One of my tutors used to talk up the comparisons between Thailand and the Philippines. Countries of a similar size, they both have an entrenched military used to playing an active political role, a dominant state religion, unstable polities, and a bunch of other features in common that I can’t remember right now.
Some commentators have been quick to point up resemblances between the political crises currently facing the two countries. In both, the prime minister faces accusations of corruption, street demonstrations, and predictions that the government will fall.
However, (i) even Thaksin’s opponents admit that he won the election in 2005 by an “overwhelming” majority (Gloria’s supporters on the other hand fall back on the ridiculous “well even if she cheated, it’s for the good of the country” argument), (ii) he has an active support base prepared to rally for him (whereas Gloria’s backers are almost entirely passive, driven primarily by the absence of any alternative), and (iii) Thaksin has the confidence to attempt to resolve his crisis by going to the country in an election (something Gloria would never do).
Frankly, I think its outrageous that upstart Thailand should to seek to usurp the Philippines from its rightful place as Southeast Asia’s crisis capital. The problems facing Thaksin rank as a quiet day at the office for Macapagal-Arroyo. Go back to the beaches Thailand and leave the role of Calamity Jane to the experts.