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Annoying Verbiage

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    Things are slow on travelfish right now, so I thought I'd add a pet peave of mine to liven up converation. I was reading the Lonely Planet Thailand for 2012. It is a characiture for dorky writing style full of words that are over-used and cliche among the backpacker set. These are words that should never, ever again appear in a tourist guide:

    Amazing - It's almost as though there is a prohibition against using other like words such as "terrific', "superb", "Brilliant", etc. Now I cringe every time I see the word in print.

    Culture - A great amorphis term that really means nothing when used in the tourist context. Culture is about language and people and how their social structures function, but somehow that has now morphed mostly into food and architecture. The word is, of course, over-used in all of it's contexts (I once saw a German advertisement for a museum on "Brot Kultur" - I wanted to puke) and throughout all western geograghy as it seems to give it's users intellectual street cred. I am waiting for someone to say they want to explore SEA "sex culture" as a cover since it sounds better than saying "I'm a sex tourist". Nevertheless, when people say "I want to see culture" it really doesn't convey much meaning in a tourist context. And everyone seems to say it.

    Traditional - I like to think about this in the context of my own upbringing and how a "traditional New England holiday" is spent. Or a traditional German Christmas. Why would this be particularly interesting when trying to understand New Englanders or Germans? Seeing Bavarians in their "Traditional clothing" gives me zero insight into modern day Bavaria. Yet guide books love the word traditional and work it in whenever possible. As if "traditional" were somehow more valid or interesting than modern.

    Tribe / Tribal / Hill Tribe - it never seems to occur to people that this word in it's current usage is inherently racist and ethno-centric. We don't call the French a tribe. We don't call the Germans a tribe (unless we are referring to them when they fought the Romans - in which case they were barbarians and tribe applies). We don't call the Spanish a tribe. We don't even call the Thai's a tribe. But we love the descriptive of "Hill Tribe" - those people being adequately primitive and different enough to earn the moniker. Interestingly enough nobody seems all that interested in tribes that aren't from hills. Where I live there is a large, distinct ethnic group (The Phu Thai) that has retained language and some "traditional" cultural habits. But they live in flat country as well as hills. Tourists don't seem even slightly interested. Go figure.

    "Authentic" - The worst usage for this word is when it is used as a synonym for good. Lots of authentic things are crap. But somehow, the word has morphed into a positive, and if we can eat "authentic" Thai food, even if it's fried insect larvae, that's good. But if we eat something like "American Fried Rice" that's bad because it is kitsch. On the subject of American Fried Rice, Lonely Planet describes it in very negative terms (I believe they use the pejorative "revolting"). My highly attuned anti-American radar tells me this was written by a Brit and that since it's origins are related to Americana, it must be bad. It actually is pretty tasty and Thais eat it at the local restaraunt here that serves it fairly often.

    #1 Posted: 22/7/2012 - 05:57

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  • MichaelHinB-
    KK

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd July, 2012
    Posts: 1

    I like your point about American Fried Rice. In my 20 years living here, I've probably seen ten Thais eating American Fried Rice for every one that has ordered Pad Thai, at the very least. I'm not sure where the notion came from that Pad Thai, or even Tom Yum for that matter, were 'real' 'authentic' Thai foods. You rarely see Thais eating them, and if you plopped down a bowl of plain old kwit-teo gai in front of most tourists, I'm sure they'd turn up their noses at it and say, "That's not Thai food." Well, guess what, it's what the average Thai is most likely eating for lunch rather than whatever tourist fare you're munching down is.

    #2 Posted: 22/7/2012 - 08:11

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    Pad Thai is popular out here where I live. We have three stands within about a klick and a half of my house, and they are busy all the time. Actually Tom Yum too. Perhaps it's an Issan thing. American fried rice is a fusion food (of course, if you go back far enough, all food is a fusion food) but so what? It's still food. Who cares about it's entymology?

    #3 Posted: 22/7/2012 - 08:51

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Madmac:
    Overall, lots of amazing points written in traditional English containing lots of authentic points about tribes.

    'Perhaps it's an Issan thing
    '
    No Lab,Nam tok and gapi and lao kow are Isan things.I think my appetite just went.

    #4 Posted: 22/7/2012 - 09:57

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "Overall, lots of amazing points written in traditional English containing lots of authentic points about tribes."

    Remind me to kill you when we eventually meet up.

    #5 Posted: 22/7/2012 - 10:07

  • DLuek

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    19th June, 2008
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 929
    Total reviews: 14

    Mac, now your challenge for the rest of the evening is to locate a paragraph (extra points for a single sentence) in some cliche drooling travel writing that uses every one of your pet peave words... "It was an amazing experience soaking up the traditional, authentic culture of the hill tribe." I'm sure that exact sentence must have been written somewhere, maybe even on Travelfish ?

    But seriously, I fully agree with you on "amazing", and you make an excellent point on the "hill tribe, tribal" thing. I worked with Karen refugees from the mountains of Burma for a while and always made it a point to refer to them as an "ethnic minority" rather than a "hill tribe".

    On "traditional" and "authentic", I think it depends on how they're used. I mean, if either of these words are used in place of "good", then it's not really using them correctly. For example, "traditional" basically denotes something that's been continued for a long time. I agree that it becomes questionable when used in a way that generalizes (i.e. a "traditional German Christmas"), but it's okay if used in a specific context (i.e. "she used a traditional Thai basket to heat the sticky rice"). One person's "traditional German Christmas" is sure to be different than another person's, but saying the basket is "traditional" is just a way of differentiating it as an object that's been used for a long time for a specific reason (as opposed to "she used a non-traditional stainless steel strainer to heat the sticky rice").

    "Authentic" is similar, but it's even more of a grey area - I think it depends on the context, and you're right it's a word that's thrown around too much in travel writing. But I think it's acceptable to write about, for example, "authentic Thai food" as opposed to "westernized Thai food". However, there's more room for being misleading here than with "traditional". I mean, saying something is "authentically American" just doesn't work. It still works a little better for more culturally homogenized groups of people (like Thai), but you're right that this word points to some increasingly murky terrain. Still, I think there's a place for "authentic" in travel writing when used strategically and in very specific contexts. As a way of differentiating an "authentic Thai curry" from a "a Thai-French fusion curry", I think it's okay.

    As for culture, this is one of my favorite words, but you're right it can be overused and cliche. Still, I don't find your comment that "Culture is about language and people and how their social structures function" to really hone in on the depth that this word conveys. To me, you're pointing more to "sociology" than "culture", although obviously the two are inter-related. Food, or more accurately, the methods of food preparation, the actual types of prepared foods that are produced, and the traditions of eating of a given group or society, is culture. Religion is culture. Art, music, and literature are all culture. Even architecture is culture.

    Certainly, language is culture too, but what makes it "culture" and not mere "linguistics" is what is being said, how it's being said, and how it's interpreted within a specific group of people. "Mai pen rai" is an expression of Thai language, but it also points to Thai cultural characteristics. If used correctly, and again, specifically (i.e. "watching the boisterous group of Thai men placing bets in the shadows of the muay Thai stadium made for an interesting glimpse into this aspect of Thai culture"), I think "culture" does have an important place in travel writing, and in tourism.

    I mean, no one is going to go to another country and not experience that country's culture(s) in some way. However, if a tourist "wants to see culture" it just means they want to do things like witness religions in action, see works of art and performances, and generally get a feel for what life is like in that place for the people who live there. Wanting to go scuba diving or lie on the beach would be the opposite, but even in those activities there are some elements of culture involved. Although the word is usually based on a "society" or "ethnic group", it doesn't have to be. The only prerequisite for using the word is that it relates to the ways of life of a group of people. There's a "diving culture", a "heavy metal culture", a "hockey culture"; there are endless sub-cultures under the umbrella of larger societal / ethnic cultures. And, yes my friend, there could even be a "sex culture" if there are enough norms between a somewhat defined group of people surrounding that. Although, saying you're going to "experience Thailand's sex culture" as a way of making yourself sound less seedy is absurd! But doing a field study on the sub-culture of foreign sex-pats in Pattaya might be interesting, or, entertaining, or, repulsing ???

