Thursday, June 9, 2011
Eye of the Hurricane
I have had a couple of days without concerts or singing competitions, mostly in discussions with my hosts about the future ... discussions which, as is usual in the Czech Republic, appear to involve large quantities of beer. Not being a beer drinker, I can only gaze in bemusement at how much beer these Czechs are able to consume without so much as a gurgle.
In between our analyses of the finer points of the operas of Janacek, I am frequently asked about "the war" in Thailand. This, as usual, being the international media's distillation of everything happening in Thailand into a few brief images or sound bites, with the Cambodians' propaganda being clearly more effective internationally than Thailand's (I do not say that Thailand's statements are not propaganda. It's all propaganda, and it all furthers agendas that have little to do with that poor beleagured temple on the edge of a cliff. To learn what the ICJ's stance really is, it is best to read my mother's booklet on this subject, which has already gone back to press.)
Following the media in Thailand as best as I can, it looks as though Ms. Shinawatra's coronation is already in the works. As my analysis of two randomly picked campaign posters showed last month, they do have a much better sense of how to sell. The judiciary is already being lobbied to pave the way for judicial nullification by way of the perjury accusation ... a genuine dilemma for the Thaksinites since both a guilty and a not guilty verdict would have a negative effect. Some are claiming that 10 billion baht is "missing" from some vague "somewhere", though it seems that for 10 billion baht an election would be pretty cheaply bought ... I would be a little surprised if either party were to claim an absolute majority, which means that we may be back to Machiavellian back-room deals yet again.
Meanwhile, someone has obtained at least 100,000 signatures on a petition to return to direct royal rule. This seems largely rhetorical. But it is rather sad that so many have become disenchanted with democracy.
The media as viewed from a hotel in a mediaeval township seems more concerned with Congressman Weiner's wiener than anything else. I am proud to say that I haven't seen it. Perhaps I am the last person on earth not to have done so. I shall resist.
Today the choral competition begins in earnest, with a dozen Czech children's choirs slugging it out vocally in a place called the "Bohema Palace". I shall look forward to it as I am one of 3 judges appointed today (the bigger contests, tomorrow, have more judges.)