In death, as in life, Chai-anan Samudavanija always outshines. More than two decades after he left an academic career for policy work and a public intellectual role, Chai-anan's scholarly output is still cited more than any other social scientist. His passing, at 74, reflects Thailand's circuitous political trajectory and the shortcomings of the country's higher education. Until Thai academic standards are better incentivised and upgraded, few scholars are likely to scale international heights of scholarship and thought leadership anywhere near Chai-anan's achievements. Accessing academic search engines on the internet, such as Google scholar, will display some 1, hits for Chai-anan. No other academic expert in the fields of law and political science in Thailand match that level.
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Pongphisoot Busbarat, Guest Contributor - 11 Feb, In short, the Model argues that a regime, no matter what type of power distribution it has, must pursue at least three goals in order to maintain its power: security, development,and participation.
Representative democracy lacks broad-based societal relationships. In a representative democracy, people do not know their representatives in person but mainly through their occasional political campaigns and advertisements. Therefore, representative democracy does not promote civic participation in political and policy processes, nor shared values and experience. Chai-anan argues that democracy works better in other countries because of their long historical experiences, especially the struggle against colonialism.
Chai-anan suggests that Thailand only experiences one type of democratic system through representation. This is detrimental to social harmony and reconciliation. Those who are economicallywell-off benefit most. This is evident in rampant vote-buying and quotas for many ministerial posts. Therefore, Chai-anan proposes that Thailand should not pay too much attention to rectifying its political structure. What Thailand can do is to focus on promoting community activities whereby people can work together towards common goals.
This community-based participation — not democracy — leads to reconciliation. He concludes that Thailand should adopt sufficiency as the basis of democratic development. Working together for collective goals comes first. People will learn among each other and know who should be their leaders. They will choose them to be their representatives. Then, democracy comes later. His view may reflect three dimensions of ideas that are present in a large group of Thai intellectuals today.
First, it is part of a reaction to capitalist economic development at least since the late s when Thailand experienced its economic boom.
This anti-capitalist thinking peaked in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Second, Chai-anan is reflecting a bottom-up approach to democracy and, apparently, a reaction to the rise of the Thai Rak Thai party under Thaksin.
All these top-down, aka right-wing, theorists begin with the desired result and then construct a theory that they feel, or hope will produce or justify that result. Not at all. Chai-anand Samudavanija. Normally, it is thought that decentralization was about local government authorities. However, this still involved people who worked instead of the people. Elections are merely one part.
This is why we should be interested as much as possible in managing oneself at the community level. Western democracy has created complete stability, and opened the way for borderless economic activity. Is it capi-talist democracy, the support of competition, struggle, and an endless quest [for profit, I assume]? On the contrary. The sufficiency philosophy is appropriate and in harmony with the way of life in communities, because in sufficiency there is happiness. Coop-eration and mutual help makes the community peaceful.
Therefore, our Thai-style democracy should also have the sufficiency philosophy as an accompanying frame-work. A military friend of his had told him about an interesting community on Prachinburi, which had developed features of self-organization stemming from lack of credit and cheap crop prices. They have solved all their problems, including salty water. They even have a local police volunteer. It started from joining in activities responding to their needs, which then continuously expanded.
Finally, they established sapha ongkon chumchon community organiza-tion assembly. In the USA, and many other countries, the poor do not have any place to stay, and no representative of their interests. The question is what benefit democracy has for the poor in countries such as Thai-land, which has a high number of poor people. We hope that rural communities can have the shape of democracy.
This refers to es-tablishing a form of administration for local communities that uses the means of de-mocracy. However, the truth is that rural people do not quite see the benefit of democ-racy as a method of administration. They do not even cherish their voting rights. Rather, they sell their votes. In national and local-level processes of democracy, the people are rather more objects than they truly participate.
Self-organized activities for solving their basic problems are more important to them. For this, they rely on primary relationships, without having to establish formally de-mocratic structures and methods. Those villagers that could escape from these dangers have invariably returned to natural agriculture, and reduced their involvement with the market.
