Surapong’s recipe for more trouble

Thursday night’s candlelight ceremony at Sanam Luang to celebrate His Majesty the King’s 86th birthday led by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was shown live by all free-to-air TV stations and attracted a big crowd, mostly government officials - but it was less than half the story.

What these government-controlled TV stations did not show was another, huge crowd of well-wishers, many of them attired in yellow shirts with whistles hung around their necks, at the Democracy Monument, which is just a short distance away from Sanam Luang.  

The entire Ratchadamnoen Avenue and its alleys were jam-packed with a sea of yellow – the symbolic colour of the King – a crowd estimated at several tens of thousands.

These well-wishers intentionally chose to remain with the protesters for the celebration rather than walking a short distance to Sanam Luang, the traditional site of the candlelight ceremony, to join the government in the celebration of their beloved King.

The government complex at Chaeng Wattana, which has been occupied by the protesters, was also reported to be jam-packed.

The protesters' celebration and entertainment was also broadcast live, but only by the Democrat Party's Bluesky satellite channel.

The phenomenal turnout at the Democracy Monument and the government complex on Chaeng Wattana Road should serve as a no-nonsense reminder to the government, especially to Foreign Affairs Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, the new director of the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (Capo), not to underestimate the strength of the people -- and to think twice before resorting to tough action against the protesters and others perceived as the government’s opponents.

Mr Surapong was quick to capitalise on the King’s birthday message about national peace and unity. He said on Thursday after chairing a meeting of Capo later in the day that he would heed the King’s message to try to restore peace in the country.

And so, the first few acts of this peace mission were to order the police and the Department of Special Investigation to issue warrants for the arrest of Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra for providing water and mobile toilets to the protesters, and for the management of Bluesky TV for allegedly supporting the insurrection by protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, a former Democrat Party MP.

As for the protesters, Mr Surapong said no violence would be used against them, but they would be asked to go home.

While chanting the peace mantra, it was reported that the government had allocated the Royal Thai Police Office a special 10 million baht fund to buy more teargas to be used against the protesters – this time a stronger form of teargas.

What Mr Surapong failed - whether by design or unintentionally – to mention about the King’s message was that the King did not just talk about peace and stability.  The gist of the speech was that he urged the Thai people to do their jobs properly, to fulfill the duties required of them, for the sake of peace and stability.

My question for Mr Surapong, his  Pheu Thai Party and the government is - Have they performed their duties properly?”  Their foremost duty is to serve the people first, not someone in self-imposed exile.

And if they had done their duty properly in the first place, there would not be the political crisis we have seen today.  

