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The Thai FIles

These are blogposts and news stories over the past 6 weeks from an American English teacher living in Thailand (that's me) They are in chronological order - most recent first.
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The letter from today is about the English in the new block page that comes up when you try to looked at a blocked site in Thailand - written by me.


A Letter to Thai Censors regarding their poor English

6/23/10 at 1:31pm

Dear CRES-

RE: Poor English Grammar @  http://58.97.5.29/www.capothai.org/

"An access to such information has been temporarily ceased
due to the order of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES)
under the authority of emergency decree B.E 2548 (A.D. 2005)."

An access??? has been ceased?? Did you run this through a translating machine?
My slowest Matayom 4 and 5 English students can do better than this, gentlemen.

And I will NOT correct your English in this letter because you need to figure out for yourself the correct way to use the language.

You - who have access to all the resources of the Thai government and who obviously have an internet connection cannot even run your little blocking text past a native speaker to get a translation that isn't a grammatical travesty before you throw it up on the internet and show to the world your laziness and sloppiness towards what is considered the primary language of international communication. You should be ashamed. If you bring this attitude and this level of 'work' to my English class you will FAIL. Now consider what those around the world must think of you.
Is this a metaphor for larger problems?

In Shock and Horror,

W.G.
Elementary School Teacher, Chalerm Thai, Chonburi

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Fun Parts of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Today at 4:40am

Article 19.

* Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.


Article 9.

* No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.


Article 5.

* No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.


Since Thailand now chairs the UN Office of Human Rights, this might be a good time to reflect on the articles above.


Suggestion for a new website to censor???
Why not try:
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
 http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

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Written on Sunday June 20• (This is real)

Censorship Milestone: 113,000 sites blocked in Thailand + New Censor-in-chief and "Too much freedom" in Thailand

"it will be difficult for new minister Juti Krairiksh to live up to the standard of the previous censor, but he insisted he was up to the task; Juti confirmed that Prime Minister Abhisit had personally instructed him that monitoring websites was one of the three most important jobs he would ever perform for the country."

 link to asiancorrespondent.com


Govt shuts 43,000 more websites, plans to block 3,000 more, total up to 113,000..

 link to facthai.wordpress.com


Mr Juti added "The government has given too much freedom to its citizens."

 http://thainews.prd.go.th/en/news.php?id=255306150051


And lastly, old news from America:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men ... are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ...

Thank you for your support
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Monday June 21, 2010

A moral and practical analysis of Thailand's Yellow Shirt strategy and tactics and their prospects for the future - portland.indymedia exclusive

I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it. - Voltaire

We begin with the idea thrown about recently by the Yellow Shirt government that former PM Thaksin created the entire red shirt movement out of whole cloth by financing it from scratch.

On behalf of my non-computerized Thai peeps, the mo-cy drivers, "7" workers, bottle pickers, hotel cleaners, short order cooks, working girls and boys, beggars, farmers, bartenders, mechanics, school teachers, construction workers, garbage men, seamstresses, haircutters, desk clerks, unemployed grandmas, factory slaves, street sweepers, cabbies and other insignificant useless barely-human peons with whom the yellas don't mingle, I deliver the following:


Danger Will "Yellaman" Robinson, Y'all can yak all you want about a 'bought' movement. The money from mr. tak was only the camel's nose under the tent. Let me explain. I lived in-Kingdom on and off for 7 yrs now. Met and spent time with the high and the low. I never cared 2 hoots about red or yella until there appeared a bunch of dead people in Bangkok last month.

Since then, I have listened and read most attentively and widely and I personally know plenty of these Red Shirters who have exactly jack to do with Thaksin . They didn't get one satang from Tak before, during, or after and they ~still~ pull for the Reds ... and wouldn't support a goofy yella if their life depended on it. OMFG! This is the awful smelly truth that is just too scary for some yellas to even think much less utter.

That Thais - especially the untouchables of the northeast - should have any ideas about taking matters into their own hands, (OMG!) much less acting on these ideas (catch me I am about to feint) - this is an impossibility that could never be entertained in Thailand. That is, before now.

Thus we see the cowardly and weak-minded 'state of emergency' that is continuing indefinitely amid peace and business-as-usual. The only emergency exisiting is that the yellas couldn't win a national election to keep the Prime Ministership even if they tried to buy it a-la Tak!!!! Catch me before I fall on the floor.

Hahah I suppose this emergency will continue until all Thais are terrorized out of thinking and doing for themselves. Good luck with that. Or maybe if you shoot enough they'll just change their vote patterns. Go-o-o-o-d L-u-ck. If you think this is a plan, (and many yellas seem to) then go ahead and try it ... . I think history dares you... .If this path is chosen, Bull Conner, George Wallace, apartheid South Africa, the Contras, the Burma army, the Israeli cops in Gaza, Jesse Helms, and the long list of those who would deny the right to vote will be made proud.

