Thailand’s war

This report will be very different from what you have been reading here at Connecting the Dots. The objective writing and pointing out things to let you see the bigger picture will be replaced with a very candid unplanned heart to heart talk with a Thaksin supporter.

Seeing at the moment people are either stuck inside or outside of Thailand, plan ‘B’ is in place for many people. Last night I found myself stuck in traffic sitting in a taxi with a friend sorting out what to do as plan ‘B’ was never considered before this week. The taxi driver was amazingly open on the things in Thailand and the discussion about the closed airports was near the top of the list. He expressed a very real fear about going there as taxi drivers in general are seen as Thaksin supporters.

I asked him if he liked or disliked Thaksin, and as expected he was a Thaksin supporter. The taxi driver was about 30 years old and his English was an acceptable level. He could make a non Thai speaking tourist feel comfortable in his taxi. I sensed he was an intelligent person and certainly no slouch. Although his education may have been limited for reasons beyond his control, I have no doubt he would have done well if he had a true chance to finish his education.

Naturally the topic shifted to why he supported Thaksin. Unfortunately I can’t print exactly what he said because some of it was about the King of Thailand, and it was not as favorable as most may expect coming from a Thai. It was because of that candidness that this inside look became a topic to write about. Although I can’t say exactly what he said, I can paint his feelings and why.

The taxi driver was smart enough to understand that what was happing in Thailand was not so much the Peoples Alliance for Democracy (PAD) fighting the People Power Party (PPP). He seemed to understand the bigger picture. He saw the people who wore red shirts as non military soldiers of Thaksin Shinawatra, and the people who wore yellow shirts as non military soldiers of the King of Thailand. With that single understanding the next obvious question was why take sides against the King.

The answer I got was half expected and his underlying logic was based on the simple concepts of Darwin’s findings. He was misreading the King’s silence in this battle as weakness. He has seen Thaksin continue to charge forward as strength. He continued to talk about Thaksin’s money as being a way he could help his family. In short he saw Thaksin as the Alpha male when compared to the King.

It was clear to me he did not grasp the reason why the King was silent. To understand that it would require passing that magic educational attainment level so often talked about here at Connecting the Dots. I proposed to him that sometimes a King must sit on his hands to allow his people to learn a lesson in their own way, and that the path to true democracy is never easy. He paused and thought about that for a moment and I could see in his face that struck a nerve. He clearly was grasping the concept that all the turmoil in Thailand was perhaps a lesson being taught by the King to move his people forward. Handing them democracy does not develop the respect for democracy as compared to having to fight for it. I suggested he may find some words of wisdom from the King in his annual birthday speech usually broadcast the evening of December 4. By this time we had arrived at my destination and I thanked him for his openness and speaking from his heart.

This left me with a barrage of thoughts some reflecting back to concepts I learned as a child. I felt somehow cast adrift in a growing storm. It did not matter so much what I know or felt as this was clearly a key point in Thailand’s history and the Thais needed to find themselves. I found myself thinking of a story I was told as a boy. It spoke of a fork in the road. The road on the left was in terrible condition full of holes and fallen trees as well as being dark and dreary. The road on the right was wonderfully paved, well kept and bright. The moral of the story was the good road can only get worse, and the bad road can only get better. I somehow see Thailand standing at that fork in the road.

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