Explaining Democracy to a Thai

Most Thais have not been abroad, so have never “tasted” democracy. They do not understand its meaning.

There are exceptions, of course. Thaksin Shinawatra won several elections by claiming he would run Thailand according to democratic principles with free elections. Pita Limjaroenrat makes the same claims, won the last election, but has been stopped from becoming prime minister.

Pita, a rich businessman and Harvard graduate, with strong views on changing Thailand.
Pita, a rich businessman and Harvard graduate, with strong views on changing Thailand.

Both Thaksin and Pita are multi billionaires. Both are Thai. Both have grown up in Thailand’s Feudal climate. Are their intentions to “move forward” and make Thailand democratic?

Thaksin’s decisions and polices were centred on himself and increasing his own wealth and power.

Although he improved the lives of many ordinary Thais, what he gave them were merely “pickings from a rich man’s table” compared with what he was gaining.

Thaksin bribed his way into the hearts and minds of the Thai. This article will not go into the detail of his conviction for corruption, his exile, and his pardon from the king. All those facts have been fully covered on the World Wide Web. Click on the following link.

Bing Videos

Thaksin Shinawatra. Not only Parole but a Pardon.
Thaksin Shinawatra. Not only Parole but a Pardon.

The “take away” from all of this is, however, that Thailand has always been Feudal, a “money” culture. It’s ingrained into the thinking of all Thais, and not just the rich élite who actually govern.

How to Explain Democracy to a Thai

In talking about democracy to a Thai, I have found they can’t easily grasp the concept. And I understand why.

From the cradle to the crematorium, they are subjected to non-stop propaganda from their family and elders, their peers, their workmates, their schools and universities, the Buddhist monks, and the government.

They are told not to question, debate, or think. There are tough penalties for doing so.

The Solution.

My solution was to explain the concept of democracy by giving amusing comparisons which illustrate the different types of government, in a non-serious way which I knew would appeal to the Thai, with his love of fun and joking.

Two cows

The Six Types of Government.

You have 2 cows. You give one to your neighbour.

You have 2 cows. You give both to the Government. They may give you some milk.

You have 2 cows. You give all the milk to the Government and they sell it.

You have 2 cows. The Government shoots you and takes both cows.

You have 2 cows. You keep both and steal another one.

You have 2 cows. Sell one, buy a bull.



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