Yours is obviously a plan to fail. That's why y'all are acting so emotional and hysterical over the unconscious but obvious realization that the situation is Game Over and You Lost. But - probably in the interest of civility you are being allowed a reprieve period by the fates and the goddess of history (or is it those Isaan farmers?) . What you choose to do in this period is up to you but remember that if you want to succeed you must practice serious rational government in the best interest of the Thai state and not act out a comedy play by Moliere. You will not receive extra points for playing the fool or the bully. But if you act responsibly and with sincerity and humility towards all Thais - including the untouchables - you may improve your position and give yourselves a fighting chance. Or you can continue living on fantasy island and lose badly. It is your call.

My sincere and honest guess is that Tak could die tomorrow and the red support would be just as strong - money or no money. The funny thing is that most yellas can't even entertain this thought for a minute because it leaves their propaganda lines and various rationalizations in the lurch.

My Brother yella tells me: "No legitimate popular protest with real grassroots support, and a real series of issues and grievances that should be discussed and addressed immediately, could ever exist in the North or anywhere within the perfection that is the current state of affairs today. Ideas like this, Sir, are simply unthinkable, " and finally he concludes, "All those bad reddies who I hate musta been bought. Yeah - Yeah! that's da ticket!" This is a realm of logic and conception of current reality informed by profound denial.

Yet they are there brother yella. I see 'em and talk with them every day. I should tell my bother that the arc of history is merciless and he needs to improve his analysis, his facts, his propaganda and his tactics or he will lose and lose badly.

So I say—> if you yellas want a real policy to maintain your position that is not ultimately about mowing down Thais with live bullets, paying them mincemeat wages and keeping a boot on their throats forever, you must understand this —> The money from mr. tak was only the foot in the door. The spirit and soul of these human beings and families - real Thai human beings and families - who have suffered and are suffering most viciously under your 'system', and who you consider unworthy of democracy, humanity or equality are what is going to come through the door next. Obviously this is a fact that nobody in the yella camp is ready to deal with, or acknowledge. What is the plan? Are you going to shoot them? Shoot them all?

You can pontificate and opine that they are not coming or that their opinions and they themselves are not worthy , but let me tell ya'll up there in the Kreung Thep muckety muck - I see 'em all around me and I hear 'em curse every day. Why your keister has not been yet hoisted upon its own petard is beyond me. Maybe you have wiggle room so you can be allowed to continue to make a bigger fool of yourself - in order to discredit your movement and philosophy completely and utterly before the eyes of history. I don't know

Obviously Thaksin is the scapegoat that, in your hysteria, prevents you from looking in the mirror or forming any kind of coherent, rational long term action that is consistent with reality and in your own best interest.

Note to my yella brothers: If you don't change the program and address the issues and give these people some of the things they want... if this willful intransigence in government continues, if elections become a thing of the past, if one more innocent Thai dies at your hand, if reconciliation means kissing your toot, then you will fall on your face and you will lose everything. You can't try to build and exploit a feudal system in the 21st century and expect otherwise. Repeat the preceding phrases while banging your head against the wall if necessary until you understand. When those around you have nothing left to lose, then don't be surprised when the next person to lose everything is you.

You can rationalize ineffectively and entertainingly like this all you want... at the very least it shows you know how to use English. But ultimately the logic presented here only shows weakness of yella analysis and stubborn inability to face cold reality with humility. Thus y'all gonna lose. period. Sorry to break it to you.

Like I said, the arc of history is merciless. You cannot hold her off with an M16 or with tear gas from an attack helicopter. I assume the more intelligent among you already realize this.

Y'all yellas have been - and seems like in the not too distant future that you are about to be (again) - thoroughly and completely schooled by a bunch of punk dirt farmers. And you deserve every last iota of this indignity because you brought it on yourself. Every step of the way you stubbornly refused to look in the mirror and acknowledge their humanity or your own humanity. How much time does the charade have left before Libra balances the scales? months? weeks? days? hours? I don't know but this is your warning. Lighten up, shorty. Study history - or don't. Make total fools of yourselves or don't. It's up to you.

... ..What planet these yella brothers and sisters live on or have been writing from I do not know, but if y'all want to maintain and continue yella power, much less grow it, I suggest you come on down to the real Thailand ——- if you dare.