    #6 Posted: 22/7/2012 - 10:18

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "But doing a field study on the sub-culture of foreign sex-pats in Pattaya might be interesting, or, entertaining, or, repulsing"

    I suspect it would be all of the above.

    On an academic level I agree with everything you wrote. My real problem with the ceaseless use of the word "culture" is the same problem I have with the word "Traveller" (which you probably noticed I didn't use). A lot of people use those specific words to elevate themselves (certainly many do not - I am not casting aspersion upon anyone specific). The sophisicated are travelling through SEA to examine the local culture, while the rest of the bourgeousie (sp?) are sitting on a beach soaking up the sun or fondling some poor girl in a bar. You get the idea. Having actually met this type passing through town here, it chaffs...

    #7 Posted: 22/7/2012 - 10:29

  • daawgon

    Joined Travelfish
    17th April, 2007
    Posts: 939
    Total reviews: 2

    What annoys me even more than your list of words is the really bad habit of vague questions on these forums, and I won't even mention the sloppy spelling!

    #8 Posted: 22/7/2012 - 12:25

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    The vague questions don't bother me much - you can play with them or you can simply tell the OP that you need more specificity if they really want help. I am not really hard on stupidity or ignorance, but arrogance, especially (but not only) when it is not deserved, is just really grating to me. When I ask someone at Good Mook Cafe how long they're on vacation for and they answer "We're not on vacation, we're travelling" I just want to jap slap 'em.

    #9 Posted: 22/7/2012 - 12:47

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Were Jack Kerouac, Jack London, W.D.Davies etc on vacation? I think they mean they've saved up and quit work to travel as opposed to taking 2 weeks off work.

    #10 Posted: 22/7/2012 - 13:12

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  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    Alas, they were "travelling" for three weeks before they had to go back to work. They were a couple. The three events with tourists here that still stand out with me is that one, the one in Savanakhet where an expat and his girlfriend / wife (don't know) were accosted by two tourists because they accussed the guy of "exploiting" the girl and one time at the Indochin market when I was with my daughter and this young female tourist came up to me and said "What are you doing with that little girl?"

    #11 Posted: 22/7/2012 - 13:54

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2089
    Total reviews: 20
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    After reading yet another thread that had been annoyingly 'hijacked' by MM and crew, I thought the title of this discussion was very apt as I was more than ready for a rant. Use of words wasn't quite what I wanted to vent about... but interesting all the same. And at least you've started a new thread for it this time. :-/

    'Locals' is a word that I struggle with - as in, "I want to get out and meet the locals'. I know that I use it for want of another word, but I don't feel comfortable with it. It feels a bit condescending which is never the intent. It reminds me of my aunt in the US who insists on referring to people in NZ as 'natives' - which brings up images of NZ'ers running around in grass skirts with bones through their noses. 'Local residents' sounds to suburban.

    'Travelling' vs 'vacation - so where do you draw the line? Is it based on length of the trip? I don't believe so. My interpretation of vacation is about staying at a resort, on a cruise and taking packaged tours, whether they be day trips or multi-day trips. It's where everything is organised for you and you don't have to do much thinking for yourself other than decide what the next cocktail will be.

    I've taken 6-8 week breaks from work, arrived without firm plans and just moved from place to place over that period, seeing the sights as I go. I do make a point of getting out of the touristy areas for a good part of the time, I eat in local-style markets and restaurants, and take the time to socialise with the locals (there's that word again!). I'll spend weeks trying to learn the basics of the language so that I can communicate on some level. I don't get hung up on terminology too much one way or another, but if I had to categorise it, I would call it 'travelling' rather than a 'vacation'. Does that change if I am doing the same thing for a 2 week period? Dunno.

    'Amazing' - that's just the word of the day - along with 'awesome'. Back in your day, MM, everything was 'cool!'.

    People's choice of words doesn't really bother me in the same way that it aggrieves MM. I can handle the vague questions if I'm in the mood to be generous with my time. If I'm not, I just ignore them. But I'm with daawgon on the sloppy spelling, grammar and writing. The worst ones are the 'text language' posts. If they can't be bothered putting some effort into writing a decent question or learning to spell the names of the places that they plan to visit, I'm not inclined to put in the time to answer them. Call me old fashioned.... but when people aren't interested enough to construct a semi-decent post, I assume they are aren't interested enough to take on board what suggestions I might have to offer.

    #12 Posted: 22/7/2012 - 15:25

  • daawgon

    Joined Travelfish
    17th April, 2007
    Posts: 939
    Total reviews: 2

    " If they can't be bothered putting some effort into writing a decent question or learning to spell the names of the places that they plan to visit, I'm not inclined to put in the time to answer them."

    Lizzy - my brain exactly, we must be of the same era?

    #13 Posted: 22/7/2012 - 23:01

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    'After reading yet another thread that had been annoyingly 'hijacked' by MM and crew.'
    Lizzy it's his thread.
    What I find amusing is there is no more cliche ridden organisation in the world than the military,believe me.Try to deny that Madmac.

    :-)

    Oh yes and my most hated word used by some people is:
    'Whatever!'
    Usually used when someone acquiesces with ill-grace.

    #14 Posted: 23/7/2012 - 00:23

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    BTW Lizzy who qualifies as Madmac's 'crew'.

    #15 Posted: 23/7/2012 - 01:21

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2089
    Total reviews: 20
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    Lizzy it's his thread.
    Yes, I realise this is MM's thread - and that's all good. I was referring to another one that I was interested in following the discussion on the original topic, with good input from exacto, for one. Then it quickly derailed - and that means it probably won't get back onto the original topic. Disappointing for me, and for the original poster, too, I'm sure.

    Rant over.

    Oh yes and my most hated word used by some people is: 'Whatever!'
    Ha ha - my most hated word is 'like'. As in: "She was, like, so rude. And he was like, whatever."

    Shoot me now!

    #16 Posted: 23/7/2012 - 01:23

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    That's, like, soooo Californian dude.
    We should hurl down hellfire missiles on these 'travellers' That'll teach'em

    #17 Posted: 23/7/2012 - 01:37

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location New Zealand
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    You'd think it was Californian... but Kiwi's are doing it too (albeit with a Kiwi accent)!

    #18 Posted: 23/7/2012 - 01:46

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location New Zealand
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    Travel -vs- vacation
    NomadicMatt recently wrote a blog entry that talked about the 'travel vs vacation' debate. He made these comments after a stint on a cruise ship - as a 'vacation' from his more stressful independent travelling life.

    He wrote: ".. in talking to people what I really learned was that travel and vacation were synonymous words for them. This was their vacation, but in their mind, this was also traveling. Forget the fact they never left “the resort”, to most people on a cruise this was travel.

    And I think that’s unfortunate. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a vacation, but to think that heading to a mass consumer destination is the same thing as travel is not a good thing. Just like heading to Vang Vieng and saying “I’ve been to Laos” is bad, so is heading to a cruise port or an all-inclusive resort. It sterilizes the destination and hides the local culture. You aren’t really experiencing Mexico when you are in Señor Frogs, but it was amazing to me how many people expressed the idea that “Mexico is awesome!” while there.

    I think there is a distinct difference between travel and a vacation. The first is about experiencing the world, the latter about relaxing."


    So, going back to MM's frustration with meeting people that call themselves travellers. I have far more respect for people who make an attempt to see the some part of the world independently, even if it is for only 2-3 weeks at a time, than who spend it lying on a sunbed on a cruise or at a resort. I see nothing wrong with calling them travellers. Lying on a sunbed aint travelling. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy lying around in the sun, too. In fact, I'll be doing it in Fiji for a week later this year. But I'm under no illusion that I will be experiencing any form of culture or local life. This trip will be all about escaping work, snorkelling with the fish and knocking back some cocktails, and spending time with a friend. That's a vacation.

    #19 Posted: 23/7/2012 - 03:54

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "I have far more respect for people who make an attempt to see the some part of the world independently, even if it is for only 2-3 weeks at a time, than who spend it lying on a sunbed on a cruise or at a resort."

