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Truth will out

Re: "Surin's 'reform' talks do have a point", Opinion, December 9.

Surin Pitsuwan recently finished his term as secretary general of Asean. Had the military then-government nominated him as the Thai candidate for secretary general of the United Nations, as requested by the US, he would have held that position now.

The title of this piece is condescending. The suggestion that "association with Democrats will overshadow proposals" is pure Thaksin - "Are you for me or against me?" The polarity spoken of is unipolar. Look at the recent censure "debate" as an example. I would disagree with Surin when "he cautioned that there is a fine line between democracy and majoritarianism". There is a demagogue of difference.

In a democracy, the MPs represent all of the people in the constituency, not just the ones that voted for them. In Thailand, one party represents one man. Did the red-shirt MPs complain about the short-changing of poor farmers by the rice price-pledging scheme? No! The nodding dogs just kept nodding. With the amnesty bill, did the rank and file red shirts get representation or did Thaksin's interest override all?

" [Surin] was more or less echoing what anti-government leader Suthep Thaugsuban had been preaching." If two well-educated people agree, it is quite possible that they are not biased, but telling it how it is.

Surin has had to restrain himself from speaking out for four years as a Thai representative abroad. Perhaps he is speaking now because the country is in a crisis and a credible voice is needed.

The country's bureaucracy needs to adopt international standards of neutrality and independence instead a culture of paid toadies.

Corruption in government is inevitable, but it need not be endemic and it needs to be severely punished when exposed, not lost in a court system forever.

I think an apology to Surin is in order.

Richard Bowler

Bangkok


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