New Mandala readers who have yet to check it out may be interested in the wiki-style innovation launched by The Nation. They have invited readers to edit two competing essays on Thailand’s political situation. One, titled “Thaksin, we miss you like crazy“, is for Thaksin “supporters and opponents of the coup who believe he’s a ‘lesser devil'”. The other is titled “Thaksin, you are bad news and even the coup can’t change that” and is, simply, for the “other camp”.

The Nation writes:

Try your best to defend your case and don’t interfere with the other side. Work as a team, be a sport and enjoy. We hope to publish both essays, so keep them reasonable and clean.

The pro-Thaksin argument is currently looking pretty thin while the anti-Thaksinites seem to have found their full voice.

The anti-Thaksin mob finish on a flourish:

Thanks to your venal abuse of the democratic process, another generation of the country’s power-hungry military have become convinced hat they are needed to run the place, throwing back the cause of political maturity by a decade or two. For that alone, you should spend the rest of your miserable little life in jail.

No Mr Thaksin, you cannot be wiped out by a coup. We can only hope that justice will prevail and before your memory starts to fade, you will be brought before the courts to reap what you sowed.

In contrast, the current offering in defence of Thaksin is lame – it’s not even funny. It reads, in full:

You are smart. Despite certain insecurities over your education — “I am not stupid.” — you have clearly managed to squeeze the maximum benefit out of limited faculties, not least by surrounding yourself by people who are smarter than you. After all, you bought yourself a whole country, at least for a while. That is a quality some of your countrymen clearly lack. Not theirs the lunatic determination, the need to succeed at any cost, the inability to say ‘enough.’

Kudos to The Nation for inviting readers to collaborate in this on-going debate. It’s an interesting initiative and I do hope it takes off. It would be terrific if the final products are printed and read widely. Right now, there is room in this wiki-essay project for provocative and exciting anti-coup writers to strut their stuff.

Will they answer the call?