    I do not have more respect. I am cool with it either way. In both cases people are doing what they want to do with their valueable down time. Nothing wrong with either option. It's when people try and elevate themselves, to pretend they are more worthy of respect, that it grates. And what really irritates is when they come out where I live and try to tell me what's what - like they have a remote clue as to how this environment functions because they read lonely planet and got on a bus and stayed here for two days. Oh man, that's so annoying.

    SOME PEOPLE (again, not all) who want to call themselves travellers, are doing so to paint themselves as more sophisticated and enlightened than your average tourist - and that's a crock. People who go want to strike out independently and see more varied sights and experience something significantly different are doing that for their own selfish reasons - just like all the rest of us on vacation. It ain't philanthropic.

    and no worries hijacking the thread. A conversation that drifts is a healthy conversation.

    That's all I'm saying. How you choose to spend your precious vacation time is not an indicator of your sophistication, intelligence or quality as a human being.

    #20 Posted: 23/7/2012 - 04:42

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    'People who go want to strike out independently and see more varied sights and experience something significantly different are doing that for their own selfish reasons - just like all the rest of us on vacation. It ain't philanthropic.'
    Unless their Mormons. (I refer to the philanthropic bit)

    #21 Posted: 23/7/2012 - 08:24

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    I think there is a distinct difference between travel and a vacation. The first is about experiencing the world, the latter about relaxing."

    Just to make clear:
    Liz, why do you think people want to "experience the world"? Because that's fun for them. They enjoy that. You ever see anyone write here:
    "Well, I stayed in fleebag hotels or homestays that were so dirty, they make Newark NJ look clean. I was surrounded by people who don't know anything about the world outside of their own community and couldn't communicate with them anyway because I don't speak (fill in the blank) and they couldn't speak English. I ate really lousy food that was prepared with about the same amount of hygentic detail as you see with a pack of hyenas. The Showers were cold, the rooms were hot, and the beer was so full of ice it was watered down. It totally sucked, but I learned a lot."

    No, you never see that. Everything is amazing, delicious, interesting, fun, etc. etc. etc. Once a blue moon someone will write about how they had a bad experience in a very specific way. But people aren't going on these trips so that their down time will totally suck. For them, this kind of exploting is fun. Sitting on a beach is boring. That's actually true for me too. I don't like beaches and I don't like the sea. I like going to the village and helping dad on the farm. But it doesn't make me better or more enlightened than the person who is hitting the beach. We are both doing what we like. We just like different things. When "travelling" is used as a descriptive for a different kind of a vacation, it's fine. But when it's used as a term of elitism, it's offensive.

    #22 Posted: 23/7/2012 - 08:59

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
    17th June, 2011
    Posts: 684

    I'm just reading this thread now and my first reaction is, MADMAC, why the hell are you so hung up on the relatively minor distinction between being on vacation and travelling? When I was away for a year and somebody asked me how long was I on vacation/holiday for, then my first reaction was to say "I am travelling". Perhaps people took this an "elitist" comment, but it certainly wasn't meant in that tone. I was merely describing what I was doing, i.e. travelling. I don't think you could see 3 continents and cover thousands of miles and realistically call it a holiday.

    Also, if people happen to describe their travels in positive sentences and use the word amazing a few times, then so be it. It's their trip and their opinions, so I don't think anybody has the right to argue that it wasn't amazing.

    For what it's worth, I would describe my trip as amazing. I also ate food in 12 different countries from a combination of street stalls, homestays and markets and never once got sick - I think that is pretty amazing.

    I would never force the details of my trip on to somebody but if they ask I will be honest and tell them it was AMAZING.

    #23 Posted: 23/7/2012 - 09:34

  • oscarcat

    Joined Travelfish
    11th November, 2008
    Location Cambodia
    Posts: 66

    You're only travelling when you're on a bus, train, plane ferry (whatever*). When you're on the beach/at the homestay/in the temple (in your bikini, 'cos it's like, traditional) you've arrived. Officially. Don't do too much travelling on your vacation. Try arriving and staying. And maybe living. In the now.

    #24 Posted: 23/7/2012 - 10:14

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    China
    The I gather from your "travels" that nothing was interesting, cool, fun, outstanding or great.

    Street Food is another subject all it's own. Or rather the fascination with same. There's one I'll never get. BTW I had an excellent Gai Pad ***** today at a restaraunt. Nice view, good beer... proper dining.

    #25 Posted: 23/7/2012 - 12:06

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    Liz, why do you think people want to "experience the world"?

    Lots of reasons.
    - To see and experience something different from their own normal mundane lives.
    - To learn how others live their normal daily life.
    - Maybe to learn about their own family heritage.
    - To broaden their education beyond the basics (and mostly forgotten) stuff you learn in school. What better way to learn history, geography and even religions than to actually see things first hand, and talk to local people who are a part of it all?

    How they choose to experience is a personal thing driven by available time, budget, travel experience, age, fear, sense of adventure. Some is better than none. At least they are making the effort to see something different rather than doing the annual vacation Hawaii, Florida, or whereever. (BTW - 'Respect' was not the word I should have used in my earlier post. 'Admiration' I guess is closer to what I was meaning).

    Even the bad times (cockroaches in room, bus rides from hell, etc) aren't always all that bad - in hindsight, anyhow! That's just a small price to pay to see and experience something that is vastly differently to our otherwise mundane, 9-5 suburban lives. To be fair, I don't do it as rough as others, but I've had my share of crappy times. These are generally quickly forgotten however in favour of the far more memorable, sometimes life-changing random encounters and experiences.

    #26 Posted: 23/7/2012 - 16:01

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    I think Madmac is right (above) 3 weeks does not constitute travelling.
    But just to test the water which sentence makes more sense to you.

    a) I've been on vacation for 2 years
    b) I've been travelling for two years.

    I still think length of time is an important criterion.

    #27 Posted: 24/7/2012 - 02:07

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
    17th June, 2011
    Posts: 684

    "which sentence makes more sense to you.

    a) I've been on vacation for 2 years
    b) I've been travelling for two years."

    a) doesn't make any sense, unless you've spent two years on the same beach, and even then I would question the wisdom of labelling a two-year break as a vacation;

    b) makes total sense.

    #28 Posted: 24/7/2012 - 03:01

  • Nokka

    Joined Travelfish
    6th April, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 259

    'Travelling' isn't a great word, but it does seem to have become accepted as being synonymous with being away from home visiting a variety of locations. Its almost as if the language hasn't fully adapted to what many people do nowadays, take longer trips, move around. Sometimes I tried to avoid the word when I did my longer trip, but it did mean using several words, where really only one is required. In the end 'travelling' is probably the best we've got at the moment. People who describe themselves as 'travellers' though I find a little embarrassing - it has connotations of either Dr Livingstone, or of a bloke in a cheap suit and an estate car doing Commercial Travelling.

    But that's language for you - sometimes it adapts well, other times not. Many people seem to have a problem with what to call their new 'girlfriend' or 'boyfriend' in later life. Girlfriend ? Significant other ? Other half ? All awful, so Partner often gets used, despite the fact that it itself is a dreadful word with images of a business relationship.

    #29 Posted: 24/7/2012 - 05:17

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    Liz,
    I have lived in eight countries in my life. I have travelled to a great many more. I speak four languages two of which I am completely fluent in and my Thai is getting quite credible (My Somali is weak). I chose a lifestyle that would accomodate my desire to see the world. But I have a friend from school - we went through grades 1-12 together. He never left town. In fact, he worked at the same gas station for about 20 years. Yet he owns a home, has a nice family, is a thoroughly decent guy. My life has been different, and I'm more worldly than he is, but that doesn't make me in any way, shape or form a better person or more worthy of respect of admiration. We're just different. That's all.

    Most "Travellers" can't carry my backpack when it comes to having seen the world. I've been on the move since 1985. Never lived anywhere longer than six years until now, and that only one time. I've lived in top end apartments and out of a rucksack sleeping on a cot with brutal heat and not even a fan for comfort for over a year. It doesn't make me special or better than my friend in any way.

