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Voranai another good article

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Bamboo Grove
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Another good article from Voranai

Postby Bamboo Grove » Sun May 15, 2011 3:08 pm

The word "prai" means "ordinary person" not from aristocracy. It's an old word from the days of "Sakdina".

Bangkok Post

Ammart and prai, The facebook war

Published: 15/05/2011 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: News

If you're a Pheu Thai party candidate for parliament, you're likely to carry three mobile phones at all times.

One is for the people to reach you. After all, you must be a man (or woman) of the people, accessible at all times. One is for personal use, because everyone has got to have a personal life.

One must be an iPhone, because it is best for video conferencing. This is so that Thaksin Shinawatra can reach you at all times, to guide and inspire you in your campaign for a seat in parliament and ultimately to bring him back to rule Thailand.

If you're a Democrat Party candidate, your name cards and posters must provide your Twitter and Facebook information. A party directive has it that the Democrats must conquer the online world, and thus all candidates must go high-tech.

This has caused a bit of a problem for older MP hopefuls. When he typed in his Facebook password, one aged candidate panicked, thinking something was wrong with the computer. He called his aides, crying, ''Where are the letters? Why did only ***** appear on the screen?'' There was a minor commotion.

Nonetheless, the Democrats are well ahead of the cyber game.

At last check, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had over 600,000 fans on his Facebook page. Thaksin has only 71,000-plus. The Democrat Party fan page has over 15,000 ''likes'', while Pheu Thai's fan page has only 5,600-plus.

But really, how many of the so-called prai are actually going online? In the streets is where it counts.

If you're a candidate for either the Chart Pattana Puea Pandin Party or the Chart Thai Pattana Party, you might want to change the party name. This is because it's a bit confusing for the rest of us. Luckily for you, you are likely to become famous anyway, as both parties have recruited star athletes onto their tickets.

If you're a Bhumjaithai Party candidate, you don't have to worry about a thing _ Newin Chidchob is taking care of business. He always does.

Parliament has been dissolved and the elections will be held on July 3. Already, stories both comic and tragic are growing in this electoral rice field, as if steroids have been planted in the paddies.

Stories of vote-buying and other ''irregularities'' are in abundance. The most dramatic of these was the attempted assassination of former Samut Prakan MP from Pheu Thai party, Pracha Prasopdee.

But perhaps the most interesting pre-election tale of all thus far, at least to this writer, has its origins in the totally chic, utterly posh ammart neighborhood of Thong Lor last Saturday, May 7.

This is a story of the ammart who ran into the prai at a trendy restaurant. This is the story of Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij and the wife, and UDD leader Natthawut Saikua and the family.

At home after dinner, Mr Korn mused on his Facebook page about how the lifestyle of someone who calls himself prai seems little different from that of someone he refers to as ammart. After all, they were dining at the same restaurant.

When he learned of the comment, Natthawut vented his anger on his Facebook page. ''How dare you,'' he blasted. ''Are we prai so stupid,'' he lamented. ''Must we prai be poor,'' he wailed. ''Are we not allowed to eat in the same restaurant as you,'' he moaned. ''The people will rise,'' he threatened.

The finance minister then updated his Facebook comment with something diplomatic, as a politician would. However, his wife posted on her Facebook page something about the ammart sharing a Thai beer, as the prai enjoyed expensive wine with the wife, while the nanny looked after their baby.

Let's not pretend otherwise, there's venom in that.

It was all over Facebook and cyberspace. The ammart fans took their side and the prai took theirs. There were arguments and insults all around.

Let's be honest, the finance minister was being cheeky with his first post. If you studied in England and did not learn the art of sarcasm, your education would have been wasted.

Then Natthawut overreacted, as if he were the minister of culture, turning a jab into a ballistic missile attack. But then, he had been sitting in prison for several months. The man is perhaps still stressed. Who wouldn't be?

The issue is this: What is a prai?

Prai, as we know it, refers to the peasantry, the poor, working class. However, the red shirt UDD is arguing for a new definition. Prai need not be poor, they say. Prai can have money, they insist. Prai are only prai in that they don't have the power, they say.

At the Ratchaprasong occupation last year, I saw both kinds of prai. The sort that hung out around the broken-down pickup trucks and 10-wheelers made almost entirely of wood. Then there were the sort that sat in nice tents surrounded by Mercedes Benz, BMWs, Audis and the like.

So why not? Some prai are rich and most are poor _ it's just life. The point is they don't have the political power. Fair enough. The biggest prai of them all, Thaksin, is richer than 100 ammart put together, at least. And he's proud to call himself prai, robbed of power.

But this line of thinking raises some questions. Does this mean that six years ago, Thaksin and all his supporters were the ammart? Does this mean that six years ago, Korn Chatikavanij and Abhisit Vejjajiva were prai? Does this mean that in two months, the two Oxford men may become prai again? Can anyone imagine them as prai?

Semantic paradox, isn't it? But it's not only confusing _ this game of words serves to divide.

The Facebook world was split over the restaurant incident, one side supporting the ammart and the other backing the prai. They spewed anger at each other. All this was because of a sarcastic jab and overreaction to the terms ammart and prai.

