By Paw Siriluk Sriprasit
As a global citizen and an environmental journalist, I am always watching out and waiting to get more information to write about the bees’ colony collapse disorder (CCD) – the world is now facing. The CCD is an extremely important problem that can put the human kind to an end. As Maurice Maeterlinck wrote in ‘The Life of the Bee (1901)’ “if the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.” No bees mean no food, “as bees are the most important pollinator of our fruit, flowers, vegetables, and crop. About a third of the world’s food supply depends on bees” said Marla Spivak, a well-known American entomologist.
For anyone who is not familiar with this subject – the bees’ colony collapse disorder (CCD) is a phenomenon in which worker bees from beehives abruptly disappear. The CCD occurred in late 2006 and also began to happen afterwards, mostly in Western colonies in North America and Western Europe. The cause of CCD is somewhat unclear, but the possible factors have been studied by many institutions and universities. Key causes that distributed for CCD are overuse of pesticides, fungicides, diseases, bee mites, and electromagnetic radiation from electronic communication devices (wifi, mobile phones, etc.).
Happen to be that I’m not only a global citizen and journalist, but was also born and raised in Thailand. So enough caring for bees and talking about CCD for now. I’m proposing that what Thai politics and society are currently facing can be called “Democracy Collapse Disorder” (DCD). Why DCD? I’ll try to comprehend this phenomenon for you, however your final consideration and judgment are with you, the readers. But let me try.
For the past couple of weeks, an anti-government protest has been ongoing in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. On December 3rd, Mr. Suthep Thaugsuban, the leader of the demonstrations, declared victory when the protesters seized the government house and police headquarters by use of violence. Mr.Suthep, an ex-politician from the opposing Democrats-party, along with Yellow-shirt leaders, were standing side by side and stated that the goal of protesting is to “transform Thailand into a country ruled by a monarchy system that is complete and true.” That’s where you might start to agree with me that it is a symptom of “Democracy Collapse Disorder” (DCD).
In the world of Mr. Suthep and his supporters the current democracy is full of pesticide ‘corruptions and all politicians are bad and immoral’. Moreover, their main interrupting factor of the ‘good society’ and ‘good country’ for ‘good Thais’ is Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, an ousted ex-Prime Minister who served for almost two terms (8 years). The coup staged in 2006 resulted in his exile. For Suthep, Thaksin is like an electromagnetic wave that is shaking the whole society, threatening the Thai monarchy and polluting Thai people with populism schemes (such as 30 Baht (1 USD) Health Care, micro-finance lending, etc).
But in the world of democratic rules and for the majority of people in Thailand, the “Democracy Collapse Disorder” (DCD) became even more prominent when Mr. Suthep’s protesting got out of control. His demands and ideologies (and whoever agrees with him) are about to put all of Thailand, Thai people – the Beehives, the worker bees- into a collapsed colony. The collapsed society is full of pesticides, namely coups, military intervention, undemocratic power, media censorship and so on.
DCD is an extremely undesirable situation, and by all means these following DCD symptoms should be terminated.
#1 No ‘majority rule’ – Yes ‘minority rule’
Suthep and his supporters are demanding for minority rule by a small group of ‘good people’. However it is unclear how, by whom and with which interests they will be selected.
#2 No ‘elections’
Mr. Suthep said on behalf of his supporters and his allies that they are anti-majority-rule and hate electoral processes. And Mr. Suthep has all reason to think so: His political party never won any election since 1992. The current government, the ‘Pheu Thai Party (PTP)’ led by Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra (Thaksin’s sister), was reincarnated from the ‘Thai Rak Thai’ (TRT) party led by Mr. Thaksin, and has won all general elections to date (in 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2011).
#3 No ‘one man, one vote’
Why did Thaksin’s party always win? Mr. Suthep is sure that the people who vote for Thaksin’s party are bought by money, although we all believe and witness that all politicians from all parties commit some kind of vote-buying. However, according to Mr. Suthep’s common sense there should be no vote-buying, and if there is no way to prevent it to happen, Thailand should not have an election at all. Moreover, even if Thailand is going to have an election, ‘one man – one vote’ doesn’t seem to make any sense to Mr. Suthep and his supporters. They believe that since their people are rich and well-educated their vote should count more than the vote of the poor – rural – uneducated people from the North and Northeastern Thailand (two regional supporting bases for the Pheu Thai Party).
#4 No ‘freedom of the press’
The last few days, the anti-government protest also invaded and forced all TV channels to report only what they want to and to cover only what is going on at the protests. Freedom of the press is not respected by this protest, thus it seems understandable why the ideology and philosophy of ‘democracy and democratic rules’ might be somewhat difficult for Suthep to contemplate and comprehend.
#5 No ‘bad man’ – only ‘good man’ can rule
Moreover, as mentioned above, “only good and moral men can rule” the country as Mr. Suthep emphasized thousands of times. I am personally amazed that he apparently has hidden a secret, the greatest ability of all mankind, ‘the tool to measure moral and goodness.’ And only him and his gang can measure and select a group of people that can rule Thailand. No more election, no more ballots, no free press, and perhaps, no more Thailand. Suthep is going to build his own political party which Andrew Walker, a political scientist, called “Democrat-except-when-you-can’t-win-an-election-and-then-a-coup-is-OK -Party’.
#6 Wanting no ‘progress’
For a long time Suthep and his Democrat Party accepted that the majority of Thai people do not fancy the party’s policies and that the party never won an election. The protesters have the right to voice out their demands and concerns under the democratic principle, however, what the demonstration wants is for Thailand to go back in time to be ruled by absolute monarchy – it’s undemocratic. Their demand is absurd. What Suthep is doing, is anti-progress, only wanting Thailand to go backwards, to be ruled by a group of elites – and this is ‘Democracy Collapse Disorder’ (DCD).
According to the Democracy Index 2012, Thailand is ranked at no. 58, below Timor-Leste, Indonesia and Columbia. The press is already categorized as ‘Not Free’ according to Freedom House (2013). Not even to mention the hundreds of political prisoners who are now in jail due to the Lèse majesté Law. This DCD can’t happen for any longer. It’s time to let the democratic institutions and mechanisms of society function normally. Although some rules and some laws are not democratic, Thai people shall use democratic procedures and mechanism to deal with them and shall minimize the DCD.
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