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To Thailand And Great Britain, With Love
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2022
As A Former British College Student, Many People Have Asked My Opinion On What Is Going On In British Society And The Commonwealth, Especially In The Context Of Thailand.
Special to The Nation
Britain has got a new king, a new prime minister and lots of new challenges following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II a week ago. It was a reminder of the time when our beloved HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great passed away in 2017, bringing about a sea change in Thailand and for Thai people. We have a new monarch on the throne amid the divisions in society. However, the present King and all royal members could stabilise the nation with heartfelt love. So can the British monarch, as King Charles III takes up the royal reins from his mum at the age of 73, becoming the oldest king in British history.
A survey by several media pointed to the increasing popularity of the new British monarch, particularly the new king who got a new high score since being named Prince of Wales, the crown prince.
Meanwhile, the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, began her premiership with many unexpected burdens. The queen’s funeral and the visit of many heads of state will be her first opportunity to show British people and the world how the British empire used to be great and how it really is right now!
Lots of social problems and crises await her. The energy price hike, rising inflation, war in Ukraine, you name it, are going to be a few of the major challenges before her. Maybe her fierce rival during a month-long jostling, Rishi Sunak, now reckons that he does not have to feel too bad at being pipped to the post.
There are lots of promises that Truss holds dear to serve the British people as their new leader. Her image might have been criticised as a “Thatcher Wannabe” when she wore a head scarf on a tank running in a military drill when she was the defence minister. She graduated from Merton College, Oxford; one of the renowned colleges at the University of Oxford whose alumni includes Japanese Emperor Naruhito as well as many other world leaders.
Seemingly, recent polls are not on her side. Many Britons do not overwhelmingly trust that she will become a strong leader although her last name is presumably consonant with the word ‘trust’. Only time will tell and we need to wait and see because there will be no honeymoon period for her and her team. Whether she becomes a game changer or the opposite would become clear in a few months’ time.
Let’s now look at our country, Thailand is facing many issues we have never experienced before but is quite similar to the Western world. Our working places and schools are no longer as safe as they used to be. We recently heard the news of a sergeant killing two of his colleagues in anger. Somehow, the sergeant’s wife and daughter immediately rushed to the police station with evidence to prove that he was sick and undergoing treatment. A day later, a student carried a gun and shot his rival dead during a computer training session while being surrounded by his friends and teacher. The incident was first reported on social media that a student was killed by an explosion of a computer keyboard which misled the investigation. All the culprits must be brought to justice. This is a very dramatic story when there is a rumour that the suspected student killer had borrowed a handgun from a monk and his accomplice had thrown the handgun into the river to conceal evidence of the crime.
Why is Thailand witnessing more of such incidents? I do not know for sure if people are losing their minds due to the free cannabis campaign. Cannabis shops are opened easily for all at at every corner. Fortunately, the Democrat Party made an announcement not to go along with the free cannabis bill.
We also have digital scams everywhere. Examples of skilful villains and white-collar crimes have started to appear on the news headlines almost every day. Several celebrities are now fugitives and some are under police investigation because of their involvement with the scam and their unexplained wealth.
The constitutional dilemma that led the current prime minister to halt his duties will be vividly clear on September 30. The ruling could either result in ending General Prayut’s term as prime minister or prolong his tenure for another term. I strongly support the idea of counting his term from 2019 when he was sworn in as the prime minister according to the present Constitution. The court needs to use its discretion while making the ruling. If the judges give verdicts based only by reviewing the documents they have received from any faction, the court and judges might not be necessary at all. The judges should weigh all evidence as well as consider the case without biases or prejudices. There is no such thing as “reconciliatory approach”. The judges can only decide things based on the book of law.
I must emphasise and express my best wishes to Great Britain and Thailand with heartfelt love. Both countries are now facing new disruptions and sharing some similar situations. The show must go on but no one knows what the future holds!
(Amorn Wanichwiwatana, D.Phil. (Oxon), is a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University)