Corruption versus Democracy: The picture gets blurrier

opinion March 13, 2019 01:00

By Tulsathit Taptim
The Nation

Their ongoing, years-long showdown over the Kingdom of Thailand has been dominated by Corruption’s carrot-and-stick approach.



He has been trying to soften up Democracy both physically and mentally, using strength and persuasive powers. The fight has entered another crucial phase, in which Democracy is gathering his last ounce of stamina to shake off Corruption’s claim that they are in fact one and the same entity so they must sign a truce and work together. 

Thailand’s election, Democracy claims, marks the endgame between himself and Corruption. Parties and voters have divided off into a “pro-democracy camp” on one side, which tells a lot, Democracy insists. His rival, predictably, can only laugh:

Corruption: Chalerm Yoobamrung. Snoh Thienthong. Sonthi Boonyaratklin. Yongyuth Wichaidith. They are your face, my friend. I can name more names but I’d better rest my case.

Democracy: You have Prayut Chan-o-cha, who staged a coup and didn’t do anything about the luxury watches. I rest my case, too.

Corruption: Can’t you see how all our names can work together, for the sake of you and me? Let’s drop the ideological nonsense, stop fighting, roll up our sleeves and go to do real work.

Democracy: I won’t. A lot of people are counting on me.

Corruption: Including those I mentioned, too. Do you honestly want them to be your poster boys? Come on. Don’t tell me you are not awkward about it. Let’s sign a pact acknowledging that we are integral parts of one whole body and end all the hypocrisy and double-standards for good.

Democracy: How many times do I have to tell you that I’m capable of ridding myself of unwanted elements? I don’t need a pact with you. Stick with dictatorship or fascism.

Corruption: I have told you a hundred times that I need to upgrade my image. It’s not that I’m offended by criticism or anything. Let me just say complaints about tiny little things that a dictator does bore me to death. It’s a lot better working with you.

Democracy: I’m flattered. But no thank you.

Corruption: If you can’t do it for me, do it for your own supporters. They are rabbits in headlights at the moment.

Democracy: How confused can they possibly be?

Corruption: For starters, how would you describe Somkid Jatusripitak and Suriya Juangroonruangkit? How would you deem people like former coup leader Sonthi? It’s all very confusing to everyone. And now that I’m at it, is US President Donald Trump “you” or “me”? Don’t you see? Hybrids and turncoats are everywhere.

Democracy: I’m all about the process of learning. You are definite, ready-to-go evil.

Corruption: Learning, eh? You will find that your process is getting progressively farther from perfection and nearer to the dark side. What I’m offering is a shortened and less painful transformation.

Democracy: That’s what everyone who wants to destroy me says.

Corruption: You are so pessimistic about others. Nobody is out to destroy you. Only you can destroy yourself. Oh, and tell your supporters in Thailand that calling themselves “pro-democracy” is very un-democratic. It’s simply stereotyping others and even degrading human rights.

Democracy: The point is, are we able to question alleged practices of stereotyping and degrading of 

human rights? I allow the questioning; other systems don’t.

Corruption: I’m questioning you.

Democracy: Thank you for pointing that out.

Corruption: Am I exerting my “democratic” right?

Democracy: Well…

Corruption: To expand it a bit, are the people on the opposite side of the “pro-democracy” camp in Thailand exerting their “democratic” rights?

Democracy: Nice try. There are people on both sides who don’t understand the issue too well. The bottom line is that there’s no other system better than me at allowing free-thinking, creativity and innovations.

Corruption: Whoa, hold your horses. Look at China. They are now teleporting objects into outer space. Does America, your model student, know how to do it? What enables the Chinese to do what they can? They were your inferiors a few years ago.

Democracy: Maybe the Chinese are reaping gains from me. Maybe they took some democratic brainchild and went ahead and improved it.

Corruption: I admire your attempt to explain that. But you are endorsing my proposed pact, actually. If China can benefit from you, why can’t mankind benefit from us? You come up with something and I help expand or upgrade it. Win-win situation, don’t you think?

Democracy: You are very good at twisting issues.

Corruption: I’ve learned a lot from lawyers in “democratic” countries. Well, now that you have labelled me a twister, let me ask you one final question. If someone stages a coup to oust Prayut, is it a pro-democracy or anti-democracy coup?

Democracy: I’ll just call it an armed intervention to end another armed intervention. To me, it’s just another coup, whether it helps me or not.

Corruption: That’s a smart answer, although it sounds a little bit selfish.

Democracy: I’ve learned it from you.

Corruption: Shall I rest my case now?

And the World, Heaven and Earth continue to hold their breath…