The incident, minor and comical though it may be, just goes to show how fragmented Thai society is, and more importantly, how ready we are to be at each others' throats.

Some media pundits say we must stop using the words ammart and prai because they are dividing us. I disagree. Why fear words? Why run from labels? Why hide from semantics? We control them, don't let them control us.

Fear comes from suspicion. Suspicion comes from hatred. Hatred comes from fear. So let's make like Mr Korn and jab. Let's make observations and have a rollicking good laugh at the human condition.

Let the ammart poke fun at the prai, but not before laughing at themselves. Let the prai make fun of the ammart, but not before laughing at themselves. Let everyone have a jolly old jab at one another, because in the end laughter is the best medicine for reconciliation.

Go on YouTube and find the clip on President Barack Obama's White House correspondents' dinner, and you'll see. True, the left and the right in the US will never reconcile, but they don't shoot at each other in the streets either, because in the end, there's one commonality that people recognise and appreciate _ the love for one's country and freedom, even if the visions are different.

As long as we are anal about labels, we'll always be overly sensitive and reactionary, and that's a sure formula for hatred and conflict. The goodness of this world is created by an open heart and an open mind, with a bit of a smile.

For the past two years, anyone who knows me can tell you ammart and prai have been my favourite targets for jokes. They have given me much laughter; and consequently these terms to me are of no matter. We all are just people, with virtues and flaws.

There will always be those with money and those without. There will always be those with more power than others. And power always shifts and changes hands.

But at the end of the day _ whether you're ammart, prai or Honda Civic-driving middle class writer, part-time teacher, occasional guest speaker and hopeless dreamer _ each and every one of us can go to the voting booth on July 3 and exercise the most important power we have as citizens of the Kingdom of Thailand _ and in that, we all have the same power

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Re: Another good article from Voranai

Postby margaretcarnes » Mon May 16, 2011 6:00 am

Yes it is an interesting view - but for once I disagree with Voranais' suggestion - that the terms 'ammart' and 'prai' are not divisive and should continue to be used. In fact he goes on to say that it doesn't matter (at least to him.)
The thing is it clearly does still matter to the majority of Thais who judge status by it's name tag, not by demonstrations of wealth, or poverty as the case may be.
Thai people are born into one class or another and very few can overcome the brainwashing inherent to their class, to the extent that only the most brave, or the most foolish perhaps, can cope with a prai in an ammart world situation.
So while I don't think the Thai class/status system is likely to change much for the foreseeable future, surely getting rid of the labelling would be a step in the right direction?
Perhaps that is a bit too simplistic. Status is entrenched in Thai culture. But how many children who are brought up believing themselves to be prai are going to even attempt to break the mould?
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Re: Another good article from Voranai

Postby MrPlum » Mon May 16, 2011 6:48 am

I was raised by one parent who was a 'prai' and the other an 'ammart'. I believe the combination results in the social identifier 'prat'. :?

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Re: Another good article from Voranai

Postby elem » Mon May 16, 2011 7:55 pm

Just your kind of thinking, Mr.P
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Re: Another good article from Voranai

Postby prcscct » Tue May 17, 2011 4:31 am

What this all boils down to is that the have-nots want to be the haves, and the Phua Thai leadership is exploiting that. Those leaders will end up wealthy and powerful, but if they pull the rest of the poor along with them is yet to be seen. Don't hold your breath.

The prai have a legitimate grievance in that they've never been afforded decent educational opportunities or a level playing field, and Phua Thai plays on those emotions but only throws small crumbs that unfortunately the rank and file seem to think is a grand victory.

Khun Anand has disbanded his reconciliation committee since elections are approaching, and within 24 hours he was being criticized for spending too much money. Those making the comments are government ministers, the ammart, obviously to take the focus off of themselves for basically doing nothing constructive since the riots of one year ago.

I think getting rid of the names, class structures and perception about birth is an absolute must if there's to be progress. I doubt it will happen in our lifetime though. Pete :cheers:
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Re: Another good article from Voranai

Postby margaretcarnes » Tue May 17, 2011 7:47 am

MrPlum wrote:I was raised by one parent who was a 'prai' and the other an 'ammart'. I believe the combination results in the social identifier 'prat'. :?


Surely not Mr P - Primate maybe? :cheers:
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Re: Another good article from Voranai

Postby sandman67 » Tue May 17, 2011 12:58 pm

The UDD, and less obviously the PTP, take their moves and manipulations straight out of Chairman Mao's Little Red Book O Lies. Funnily enough its a game of false class war that Faux Nooz seems to be attempting to pull over in the USA.

Manufacture false class warfare and division, lie and hide the real truth - that neither side do sod all to fix the income divide and do all they can to maintain it or make it worse. Play the class card no matter how hypocritical it seems, as the populace are usually as thick as a bag of spanners and lap it up. Its P T Barnum politics.....and both countries have turned democracy into a whorehouse.

In Thailand its how fatass lazy ineffective emty headed wobble bottoms drive round in Mercs and insist on the plebs kow towing whilst claiming to be a working class hero. In the USA its how you get working class people to vote Republican when the only people the Reps care about are the Koch Brothers and their billionaire buddies.

