James L Taylor’s recent New Mandala article has sparked lots of debate and received plenty of attention. Now it has caught the eye of Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They have sent us a letter, from spokesperson Sek Wannamethee, countering the claims made by Taylor. Read the full letter below and download a copy here.
We’d be interested to hear what regular readers think. Leave us your thoughts in the comments.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Sri Ayudhya Road,
1 November B.E. 2559 (2016)
The article in New Mandala, ‘Thailand’s black hole: a Deleuzian take‘, by Dr James L Taylor, attempts to cast aspersions on Thailand by conveying false allegations and opinions that support an idealistic view of Thailand as an undemocratic state, as opposed to facts and figures that reflect the current reality.
The article gives the impression that the government forcefully imposed an austere dress code against people’s wills. Such a portrayal can be no further from the truth. If you visit Thailand you will see that many Thais are not always wearing black, as it is also perfectly acceptable to wear white or subdued colours of any hue.
It is reasonable to assutne (sic) that businesses and street vendors will exploit the surge of demand of a particular product by increasing its price. This follows under the basic rules of economics. In fact, the government, being aware of this, moved quickly to implement preventative measures to avoid speculation and price gouging, stating that vendors that overcharge will be severely fined or even imprisoned.
Again, the claim that the poor have suffered financially since the military coup is based on groundless assertions that conveniently support the attack against the current government. In fact, the new government has worked to increase the minimum wage as well as government spending and investment, thereby ensuring the availability of jobs on offer.
Note the following statement in the article: “The so-called “Justice” Minister (General) Paiboon Khumchaya has indirectly called for socially sanctioned attacks (or “lynch mobs”) against those suspected of being even remotely “anti monarch”, even if they are living overseas.”
This is a groundless allegation based wholly on a subjective personal interpretation designed to support the notion that Thailand has been plagued by a ruthless totalitarian regime. The Minister has simply stated that he will prosecute those who break the laws of Thailand- laws that this government had no hand in creating- which is one of the key roles of any Minister of Justice. Such an interpretation is absurd to the point that it brings to light the author’s desire to launch a personal attack on the government.
By adopting carefully filtered content based on preconceptions and existing biases, as well as a demeaning tone and language that resonates with anti democracy and totalitarianism, this article desperately attempts to undermine Thailand and Thai people. Such groundless claims and interpretations designed to mislead, frustrate and provoke the public amounts this article to merely a collection of opinions and hearsay, as opposed to the whole objective reality.
Director-General of Department of Information and Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
of the Kingdom of Thailand