The Nation



Corruption is hardly new

Ref: "This corruption plague arrived in 2001", Letters, December 14.

Somsak Pola claims that Thailand used to be practically corruption-free, with a political reputation as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar.

This surreal statement echoes the narrative being incessantly pushed by Suthep Thaugsuban and other government opponents, implying that Thailand's corruption woes all emanate from Thaksin Shinawatra and his family.

It's complete nonsense, of course. Corruption has always plagued all aspects of life in Thailand. It's just the way things are done here.

We all know that, except, it seems, Somsak.

For example, I wonder how many of the "middle class" protesters who were recently out on the streets demanding an end to corrupt politics have themselves paid tea money to get their children into the best schools, pulled strings to get them jobs or under-declared business profits to the Revenue Department?

Not to mention making the necessary arrangements when their children cause deaths and injuries due to reckless driving so that the long arm of the law does not reach them.

It would be just great if Thailand's politics could become free of graft, but you can't isolate politics and politicians from society.

If Thais really want to clean up politics, then they need to ask themselves some uncomfortable questions.

Robin Grant


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