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July 13, 2011

Luck be a Lady

Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – The elections in Thailand were peaceful despite the exaggerated fears of trouble. Yingluck Shinawatra defeated Abhisit Wethchiwa, the current prime minister.


Abhisit was born in England and went to Eton, an exclusive private school for the rich. He then attended Oxford University, the Harvard, Princeton, and Yale of England rolled up into one.


He was doomed from the start. He took over the government after a wildly popular – but very corrupt – duly elected prime minister deposed in a military coup. That’s where the generals come to your office and tell you to get out of Dodge.


Abhisit represented the rich and the powerful. Born in England, coupled with his education plus riding a polo pony through the streets of Bangkok yelling “Good Show!” had a lot to do with his elitist perception. He wasn’t a guy you would visit a prostitute with, a Thai custom.


But he was loved by the rich and upper middle class. And by the Americans, Brits and everyone else who had an economic interest in the country. The rabble from the former government had been rousted and England’s finest would take the helm. The start of the Second Empire, by Jove!


While in office, he cracked down on opposition web sites, curtailed freedom of the press, silenced radio stations and had his opponents arrested. He must have earned his degree in political science with an emphasis in dictatorship while at Oxford.


But, the stock market soared and the currency surged. The rich were singing his praises. Everybody thought he was great except for the rabble who make up about 85% of the population and live about a millimeter or two above the poverty line. As an act of appeasement, he spent $43 billion in economic stimulus, none of which “trickled down” to them.


The impoverished rabble, a bit upset about having their prime minister deposed, their civil liberties curtailed and press freedoms abolished, took to the streets of Bangkok, shutting down the capitol. They especially unleashed their wrath on the stock exchange and the country’s largest shopping mall, a place where they could never afford to purchase anything. Abhisit instead of granting concessions, uncaged the military with scores of deaths and injuries as a result. The rich and middle class were elated and perceiving the opposition had been crushed, he called for general elections.


Meanwhile, the very popular former prime minister, who exited Thailand at the point of a gun, kept hope alive through his network of contacts and vast reserves of stolen cash. He secretly rebuilt the political party and prepared them for the election, but lacked a candidate.


Enter Yingluck, a very beautiful 44-year-old Thai lady and a graduate of Chiang Mai University and the “Ivy League” Kentucky State University where she earned a Masters Degree in Public Administration. The sister of the former, exiled and deposed prime minister, she defeated Abhisit in the very recent general election. To give you an idea how badly Abhisit was beaten, her party was only the second one in the long Thai history to achieve a majority in Parliament.


Abhisit will probably return to the manor, his colonial folly in the East a disgrace to dear old Oxford. Rumor has it he plans to finance a new version of “The King and I” starring himself as the King. Anna will be played by the new wife of the heir to the throne.


Prime Minister Yingluck deserves the best of luck for her nation.


And, from’s “Man in Borneo,” good night and good luck.


For Tom’s website and other articles about Southeast Asia please redirect to


Yellow Cab
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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