Wednesday, December 03, 2003
B is for BYE FOR
After almost a month, you've probably figured this out by
now. (Anyone still there?) Sorry for waiting so long before
making it "official".
I started this blog because I have things to say and want
people to hear them. My main goal is to do what I can to
help bridge the yawning gulf of
understanding between Thai people and the rational
(e.g. Thai people: There's virtually NO oil in Afghanistan
and the Iraq war was NOT a "direct-sale product demo" for US
weapons. If your media told you otherwise, that's because it
Rational World: Your media, while not stinking,
is mostly way off the mark about Thai politics.
The Economist is particularly bad on this
account: "Chuan's reformist
zeal" sounds just like Gray Davis's charm or Bill Clinton's
chastity. And don't you think it rather weird that the
Thaksin government is simultaneously accused of populism and being
beholden to Big Business? On a different note, you should keep in mind the
scandalously low journalistic and
standards in Thailand (and other countries like it) the next
time you hear someone says "the whole world" thinks this or
"the whole world" is against that.)
Nothing about that has changed. My goal is far from achieved
and I still feel as strongly about it as ever. What's more,
I'm very happy with this blog and with having taken a step,
however small, toward my objective. Overall, this has been
very positive experience.
Each enterprise, however, is not justified by net benefits
alone. Because of opportunity cost, its benefits must be
weighed against those of other options. I'm speaking here
not as a blogger, but as
a reader. The last couple months have seen an emergence of
several excellent Iraqi blogs (like
comparison with those, my blog seems downright trivial, and
of all frivolities (many of them on the net) that waste your
time and mine everyday, I'd rather this not be one. Briefly
put, as things are now, I wouldn't read my own blog.
This blog will resume if and when I have something
worthwhile to say on a daily basis. Until then, I'll just
sit back and try to limit my blog consumption to half
an hour per day.
Thank you having read me up to now. Till next time.
P.S. I really should leave it at that but can't help it when
the Bunkum Post has, for the
second time, published my
letter (third from top) with all the scare quotes
removed! Here's the original version:
Citing a source in the Task Force 976, the Bangkok Post
reported that Camp Lima, where the Thai contingent is based,
is being attacked because the “locals” are “badly treated” (Nov.
Indeed. You go round up criminal suspects (for a fatal
assault on coalition troops, by the way), tying their hands
and covering their heads (quelle horreur!) and the
innocent locals have no choice but to rain 82mm mortar
shells on the people who treat their sickness, build their
schools and police their neighborhoods. There, that’s for
treating us so badly!
This report is typical of the Thai media in failing
miserably to acknowledge the differences among
Iraqis—between whose houses were raided and those whose tips
made the raids possible; between the criminals (not
necessarily Iraqi, actually) who blew up police stations and
the Iraqi officers and civilians who perished as a result;
and between those who would commit the wickedest outrages in
order to frustrate the coalition’s efforts (just as they did
to prolong Saddam’s regime) and those who swore vengeance on
such thugs. According to our “news” professionals, Iraqis
simply stand together on one side and the coalition, on the
With one emphatic exception being our Thai contingent.
Despite growing hostility, the reports go, our soldiers,
unlike “the others”, are well loved. While “the others” are
violent and boorish, we are gentle and civil. We’re here to
help, treating patients and building schools (unlike “the
others”?) and Iraqis appreciate that. Look, of more than a
hundred thousand foreign troops now in Iraq, it’s only to
the 443 of us that children say sawasdee and khob
And the attacks? According to the Post story, that’s fine by
us as long as the perpetrators are “selective”. Shells, it’s
And of course, the all-important last sentence, cut in the
Post version, wouldn't make sense to those ignorant
reference it's making. Didn't I tell you our media
stinks? (Okay, okay, maybe it's my fault that I had in mind
the direct translation of "L'enfer, c'est les autres"
instead of "Hell is other people" which is a lot more current.)
P.P.S. Now it's the real goodbye.
, please see the