Have you responded to the six questions posed by Premier Prayut Chan-o-cha?
If not, you could be branded unpatriotic. If, though, you faithfully and dutifully replied, you risk being labelled a naïve sucker.
It isn’t easy to be a good citizen these days. If you take a public position on certain political issues, you the stand a chance of being thrown under the bus. If you keep quiet, you could be accused of being an irresponsible member of the public. If you start your argument with the line that goes “on the one hand … but on the other…”, nobody will have the patience to hear you out.
This is the era of “if you are not with us, you are against us” all over again.
It should come as no surprise that the six questions have drawn strong criticism from politicians of all shades and types.
They have countered with legitimate questions of their own. These include:
Is the military trying to cling to power?
Is the prime minister trying to create more confusion?
Why hasn’t the PM posed questions for the public to evaluate his government’s performance instead?
Is Premier Prayut or the National Council for Peace and Order trying to set up a political party – or form a proxy party to run in the upcoming election to continue its hold on power?
What has Prayut got against politicians, when he himself has in fact been playing the role of a politician anyway?
No matter how hard you try, there is no way to avoid the topic these days. So, when my friends asked me the other day whether I had officially responded to the prime minister’s six questions, I initially dodged the inquiry. When they insisted I give them some kind of answer, I finally relented. I told them that before I could answer those questions, I had some questions of my own for the PM.
Well, if the prime minister has the right to pose questions to me, under the edict that everybody is equal under the law of the land, it should be my right to ask questions back before trying to answer his.
Here, then, are his questions followed by my answer-questions:
1. Do we need to have new political parties or new politicians for people to consider in the next election, and can the old politicians and political parties form a government that pushes forward reforms or the national strategy?
My question: Do we really need another coup?
2. Does Prayut or the junta have a right to support any party?
My question: Are you suggesting you will support a “new” party? Will you have anything to do with the “new” party? What if the “old party” comprises “old faces”?
3. Do people see a better future thanks to the government’s work over the past three years?
My question: How should we feel, sir?
4. Is it appropriate to raise the idea of going back to the administrative style of previous governments in the current context?
My question: Sir, are you talking about 1923 or 1970 or 2014?
5. Have democratic governments or politicians been effective in the past and shown enough effective governance to drive the country’s growth in a sustainable manner?
My question: Are you suggesting, sir, that the next “democratic government” won’t be “sustainable”?
6. Why are politicians lining up to attack the government?
My question: Why are you lined up to attack the politicians?