I love Voranai to bits... he is witty, impartial, smart and as sharp as my straight razor. His stuff is always spot on, and he cuts through the bull like a hot knife through butter. In a field of mediocre numptys pretending to be journalists he shines like a star, and long may he hammer at that anvil of truth.

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Re: Another good article from Voranai

Postby Bamboo Grove » Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:15 pm

Yet another diamond. May all those who are narsists perish with this guy's insights. Let all different religions and thoughts flourish together. I, myself, have confessed to many people: "someone goes to a mosque on Friday's, someone to a synagoga on Saturdays, someone to a church on Sundays, let them have their faith, I watch Arsenal on weekends whenever I can.

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Re: Another good article from Voranai

Postby hhfarang » Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:15 pm

Wow, after reading a few of the articles written by this guy, I would give him my vote (if I had one and he was running) for PM! I've always said there is no word for "logic" or "logical" in the Thai language or way of thinking but he continues to prove me wrong. Good for him! :thumb:
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Re: Another good article from Voranai

Postby sandman67 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:01 pm

I tell you man its like a true word smith hammering out logic and reason on an anvil.

Week after week this lad delivers clear common sense and reason red hot from the forge ..... As HHF said were this lad to run in an election I could vote in hed have my vote. Hell Id even canvass for him.

In the morass of inanity and amaterism that is Thai journalism he shines like a lighthouse, and is the reason I check out the BKK Post regularly. There are a couple more opinion columnists worth watching there too.

Shame the run of the mill day to day journalism is so poor

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Re: Another good article from Voranai

Postby STEVE G » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:41 pm

He was educated in the West and I'm sure that Abhisit with his similar education would privately agree with much of what he writes. The problem is that in a country that is as ingrained in it's ways as Thailand, understanding a problem is a very long way away from being able to solve it.

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Re: Another good article from Voranai

Postby dtaai-maai » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:44 pm

Well said one and all. I hope you've emailed the same to him as well. Everybody benefits from well-meant encouragement and support.
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Re: Another good article from Voranai

Postby jamiep » Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:30 am

I'm a big fan of Voranai's writing too. I wonder if there are journalists who write such opinion pieces in the Thai Thai press too.

For those who are interested you can hear an interview with Voranai on the excellent Bangkok Podcast : http://www.bangkokpodcast.com/bangkok-i ... -vanijaka/

And apparently Voranai will be their guest again next week.

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Re: Another good article from Voranai

Postby jamiep » Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:24 am

Voranai talks about the current political situation among other things here : http://www.bangkokpodcast.com/bangkok-i ... anijaka-2/

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Re: Another good article from Voranai

Postby sandman67 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:17 pm

As Steve points out it isnt just spotting the problem that is the issue. Voranai and a few other opinion columnists at the Post, and one or two at the Nation, are adept at spotting the issues and making them crystal clear.

The problem is then making any progress to effect a change in a country where many of the Ministries remain run by ignoramuses and mired in xenophobaia and short sightedness...the Orwellian Ministry of Culture being a primo example of this. From the stupidity of teh Buddha tattoo nonsense to handing over half the national film sponsorship budget to one production (King Naresuan 3) that then doesnt get released and shows no sign of being released, despite now being 3 years overdue, all they ever seem to do is generate bad press. Other departments and minsitries seem to play pass the hot potato rather than actually do anything - the SEC is doing that with Little Miss Toxin and her plain to see bare faced lies and perjury during the Toxin assets court cases as we write. They will send the matter to the DSI, who will pass it to the AG, who will pass it back to the SEC, who will send it to the EC and on and on and on.

Its been over a year since Bangkok was in flames. Yet there is no sign whatsoever of any of the people responsible being dragged into a court, let alone an sign of trials being heard. No, instead most of them are now running, or have their wives and family running, on the PT Party ticket as party list MPs, sure to get into parliament and thus be able to invoke parliamentary immunity. Its taken them a year to finally lock up Jutaporn The Liar. And the woman at the head of the party, Little Miss Toxin, is a bare faced liar who perjured herself in a court and walked free, and who is actively avoiding any form of in depth campaigning and debate, instead pulling the Palinesque Word Salad Soundbite Politics trick. She parrots the same small set of carefully scripted vague statemets over and over, and when questioned outside those just smiles coyly and shifts the questioning back on track.

Add to this the fact reported today that the EC already have established 14 cases of potential electoral malpractice and are investigating over 140 others. Its got so bad the EC have finally caved in and allowed the EU to send over observers, but while inviting them still managed to insert foot in mouth and slap them in the face.

It says something serious about the apparently skin deep fact free nature of the Thai media that the general public are so unifnformed to think this is either acceptable in any way, or a good idea for the future good governance of Thailand.

And THAT is why journalists like Voranai are important....becasue they in a small way are trying to cure this culture of ingrained stupidity, ignorance, misinformation and dog whistle politics.

All power to him and may be carry on hammering at the anvil.

:cheers: :cheers: :cheers:
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