Mr Surapong insisted that the action to be taken against the Bangkok governor and the management of Bluesky TV were not provocative. I beg to differ, Mr Surapong. They are a recipe for more trouble.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 07/12/2013 at 05:04 PM
@Harold, a government like Singapore in Thailand is impossible because corruption is the norm rather than the exception. Politicians enter politics primary to serve their personal agenda whereas people in Singapore enter politics to serve the nation. Singaporeans accepted authoritarian rule as a trade off because it’s a very small country, smaller than Bangkok, and the alternative to failure would be to rejoin Malaysia as a second class citizen. Thai politics need smart, honest and dedicated individuals, not greedy businessmen exploiting the poor and the have-nots in exchange for political power.
Discussion 2 : 07/12/2013 at 05:44 AM
These decisions are clearly being dictated from abroad. The PT people have well and truly sold their souls.
Discussion 3 : 07/12/2013 at 04:59 AM
True_Facts, No one can say it better than you. Short, sharp and to the point.
Discussion 4 : 07/12/2013 at 02:21 AM
Bangon. You are obviously much more versed in the political part than I am . But I see big differences between Singapore and most other Asian countries, a good example is the unfortunate problems Thailand is facing at the moment, with two divided sides trying to blame each other. Division of the people spells disaster and the country can never advance, only go backwards. Perhaps you do not like Lee Kuan Yew but he brought Singapore to what it is now---Very successful.. Here is one of his quotes to ponder “Now if democracy will not work for the Russians, a white Christian people, can we assume that it will naturally work with Asian
Discussion 5 : 07/12/2013 at 12:27 AM
It would appear that this government believes threr are two sides to any arguement, their's and the wrong one!
Discussion 6 : 06/12/2013 at 11:59 PM
Mr. Tarit, the head of the Department of Special Interests? Wow, congratulations!
Discussion 7 : 06/12/2013 at 11:10 PM
No.......mistake again Mr. Veera. Surapong is the leader here. The buck supposedly stops with him. He should give respect to all whom he deals with. He sets the example. With he smart a remarks and disrespectful approach to dealing with Suthep, And Suthep will get no where.
Discussion 8 : 06/12/2013 at 09:43 PM
Surapong has already blemished the position of Thai foreign minister by returning the passport of the fugitive and lying to international communities for the last 2 years…. Now in charge of CAPO?? Only in a circus or in a zoo I would say….
Discussion 9 : 06/12/2013 at 09:40 PM
All the TV cameras controlled directly and indirectly by a fugitive from Thai justice that is….
Discussion 10 : 06/12/2013 at 09:38 PM
Afterwards? If the anti gov successfully overthrow the gov and the Shin, the reds thugs will come to bangkok and create havoc like before.
Discussion 11 : 06/12/2013 at 09:31 PM
In 2010, BMA has provided toilets and water to Red/UDD protester in Ratchaprasong... Did PM Abhisit order to arrest the BMA governor ??? Maybe DPM Surapong prefer to see protestere to piss and chit on the streets ???? BLUESKY Channel is private, it's its right to show the anti-government demonstration... But the "Truth Today" show from Red/UDD is going to appear on NBT Channel. This Channel is belong to government. So, once again the money from taxpayers wii be wasted for the vested interest of shinawatra clan...
Discussion 12 : 06/12/2013 at 09:22 PM
wondering: In a true democracy, people are allowed to celebrate and protest in any non-violent manner they chose. You forget that the real intention on the grand day is to honor the King, not any government or agency. Reds know so little about democracy. Try reading about the majority oppression of the minority and how that destroys peace and happiness.
Discussion 13 : 06/12/2013 at 09:16 PM
Didn't the governor of BKK provide similar convenience (water and mobile toilets) for the red shirts when they protested in BKK in 2009 and 2010?
Discussion 14 : 06/12/2013 at 09:13 PM
Jinjutha,it must be a real disappointment to see your comment posted. BP is lazy and do not post all comments,but how many anti Thaksin/PTP/UDD comments have you seen on the "pro democracy red shirt" forums? Zero,zip,none whatsoever. And it sure isn't because all Thais just love them. That should tell you a thing or two.
Discussion 15 : 06/12/2013 at 09:06 PM
Yes,Abbub. If it was up to you,no one would be allowed to express their opinion without clearance from the Thaksin regime and their brown/red shirts. That is the general understanding of being pro democracy on your side of the divide. In the real world however you would be positioned as a close run-up to Mussolini. That is,if you haven't passed him already.
