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"Mega FAM Trip" 12 – 16 July

ThailandPosted by Soren Wettendorff Thursday, June 24 2010 21:44:09
TAT is planning the "Mega FAM Trip" 12 – 16 July, and will host and arrange tours around the country free of charge for selected media and tour company representatives. Good to hear, but wonder who have done the planning, as obviously the routings and programs are already in place. Attending the ATTA monthly meeting today (24 June) nobody mentioned anything. During these times where we should be helping out each other in the hope of everybody to survive which should be common interest, I think that the TAT are keeping the cards too tight and we could suspect that the organizing is in the hands of the usual suspects. After all the event is financed by government funding which at the end of the day is us, the tax payer, this be both companies and personal tax payers alike, why we should all be sharing the benefits.

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Millitary vs. Goverment

ThailandPosted by Soren Wettendorff Friday, October 17 2008 13:08:37

Backed by Supreme Commander Gen Songkitti Jakkabatr, navy chief Adm Kamthorn Phumhiran, air force leader ACM Itthaporn Supawong, and police chief Pol-Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwan, General Anupong the chief commander of the armed forces, yesterday went on national TV with following statement.

"I am not saying this to pressure the government to resign, but it must take responsibility. No government can survive after the spilling of people's blood, because society can never accept this. There's no point in staying on when the country has already been damaged."

General Anupong continued to rule out a coup, saying it would not solve the political strife. The armed forces leaders and the public were not in favor of it, but see the step down of the PM khun Somchay as a acknowledgement of the governments mistake to enforce power on October the 7th. The PM has also a case with the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) over the transaction of shares from his sister in the Thaksin owned Shinarwat company, mentioned earlier in this blog.

Also Thaksin got his problems and his case over the sale of the Shinarwat company will start 25th December – merry X-mas Khun Thaksin.

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Khao Pra Viharn means war

ThailandPosted by Soren Wettendorff Thursday, October 16 2008 15:43:26

Mention the area and the same day fighting’s breaking out between Thailand and Cambodia in the area of Khao Pra Viharn. Two Cambodian soldiers are reported dead while both sides report of eight wounded, all soldiers, and thousands of villagers residing in the area have fled because of the fighting’s.

Pra Vihharn lies in the part of Cambodia, which until 1907 was part of Thailand. The two kingdoms have almost a couple thousand years back in time regularly been at war. From around the year 1000 until Cambodia became the dominant power in the region. The problem is, that if UNESCO approve Pra Viharn as heritage site, it would automatically mean a form of recognition of Cambodia's claim on a specific area of the border around the temple.


Later in the day officers from both countries will meet to discuss a possible ceasefire. A Thai officer says there has been quiet on the border since Thursday morning. And the Thai government are now seeking a peaceful solution to the dispute. Thailand's Prime case of Mr Somchai Wongsawat, says that the path to a solution now goes through negotiation.

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The Background Story

ThailandPosted by Soren Wettendorff Wednesday, October 15 2008 10:11:16

Not many people are actually aware that what originally triggered off the past weeks riots in Bangkok, was a old dispute between Thailand and Cambodia over the ancient Khmer Temple – Khao Pra Viharn. The temple is connected to the Ankor Wat temple complex in the city of Siem Riep in Cambodia, and have for many years caused problems between the two countries, as it’s located on Cambodian soil but only accessible from Thai soil. At the resent UNESCO conference in Canada, where heritage sites were to be reviewed Cambodia had nominated Khao Pra Viharn as an Cambodian heritage site. Many Thais felt and took this as a insult and asked the government to intervene and if not call it a Thai heritage then at least make it a joint Thai Cambodian heritage site, but no reaction from the government to the Viharn issue caused protests in the province of Surin at first and spread to Udon Thani and ended up in Bangkok, where it became more a political issue demanding the government to step back.

Old wine on new bottles.

The Peoples Alliance for Democracy (PAD) was already formed before the ouster of PM Thaksin in 2006, but kept a low profile during the days of the military instated government from 2006 to the new election in December 2007. As strange as it sounds the PAD did not form in to a political party and participated in the 2007 election, but instead many of the supporters backed the Democrat Party, who also until the very last minute looked to be the winner of the election, but things turned out different as the Peoples Power Party (PPP) was formed close to the election date, and eventually ended up as the undisputed winner mainly with the backing and votes fro the North-eastern part of Thailand – Isarn.

The Democrats accepted the defeat but the original core group of the PAD was not to accept the outcome, and was looking for issues confronting the government as they regarded the new government just to be puppies in the hand of the former oustered PM – Thaksin, who was still in exile in England at the time. If this was true of not is only for the new elected PM – Khun Samak, and his close allied to know but it’s a fact that just after a couple of month in charge they managed to grant Thaksin a safe return to Thailand, and many people felt this as direct insult, that Thaksin and his wife could walk free. The problem for the PAD was that they strongly opposed the new government but the actual fact was that PPP won the election with a waste majority.

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A new week

ThailandPosted by Soren Wettendorff Monday, October 13 2008 13:58:06

We keep the breath in Bangkok for the moment. The good news are that the PAD has postponed (wisely) planned protests as they will avoid clashes with the police, and realized that the police are not the enemy, and as they cant get directly in front of the “real enemy”, it’s better to put things on hold until further notice.

The PM are as the rest of his family (remember he’s the brother in law of Thaksin), and a 10 year old corruption cases or rather Tax fraud while taking a huge potion of shares in his sisters company – Shin Cooperation, which was stated as a wedding gift on his tax fillings for the year. For reasons I will not judge here, just comment on that his marriage was 2 years earlier, the revenue department have a hard time believing this, and are more likely to call it fraud and have visualized this by taking the matter to court. The case will start Tuesday the 14 October.