They look for ways to grow plants and raise livestock for their living. The creation of strong com-munities does not start with democratic community structures. Rather, they start with joining simple activities and relying on themselves.
Rather, it has to reach the people, making them perform various activities themselves by preparing a community plan that establishes community-level goals and sets and manages a budget by themselves. Secondly, you only need security for a regime to survive. The fact is, I suppose, all these demented schemes sound vaguely similar.
Hat Yai and the Muslim South full of Bahasa speaking ethnic Malays and almost a million Bahasa speaking visitors from Malaysia each year……. Not much there now. It is about time that serious economists will write about nonsense theories of monarchs and their horsemen. If sufficiency was practiced minimum wages in Thailand could have been raised to Chinese levels long time ago, the king would not have donated , Baht to the flood victims but like Bill Gates a few billion dollars.
The rich embraced the nonsense of sufficiency a decade ago, since than their wealth have skyrocketed. Please stop kissing the royal boots.
Help me out, but I would say that these two rule out any facile judgements of him as a right-wing royalist. He may just be a victim of the forced-choice polarization that we see occurring. But Greece where democracy was invented? Is not it ironic to me that the people who preach on sufficiency economy the most the K and those people around him are mostly people who are extremely rich and famous in Thailand? This requires oversight so that they are not a law unto themselves and also the participation of an active citizenry.
How to get to active participation is an important problem to be solved, not relegated to the dustbin as not important because it is not Thai! There are model politicians such as Rosana in Bangkok who was the watchdog on the PTT privatization and who provide a precedent for active involvement and there are the environmental activists too who often seem to get shot unfortunately.
And also apparently does so without providing concrete examples. People already do what Chai-anan proposes and not just in Thailand! Um, life surrounding the Buddhist temple? That has existed for thousands of years already. How many morning drives in the pickup with streamers flying in the back can I remember.
Temples in Burma are likewise a focal point for activity. Or in Tachileik waiting in line to get the sage advice of a popular monk on resolving the marital disputes of father and mother in law and listening to so many interesting cases before us, such as the parents of girl apparently crazy, who kept stripping her clothes off and dancing in the street mental health advice from monks. All community life revolving around the Buddhist temple. Why do you need to personally know your representative as long as he or she is working on your behalf and you are kept up-to-date on their work via a thorough local media which is perhaps problematic as long as journalists are shot with impunity.
Development of a vibrant local media that keeps people informed about what is happening at the local level would promote civic participation. Once again, an active problem solving approach is needed, not casting something off as being not important with the non-falsifiable argument that it is not Thai or not Burmese or not Malay, etc, etc the old-worn out Southeast studies unique solution gambit, all the mandalas, galactic polities, geobodies, of the past, blah, blah, yawn.
They got nothing relate to each other, Greece fail because of undisciplined fiscal policy coupled with global economic slowdown. Your email address will not be published. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.
This community did not start from an emphasis on creating democracy. Same same yawn. Dan D. Chris Beale. Des Matthews. T F Rhoden. Cliff Sloane. Permit me to ask for some contextualizing information. Vichai N. Leave this field empty.
He died peacefully, reported Kia Samudavanija on his Facebook wall on Saturday morning, without giving further details. He was among the key drafters of the Constitution of Thailand. During the political crisis, he was a vocal critic of then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. After gaining the support of the military and 40 provincial millionaires, Chai-Anan helped found the Matchima political party.
Former Constitution Court judge Chai-Anan dies
PPT can only express disdain for this political ploy and we can only wonder if anyone still believes such nonsense. It claimed that Thaksin Shinawatra and former left-wing student leaders had met in Finland and come up with a plan to overthrow the monarchy and establish a communist state. These inventions were published in the Sondhi Limthongkul-owned newspapers and repeated many times by PAD. Thaksin and his Thai Rak Thai party vehemently denied the accusations and sued the accusers. Back in , even the politicized courts held that ultra-royalist Pramote Nakornthap had defamed Thaksin with these concoctions.