If only Abalos was Thai

It’s clear that there are concerns over the health of the King of Thailand, who recently underwent spinal surgery. (See Woolly Days for details on the King’s dynastic history -he links to the rather lurid circumstances surrounding the death of the present King’s predecessor- and health; also, there are some interesting photos of how Thais love their King).

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(image borrowed from thaitraitors blog)

However, what is of central interest in Thailand now is the arrest of four members of the Thai elections commission (their equivalent of the Philippine Comelec). An analysis points to a recent (and uprecedented) communication from the King, expressing his wishes for peace, stability, and clean elections. the king threw his considerable moral influence behind an appeal for the courts to resolve the Thai political crisis (among his objectives, the analysis asserts, is to head off a potential coup by soldiers upset over the ongoing political scandals).

The courts seem to be complying. the analysis argues that if the courts confirm the arrests, then Prime Minister Thaksin could be in political trouble. An Associated Press report indicates as much, too. (picture from the blog Traitors). Another interesting thing is that a few parties could be disqualified from participating in future elections for violating the rules.
It all sounds achingly familiar, though more positive for the Thais. Then again, someone asks, can this ever happen in Malaysia? With, apparently, the same kind of wistfulness I feel.

A part of me now understands why under the 1935 Constitution, Congress only had 100 session days out of the year (today, Congress holds session continuously except for a specified period between one regular session and the next, and prior to an election). So perhaps Congress should be part-time again.

Two commentaries, also from The Nation: one calling the arrests poetic justice; another says the arrests serve as a much-needed shock treatment.

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(today’s editorial cartoon from Inquirer)

My Arab News column for this week is Do Filipinos Long for a More Charismatic Leader? I decided to focus less on the particulars of the President’s speech and more on what the speech says about her way of thinking (if the provinces want their infrastructure, not only will they get it, but they should get it: the only concern should be that the various plans make some sort of overall sense, and they do, and that they don’t end up worthless due to illegal commission-taking).

Other columnists have weighed in on the details of the President’s address. Bong Austero says the plans are nice, and at least the President has a plan; Manuel Buencamino says it’s a holiday resort map and essentially meaningless. Mike Tan concentrates on what he believes was ominously left out of the speech.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer and The Business Mirror both editorialize, skeptically, on the speech. Going from strength to satirical strength, The Professional Heckler unleashes a string of devastating one liners.

Patricio Diaz discusses an ongoing debate about what should be done with the traditional Moro ruling families.

Slate points to an engrossing article in The New Yorker on Wikipedia, how it’s grown, what it contains, and how it’s demonstrating the benefits and limits of accumulating information according to a democratic framework. I like Wikipedia very much, and I have depended on it a great deal -though its limitations are there and obvious (but the benefits far outweigh them, I believe).

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

9 thoughts on “If only Abalos was Thai

  1. i don’t rely on wiki.

    from the new yorker: “Senators and congressmen have been caught tampering with their entries; the entire House of Representatives has been banned from Wikipedia several times.”

    scary to find mike defensor hacking it to fit gma’s divine messages side by side with vatican’s moral proclamations.

  2. Bong Austero’s article is a reiteration of two of Malacanan’s interwoven propaganda lines.
    1. Let’s focus on issues and not personalities.
    2. Who is your alternative to Gloria.
    Using this frame of reference as a shield, Gloria and her legions can throw mud at the opposition while proposing all sorts of crazy ideas like a unicameral parliament.

    My frame of reference is the personality is the issue. Gloria brought about the issue – cheating hence legitimacy. If we buy into the frame put forward by Gloria then the debate shifts from her to the system. Thus let’s get rid of the present system instead of the present dispensation.

    The other element of Gloria’s frame – who’s your mama – is partly a scare tactic and partly a non-sequitur. It is a question not meant to be answered because any proposed alternative has been pre-discredited. The pre-discrediting is accomplished with the unwitting help of opposition groups who are so divided that they discredit each other’s alternatives. For example, constitutionalists who are willing to settle for an orderly constitutional succession, i.e. Noli, are vehemently opposed by those who advocate a transition government. In the case of the transition government types, they are no different from those who want to transition to a new system of government. Both blame the system instead of management.

    To quote the devil herself, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step but even before we take the first step…” we have to get rid of the roadblock. Gloria.

  3. what i cannot stand is that our fellow Filipinos are letting GMA continuously holding power illegitimately. are these people blind? C’mon! “moving on” is not the solution…let’s legitimize this government by electing rightful leaders then we move on… Congressman Escudero was right when he said, they should have the chance to interpolate the SONA of GMA…

  4. Manolo,

    Seems like One Voice has a daunting task up ahead. Manuel couldn’t have said it better. As early as now, we must educate the electorate. The pretender in the palace had placed her chips on the table. I see trapos drooling at the lavish banquet she had presented them. Whether this bait will be taken by the voters is something else. The Singaw has somehow gone pfft. She now pushes for Federalism and this seems to be their new battlecry. But for those areas where she lost, I guess they won’t be getting anything, not even left-overs.

  5. With great admiration, we should salute the people of Thailand for doing the right thing. Their motives were simply integrity and honor–they did not compromise.

  6. Hi Manuel,

    thanks for your link to my blog. While I find the whole concept of of an inherited throne lacking in merit, I do have admiration for the way that the Thais have invested so much emotional energy in their king. Thailand’s Buddhism is understated but their adoration of royalty is real and immediate.

    Whether this has any relevance to the rest of Asia is debatable.

    Derek (aka Woolly Days)

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