Even the Chief of army; Anupong have now called for the PM to step back, his reason for this is that the PM should take the responsibility for the incidents last week, and he’s just the latest among many who are voicing this now. Anyhow, the PM is not likely to get out “alive” from the courthouse so let’s see what the week brings, but one thing for sure, the odds of him surviving a week more in office are not good.

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Before the Weekend

ThailandPosted by Soren Wettendorff Saturday, October 11 2008 11:56:15

Bangkok is back to normal, and all the doomsday journalists must look elsewhere to support their hunger for blood. I have received mails with the predictions that’s the Tuesdays episodes in the streets of Bangkok, was the end of Thailand as a travel destination – we wait and see. Funny enough, those statements about political crises in Thailand are all from outsiders looking in, and views are based on CNN and other medias.

Also there are people guessing that the military will take over and ”there will be blood”. Actually it’s what many people are hoping for basically because the Chief of Amy have shown his political ability, and from his and the army’s side the whole situation has been handled very professionally. Sorry to say – but when the current government can’t get things together it could be time for a strong hand guiding them, and no one better at this time than Khun Aungpong.

Many people get scared when the hear the words “State of Emergency” and “Marshall Law”, because they confuse them with the violent dictators which the world has been “blessed” with though times, but the perception here is different. Actually it just means to authorize the military to intervene in case they need it, and they are not running around doing strip searches and detaining innocent people like the case is in Africa and Latin America.

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Thailand Oct. 2008

ThailandPosted by Soren Wettendorff Thursday, October 09 2008 11:13:49

09.10.08

Dear Friends and Partners,

I’m really concerned about the almost hysterical worries, I read between the lines in some of the mails I’m receiving during these days. To make things clear – yes there’s been some incidents on Tuesday the 7th in Bangkok. Two people has been reported dead, but it’s really to question if it’s caused by direct involvement in the confrontations as one person was trapped in a exploding car, when a bomb he was carrying exploded, which points more to a gang or mafia related incident. The other dead, a younger woman seems to have a big chest wound properly caused by a ping pong bomb.

It’s never nice to hear and see when things are getting out of hands, and specially when people start to fight each other or the police in the streets. But let me put things straight, what’s happening here is nothing compared to what, specially the Europeans are facing almost weekly, after local and international football matches, which after the match (as I can see from the news here) often erupts in street fights, burning cars and broken windows around town, and so fare we have not seen anything similar here yet, and I doubt it will happen.

There was quite a few injured people! This is correct, but most not serious at all, and I do not count the cunt running around with a home made bomb into them, as he have only himself to blame that he lost his leg, as well as the guy with a bomb in his car. The cultural behavior is also reflected in the number of injuries, as Thais are more likely to seek medical assistance than any other people in the world, and even minor brushes are to be treated at the hospital, when an European more likely would just go home, clean the wound and go to bed.

What I also can feel from the questions I got by mail is that people are chocked that demonstrations here turning violent. Unlike the French, Danes, Germans etc., who on regular basis turning the streets in to burning war zones when expressing their dissatisfaction, it’s very uncommon here that Thais are fighting Thais, and the question here between people are; “why are they doing this?”, and please again note that it’s a small crowd numbering no more than 10 thousand in a city of around 15 million inhabitants.

This is not to downplay what’s going on here but please be aware of the real dangers here – the TRAFFIC.

08.10.08

Being a high volume tourist destination, nothing happening here goes unnoticed in the world press, why I will try to explain the current situation as well as I can, from the information’s I have obtained and received until today.

First, then the situation seems to be come this morning, and there has not been reported any clashes during the night. Anyhow things got out of hand yesterday, where about 430 people with 73 still hospitalized – police as well as demonstrators, are reported to be injured – some serious, and two people are reported dead, one after direct confrontation with police and the second in an unexplained car explosion.

Police have fired several rounds of teargas against the Mob (as the demonstrators are called here) but no live ammunition has been used against the Mob, and the only once injured by shots are police officers which regrettable indicates that certain elements amongst them are carrying weapons. One of the demonstrators was serious wounded due to a bomb he was carrying exploded – unintentionally (can we only assume).

As with the demonstrations last month, the affected areas are still around the Government House, which are not a touristic area and only houses very few hotels mainly used by locals. Passing by less than a kilometer from this area yesterday, while the fighting’s were at it highest (I didn’t know then there was any - actually), nothing unusual was to be seen.

The Mob assumed to consist of around 10 thousand people, and they are in general viewed as troublemakers – by the general public, more than serious political motivated crowed, as they are against but are not offering any alternative solutions of the current political crises, why all of the established political parties, including the opposition, are distancing themselves from the Mob. Some indications that the Mob counts several professional demonstrators who are paid to attend are also given, an information I don’t have from the media but from a personal pretty reliable source (I think).

Last Sunday we had the election for Bangkok Governor where the current – Khun Aprirak was reelected with a waste majority. After casting his vote, one of the (if not the) main figures behind the PAD (Peoples Alliance for Democracy) Khun Chamlong was detained by the police on accusations of disturbing the peace. He is the 2nd leading PAD member to be detained and still in police custody, and the detaining of him could be seen as one of the main reasons for the past days riots. Khun Chamlong himself a former democratic elected Governor of Bangkok, who also sought election in 2004, but ended fare behind Khun Aprirak who was then elected. He was also one of the front figures in 2006 which caused the ousting of the Former PM Thaksin.

Best regards from Bangkok,

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