Both men have been summoned by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to answer allegations that they were responsible for ``ordering the murder of innocent civilians''.
Some say this was garm tham sanong, meaning ``what goes around comes around'' _ a matter of karma. However, this is too simplistic. To tie karma to the virtues or follies of man is to relinquish the responsibility of man. It also discounts vengeance and turns a blind eye to ulterior motives.
Sometimes we pray for garm tham sanong out of impotent rage. Not having the power to right a perceived wrong or take vengeance, we then task the gods with doing it for us so that we can sleep better at night. Sometimes we sing it out of satisfaction while our opponent suffers, as we haughtily believe that somehow our cause is the morally superior one.
But what is happening to Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep is hardly karma. Some say it's more like tee krai tee mun, or ``your turn, my turn''.
For example, when yellow shirt People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) sympathiser Kasit Piromya was foreign minister, he demanded, begged and pleaded for foreign governments to extradite Thaksin Shinawatra. Now that Thaksin's cousin, Surapong Tovichakchaikul, is foreign minister, he says that's not his job.
What's more, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) dropped a corruption case against 28 suspects, including Thaksin, concerning the purchase of 26 CTX-9000 bomb scanners for use at Suvarnabhumi airport. If Pheu Thai wasn't in government, Thaksin would have been found guilty of everything from hatching the bubonic plague to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Tee krai tee mun can be interpreted to mean that whomever is in charge has the power to ``tee off'' on their opponents. This proverb underlines man's propensity for vengeance and now it's the turn of the Pheu Thai and the red shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) to tee off on the Democrats.
For about two years now, the UDD has been screaming for the heads of these two men, blaming them for the crackdown on May 19 and other incidents that led to casualties and lives lost.
When Mr Abhisit was prime minister and Mr Suthep his lieutenant (though many would say it was the other way around), following the crackdown, there was the pursuit of red shirt members and leaders who were accused of acts of terrorism: the bombing of Bangkok, the burning of the capital and various provincial city halls and the killing of security forces.
During the period between the second half of 2010 and the first half of 2011, before Pheu Thai won the July 3 general election, it was the Democrats' turn to tee off. The goal was to stamp out opposition and bring Thaksin Shinawatra back to face jail time, or at least keep him in a travelling limbo.
Since after last year's general election however, it's been Pheu Thai and the UDD's turn to tee off. The goal is to bring Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep to trial _ but wait, no, not really. This is not really about the vengeance of man, at least not yet, or that's not the priority in any case. The goal is the return of the Kingdom's prodigal son.
In the words of Michael Corleone, ``This is not personal. This is business.'' The various attempts through the first year of the Pheu Thai government to bring Thaksin back thus far have been stalled by the traditional establishment. As the saying goes, nhau fah yung mee fah, literally ``above the sky there's still sky'', meaning if you think you are at the top, well there's always someone above you [wink].
There has not been a royal pardon, even if the Pheu Thai government has been ingratiating itself to the establishment by banning, censoring and issuing lese majeste charges left, right and centre _ something they were so vehemently against as the opposition.
For example, in November 2011, according to Human Rights Watch, Information And Communication Technology Minister Anudith Nakornthap told Facebook to block accounts with lese majeste content. Some 26,000 URLs were blocked in August and September, while 60,000 were blocked in October and November. The minister also warned that users who ``share'' or ``like'' Facebook posts with lese-majeste content are liable under the Computer Crime Act.
The reconciliation bills designed to grant a blanket amnesty have gone nowhere fast, stalled by the Democrats in parliament (punching, kicking and slapping during House debates, no less) and the somewhat revitalised yellow shirt PAD in the streets. This is despite the fact that one reconciliation bill was sponsored by the leader of the 2006 military coup himself, General Sonthi Boonyaratglin.
If Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep were to be charged with crimes against humanity, we could say it's garm tham sanong _ if we put our brains on hold. If Pheu Thai has the DSI build a case and charge them with crimes against humanity, we could call it tee krai tee mun _ if we put our brains on hold.
But the brain should never be told to stop thinking. As we understand, the No1 priority of the Pheu Thai government is the return and exoneration of Thaksin, therefore we we realise that under Thaksin's directive, Pheu Thai has pushed for the DSI to build a case against Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep so that eventually, due to fear and the pressure of prosecution, they will seek and accept amnesty, which could then become a blanket amnesty for everyone, including Thaksin.
This is nothing personal. This is business. In the political game, to the power players the civilian and soldier casualties are mere collateral damage.
Two years ago, when the Democrats were in charge, the DSI was hunting ``red terrorists'' and investigating ``plots to overthrow the monarchy''. Now that the Pheu Thai in charge, it's all about investigating ``murderers'' and going, ``What? Plot to overthrow who? No way!''
There are many Thai proverbs to express this, but let's go with the simplest, song nah or ``two-face''. But this isn't fair to the DSI. It is but a government agency subjected to the whims of the powers that be. It's a fatal flaw in the Thai system that a change in government makes fickle jezebels out of bureaucratic agencies _ one reason why very little ever gets done.
More interesting is the case of former coup leader and now Pheu Thai ally Gen Sonthi. He is not beholden to any individual or agency. Some could say his switching of allegiances could be considered song nah or nam chiew ya kwang rua, which means when the current is strong, don't get in the way of the boat.
But perhaps he took it even one step further by jumping off one boat and onto another. This is not an abnormal practice in Thai politics mind you, because there is one proverb that always holds true in the power game, gum khee dee gua gum thod. This literally means it is ``better to hold on to the faeces than the fart''. Another way to put it is: The government has the budget; the opposition only has words. Words are but wind; money is the s**t. Will this scheme work? Who knows, but it seems unlikely, perhaps just an example of yoan hin thaam tang, or ``throw a stone and see where it lands''.
I won't get into moral or legal arguments over what happened in April and May 2010, because I have already written about it enough times. Readers are intelligent and open-minded, they truly are. So they know well where the truth lies. It would be false to think they are narrow-minded buffoons suffering from delusions of importance, not realising the horror of their banal existence and the irrelevance of their ill-conceived opinions. No, it would be false to think that.
There are no buffaloes here, so there's no need to see sor hai kwai fang (``serenade the buffaloes'').
Contact Voranai Vanijaka via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.