Discussion 16 : 06/12/2013 at 08:57 PM
Like old grandfathers? In the times before libraries information and education was passed on by elders to youths. The fabric of society is grounded and based on this. So you learnt nothing from your parents or grand parents? If not then I completely under stand why you support the PTP.
Discussion 17 : 06/12/2013 at 08:45 PM
Being lauded around the world??? Are you living on another planet??
Discussion 18 : 06/12/2013 at 08:45 PM
Khun Veera, may I ask you one simple question? Who is more legitmate? People elected government or self proclaimed secretary general of PDRC to lead the nation in celebrating His Majesty the King’s 86th birthday? That is where all the TV cameras was and will aimed.
Discussion 19 : 06/12/2013 at 08:44 PM
The question I have is this: what happens afterwards? What if the Shinawatras are completely uprooted and sent away? Will anything change? What happens if the Democrats are dissolved? Will anything change? We cannot expect the poor to stop asking for a fair wage and a stake in the future of the country. We cannot expect the middle class and elites to pay for this. I pray for Thais every day, to the Lord Buddha because I am a Buddhist. No one can ignore the poor because they are awake now. No one can ignore the middle class and elites because they have worked very hard for what they have become. Please let the Thai people compromise.
Discussion 20 : 06/12/2013 at 08:27 PM
It is all about Thaksin, isn't it. How is it possible so many love him? Everybody knows his conviction was a set-up. But the Bangkok Post will never publish this comment. Not yellow enough.
Discussion 21 : 06/12/2013 at 08:23 PM
The protesters main goal is to free Thailand of Thaksin's clan grip on power. Then we see Thaksin's sister appointing Thaksin's cousin to confront the protesters, it's as if they intentionally want to make things even worse.
Discussion 22 : 06/12/2013 at 08:15 PM
Harold: Good for you when you feel happy there. But your statement would remain as valid when you'd replace 'But in Singapore...in Asia...' by 'But in Germany in 1938...in Europe...'. Individual freedom, political freedom, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, free press, ...? Who cares! As for corruption being non existent, every little thing, big ones too, runs through the hands of the Lees &Co who have granted themselves the exclusive right to 'milk' the island-state, what's in a name...
Discussion 23 : 06/12/2013 at 07:52 PM
Grasping at straws.... It is shameful the way articles like this are allowed. Like an old grandfather from the old days trying to make an impression.
Discussion 24 : 06/12/2013 at 07:23 PM
He should be back and serve his sentence.
Discussion 25 : 06/12/2013 at 07:10 PM
Bangon, Please do feel free to call it what you want. But in Singapore the people are very happy and live very comfortably, probably the best in Asia. There are no riots or protests. Because of the low crime rate, it is safe to walk the streets. There are excellent retirement funds by the government. Corruption is non existent. If Mr Thaksin would like to copy this form of life for the Thai people, I say he is a very wise man.
Discussion 26 : 06/12/2013 at 06:47 PM
I don't think the author's understanding of 'protester' corresponds with its actual meaning. What went on the last few days may have started out as a protest, but quickly devolved into outright insurrection. Yingluck refused to be drawn into the violent crackdown Suthep wanted, and for that she is rightfully being lauded around the world and through much of Thailand. .
Discussion 27 : 06/12/2013 at 06:34 PM
Khun Veera, you better watch out, you could be arrested for criticising this Foreign Minister, although his official job is supposed to be foreign affairs. I do wish there will be arrests of Bangkok governor and CEO of Blue Sky and see the reactions of the whole country. This government has not learnt how to properly use their power. Empathy that is lacking with many in this government and passing of that blanket amnesty bill showed that they had none.
Discussion 28 : 06/12/2013 at 06:17 PM
I think you will find that the BP's political stance is well-known to observers in the wider world. And what is quite obvious from reading major international publications and news agencies is that its opinion is not taken very seriously.
Discussion 29 : 06/12/2013 at 06:08 PM
Many will agree with you that Thaksin should not be allowed to stay in Dubai. They think he should be here running the country. Remember, it was with the slogan, "Thaksin thinks, Pheu Acts" that the party he effectively leads won the last election so resoundingly.
Discussion 30 : 06/12/2013 at 05:52 PM
