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Whistle rallies a Thai 'Arab Spring'?

Is the "Whistles" reform movement an "Arab Spring" in the making?

One of the contributing factors for the Arab Spring was the discontent arising from the tension between the growing aspirations of the middle-class population and the lack of satisfactory political reform.

In the Arab Spring, the unfair concentration of wealth is the cause of the dissatisfaction, while in Thailand's Whistles reform movement, consolidation and perpetuation of power encouraged by the corrupt patronage and weak parliamentary system are the culprits.

Can the Whistles reform movement grow into another Arab Spring?

There are several factors that may make it difficult for the Whistles movement to develop into a full-fledged Arab Spring. First, the movement lacks broad-based support from the whole population. As strong as the movement is, it consists mostly of people from the middle class, despite the participation from all walks of life.

It also lacks support from parties across the spectrum. Lastly, the efforts by influential powerbrokers to defuse the situation via compromises acceptable to the conflicting parties will prevent the movement from developing its full potential.

However, any half-baked reform coming out of such a modus vivendi can only sow the seeds of discontent with the status quo. If nothing else, the Whistles movement has further stoked the aspirations of the growing middle class, which has to be satisfied sooner or later.

And who knows? An Arab Spring may be in the making.

Anan Pakvasa


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