Daily Archives: December 2, 2008

I am sure that if you are stuck in Bangkok airport, the theoretical implications of Thailand’s political crisis do not rank very high up your list of concerns. Nonetheless, they are fascinating.

Remember all those theories about how the emergence of an urban middle-classes is a force for democratisation, because the bourgeoise will demand political rights? Well, in Thailand the precise opposite is happening. The urban middle-classes are rising up and demanding that democracy be rescinded.

Do not be fooled by the fact that the group occupying the airport call themselves the “People’s Alliance for Democracy“. Their intent is clearly anti-democratic. They have just brought down an elected government. Their broader demands are for Thailand’s directly-elected parliament to be replaced by a legislative body that is 70% appointed. Sondhi Limthongkul, a Thai tycoon (Thaicoon?), who is the group’s de facto leader says bluntly that – “Representative democracy is not suitable for Thailand.” Read more

On the day I arrived in Delhi last September, terrorists had set off bombs in markets across the city. The receptionist at the Taj hotel told me that they were advising guests to stay inside to avoid danger. The hotel felt like a sanctuary from the chaos outside. When I set off the metal-detector coming back into the Taj, the security guard just laughed and bowed deeply. Read more