A Dark Pensive Reflection

Times are darker than before the political conflict during the reign of the fallen Yingluck Shinawatra. The period of uncertainty was met by applauds, of Bangkok middle-class and those who cherish moments without that complicating ideology called democracy and Thaksinism. 

Then the military drew the lines, halting the urban trendy political deadlock, one that the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) and its ultra nationalists wanted, anticipated. The coup, with its martial law and the rumbling of its machinery, declaring how without its intervention that its dream of a peaceful Thailand would be dragged into further violence. Despite its contradictions, the military lacked the ability to grasp the whole country, thus it focused on what it knows best: cities.

Urban population depends on the educated for governance, and the simplicity of censorship and the mechanics of history. Thailand has an incredibly high occurrence of coup d'etat, one that even some regimes in the region grudgingly admire. After all, one can sustain political power by chaining popular belief of a military intervention once a decade, or so.

Zashnain Slum

Then, we have marginalized communities in Thailand. The poor, the landless, the migrant workers, the inhabitants of slums, the homeless, the families in plantations, the indigenous and the conflict ravaging the south. These populations, often bloated in some provinces and districts, grow distant from the local mainstream media, and their voices, their mass participation seems to be a foreign concept and often rejected. Perhaps the psyche is best left to Thai academics to debate, to strangle one another about the psychosocial motive of lesser beings, and the age-old belief that the peasantry should focus on feeding the stagnant urban middle class.  

Interestingly, preference of good governance in the region is not always favourable to democratic processes. Malaysia is still grasping at the need to oil the sequence of steps, and has yet to rid of its British colonial-era influences whereas in Thailand the popular belief that the country has not been colonised by foreigners. To some, or many, or just to you and me, the complex concept of "colonial" subjugation takes place when even locals, or self-proclaimed ones, dominate one another in an agenda-driven crusade of inequality and the need to wound the jugular of diversity. The everyday class-conflict scenario in Malaysia, along with Cambodia, Philippines, Lao are no different than Thailand.

Southeast Asia is a region which is not foreign to me. Borders matter not, followed by my explorations to remote communities, to flashy urban, industrialized cities and not far from them, in between the cracks of cement, steel, under the shades, you'll find the poor. 

Admittedly there are no threats of mass institutionalized bloodied oppression, for now, as the present prime minister cum coup-leader, Prayuth, is willing to facilitate Thai society into what the self-centered urbanites desire. Law, order, and all that follows the dogmatic lifestyle of an educated Thai, needs the continued existence of ultra nationalism. Its interesting to know that Prayuth takes time from his schedule to lecture citizens about morality and nationalistic pride, inspired by perhaps the love for his vision. He usually abandons all traces of diplomacy or the elaborated articulate speeches. He is blunt by refined Thai standards, as expected, he is after all an army general.

As time goes by, Thailand is still in the midst of reforming its jingoistic road maps, one that is as confusing to the masses than to the foreigners. The absence of participation affects not only political direction but also the often ignored concerns related to healthcare, agriculture, mining, environment and social justice. The absence of the failed champion of the democrat party, Abhisit Vejjajiva, from the limelight is amusing, most probably his back-seat position is solely to preserve his political longevity. Then again, this is Thailand, one must expect half-wits and cowardice to run deep in the elitism of the political class against the might of the military.

Dark times indeed, with those wondering how one would get through the night. Thoughts of how society exercise reason, the unconscious flow of manipulative hands moulding the shape of common sense. One day, end of the day, we can only hope to see people making informed decisions, not out of loyalty to a general, to stop the spinning wheel and form their aspirations.

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