History is written by the victor. This is true in every society. In Thailand, history is written by the Culture Ministry’s Fine Arts Department and will likely be adapted into a movie – produced, directed and edited by the junta.
It will star the beautiful cast of hit period soap opera “Bupphesaniwat” or “Love Destiny” as the junta leaders. The theme song, of course, will be courtesy Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha.
Titled “History of the Thai Nation,” the tale is destined to win the Oscars for best third-world fantasy. It’s not the sort of Francis Ford Coppola epic, mind you – more like a Mel Brooks production. The theme song is touted as even better than Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” from “Titanic.” Jack and Rose, eat your hearts out.
The Fine Arts Department issued the book in 2015, at the order of the National Council of Peace and Order. There were plans to distribute the book nationwide. Not many people knew about it until, as the Prachatai news site reported, well-known scientist Jessada Denduangboripant posted a snippet online last weekend.
Viral it went.
“Gen Prayut Chan-ocha, as prime minister, has carried out a policy of reforming the country, reforming politics to be truly democratic, eliminating corruption and using moral principles to lead the country to be truly democratic,” read part.
Repetition is an effective political communication tool. Repeat the phrase “true democracy” enough times and every kid on the short bus will believe it.
But that excerpt only told a sliver of the story. Fortunately, I was able to get my hands on a copy at a nearby bookstore. It was the last one, hidden between “Animal Farm” and “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
The early chapters detail the days ahead of May 22, 2014, giving us deep insights into the mind of the junta general. Protests and violence raged in the streets. The police were beaten and battered. What would be the “truly democratic” thing for a general to do? He tossed and turned. Restore peace and order on behalf of the democratically elected government, followed by returning power to the people with an immediate election? Or a military coup d’etat, installing oneself as dictator? His choice would redefine the word democracy itself.
The mid-chapters are where we get into the meat and cheese of what is truly democratic and truly different from the falsely democratic.
“Falsely democratic” is defined as a system of government decided by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. In this, the book contends that Western nations are experiencing a crisis in democracy simply because they’re doing it wrong. Instead, the book asserts that “truly democratic” systems of government are by the generals, never through elected representatives. As such, the Great and Glorious Nation of Thailand, as led by the junta leader, shall set an example to the West, and the entire world, on what is truly democratic.
The rest of the book pretty much outlines the policies and measures that are instrumental for such a society.
For example, Article 44 of the newly written constitution gives the junta leader unlimited freedom to do as he pleases. Furthermore, Section 279 guarantees the legality of all announcements and orders by the NCPO. Again, unlimited freedom. If democracy is freedom, then the unlimited freedom the junta enjoys is truly democratic – it’s like, you know, unlimited democracy.
Furthermore, this unlimited freedom is protected against interference by outlawing political gatherings and assembly. How dare people infringe on the democratic freedoms of the junta? Tyranny of the people and by the people has no place in a truly democratic nation.
What’s more, an annoying shortcoming of the falsely democratic is a complicated and lengthy due process of law. Trials? Lawyers? Hearings? Evidence? Transparency? Mumbo jumbo! Truly democratic justice is defined by its speed and swiftness, to be achieve through detention without charge, trial or a shred of evidence.
That’s enough for now, I don’t want to spoil the whole book, especially those chapters about democratic submarines and freedom luxury watches.
The couldn’t make the point more clearly. If democracy is freedom, then the unlimited freedom of the junta to do as they please is truly democratic. All those checks and balances shenanigans are for bogus democracies.
At the rate we’re going, “History of the Thai Nation” will be required reading for all students. We shall teach our children – and the children of the world – what real democracy looks like. May Lord Buddha help us all.