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Asean Affairs    28  October  2011

Flood recovery will ignite political passions

  By David Swartzentruber

 AseanAffairs     28  October 2011

The Thai flood situation reaches a critical peak this weekend as the ocean tides rise making it more difficult for flood waters to enter the Gulf of Thailand.

When the flood surge diminishes, another tempest will hit and that will be the political fallout. The fallout will follow the lines of a “whodunit?”

Could the floods have been prevented?

Why were they not?

Who bears responsibility?

Thai editorialists are already posing these questions and one wonders if the post-crisis debate will result in an attempt to unseat the Pheu Thai party that swept into office July 3.

The split and disagreements between the Democrat-led Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the Pheu Thai-led national government have already caught the headlines.

Thai experts, such as Smith Dammaroj, the meteorologist who predicted a tsunami in the south of Thailand six years before it occurred, have already stated that systemic release of water from dams in northern Thailand months ago could have prevented the flood. But apparently in the midst of the May-July political campaign no one in the country was thinking of that.

The Democrat party under the leadership of PM Abhisit Vejjajiva was in charge then, can they be faulted?

The bottom line of this fiasco may well be that Thailand has not had a flood of this severity since 1995 and fail-safe systems to counterattack the monsoon season were simply not in place.

For that every government that Thailand has had for the past 16 years is at fault.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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