    People who choose to "travel" do so because they want to. They enjoy it. That style of enjoying their free time - however much it happens to be - appeals to them. They don't get merit badges for it. They aren't doing society a favor. They aren't special. They are no better or more interesting than the person who spent their time on the beach. Because how people spend their down time is not a reflection of the rest of their existences. I've met "travellers" here, like Casey, who are good people and fun to hang out with. And I've met some who were total losers and worse, projected their "I'm not a tourist, I'm a traveller" attitude. I was oh so happy to remind them they were tourists and transients.

    As Nokka points out, when it's someone on the move for a long period of time, vacation doesn't seem like the right word. I got that. My objection to the use of the word is when people are using it (along with "culture") to elevate themselves.

    "How was your vacation?"
    "I wasn't on vacation. I was travelleling in order to learn about other cultures".

    This is elitist nonsense.

    Nokka,
    When I hear someone describe their boyfriend or girlfriend as "partner" I always think of some Spaghetti western with Clint Eastwood in it. "How do partner?"

    #30 Posted: 24/7/2012 - 08:27

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 684

    "Most "Travellers" can't carry my backpack when it comes to having seen the world."

    The only person talking elitist nonsense on here is you MADMAC.

    "I was travelleling in order to learn about other cultures".

    You scoff, but I see absolutely nothing wrong with somebody saying that.

    #31 Posted: 24/7/2012 - 10:46

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6341
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    "You scoff, but I see absolutely nothing wrong with somebody saying that."

    You took it out of context China didn't you? If you see it's entire context, you see the correction and then the statement.

    The same thing can be said without being elitist:
    "How was your vacation?"
    "It was good. I was just kicking around Southeast Asia seeing how things are over there. Decided to get off the beaten path instead of doing the usual beach thing. I was lucky I has enough down time between jobs and had saved enough money to stretch it out."

    See the difference?

    "Most "Travellers" can't carry my backpack when it comes to having seen the world."

    The only person talking elitist nonsense on here is you MADMAC.

    You took this out of context too. I emphasized how this did not make me in some way better than my friend, who has done none of that. When I am sitting in a cafe and some gap year kid comes in with a condescending tone trying to tell me what's what while he corrects me that he's "not on vacation, he's a traveller". Come on man. Be serious here.

    #32 Posted: 24/7/2012 - 11:25

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 1557

    'People who describe themselves as 'travellers' though I find a little embarrassing'

    In the UK travellers are seen as an ethnic group; even new-age travellers are quite distinguishable from the rest of the population because they move from place to place.I know travellers who spend the summer picking on farms and then spend the winter in India.Are they on vacation?
    The use of partner is a fragile subject.If you're gay, for example, and you've been with the same person a long time boy/girlfriend tends to have a temporary connotation.
    but what the hell as this got to do with travellers?
    How about Ramblers, brings out thoughts of Woody Guthrie.

    #33 Posted: 24/7/2012 - 15:08

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

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    Arguing about the definition of travellers is a bit sad. Travelling is just moving around. How you choose to spend your free time is up to you and the more you travel the more you see the world is pretty much the same all over. A whole lot of trees, water, grass and people going about their business.

    #34 Posted: 24/7/2012 - 18:06

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

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    "These are generally quickly forgotten however in favour of the far more memorable, sometimes life-changing random encounters and experiences."

    All humans do that, even drunks talking about the past. People who visit lots of countries aren't unique in their thought processes yet they seem to think they are superior. Like going to 43 countries makes you better than someone who has visited 5 and better still than someone who has only stayed in 1.

    #35 Posted: 24/7/2012 - 18:11

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Who is this guy? I like him.

    "Arguing about the definition of travellers is a bit sad. "

    Perhaps. Things were slow for a while, so I thought I'd start a thread to get a conversation moving. And it worked!

    #36 Posted: 24/7/2012 - 23:22

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

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    "I have far more respect for people who make an attempt to see the some part of the world independently, even if it is for only 2-3 weeks at a time, than who spend it lying on a sunbed on a cruise or at a resort"

    So you would respect travellers like this more than your own family based on something as shallow as a travel resume. Being a good spirited person is more important that any self absorbed travel resume people try to build.

    #37 Posted: 25/7/2012 - 07:02

  • chinarocks

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    Leonard - in fairness Lizzy did correct herself already. Based on the general theme of her postings here (i.e. reasonable) I wouldn't pick her up on a small technicality.

    Although I agree that admiration is a better word than respect!!

    #38 Posted: 25/7/2012 - 07:31

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

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    Someone I know died last week. How many countries they went to means nothing to me.

    #39 Posted: 25/7/2012 - 07:39

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Hey Liz is cool. One of my favorite posters and a classy lady whom I one day hope to meet. We are having a conversation here and a friendly disagreement perhaps on some finers points of semantics. Same with everyone else. We can dsiagree on something - it's not a big deal. Like I said, just a friendly discussion on what was a slow news day.

    #40 Posted: 25/7/2012 - 07:39

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    I hadn't planned on re-entering this discussion as I don't have the inclination to debate something that I really don't feel that strongly about in the first place.

    However, Leonard, you've taken my comments out of context. As pointed out,I already corrected the use of the word 'respect'. (I often type my posts while at work so I tend to rush and don't always take the time to proofread my comments to make sure they read OK, or say what I mean).

    It doesn't concern me one way or the other how people choose to travel, vacation or holiday. It doesn't concern me whether they see one country or 40. And it doesn't worry me if they choose NOT to travel fullstop. It's their perogative, their choice - I have no view on it one way or the other.

    You took my comment out of context for your own agenda. My comment was made only in relation to the discussion about 'travel vs vacation'. My belief is that people will generally have a more rewarding experience if they make an effort to learn a few words of the local language, venture out of the tourist areas, meet and spend time with locals. But that isn't for everyone. The burnt out, stressed copany executive will probably find their rewards sitting by the pool and ordering room service and generally not having to lift a finger or use their brain. And there's nothing wrong with that either. And for those that aren't inclined (or can't) do either, that's OK too.

    Welcome to the forum, Leonard. (Or is 'welcome back' more appropriate?). I will look forward to your valuable contribution to discussions and your helpful travel advice - which is what most people seek when they come to this forum. Preferably without the need to shoot people down along the way.

    #41 Posted: 25/7/2012 - 16:01

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

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    Wasn't pushing any agenda just wondering why you made the comment which btw wasn't out of context at all. It seems it was a bad choice of words.

    Any form of holidays is a good thing. Think we all agree on that.

    #42 Posted: 25/7/2012 - 20:26

  • Saphir

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    I am irritated when I hear people talk of "the real", as in "You must see the real Vietnam (or wherever)". It's all real! Do I not live in "the real" Australia because I live in a city and not the outback???
    And now please excuse me while I go and make coffee.

    #43 Posted: 25/11/2012 - 22:50

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Great point Saphir. It goes back to the heart of elitism: "I didn't lie around on the beach. I went and so 'the real' Thailand."

    #44 Posted: 26/11/2012 - 00:02

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
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    Depends what beach one has been lying on...e.g. lying on the beach in Sihanoukville is the real Cambodia, lying on a beach in the Costa del Sol is not the real Spain.

    #45 Posted: 26/11/2012 - 03:47

  • Saphir

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    I disagree.

    #46 Posted: 26/11/2012 - 14:33

  • MADMAC

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    I'm with Saphir - it's in Spain - it's the real Spain. It may not be a good example of typical Spain, but that doens't make it any less real. Phuket is the real Thailand - so is Pattaya. They don't exemplify typical Thailand, but they are no less real. The word choice is used in an elitist context - which was Saphir's point.

    #47 Posted: 27/11/2012 - 03:43

  • chinarocks

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    Pure and utter BS. Just because something exists within a country doen't mean it reflects the majority of the rest of the country accurately - that's a lazy and simplistic argument.

    A week in the Costa del Sol eating pizza and drinking Stella Artois is about as far removed from what Spain is really like as you can get. It is one isolated pocket of the country which, for some reason, seems to attract a disproportionate amount of tourists, probably something to do with the ease of getting there from mainland UK.

