Monday, June 27, 2011

The Gloves Come Off - Too Late?

Our next prime minister....

I wonder whether someone on Abhisit's staff reads this blog,   From time to time, I say something ... and shortly, someone seems to act on it.  Maybe it's just that I'm ahead of the curve, or that everyone is saying these things.

Recently, I compared two campaign posters from rival camps, pointing out how the Abhisit poster was covered with detailed statements of policy and ideas while the Pheu Thai poster presented a simple image, making itself comprehensible even to illiterates.  Shortly after that, I started seeing Abhisit posters with shorter, focused messages and more arresting images of the PM.  

When the PM said he wanted to bring the red shirts to task for the day of arson, I happened to post (on my private Facebook Page) a link to Purakhanda's video which actually has translations of of what the red shirt leaders actually said, set to a somewhat over-the-top "hollywood-like" soundtrack, and said that if he wanted people to actually believe it, he needed to start marketing a clip like that.  Sure enough, I am watching the democrat rally on TV (a few hours after watching a virulent anti-Abhisit hour of speeches on the PAD channel, so no one should accuse me of not looking at all sides ... and moments before Abhisit is about to emerge, this video plays dramatically.  I wondered whether Purakhanda knew about it; he was probably not watching as I've heard he's out of the country.

Last night's speeches hit the right notes and for once showed passion.  Today, the opposition is spending a lot of time dismissing it all as meaningless.  Perhaps in terms of the actual numbers they are right.  I had to watch the speeches on internet streaming; in a country like the U.S., a network like CNN would carry a major speech like this (from any major party) live in its entirety.  Only 20,000 people were logged onto the internet stream as far as I know, and only about 15,000 people were there, if that.  Afterwards, on the 11 oclock news, there were no really good sound bites from the speeches, and the networks were all over the fact that Yingluck had spoken to the Isaan and Northern electorate in their own dialect ... these were charming scenes certainly, if short on substance. And certainly her command of these dialects is a lot better than her English.  But then again, English-speakers aren't voting.

Therefore if they want to get any traction from the speeches, they're going to have to somehow become more media-savvy overnight.

One disappointment was that the promised revelation of "Dark Truths" didn't really occur.   I am sure there are plenty of Dark Truths to go around.  I myself have heard many purported Dark Truths, some of which are very dark indeed, from people at only one or two removes from the supposed "center of darkness."  But no one seems to really want to discuss what is actually in their hearts.  And nor do I.

Still, there is a genuine chance that the gap will tighten and at this stage, seeing these polls may draw out all those who absolutely loathed the Thaksin period.  Indeed, several prominent Yellow Shirts told me that all Abhisit has to do is declare war on Cambodia to get the yellow shirts clambering back on board.

Will I personally suffer under a Thaksinite administration?  Probably not as much as some people. I'm not on any list of drug lords, nor am I a Muslim in the south - so I have less chance of being killed.  When the Thaksinites first came on board, I thought they were great.  But now,  I guess as long as I mind my own business and don't fret about how we're inching towards some kind of slow erosion of our personal freedoms (this started in the middle of the Thaksin era but certainly continued  intermittently after he was ousted!) I guess I'll survive.

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