Foreign reporters are accused of not understanding “Thainess” or not having done their homework. My interview experience with one correspondent tells me otherwise.
First, the Thainess that we think is unique and mysterious is not much different from politics in other lands. Many, like Berlusconi’s Italy, are similar to Thailand.
Second, the correspondents’ openness without predetermined thoughts is the key to getting the right story. Most thought that it was a fight between an elected government led by a lady, Yingluck, and “hoodlums” led by Suthep. The Thai foreign minister has played a big part in misleading the public. The truth was caused by the hoodlum behaviour of this government on November 1 that let the genie out of the bottle and now it is beyond them to put the genie back in the bottle.
The public’s disgust with the government’s whitewashing Thaksin through majority parliamentary votes was overwhelming and changes in the law are called for to ensure the intimidating and corrupt conduct of Thaksin and his cronies in the past will never happen again. There is no complexity in our politics.
Third, Thai interviewees as selected are too committed to either side. Misleading conclusions result therefrom.
Finally, foreign correspondents work in an environment of budgetary constraints and like to rush to judgement. My interviewer was more than willing to listen instead of being domineering in our conversation.