    At least Sihanoukville, while seedy in parts, reflects many facets of Cambodia well. You can eat fresh seafood and fruit on Otres Beach. You can get massages off local ladies for $5. And a local man will bring you to the beach on a tuk tuk each morning.

    I haven't been to Pattaya or Phuket so can't comment.

    #48 Posted: 27/11/2012 - 04:52

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Just because it doesn't reflect the majority of the rest of the country doesn't make it less real. Usually when people use this phrase, the implication is if you go to a tourist area it is a poor example of the country as a whole - and while that might or might not be true, it's still just as "real". Again, I find the expression a relfection of elitism in the same way I find the expression "traveller" an expression of elitism. "I'm not a tourist, I'm a traveller" - when in fact a traveller is by definition a tourist. He's a transient. I'm going to KSR to meet up with other "travellers" (vice tourists). So I would have to say I lean towards Saphir's point of view on the term in the context of this particular usage. Usally countries are so large, that what typifies them in terms of location and habits can't really be nailed down. Bangkok is definitely the real Thailand (some 15% of the population - give or take - lives there). So saying "get out of Bangkok and go see the real Thailand" would be absurd.

    #49 Posted: 27/11/2012 - 05:10

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
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    If 15% of Thailand's population lives in Bangkok, then surely, by definition, to see the real Thailand you would have to see the other 85%? That is, 85% is significantly greater than 15%.

    #50 Posted: 27/11/2012 - 08:01

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    No - that 15% is still quite real. Furthermore, it is urban Thailand. And of the other 85%, a large chunk of that is urban as well. I mean, if I went to a small Thai village occupy an unmeasurably small amount of the Thai population - would it then be less an example of "the real Thailand"??? Do we have to see rural environments to see "the real" whatever? In many countries, more than half the population is urban. Does that mean if you only visit rural countryside you aren't seeing "the real" country? The use of the term is hokey and it's used when people are trying to be elitist. Think about it. Two guys in a bar. One says:

    "Really, I went to Thailand too last year."
    "No kidding. Where did you go?"
    "Phuket and Bangkok"
    "That's not the real Thailand. I went out to Issan."

    #51 Posted: 27/11/2012 - 09:02

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
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    I think the over-riding sentiment with such an argument, whether it is right or wrong and elitist or not, is that big cities are, generally speaking, generic (how often do you hear somebody say "it's just a big city"). While they all have their own nuances (certain types of shopping specialties, nightlife, etc), to differentiate one country from another it is worth looking beyond the bigger urban centres. I don't think it's so much about one being real and the other fake.

    For the record, I love big cities.

    #52 Posted: 27/11/2012 - 09:36

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    No question. The lesson you learn from going from urban locations across cultural boundaries is that a lot more binds us than differentiates us (which I think it good - shared common humanity). In rural environments, you see a lot more provincialism, which I do not think is good. It's focussed on what differentiates us (and not always in a good way). But in the event, I do have to agree with Saphir (where did he go by the way?) that there is something elitist in the expression as used in this connection. The implication is that the person going to the "real" Thailand is more socially aware, more intellectually cognizant, less hedonistic... At least, I get that sensing.

    #53 Posted: 27/11/2012 - 11:24

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    I think MADMAC is on to something with the what differentiates us idea, particularly between urban and rural settings. When I lived overseas in Bangkok or Istanbul, the locals seemed to focus on the things we had in common, while here in rural southern Utah, it seems the discussion centers on the 5 to 10 percent that we don't share.

    Maybe when people say they are seeking the real or authentic, what they really mean is that they want something that is as different from home as possible. To get that, they'd really need to get rural, wouldn't they, since BKK has so much in common with NYC or LAX these days.

    Not that anyone asked, but I also agree that the implication is that the person who says they want the real Thailand does view themselves as more aware and intellectual (same with people who say they don't want to be around "tourists" while they are one), but I don't think it is universal or necessarily to such an extreme degree as suggested above.

    #54 Posted: 27/11/2012 - 13:43

  • Saphir

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    Still of the opinion that it is utter bilge to think there is a 'real' part of a country.

    #55 Posted: 30/11/2012 - 16:37

  • DLuek

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    19th June, 2008
    Location Thailand
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    Just caught up with this thread after quite a while...

    In the back-and-forth that went on between Madmac and chinarocks, I see more eye-to-eye with Mac. It is elitist to call one place "real" or to say "I'm not a tourist I'm a traveler." In the most honest sense, every place and every person is "real", unless you're reading about it/them in a fiction book. Then again, to say "I'm going to Khao San to meet other travelers" - I don't see anything wrong with that unless it were explicitly said that "I don't want to meet tourists, I want to meet travelers."

    Yes "travelers" are "tourists" and vice versa, but personally I do vaguely differentiate between the two terms (please don't make me explain as I'll be here all night writing an essay). With that said, there's nothing wrong with being either traveler or tourist, and the labels can easily be interchanged.

    It's all great points being made in this thread, but what I really want to ask is this: If you were a travel writer attempting to describe places and things you see while traveling, what adjectives would you use in place of "authentic", "local", "touristy", "traditional", etc. The best way is to show it and not tell it, i.e. "Diners sitting on stainless steel stools paused to stare curiously our way as we walked through the cafe's open-air entrance. Only a Thai menu was available here, and a group of teenagers giggled as we attempted to order by way of pointing and nodding furiously. We felt more than a little out of place, but the curries - made from ingredients grown in the back yard and pounded by an elderly cook with a cigarette hanging from her lips - were worth the effort."

    A more "annoying" or "elitist" way to describe the same place might be to say: "The cafe has a local vibe with no tourists in sight. No English menu was available but if you can't manage some basic Thai you can probably get by just pointing. The spicy and authentic curries are made the traditional way and are worth straying off the beaten path for."

    But notice how "showing" it required twice as many words as "telling" it. The first way works great if writing a more in depth piece, but when summing up a restaurant in 100 words or less, it can be tough to avoid using catchy adjectives like "non-touristy", "authentic", "traditional" and "off-the-beaten-track." Any suggested alternatives in terms of adjectives? Or just avoid using any adjectives at all cost?

    #56 Posted: 1/12/2012 - 12:13

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Dave, I prefer the first descriptive myself. You're a good writer though, and that comes through in both.

    #57 Posted: 2/12/2012 - 19:55

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
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    RE the distinction Madmac is making between tourists and travelers - that they both do what they do for personal satisfaction, so the "traveler" has no reason to consider him/herself superior. I think this is comparable to saying that someone who constantly reads the latest fluffy trade paperback for enjoyment, and someone who reads the timeless classics for enjoyment, are on the same level. I think the latter, someone who reads solid literature, rather than the latest filler, is operating on a different level.

    In the same way, someone who does what they can to "go with the flow" and blend in with the local culture, is IMO on a different level than someone who books a resort beach and lives their usual lifestyle in a different place, or someone who simply goes where the LP tells them to, and ignores cues that help to merge with the local day-to-day flow - even though both are doing what they do because they enjoy it. This might seem snobbish but I think it's a justifiable view.

    Another one that's common, MADMAC, is the "hidden treasure" label. Whenever LP calls something a "hidden treasure" or "unspoilt paradise", throngs of visitors flock to it and it turns into a scamming place with locals jaded from the visitors but at the same time dependent on the income. I've heard it called the "LP effect".

    By the way, Mac, I'm curious what the "victory in Pattani" in your signature refers to.

    #58 Posted: 7/12/2012 - 01:46

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    "I think this is comparable to saying that someone who constantly reads the latest fluffy trade paperback for enjoyment, and someone who reads the timeless classics for enjoyment, are on the same level. I think the latter, someone who reads solid literature, rather than the latest filler, is operating on a different level."

    Here you and I would disagree as well. Yes, a different level. But neither is better or worse. We all enjoy different things. Being a lawyer doesn't make you a better person than being a construction worker.

    "In the same way, someone who does what they can to "go with the flow" and blend in with the local culture, is IMO on a different level than someone who books a resort beach and lives their usual lifestyle in a different place."