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 http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article17803

Appeal Against Repression in Thailand
Collective
20 June 2010

This appeal remains opened to new signatures. To sign it, write to:  solidaritythailand@gmail.com

For more than two months, the Red Shirts have mobilised with decisiveness and purpose in the streets of Bangkok to support their demands of democracy and social justice.

The government led by Abhisit Vejjajiva chose to respond to these demands with violence and repression. It committed a serious violation against human rights when it authorised the use of military hardware to dissolve the demonstrations. The result was extremely serious: there were at least 89 dead and nearly 2000 wounded.

Today, democratic rights are not respected: there are 99 arrest warrants against opponents. The places where most of the detainees are held are kept secret. The government has imposed censorship on the alternative media. The penalties incurred are especially severe: from 3 to 15 years for "lese majesty" to the death penalty for "terrorism".

The Red Shirts are being treated by the government as if they were "terrorists".

The Thai government can continue to repress the Thai people freely, because its constant violations against human rights have not been confronted by international solidarity and condemnation. We make a call to all progressive and democratic organizations to demand the end of the repression and the respect of fundamental rights in Thailand; to start an international campaign to obtain the freedom of political prisoners and the end of intimidation and inculpation of the Red Shirts.

We demand from the Thai government that it raises the State of Emergency and immediately re-establishes democratic freedoms in the country; that it ends the repression against the Red Shirts and that all prisoners are freed without any delay.


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June 14, 2010 - This one gives me courage.
The following will probably get you 7 -14 years in jail in Thailand:

Heartbreaking and incendiary essay from Thai labor activist. She tells the story of her life, the evolution of her thought and how the history of Thailand affects events today. An opinion you will not find elsewhere.

 http://timeupthailand.blogspot.com/

some excerpts:

Why are Thai people issuing orders to the Royal Thai Army to kill Thai people?

Just recently an 18-year-old student was refused entry into two government-funded universities, because she participated in red-shirt demonstrations and criticised the monarchy. An internet witch-hunt was mounted to coral this girl into bowing before a picture of the King. She was rescued from physical danger by a scholarship to study abroad.
...

With all of the 'love' that the Royal Family claims, why is the Thai monarchy behaving in a such a paranoid fashion in the 21st century?

Why does the Palace refuse to allow open discussion of how the Thai see the role of their beloved Monarch? Could it be that the Palace itself is so sunk in scandal that it is afraid to open the doors?

Why the Royal Family did not support Pridi Phanomyong, the father of Thai democracy, why in 1947 the Royal Family supported the general that kicked him out, why the Royal Family did not pardon Pridi, and why the Royal Family did not allow him to return home as an old man, if not for a royal cremation, then just to console his family - is not understandable.

Had Pridi's 1933 Economic Plan been adopted, and not been rejected as 'communist', we would not be facing, 78 years later, the ugly phenomenon of a medieval battle between a suppressed, frustrated populace and an overwrought, splendiferous, monarchical hierarchy.

Pridi's Economic Plan was aimed at achieving a state of net happiness through development of cooperative activities, social welfare, state support for domestic, social economies, barter trade, equal education for all with maximum engagement of the rural work force, support for state enterprise, as well as taxation of the rich and the introduction of a people's wage etc.

Had Pridi's plan been adopted, Thailand could have been, by now, a real example of sustainable development in Southeast Asia. We can say with some certainty that Thailand's current, state-sponsored, multi-billion dollar sex trade would have been replaced by now, after 78 years, by a functional, egalitarian, state-sponsored, multi-billion dollar health-care system, that Thailand would not be reeling around, as now, in the grip of a completely corrupt judiciary, and that the Thai population would be, by now, at least fully concentrated on sustainable development.

since 1947 the King of Thailand has personally approved 7 successful military coups.
At any time during the last 60 years the Royal Household of Thailand could have stood-up for the people's struggle for democracy and ended Thailand's endless string of military coups and violent crackdowns.

The violent crackdown by the Royal Thai Army on the people in April 2010 has pushed Thailand further down the slippery road to the ignoble status of 'failed state'.

It is long past time for the Thai to engage in wide-open public debate on the role of Thai royals, their Palace institutions and the huge military force they command, and on the problems that emerge from their absolute powers and extremely expensive absolute privileges that absolutely do not promote the 'sufficiency economy' promoted by the King himself.


since 1947 the King of Thailand has personally approved 7 successful military coups.
At any time during the last 60 years the Royal Household of Thailand could have stood-up for the people's struggle for democracy and ended Thailand's endless string of military coups and violent crackdowns.

The violent crackdown by the Royal Thai Army on the people in April 2010 has pushed Thailand further down the slippery road

It is long past time for the Thai to engage in wide-open public debate on the role of Thai royals, their Palace institutions and the huge military force they command, and on the problems that emerge from their absolute powers and extremely expensive absolute privileges that absolutely do not promote the 'sufficiency economy' promoted by the King himself.


