Taoist mythology, Lanna history, mythology, the nature of time and other considered ramblings

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Location: Chiangrai, Chiangrai, Thailand

Author of many self-published books, including several about Thailand and Chiang Rai, Joel Barlow lived in Bangkok 1964-65, attending 6th grade with the International School of Bangkok's only Thai teacher. He first visited ChiangRai in 1988, and moved there in 1998.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Crisis in the Land of the Free

Crisis in the Land of the Free

The “Land of the Free”? Yes, but no, not the USA – nothing’s free there. Not now. There’s not even any pollution-free air. Rather, Thailand, where all are still free to have fun, but for many, fun has become head-bashing.
In Thailand, it’s the power-center capitol (and capital) city against the countryside. For centuries, there’s been an attitude of “kin muang” (eat the state) in the power center, and that’s where the ambitious, and ruthless, have gone. The nice people of the countryside weren’t worried about it – life was good. Then came globalization, relentless advertising, increased competition, limited resources, and debt, but maybe worst of all, insufficient educational opportunities to prepare families for the other problems.
Out of the blue came a hero promising to fix things, with a record of personal success that inspired confidence in many. Those many simply didn’t have the education to see through his wiles.
Now the hero is a desperate exile; people are being killed (senselessly, as usual). People who claim to love the country are destroying it.
All because ‘democracy’ is taken to mean votes, instead of a system of checks and balances. And because good education has been deemed dangerous to the power structure.
“Rule of Law’ is touted by the unseeing as having been undone – by protestors, not by corrupt politicos (and other predators of money) who gave rise to the need for protest…
So vote-buying will stop for a while, as there won’t be so much voting. It had become too frequent, anyway.

People want to claim they’re better than they are; their thought-processes are muddled by ego-defense mechanisms. When they think it possible, they will refuse to compromise, or even be rational. They look for the comfort of victory whatever the cost.
As long as think-tanks and spin-doctors in the employ of predation can have more influence than altruism, compassion will lose out to greed, and situations like this one will continue to crop up – as they have in Africa, and will more so in ex-Soviet republics. But as nobody really wins from this kind of short-sightedness, it can be expected to lose much of the power it’s been exhibiting of recent.
The worst that's happened to foreign tourists is to get stuck at the horrible now international airport (Suvarnabhumi in the news reports - I can't spell that! - Suwannapuum to me, as that's how it's pronounced...) the "hero" (Taksin) had built - my least favorite of all. So that's not so bad. And there are Western tourists here in ChiangRai, having a good visit, I'm sure!

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