How Thai Should Vote in the Next Election
If you had asked me this question a few years ago, I would have probably told you “To be able”. This does not mean I do not think being good is important. In fact, it is very. I will not go as far as the once Chinese Premier–TENG Seo-Ping and his all time famous saying that “It does not at all matter whether the cat is black or white as long as it catches mice.” Well, this is a half correct statement or at least an incomplete statement. It may be true that it is good if the cat catches the mouse. But if the cat is stealing food and harming other pets at the same time, I am sure we can not tolerate these behaviors even it catches mouse.
So, what do we do when it comes to making a choice to select a leader, especially a public figure? How would you cast your vote for contenders vying a public office post, an able person or a good person?
I remember some 20 years ago in a Bangkok Governor’s election, Jam-long Srimuang was being elected with land-slide victory sweeping more than 80 % of the votes. Jam-long, wearing a Thai Mor-Hom (An all season Thai style garment worn by poor Thai-farmers) most of the time during his campaign days is a down to earth retired lieutenant general. He is also a devoted Buddhist, vegetarian, and kind hearted person. But despite his popularity with the voters, he had more of the downs than the ups during his 5 years administration. Naturally, he performed poorly in his race for the second term Governorship. Bangkokians perceived him as a “Mr. Good at miss-management”. When his term ended, he left over with a huge sum of surplus budget
In the 1990s, after the Thai economy bubbles broke,
You may be thinking of Jimmy Carter. Would you impeach him like you did to Nixon? But, again, would you vote him for a second term. The answer is obvious.
Our last Prime Minister, now on the run from a Court subpoena of many corruption cases, is indeed a charismatic genius. No one I know of would say he is not bright and extremely brilliant. He came to office with a declared wealth of some US$ 35 billions 8 years ago. He has now asset of well over US$ 220 billions being put on hold pending court judgment. This does not include cash he put in to buying one of the best European football team valued at US$ 35 billions. No one knows how much more he has hidden.
But, we are not here to discuss matters of wealth or corruption. The point is, while every one is praising his ability, each would also question his integrity and ethics. Ironically, many people would still vouch to vote for him. My accountant, Wasana, and her whole family of 6 would do just that. This reminds me of Bill Clinton. Would you still vote for his 2nd Presidential run with all those ethical issues we read in the press? Well, did you vote for him?
Since I was eligible to vote in 1970, I have heard no other essence but “being good” as a qualified attribute to run for a public office in
I am fully aware that the two do not often go hand in hand or side by side. And more often we tend to see a good person with poor ability and vice versa. An able person usually is not sensitive to ethical issue. His goal is more to achievement and success than caring and loving. The argument is that ‘One can not have both sides of the coin. Some see it differently; they see “Being Good equals Being able”. When they choose a good person, they presume the person is able too. But is this logical? Is it really so reality? These may be reasons why Thai would always look for a “good” candidate to the detrimental of “ability”.
But I urge Thai to change, in time of the approaching December 2007 election, and to look for the other side of the coin of an able Prime-Minister besides being good. For we will have only a “good” person if we look for only the good quality, but when we search for both sides of the coin – the “good” and the “able” will have a whole coin.