The Palace must allow all Thai people to freely air their feelings on what they feel about their monarchy, and the Palace must order an end to the 'Love the King' and 'Protect the Monarchy' propaganda.

From the day I was born the Royal Family had my love, but slowly they have been loosing that love. If the Palace makes me choose between loving the Royal Family and loving the Thai people I can only choose the latter. Nothing and nobody can compete with my love for the people of Thailand.

When it comes to the institutions of monarchy there are issues that the public must be able to debate without fear of years in prison, for example:

* The wealth of the Thai King has been increasing steadily for the last 60 years. With property worth 35 billion USD, Forbes anointed the King with the title of Richest Monarch in the World in 2008. The Thai public must be allowed to analyse and discuss the vast wealth of their monarchy in relation to the glaring, growing gap between rich and poor.

* During the last 20 years the Palace Budget has been increased 20 times, from 3 million Euro (141 million Baht) to 65 million Euro (2.6 billion Baht). The poor English Queen has hardly seen a rise 20 years and has to manage with a meagre 8 million Euro.

* The use of the 150 million Euro (6 billion Baht) that is paid-out annually from the State Budget to finance Thailand's 'Royal Projects' must be subjected to public scrutiny, debate and evaluation.

* As noted by Forbes, the avarice of the Thai monarchy is unmatched.

The royalist habit of labelling red-shirts "villains", "bandits" and "terrorists" is a clear illustration of what the royalist's 'Sufficiency Economy' means in practice.


Needless to say assassination of village leaders who participated in the red-shirt demonstrations has already begun.

* It is nothing less than sickening to witness that every time ordinary people attend meetings to bring worker's and villager's problems to the attention of the authorities their mouths are shut with statements from the authorities like: "I am the servant of the King. I work for the King". Such phrases are used by the authorities as a spiteful weapon to suppress the development of the people, the authorities that the people pay to serve them - not the King, who has more than enough servants.Use of such statements by municipal and government authorities prevents real discussion of real, necessary and urgent issues, and must be banned.

* There are many royal impositions on the dignity of the society and the individual that need to be reviewed, and largely eradicated e.g. the Royal Family's expectation that - public money will be used to block roads for their convoys of shiny cars; that people want to 'Sex and the City2' must bless the King before the movie starts - or be molested; that millions of Baht from much needed local budgets must be spent on building temporary palaces to receive visiting royals; that those who are obliged to meet the King or Queen must crawl before their feet and recite some regal hocus pocus like: "May the power of the dust on the soles and the dust under the soles of your royal feet protect my head and the top of my head."


ใต้ฝ่าละอองธุลีพระบาทปกเกล้าปกกระหม่อม
'Tai-Fa-La-Ong-Thu-Lee-Pra-Bart-Pok-Klao-Pok-Karmom.'

No person on this planet today is dust under the feet of any other person. Even the great Lord Buddha gave up his kingdom to be equal with everyone else.

These are some of the reasons that make it difficult for me to love the King.

The current 'Protect the Monarchy' mobilisation for a 'Sufficiency Economy' is leading us to civil war not peace.

When will the monarchy and it's institutions be kind enough to accept, welcome and support our struggle for equal rights, justice, democracy, the results of free and fair elections and our basic rights of Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Association?


Junya Yimprasert
Revised and amended 12 June 2010 / 2553
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Written on Sunday •

Fast and easy methods to avoid annoying internet censorship in China and other Asian countries

1. Use proxy servers. You can try these:

 http://cooloo.org/
 http://www.kproxy.com/
 http://freeproxyserver.net/
 http://www.endowmentsales.co.cc/ h
ttp://www.iphone4life.info/

They are apparently very easy to set up, and as soon as your nosy paternalistic government shuts one down, another can be set up. There is really no escape and no solution for the guv'ment censors on this work around. At least none so far. So go ahead and have at it. But understand that any data that you send through the proxy can be sniffed inside Thailand.

2. if you are a secret agent, or if you are feeling overly paranoid, you can try TOR
 http://www.torproject.org/overview.html.en

3. If you are a badass, you can program your own TCP/IP packets. And thus you would never have any reason to read this note.

Thank you for your support.

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June 8 at 2:45am

A modern Pièce de résistance - I cannot make this up:

"the Culture Ministry has drafted regulations requiring every registered foreign news agency and reporter to employ a Ministry-approved 'Cultural Liaison Oversight Technician'.
The role of these CLOTs is to advise foreign reporters on what are the correct facts and interpretations of events in Thailand. 'We were told that there is no need to go upcountry', one reporter said. 'According to our CLOT, people in the Northeast are not educated enough to give a coherent interview, so it would be a waste of time. He told us that Thai news agencies never see any point in leaving Bangkok so we should do the same as them."


