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Trouble in Paradise

Dear Editor,
Sri Annatta is a person who has been interested, practicing and teaching Buddhism since he was 15, for 40 years now. He does not proclaim to be an all knowing Buddhist scholar, just someone along the path. You can reach Sri Annattha by e mail [email protected] .com He has lived in Thailand over 30 years.
Sri Annatta writes; I guess this is a rather important time in Thai history. Gen Prayuth has called all the factions together that have been tearing up this wonderful country for years now. It’s time to play ‘nice’. I hope he succeeds. He has been reluctant from day one but they just could not sort it out properly.
Weapons were being transported to Bangkok and bloodshed was imminent. The rhetoric on both sides of the divide was endless. Once people have a fundamental difference and not even try to find common ground, it’s always the average Joe that suffers. Most arguments start with a fundamental thought: ‘I am right’.
Funny as it may seem, the one side with populist strategies to win over the electorate and the other trying to maintain a system that does work in a country like this, have quite a few of the same objectives, if we may believe what they preach 1. Both sides of the divide say they want to make things better for the poor of this nation. 2. Both sides say they want true democracy and 3. Both sides openly and surely in press releases say they love the shining light of the nation: HM the King.
Making things better for the poor is long overdue. Alas, as we have seen it does not work by giving allowances and securing prices. This has a chaotic effect on market prices and puts the competitiveness of Thailand on the world stage in danger.
Does no one find it strange, that the farmers have been promised higher prices, we all surely pay higher prices in the shops, but the farmers lives’ have not progressed? The solution is co-operatives. Due to long indoctrination against communist factors in society, this great system has been branded a form of communism. It is simply not true. If the farmers were in control of their own stocks, their own supply, their own distribution, their own branding and their own pricing, with the incoming profits, things would have changed long ago. What would they need from the government? Nothing more than some empty warehouses, transport and assistance for branding and marketing. I am sure a lot less than the rice fund has cost Thailand now.
True democracy. Well, Thailand has to find its own form of democracy. Let’s not forget that ostracism was practiced amongst the Athenians: They would write the name of a politician on a potsherd (in Greek ostracon) and that specific politician would disappear for a while if enough people voted for that person. For almost 100 years ostracism fulfilled its function of aborting serious civil unrest or even civil war. I am trying to say: stop asking for USA style elections (as if they were so well performed). Right now the people in charge need to sit down with each other and find their own way of political reform, probably unique for Thailand. Who are we to judge? It would be a good thing if outside countries would try to let this process proceed in a natural Thai way, without interference of any kind.
Hence, it would be easy to find common ground, if they would just listen to each other and discover their similarities rather than their differences. All the rhetoric, from both sides, has done no good to the situation and is mainly an instrument of defense of the obvious goal: to “win”. To win, is not to lose face. I have always compared steadfast discussion points with taking a position in a war. All you do is trying to shoot down the opponent, instead of understanding how a path of logic works. Find out if there could be truth in it and, maybe even together, realizing there are some wrong view points or departure points in the logical sense.
The beauty of Buddhism, if anyone would like to discover, is that everything comes from mind. Our minds can change as well as our goals and views, at any time. Sometimes triggered by the weirdest things. Never be too harsh and try not to judge (either side) and don t cling and grasp to ideas. You will notice they appear, peak and slowly fade. Like everything that is compiled or composite. To transform the world, we need to transform ourselves, our thought lines, and free ourselves from the prison of our own mind and thoughts. A direct experience without our egos in the way. All things are preceded by the mind, led by the mind, created by the mind. If only, in a Thailand blessed with Buddhism and lots of good teachers, we could listen. True listening is realizing. And remember there is no good or bad, there are only Kusala and Akusala actions and thoughts (skillful and unskillful). In that realization lays the possibility for forgiving. Both sides have done things unskillful, both sides must change. Try not to judge but learn from the experience. Thailand will come out much stronger.
I sincerely hope Gen. Prayuth has created the possibility for the opposing parties to do this. Learn from each other, respect each other and try to have some empathy for each other. I hope Thailand finds a way out, after some serious ‘soul searching’ and we can do just that which HM asks from us. Love each other (with all our failures, differences, fears and hopes) as he says: I have never asked for the people to love me. I have asked for them to love each other. Make Thailand a better place, do it for all its people.
Sathu, sathu, sathu,
Sri Annattha


Why no TV?

Dear Editor,
I am not going into the pros and cons of the coup; I do feel that this is neither the time nor the place for me to air my opinions on something I do not really understand. I understand the reasoning behind turning off the news and the propaganda news sites but why shut off the sports channels, cartoons and other non-news channels? Surely it would be better to have these on and keep people occupied then to have nothing to do but post on Facebook all night and day.
The number of rumours, both ridiculous and believable, spreading on Facebook is beyond belief and would be easily dispelled were there a bit more information. Information is not necessarily a dangerous thing, something that perhaps the coup leaders don’t understand.
Besides, with no TV to watch and nowhere to go, people here don’t have a lot to do except gossip. We might also see a mini-baby boom in 9 months as those who don’t engage in gossip find other means of entertainment.
So, whilst I am not a huge fan of the rather atrocious Thai soap operas, and must confess some relief from the screaming they produce when my wife is watching TV, I am also getting rather tired of listening to her and her friends complain that they can’t watch their soap operas.
Yours,
Need the TV back on


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Trouble in Paradise

Why no TV?

Note: Letters printed herein in no way reflect the opinions of the editors or writers for Chiang Mai Mail, but are unsolicited letters from our readers, expressing their own opinions. No anonymous letters or those without genuine addresses are printed, and, whilst we do not object to the use of a nom de plume, preference will be given to those signed.
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