    Again, different doesn't mean better, it just means different. I speak four languages (two well, one OK, one poorly but fuctionally) and have lived in in eight different countries and travelled to more than I can count. My wife is Thai as is my daughter. My son is German. I have found that lifestyle interesting and fulfilling. But it does not make me or my lifestyle better than my friend with whom I grew up in grade school. He stayed in the same town, lived in the same house, worked at the same company his entire life. He has never travelled more than 500 miles from home. He's a good husband, good father, decent guy. I am not better than he is, even though I have a far superior education (formal and otherwise).

    So yes, I utterly reject the notion that because you are a cultural tourist that makes you a better or deeper person than someone who would rather take his precious off time and chill at the beach and enjoy a bit of hedonism. Most of the people who describe themselves as "travellers" could not carry my intellectual backpack and don't have nearly the experience of living and travelling abroad that I have. That doesn't mean I am better than them (might mean I'm older).

    "Travellers" are tourists and when people label themselves "travellers" they are trying to set themselves apart (and above) others. That is a notion I obviously find anathema.

    #59 Posted: 7/12/2012 - 03:20

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
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    Fair enough. Your view does reek of moral relativism, though. If someone reads books as a way to pursue a virtuous life, connect with universal truths, if such exist, and seek for higher knowledge (due to the fact that these bring him/her pleasure), that person seems to me to have a more righteous approach to reading books than someone who goes through the same old repetitive trade paperback material.

    Same with someone who manages to flow through/merge with the place he/she is visiting, rather than someone who imposes their idealized "vacation" on where they are visiting.

    Anyways, I'm still curious what the 'victory in Pattani' refers to.

    #60 Posted: 7/12/2012 - 03:30

  • MADMAC

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    "Fair enough. Your view does reek of moral relativism, though."

    Morals are relative. A fact I learned in living in so many different societies. Certainly I hold that in the case of tourism, what kind of tourist you are doesn't, for me, hold moral claims associated to it.

    I am remminded of a guy who came here to be a monk (He wrote a book about it, complete with inaccuracies about life in Thailand, called "Praa Farang"). He was seeking enlightenment, and he claims he found what he was seeking. But at the end, when he returned to normal life ten years latter, he admitted that his choice was not a "noble" one. He was being selfish. His desire to seek "enlightenment" was about himself. Others fed him. Others clothed him. He lived off of the hard work of others to attain what he wanted. I'm not criticizing it, but he isn't more noble or a better person than the rice farmer who busted his ass every day and then gave him some of his rice to help feed him. Same with tourists. You choose the kind of vacation you want for yourself, geared towards what gives you fullfilment. You don't win merit badges for doing it.

    "Same with someone who manages to flow through/merge with the place he/she is visiting, rather than someone who imposes their idealized "vacation" on where they are visiting."

    Unless you are incredibly rich, you don't come here and impose anything. People will create certain environments in order to attract a certain customer base. The beach tourist or the sex tourist is coming to the environment that has been created to draw him or her in order to generate revenues. In the same way people build bicycles in order to do the same. The person buying the bike isn't imposing on the builder to build it.

    "Anyways, I'm still curious what the 'victory in Pattani ' refers to."

    Sorry, forgot. I am a rabid opponnent of insurgency in all of it's forms. As such, I am a cheerleader of the Thai government in it's conflict in Pattani and look forward to the day when the rebellion there is crushed.

    #61 Posted: 7/12/2012 - 22:31

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
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    Agreed about people doing what they do for basically selfish reasons. But, someone who manages to blend in with the local flow - learns the language, dresses and behaves in a respectable manner - is going to have a different experience than someone who goes to Patts, gets a red-died mohawk, drinks and whores his way around. The backpacker who uses a map and a language dictionary to navigate through the place (and consults travelfish for a basic idea of how to get started in a new place, and takes showers and wears decent clothing) is going to have a different experience than someone who follows the LP guide and walks around with his/her nose in the book. In both situations I would consider the former person as more respectable and think they get more out of what they do in terms of growth and exposure to human nature in its myriad forms. Agreed?

    I think the insurgency there is basically impossible to crush, since most people seem to want some form of Islamic government that isn't dictated by the Bangkok central government, but you have more experience with these issues than I do.

    #62 Posted: 7/12/2012 - 23:03

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    "But, someone who manages to blend in with the local flow - learns the language, dresses and behaves in a respectable manner - is going to have a different experience than someone who goes to Patts, gets a red-died mohawk, drinks and whores his way around."

    I agree with that. And I personally have chosen to go the first way. But I do that for myself. I do not begrudge the person who chooses the latter nor do I hold myself as being in some way superior than they. To them their way, to me mine.

    "In both situations I would consider the former person as more respectable and think they get more out of what they do in terms of growth and exposure to human nature in its myriad forms. Agreed?"

    No, afraid I can't agree. It is exactly that idea - a more respectable person - that I object to. I've met more than my share of backpackers coming through that I just wanted to kick the **** out of. Arrogant little pricks trying to come here and start telling me what's what (I've lived here going on 6 years now). You want to travel off the beaten path. Great. Have a good time. You want to pontificate about how cool you are because of it - not working for me. Not now, not ever. I've met some sex tourists who are good guys to hang out with and some backpackers who were total losers. What makes a person isn't what kind of vacation he chooses.

    #63 Posted: 8/12/2012 - 00:51

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
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    "What makes a person isn't what kind of vacation he chooses."

    Reminds me of a quote, "people who think they are enlightened are generally the ones with the biggest egos".

    RE: Victory in Pattani, have you ever been to the deep south, MADMAC? Actually, "Victory in Pattani" would be a tragedy IMO because it would mean the central Bangkok government would dictate the way of life here without regard or respect for the local Muslim states inside the Thai borders. You're essentially taking the same stand as supporting the British during the American Revolution, since they also imposed their ways without regard for people's rights to live and practice. Insurgencies are justified when the central government's policies are unjust.

    #64 Posted: 8/12/2012 - 02:08

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 1557

    Squarethecircle
    Well, I have lived in the South and cannot understand how you can support the terrorism there. Killing and decapitating teachers just for teaching Bhuddist values instead of the Koran!

    #65 Posted: 8/12/2012 - 03:33

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    sayadian: I don't support terrorism like you describe (which parties on both sides of the conflict have used), but I also don't support what I think MADMAC means by "Victory in Pattani", which would have gov't in Bangkok arrogantly dictating how things are run in a state made up of historically Malay Muslims. Insurgencies (but not terroristic methods) are sometimes justified.

    #66 Posted: 8/12/2012 - 05:22

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    "Victory in Pattani, have you ever been to the deep south, MADMAC? Actually, "Victory in Pattani" would be a tragedy IMO because it would mean the central Bangkok government would dictate the way of life here without regard or respect for the local Muslim states inside the Thai borders."

    I've lived in Muslim states for four years of my life. I have a major rub with their "way of life" - or as I refer to it as political Islam. So I will be perfectly happy if the central Bangkok government squashes it into oblivion. In my view, Islamic governance is not legitimate.

    "Insurgencies are justified when the central government's policies are unjust."

    Who determines "unjust"? All government is unjust. By definition it imposes. But collectively we can't live without it. The bar for violent resistance is, in my view, exceedingly high. The Somalis resisted a very unjust government and look what they got for their troubles. The Americans had their revolution, the Canadians did it via evolution. Did it work less well for the Canadians? The US was EXTREMELY lucky in the outcome of it's revolution. and even so, it paid for it with a vicious civil war before the core issues were settled. Furthermore, insurgency is an illegal form of warfare, because it places a massive burden on the population that supports it. I consider it illegitimate.

    #67 Posted: 8/12/2012 - 07:08

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 132
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    Well I for one would not be happy to see Bangkok crush the militants; human rights issues aside, militarily they're capable of it but this would provoke outrage amongst the locals and breed much more violence in the future.

