On Sunday, Thai police, the Bangkok government, and the national government coordinated a well-planned, organized response to anti-government protests.
The communication from both police and the BMA were clear in what was expected, what areas to avoid for the majority of citizens, and what response the protesters could expect.
For a few hours, it appeared that Thailand had a functioning government.
But after the tear gas had dissipated from the sidewalks, the chemical-laced water had dried up on the pavement, and the rubber bullet cartridges had been collected by the BMA’s clean up crew, one question still lingers on.
Why is it that the government is able to coordinate so effectively when it comes to matters of repression and when it came to opposing their own citizens and why has it been failed so spectacularly when it came to its pandemic response?
For the past few months, all we have heard about is government infighting between the various ministries, the BMA, and inside the cabinet itself. We’ve had to suffer through this government’s bungled response in containing Covid and its economic fallout.
Hundreds of thousands have been infected, thousands have died.
But if we look back, let us remember how coordinated the government is when it comes to repressing the citizens rather than coming to their aid.
Think about how efficient the government machine is in going after dissidents for protesting or for violation of Section 112 of the constitution.
From proactive online watchdogs monitoring the internet for comments to the fast acting attorney generals and courts – the government looked a lot leaner and meaner when it comes to prosecuting their own people.
Or think about how efficient the constitution is in enshrining the powers of the military – think of how in unison the military-appointed senate is with the ruling party parliamentarians in opposing any constitutional changes.
It is a whole different government from the one currently unable to order vaccines from the United States.
The only conclusion that we can draw from this is that this current government was not designed to help the people but to help themselves. It is a self-perpetuating machine that crushes dissent and maintains power efficiently.
What the government forgets though is with the country’s economic and social oblivion at the hands of their mismanagement, there might not be much of a country left to govern after this crisis is over. To some in the government, this will suit them just fine – to everyone else with a morsel of a conscience, it is time to leave.