Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Corruption versus Democracy: New paradox looms

Jun 17. 2015
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By Tulsathit Taptim
The Nation

Signs that a coup-maker might stay in charge of Thailand longer than he initially said have befuddled both Democracy and Corruption. The latter has signalled rare uncertainty, although he refuses to give up efforts to bring Democracy to the dark side. The
The arch-rivals, who have waged an internecine battle over Thailand, are also growing somewhat sympathetic toward each other.
Corruption: Now, they are talking about suspending you even longer. If you had signed a pact with me, this would never have happened.
Democracy: Stop asking me to cross over to your side, because that’s the least of our concerns at the moment. My biggest worry now is the Thai idea of calling a vote on whether an election should be delayed or, in effect, whether Prayut should stay on. That poll would confuse the hell out of everyone, and I pray to God it will never happen.
Corruption: Why?
Democracy: Voting is democracy’s top principle, isn’t it? You can’t call a vote to effect something deemed undemocratic.
Corruption: I get it. You’re asking what’s next if a majority says no to “democracy”. What if a majority of Thais balk at an election? Is that what you are talking about?
Democracy: Yes.
Corruption: I know what you mean. But why worry about it now? The last election yielded something similarly paradoxical.
Democracy: If you are talking about the low turnout of the February, 2014 election, of course, it might indicate that the majority of Thais didn’t want that poll. But we had some ballot stations blocked, and many eligible voters didn’t show up probably because they were disillusioned or merely lazy.
Corruption: If a referendum on extended military rule took place today, all the polling stations would be open and most voters would be itching to mark the ballots. Is that what you mean?
Democracy: Yes. If they vote “Election now”, we will be spared the great paradox. If not, God help us.
Corruption: One excuse would be that the referendum is taking place under military rule, so a pro-military result should be taken with a grain of salt.
Democracy: A lot of people would certainly say that. But I’m still feeling uncomfortable. If the result is fixed, I’m off the hook. But I’m talking about a real, genuine “No election” outcome here, one that, no matter how hard people try to spin it, will rock my foundations. If that happens, I won’t know what to do. If a majority genuinely wants to postpone an election, what do we call that?
Corruption: Easy. We say the Thai people don’t want an immediate election.
Democracy: But elections are the core of democracy, aren’t they? 
Corruption: Look who’s asking me that question. Have you never listened to anything I’ve said? You are an ideal. You are not real. People bend the rules or change them outright for you all the time. Some will say a “No” to elections is undemocratic. Some will say voters are being forced. Some will say voters are being brainwashed. My point is, what’s the point? None of that can change the fact that you are what people make you out to be. You can only be realer if you join me. As long as you don’t, you will keep worrying about all this nonsense. 
Democracy: So, you are the best there is, right?
Corruption: Of course. For starters, while people bend the rules for you, I bend the rules for them. Whereas people mould you, I mould them. I need no excuses. I need no denials. That’s the best part of being evil. You have no idea how much you can do with low expectations. 
Democracy: So you want to drag expectations about me to your level, or near it?
Corruption: To put it bluntly, yes. But that will do you a great favour. The systems operating under you come with high expectations, but they are unrealistic. A little more practicality won’t hurt. In fact, the referendum thing proves my point. Democracy and Corruption are better off together and worse off apart. If Prayut is bad, in other words corrupt, look how he’s utilising the concept of democracy. If Thaksin Shinawatra is good, in other words victimised, look how he has ended up with Corruption and Democracy not quite on the same song sheet.
Democracy: You are such a puppet master.
Corruption: It’s funny that you say that. See, people left and right are pulling your strings – politicians, lobbyists, activists and all. And I’m pulling theirs. Look where you are in the pyramid, buddy.
Democracy: It doesn’t seem like you need me after all.
Corruption: On the contrary, my friend – and no offence – every puppet master needs something to play with.
...And Earth, Heaven and Hell 
continue to hold their breath. 

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