    As far as Islam and civilization, I have just visited Malaysia south of the Thai border. It's a far more civilized place inside of Malaysia than just across the border in Thailand. Streets are clean, place is orderly, all-night teashops with high quality ingredients (basically same price as in Thailand but the quality assurance is noticeably a notch above), people drive well on the streets, buses use on-board electronic ticketing, etc. Not quite a "first-world" country due to political instability, but comparing that to the backwards Thai society, I don't share your sentiment. Though for people into the booze and whores (not saying anyone here is) I can see how they wouldn't enjoy life in a Muslim society.

    Also I think your attitude is common among the Thais and expat posters, but is quite ignorant of the on-the-ground facts. Malay-Muslims living here for centuries in an area captured by the Siamese have a deep-felt resentment against the Thais. They mostly don't support the violence, but have a resonance with the "julae" or people who do fight. I flat-out don't see how Siamese control of a historically Malay-Muslim region can be considered legitimate.

    There are also Buddhist vigilante groups which randomly attack Muslims (such as grenade mosque attacks) and appear to be protected by local security forces (no arrests or prosecutions despite open attacks). Most of the deaths are Muslim-Malays, not Thai-Buddhists.

    Also, in any insurgency, the insurgents and the "legitimate" military forces play off each other and blame each other for heightened violence, while the population (who sympathize with the insurgents' reason but do not support their tactics) pays the costs.

    So while your view ("nuke the Muslims") I think is common, it also comes from misinformed and ignorant preconceptions as I have briefly pointed out. Actually I think the fact that your view is quite common among military/political figures in Thai/US/elsewhere is why many more mainstream Muslims tend to sympathize with extremist imams/mujahadeen/etc.

    #68 Posted: 9/12/2012 - 23:52

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6341
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    I lived with a Muslim woman, and as I pointed out, I have lived in Islamic societies for four years (give or take). As a socio-economic compact I find it absolutely unacceptable. You want to compare Thailand to Malaysia - keep going south and Compare it to Indonesia. Your observations are based on economics, not socio-political systems. There is no way any rational person can favor theocracy (the core of political Islam) over representational governance.

    The arguement that Siam should not have established hegemony over Pattani is moot. It's a done deal, and it isn't going to be undone. And everyone knows it. Issan is dominated by ethnic Laos and was annexed as a consequence of warfare. But there's no insurgency here to separate it. Islam is (as usual) the culprit here.

    Lastly, the reason why more Malay are dying in the insurgency is because they are killing each other - which is common in insurgencies. The security forces account for a small number of casualties in Pattani. The Malay are doing the vast bulk of the killing of all parties concerned.

    Your empathy with them is misplaced.

    #69 Posted: 10/12/2012 - 03:38

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 1557

    As one who lived in Penang and over the border in Haadyai, albeit a long time ago, I'd like to say I found the order and prosperity of Malaysia was due to the Chinese input rather than any from the Bumiputras. The reason for this is,in general, the Bumiputras prefer rural life in the kampong and really have no interest in business.
    Most businesses were owned by Chinese. So I would say that Malaysia is prosperous and organised despite the Malays indifference.

    'Though for people into the booze and whores.'
    You could also say that the Muslims deplore social drinking and being with a women who isn't your wife. It's not only the extremes you mention which are haram.
    Do you really want to inflict the 'Law of close proximity.' on us? Muslims do.

    #70 Posted: 10/12/2012 - 06:36

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 132
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    Madmac. Isaan, even with its old communist insurgency, is a different story. Also according to Amnesty International around 80% of rural Malay-Muslims support the insurgency - they don't provide figures for the cities, but most of the human rights abuses by Thai government personnel occur in rural areas. Also according to Amnesty International the grips against the Thais are due to the way they force-feed or impose doctrines of "Thainess" (one language, one nation, one culture) on people who aren't Thai in language, nationality, or culture. Furthermore, the killings are entirely attributed to "insurgents" without any evidence. If you talk to people in those regions they say that Thai Buddhists enact revenge killings, bombings, and torture on "insurgents" with no evidence and no legal culpability. Just look at the Tak Bai incident of 2004 where 78 Malay-Muslims died in police custody, with no one held accountable (also one of the lawyers for the survivors was "disappeared"). In my view the Thais are clearly in the wrong in Pattani . Amnesty International and other western NGOs generally agree with me.

    On the topic of "Annoying Verbiage", your idea of "Victory in Pattani" is flat-out impossible. They can carry out all the extra-judicial killings (not only of "suspected insurgents" but of lawyers representing Malay-Muslims such as at the Tak Bai massacre, where 78 Malay-Muslims were killed in Thai police custody and no one was held accountable) they want and another generation of "insurgents" will rise. Same reason that medieval goat herders in Afghanistan are defeating the most advanced NATO armies in history. Some form of a separate state is necessary there, since it's a Malay-Muslim region. No degree of police-state or martial law measures will change that. The situation is the same in rural states of Myanmar such as Arakan, Shan, and Kachin states, where full-blown warfare is going on. In both the Thai and Myanmar cases the central governments treat the rural folk as second-class citizens, and for this reason I fully support the "insurgencies" (people standing up to bullies) in all of these places.

    Sayadian, Muslims aren't the ones imposing here. Pattani is a Thai colony, and they are not good rulers. Money on the east coast of Malaysia is due to oil and trade, not the Chinese. Actually if you compare the books in libraries on the Malay side and the Thai side, you can clearly see which are more cultured and educated. Also, if you want to know which side is "right" in Pattani, all you need to do is compare the way Malay-Muslims are treated in Thailand (particularly in rural areas of Pattani) with how Thai Buddhists are treated in Malaysia. The crooked Thais should take their hookers, booze, and rats back to Bangkok. Or at least Phuket.

    #71 Posted: 1/1/2013 - 01:33

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    If you're interested, here's some info about the lawyer who was defending people in Pattani who were tortured by Thai police, and who subsequently was "disappeared", with no one held accountable for the apparent murder. This is typical of the Thais' behavior in Pattani. I think the "insurgency" there is fully justified, and why blaming it on militant Islam is short-sighted.

    http://teakdoor.com/thailand-and-asia-news/11819-somchai-neelaphaijit-3-years-since-abduction-3.html

    #72 Posted: 1/1/2013 - 01:45

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 1557

    I can only speak from experience. I lived in two places in Malaysia, Penang which I admit is not typical of Malaysia and Kuantan which is a Chinese dominated city surrounded by traditional Malay kampongs. Most of my friends were Chinese and non of them had made money out of oil. Most were business people in such diverse occupations as travel agency, logging, haulage, restaurant etc I can't remember seeing one Malay business despite the fact the surrounding countryside was predominately populated by the Malays. It was a given fact back then that the Malays had no interest in business. I know Mahathir tried to change this by weighing things in favour of the Malays but I don't think he had a great deal of success.

    Amnesty International the grips against the Thais are due to the way they force-feed or impose doctrines of "Thainess" (one language, one nation, one culture) on people who aren't Thai in language, nationality, or culture.

    In fairness to the Thais they are happy to allow people to practice their own cultures in their homes.e.g there is no interference with the people of Isan speaking Laos and Khmer dialects.There are mosques all over Thailand. One nation Thailand creates equal opportunity for everyone within Thailand, or it should but I admit there is prejudice against people perceived by Bangkok as not being Thai. That includes the people of Isan.That prejudice is at a grassroot level though as successive governments have pushed this agenda of Thai cohesion.

    #73 Posted: 1/1/2013 - 03:11

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "I think the "insurgency" there is fully justified, and why blaming it on militant Islam is short-sighted."

    Insurgency is almost never justified. Certainly not in this case.

    As for impossible, Afghanistan is the wrong model. Try Tibet. Tibet will never be independent from China. There are already more ethnic Chinese in Tibet than Tibetans. Thailand is never going to cut Pattani loose, so it's only a matter of time before it's assimililated.

    #74 Posted: 1/1/2013 - 05:20

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 1557

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/thailand/9618982/Forgotten-war-in-the-Land-of-Smiles.htmlhttp://
    Links gone down so I've copied the article.


