Gives a gentle summing uphttp://gulfnews.com/opinions/columnists ... -1.1347195
Coup opponents say the military and the establishment behind it have drawn the wrong lessons from Thaksin’s rise and fall. They see him as a demon whose influence can be exorcised, rather than a cipher for change in a country where the World Bank says income inequality had grown to the highest levels in east Asia. “[Bangkokians] think he ... mesmerises the people,” says a businessman. “Get rid of him and the people will become nice and subservient again.”
This nostalgic view sits comfortably in a country where the “deep state” has grown increasingly gerontocratic. The 18 members of the privy council, an influential but opaque royal advisory body of former armed service chiefs, judges and politicians, have an average age of 78. General Prem Tinsulanonda, the 93-year-old president, spent his junior school years under an absolute monarchy that lasted until 1932. A prime minister from 1980 to 1988, General Prem has played a powerful role in moulding Thailand’s political landscape for decades.
If some in Thailand’s elite are rooted in the past, other parts of the country have moved on. Rural Thailand in particular is now richer, more aware of its power and less tolerant of being patronised by educated urbanites. At its worst, the elite attitude descends into grotesque characterisations of rural Thais as ignorant “buffaloes” who do not deserve the right to vote. Weluree Ditsayabut, the recently crowned Miss Universe Thailand, tearfully renounced her title this week after she was lambasted for social media comments in which she accused redshirt activists of dirtying the country’s soil and called for them to be executed.[/quote]