I aspire to be realistically skeptical and I believe that most of the time I am. But I admit there are times when I am sometimes a bit cynical. Maybe this is one of those times.
I saw this news story on Thai TV and then later read about it in the newspaper about “Positive Network”, a new initiative by many major communications associations in Thailand. They say it is a “social campaign meant to reflect the voice of Thais from all classes and social groups”, that’s quote from The Nation. The organizers are the Advertising Association, Public Relations Society, Media Agency Association, and cable and TV associations. They say they will hold activities designed to promote awareness of the country’s real issues (emphasis mine), which include various events, forums and polls around the country throughout the year.
So this is where the skeptic in me turns cynical. It sounds like a lot of window dressing for a propaganda and dissent suppression campaign. I bet the participants in those events will be carefully chosen to showcase nice moderate ideas compatible with Thai sensibilities with proper deference to the government and revered institutions. “Fiery” (in quotes because it is more than a metaphor these days) anti-government sentiment of many up-country folks will certainly be filtered out. And in light of the recent large scale burning by rioters in Bangkok I thought the name they gave to a forum they are putting together was quite odd. They are calling it “Ignite Thailand”. Do they know what the word “ignite” means? If you were to replace “Thailand” with “Bangkok” or “Central World” it would be horribly obvious what a bad name it is.