One correspondent who has reported on Thailand for many years told of being repeatedly corrected by his CLOT. 'I showed him things written by Thais that proved I was right and he was wrong. He just said that the Thais who wrote these things were mutants....


 http://www.prachatai.org/english/node/1876

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An amazing Minute by minute breakdown - of everything that happened in Thailand in May

 http://www.thethaireport.com/thethaireport/May_2010_Protest_Archive.html

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(PLEASE NOTE these sites were unblocked on Tuesday 22 June)

English Websites I read all the time are now blocked in Thailand (The Land of Smiles)

June 8, 2010 at 1:31am
But how will my ESL sudents ever learn about inflation, English regional pronunciation and social justice....? I dunno.....

Blocked:
http:// goldseek.com/
http:// www.librivox.org/
http:// www.commondreams.org/
Now getting the dreaded 404 in Thailand.

We have been saved from a libertarian economics site, a lib'rul news aggregator and a public domain audio book site.

Thank you for your support.



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Twisted thoughts behind a blocked router

Written about 2 weeks ago • Comment • LikeUnlike


The Ballad of the Orchard Keeper and the 88 Ghosts
(or a dark exorcism)

red apples bad
yellow apples delicious
and all the dead apples are terrorists

You made me shoot.
We both know that
and by my hands. deliverance

the path to clean
your aggression
with perfection
is being blind, deaf and mute.

CHORUS: but we Smell.
the 88.

To the gods of the temple
of shopping
shall you be sacrificed

(...Applause...Curtains...)



Written about 3 weeks ago •
Partial List of Websites That Make Authorities Uncomfortable
And are thus Blocked in The Land of Smiles

Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 11:09am

Don't worry - This is for your own good

 http://thaipoliticalprisoners.wordpress.com/

 http://atnc.org/

 http://www.prachatai.org/

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhumibol_Adulyadej

 http://facthai.wordpress.com/







Thailand by the numbers
Share
Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 12:57pm
You can draw your own conclusions:

Since 2001
# of popular elections won by Red Shirt (Thai Rak Thai/People Power Party/UDD) = 4
# of popular elections won by Yellow Shirts (PAD) = 0

# Methods of achieving control of the Thai Governmnet by Yellow Shirts in the past 5 years:
1 time- Military Coup in 2006
2 times- Supreme Court Rulings - Once Booting out a hated redshit PM for doing a cooking show!
1 time- Parliamentary vote 2008 (not a popular countrywide vote)
0 times- Winning a popular election

Last Year that UDD/Yellow Shirts won a popular election: 1997
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Prime_Ministers_of_Thailand

# of YELLOW SHIRTS killed during Yelllow Shirt sponsored protest at the airport 2008 = 0

# of RED SHIRTS casualties 2010 protests :
April 10.............24 were killed and more than 800 wounded.
May 13 - 17 .......35 people were killed, all civilians, and at least 232 wounded.
May 19............. 80 people killed and 2,000 injured, including civilians and international journalists.
from  http://atnc.org/

# scary RED SHIRT weapons seized during the recent protest
8 Chinese-made AK-47 assault rifles,
5 rusty American rifles,
12 grenades,
1 crossbow,
1 orange plastic bucket full of wooden slingshots
1 membership card from a Las Vegas casino. (!!!!!!!!)
 link to www.washingtonpost.com

# YELLLOW SHIRT (governmnet) arsenal:
1 modern army including Tanks, Automatic Weapons, Rocket Launchers, Helicopters to drop teargas, etc...

# Gambler's Odds - Chance in hell that the Yellow Shirts might win a popular election anytime soon:
1 snowball's

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More stuff that almost nobody talks about inside Thailand :

May 22 - Sydney Morning Herald
Monarchy at a turning point
 link to www.smh.com.au



May 22 - The Independent
King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand: The monarch whose silence is deafening

 link to www.independent.co.uk

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Discredited And Servile - Western Mass Media Perverts Information About Thailand
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

 link to www.zcommunications.org

By Andre Vltchek



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The day my eyes opened up:

May 20 at 12:52am

Today the Thai Stock Exchange, a huge shopping mall, and a TV station in Bangkok were set on fire. Several Thai provinces burned their government buildings to the ground. Pattaya is closed down and I am writing "under curfew" which will last until 6am.



"If you don't know ...now you know.."
-NOTORIOUS B.I.G.