English lessons from the protests

your say April 17, 2014 00:00

English-speaking foreign observers of the protests might be confused by the fact that the actions of self-proclaimed civilised and law-abiding saviours of the country are being described in words that denote very uncivilised criminal acts. It may be usefu



“Extort: (verb); extortion (noun): the crime of getting money from someone by the use of force or threats.”

In most places in the civilised world, extortion is something carried out by mafia gangsters and other lowlife, and is considered a serious crime. In Thailand, however, it is carried out by a merry band of thugs led by a man wearing the robes of a Buddhist monk, demanding money from businessmen and government agencies, and is considered a legitimate action.

“Intimidate: (verb); intimidation (noun): to compel or deter by or as if by threats.”

In the civilised world, intimidation is considered a crime. In Thailand, however, intimidating others – making it impossible for government officers to perform their duties, preventing bankers and businessmen from conducting their work, and even obstructing citizens from entering voting booths – is considered a “right” of “non-violent”, “peaceful” protesters.

“Harass (verb); harassment (noun): to annoy persistently; to create an unpleasant or hostile situation, especially by uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct.”

In the civilised world, harassing government officials, media persons and others whose opinions differ for yours is considered a criminal offence. In Thailand, however, it is considered the constitutionally protected right of uncivilised thugs.

It is truly amazing how, in Thailand, when actions that can only be described as extortion, intimidation and harassment are committed by these protesters, the words are somehow transformed into “good” words and the actions they describe considered – even by the courts – the righteous actions of righteous people. 

No wonder the world is laughing at Thailand. 

Laughing through My Tears

Bangkok