance with the devil is Samak’s replacement who just happens to be Thaksin’s brother in law. Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat had his first taste of reality by being embarrassed at Thammasat University for his association with Thaksin. The news reports said Somchai turned pale when the association of Thammasat University loss of dignity was tied to him. Just an hour or so later Somchai was cornered by about 100 spontaneous protesters at a downtown high end shopping mall. Somchai is said to be kind mannered and soft spoken. No doubt he is not use to this and will very likely suffer emotionally. Any self earned personal respect and face Somchai had accumulated over they years is now gone in the blink of an eye, and he is about to suffer the consequences of being closely associated with Thaksin on a political level. The fact that he is related to Thaksin by marriage is coincidental and most Thais will overlook that.

One of the key things that may weigh well in the eyes of the Thais is revoking Thaksin’s passports as he is a fugitive. If Somchai does not do that then he will be seen as just a Thaksin puppet. There are some Thais who are not so sure where he stands. The passport issue will set that straight in their eyes.

At the moment Somchai has not crossed that line of no return, but it is little more than a step or two away.

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