'Even in Singapore': What a joke, Singapore was, is, a bone hard, heartless, dictatorship, it belongs to the Lee family, it's close to being a police state, that Thaksin would like so much to copy...
Discussion 31 : 06/12/2013 at 05:45 PM
Ouch, K Veera, you put your finger on a festering wound, that'd be very painfull for YS, 'her' 'government' and PTP in general, and their partisans here, at least when they'd accept to see the truth that's in front of their nose, and listen to anything outside what Thaksin says... And except them, who'd expected anything else from uncle Surapong who was put there, too, by Thaksin to protect the Shins' power, but denial, manipulation, propaganda, selective memory, partial quotes, white and other lies? Oh, and I guess with CAPO he will, still, be 'too busy' to deliver the official explaination he ows the ombusman about Thaksin's passport
Discussion 32 : 06/12/2013 at 05:21 PM
The BP is a modern organ of Press read by many foreigners. Pity to see here a partisan and anti government propaganda factor of tension. By the way, can i remember to the editor that the teargas used by the police for the mobs are legals and humans while the live bullets are condamned by the international community.
Discussion 33 : 06/12/2013 at 05:16 PM
I hope some journalists will ask the DSI sometime soon when they will issue arrest warrants against all those people who regularly visit the fugitive criminal, share state secrets with him and ask him for “advise”. Personally I think that is a far bigger crime than providing toilets to protesters. It is time that the actions of the DSI are scrutinized in public. Currently it seem Mr. Tarit and his staff work only in the interest of one man or maybe one party. The DSI is supposed to be independent and it is not supposed to be the executive arm of the government.
Discussion 34 : 06/12/2013 at 05:16 PM
Here the Ranking of Thailand in "Index of press freedom" for the last decade, from Reporters without borders: 2002 : 65, 2003: 83, 2004: 59, 2005 : 107, 2006: 122, 2007: 135, 2008: 124, 2009: 130, 2010: 153, 2011/12: 137, 2013: 135 Quite bad, but still good that Thailand is recovering from the worst year, 2010. No other comment on this opinion article necessary.
Discussion 35 : 06/12/2013 at 04:24 PM
As usual,Khun Veera hits the nail with his sledge hammer! Spot on target! Great opinion piece with analysis sharp as razorblades. Keep it up!
Discussion 36 : 06/12/2013 at 03:55 PM
it was pretty clear and obvious which side your are on, Mr. Veera...
Discussion 37 : 06/12/2013 at 03:40 PM
Good Question. I think we all know the answer. All the work the government has done is just for one man.
Discussion 38 : 06/12/2013 at 03:04 PM
Veera's articles are generally anti establishment. I am all for a free and non corrupt government but I think we are all matured enough to know its near impossible. Even in Singapore, the government has its flaws. Why then is Veera so hard on Yingluck? We should all try to create a peaceful environment and sometimes shutting out or minimizing the negatives news will help. For me, if Suthep gets what he demanded Thailand will fall into the realm of chaos and lawlessness. There will be no winners. Thais will be the biggest losers.
Discussion 39 : 06/12/2013 at 02:48 PM
"My question for Mr Surapong, his Pheu Thai Party and the government is - Have they performed their duties properly?" I would say No. Thaksin is still in Dubai :-)
Discussion 40 : 06/12/2013 at 02:39 PM
It is indeed unfortunate that the message of peace that the world heard from Hua Hin extolling the Thai people to work together to make the nation better isn't mentioned at all by Kuhn Veera but instead he chooses to highlight all his contempt for the red shirts and the party they legally elected. Come on Kuhn Veera, you owe your country better than that. You are in a position in which you could ratchet down the tension and help people understand that their actions are dragging the "Land of Smiles" into the brotherhood of dictators and tyrants. The country needs your best effort - please help.
Discussion 41 : 06/12/2013 at 02:26 PM
The people protests, it's actually the protesters are crossing the red line even those authority giving a warrant used loud speakers to them.
Discussion 42 : 06/12/2013 at 02:19 PM
2 of the tv stations owned by the military and 1 owned by government. Democracy does not really exist in Thailand unless you have lots of money to manipulate the people and the system.
Discussion 43 : 06/12/2013 at 01:48 PM
As usual, they just proceed to do mainly what they want for what benefits them. And Khun Veera has been ding an excellent job on checking on them and reporting to us. Please keep up the good job and let's hope to see some major positive changes soon.

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