The evil cycle is back and I’m worried.
I am old enough to have had a chance to watch Thai classic movies like Dok-Suk, Dao-Phra-Sok, Kukam and Maenakphrakanong. These movies have been remade again and again.
I have lived through several successful and unsuccessful army coups in Thailand. The reasons for the coup were to get rid of corrupted politicians and institutions or changing the governing system.
Thai people get used to having a coup every once in a while. They accept the coup seizing government control like they accept the change of seasons, just as the rainy season takes over summer, and summer takes over winter, etc. Thai people elected the government. Then came the accusation of wrong doing. And then the military took control of the government. This evil cycle has repeated itself over and again. Thailand is in the top 5 countries that has the highest number of military coups in the world.
Thai people forgive and forget very easily. Some critical characteristics of Thais are believing in the news too easily and not having the patience for the outcome of a long process or development.
When they hear of the not-so-true news repeatedly, they tend to believe that it is true. The more the media covers the news, the more they get involved, which makes the situation worse. When the situation gets to boiling point, they cry for someone to step in to help. Someone becomes their hero. They don’t know that sometimes their hero is actually the one who fakes the news in the first place.
Today the evil cycle is back again in Thailand. The difference is that the target has been extended from politics to religion. I believe 100% that religion is unavoidably entangles into political fights among different parties.
Dhammakaya case has become the new tragedy. The temple was first established 50 years ago. Since its inception, there have been attacks on the temple almost every 10 years.
In the past, Dhammakaya temple has been accused of promoting communism, unfairly treating rice farmers who rented the land that became the temple, taking hold of temple properties illegally, not following the order of the Sangha head and implying miraculous competence of the abbot. In 2017, the accusations include accepting things from a thief, money laundering, distorting the Buddha’s teaching, not being the real Buddhism, and breaking the law.
Within a few days, the military government filed 300 lawsuits against the temple. The Temple couldn’t catch up with all these speedy lawsuits.. I think this number of lawsuits could make it into the Guinness book of World Records.
The media keeps spreading the news. The Temple news makes headlines every day. The government strategically lures the media to report news to their benefit. Then they use the laws that they wrote to handle Dhammakaya case. Once they could not get what they want, they implemented the Article 44 on temple. Article 44 allows the government full power to crack down on the situation. Anyone who doesn’t follow their orders are going against the law. It’s a full blown dictatorship
Various types of people and groups have started to publicly share their opinions, making a good drama on news and social media. Some of these are famous people whose words Thais believe more than that of their own parents.
The evil cycle is back as expected.
The way to battle with it is to confront it with the truth.
We all know that the battle between two politic groups, the red and yellow parties, is still going on in Thailand. This time, the religion sector, Dhammakaya temple, is unwillingly assigned to one political party. Believing the temple is now their opponent, the other party inevitably drags the temple into the evil cycle of destruction.
Government officials, media, some movie stars and some monks started attacking Dhammakaya temple. It became a hot social issue. When they could not destroy the temple as fast as they wanted or in the way they wanted, they implemented Article 44 against the temple. They claimed that this is the law the temple has to follow. By the way, they made that law themselves.
More than 5000 policemen and army troops have been deployed at the temple grounds. The number can be raised even higher if seen fit by the government. No one knows how long the attack on Dhammakaya temple will last. They prohibit people from entering the temple. They do not allow deliveries of food to temple. They block the internet and telephone signals, and threaten to cut off water and electricity. Are you, Prime Minister, going to capture one single monk or commit a massacre?
The government throws a massive amount of money and resources at this operation. I bet this is politic. You can kick me in my face if it’s proved otherwise.
I told you that Thais are credulous sand have little patience. They prefer seeing things done quickly and have less concern about the long-term consequences. That’s why our country falls behind. We mostly solve the problem at hand without laying out a long-term plan for the social structure development in our country. Like growing a banana tree, developed countries would care for the tree patiently until it bears fruit. Thais would instead start cut down leaves for other uses when the tree’s not fully grown. We won’t have a chance to taste banana if we keep cutting all the leaves.
Click here to read Part 2.