    The young father walked slowly down the road, his face expressionless, as a light rain fell. In his arms he held the lifeless body of his 11-month-old daughter, killed just hours before when the tea shop in his village was sprayed with automatic gunfire that left six people dead.

    Fellow residents of the Muslim Damabuah Village in Thailand’s Narathiwat Province walked behind in silence, while men and women from the security forces lined the road clutching rifles.

    A few minutes later, the infant was laid to rest in a shallow, muddy hole under a mangosteen tree in the village cemetery, beside the newly dug graves of two other victims of the tea shop shooting.

    Infami Samoh’s death, a couple of hundred miles from the tourist playgrounds of Ko Samui and Phuket, was shocking only because of her age. The 11-month-old was one of the youngest of nearly 5,400 people who have been killed in the three southernmost provinces of Thailand in the past eight years.

    More than 9,500 have been injured since 2004, when the long-festering grievances of the majority Muslim population in the region erupted into outright guerrilla war against the overwhelmingly Buddhist Thai state. With more than 20 million visitors a year and tourism contributing an estimated six per cent of the country’s GDP, Thailand is fiercely protective of its reputation as the Land of Smiles. But the deep south is a different world, the beaches deserted, foreign visitors non-existent.

    Instead, the area is under a form of emergency law that gives special powers to the 150,000 soldiers, police and local militias deployed in the region.
    Military convoys rumble through the towns and villages, checkpoints dominate the roads, while mobile phones are frequently jammed to prevent the insurgents using them to set off bombs, 2,500 of which have been planted since 2004.
    About 80 per cent of the 1.8 million people living in the provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala that border Malaysia in the south are ethnic Malay Muslims. They speak Malay as their first language and many want their own state, as the region once was hundreds of years ago.
    “The land here was colonised by the Thais. In the past, we were a country, the Sultanate of Pattani. We want to take it back. We don’t want to be part of Thailand or Malaysia; we want to have our own country,” a senior representative of the Pattani United Liberation Organisation (PULO), one of the two main insurgent groups, told The Daily Telegraph.
    Now, appalling acts of violence such as the tea shop massacre have become commonplace in the region, as a relentless wave of revenge attacks by Buddhists and Muslims fuel the conflict.
    Gruesome tit-for-tat killings occur daily, with victims gunned down or beheaded in the rubber plantations that dominate the local economy.
    Buddhist monks are confined to their temples, able to leave only under armed guard lest they be attacked, while mosques are riddled with bullet holes after being targets.
    A few hours after Infami Samoh died, five Muslim gunmen walked into a school canteen in Pattani Province and shot dead the Buddhist headmaster and a Buddhist teacher in front of their pupils.
    More than 150 Buddhist teachers have been murdered since 2004, but the killings have increased recently, while hundreds of schools have been burnt down because they are regarded as symbols of the Thai state by the separatists.
    Yingluck Shinawatra, the Thai prime minister, made a rare visit to the region last month to meet representatives of local teachers. Before her visit, separatists distributed leaflets saying “This war isn’t over. Don’t count the teachers’ corpses just yet”.
    Ranged against the Thai security forces are an estimated 12,500 to 15,000 separatists. “We are normal people. We’re rubber tappers, rice farmers, small business owners, teachers. We are present in every village in the deep south,” said the PULO representative, a well-spoken middle-aged man who asked not to be named, or for the location of the interview to be revealed.
    Along with the Barisan Revolusi Nasional-Koordinasi (BRN-C), the other main separatist group, PULO operates in the shadows, rarely issuing statements or demands. At the same time, Thai politicians and the media play down the insurgency, the most violent internal conflict in south-east Asia, according to the International Crisis Group think tank.
    Last month, Chalerm Yabamrung, the deputy prime minister, refused to accept a new report by the Australian Institute for Economics and Peace that said five per cent of all global terrorist attacks between 2002 and 2009 occurred in Thailand. “Thailand is not yet the land of terrorism because we are a Buddhist country,” said Mr Chalerm.
    Yet, it is the imposition of Buddhist and Thai culture on the deep south that is many claim is driving the insurgency.
    “Our children are taught only Thai in school, but we all speak Malay. They have to learn about Buddhism as part of the Thai curriculum, but we are Muslims,” said one man in Pattani Town.
    Above all, many Muslims complain of human rights abuses by the security forces, in particular the paramilitary rangers known as the black army because of their all-black uniforms.
    In Damabuah Village, known as a hotbed of BRN-C activity, relations of the victims of the tea shop massacre had no doubt who was responsible – although their belief is contested by the Thais.
    “There are black army checkpoints at each end of the village which the killers had to pass through,” said Shukri Nikmea, whose father died in the attack. “You draw your own conclusions on who did it.”

    and this from the same newspaper after the tragic shooting of a British man on Koh Pangan.

    ' Haad Rin is famed for its monthly full moon parties, which attract thousands of revellers from across the world.
    But the Foreign Office travel advisory singles out Koh Phangan as a place of concern and specifically mentions roving Thai gangs.
    Many tourists have been attacked and even raped in the past and many Thais from Bangkok do not visit the Samui archipelago because of its reputation.
    Three Thais were gunned down in a similar fight on Haad Rin beach in 2004.
    In 2007 Israeli tourist David Kakitelashvic, 31, died after being stabbed eight knife times at the beach’s Drop Inn Bar.
    A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are aware of the death of a British national in Thailand on New Year’s Eve. We are providing consular assistance to the family.'

    Doesn't paint Thailand as a very attractive destination, does it?

    #75 Posted: 2/1/2013 - 06:23

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Well it doesn't paint Pattani as a very attractive destination - because it's not.

    Insurgencies ALWAYS place a disprotionate burden of the conflict on the civilian population. ALWAYS. That's why it's an illegal form of warfare.

    #76 Posted: 2/1/2013 - 09:52

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Madmac
    or Yala, Narathiwat, Haadyai or Songklha. All have had 'incidents.'
    I was really thinking of how Thailand is constantly being portrayed as a dangerous place. The poor guy on Koh Pangan seems to have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Samui and also Phuket have come in for a lot of negative publicity lately. A lot of it deserved. I used to think Sihanoukville in Cambodia was an edgy kind of place but it looks far more dangerous on the beach in Thailand.
    Seems to me that none of the fighting down in the South is new. I can recall the Thai army giving buses escorts through parts of the South near the border 25 years ago and there were still CT (Communist Terrorists) in the Betong salient. A number of tourist buses coming from Malaysia were targetted. But that's history.

    #77 Posted: 2/1/2013 - 11:35

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Well when I say Pattani I don't mean the province, but the region. The way the Thai Army refers to it.

    Statistically Thailand is a very safe travel destination. But Koh Samui seems to draw more than it's proportional share of trouble - for whatever reason.

    #78 Posted: 2/1/2013 - 21:09

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Koh Samui is an interesting example of how tourism can have a negative effect on local communities. When it was announced in the early 80's that an airport was to be constructed local beach land owners were encouraged to take out large loans to prepare for the influx of more upmarket visitors. Up until then Samui was more of a hippie paradise island famous for its unspoilt beaches, ganja and magic mushrooms. A lot of people started building with their new loans only to see the building of the airport delayed. People on the Island were convinced this was done deliberately as it led to many locals defaulting on their payments and their land falling into the hands of Bangkok investors. So there is a great deal of resentment. simmering beneath the surface on Koh Samui. Whether this has anything to do with its bad reputation is debatable but if ever a place had bad karma it would be this island.

    #79 Posted: 3/1/2013 - 02:55

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Sayadian
    You can't stop people from being stupid I'm afraid. When you own prime property and take out a bank loan against that property for a future development, you are taking serious risk. Whether or not some nefarious activity delaying the airport construction was going on, it's plain greed on the part of the land owners to put their property at risk. Wait until the airport is done, then sell your land at top dollar to a developer and make a bundle. I've known people who did this hear in Mukdahan with river front property and made out like bandits because they were patient.

    #80 Posted: 3/1/2013 - 04:39

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 132
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    Madmac - so do you consider the American Revolution appropriate? Certainly the English did not, but the people in the colonies were fed up with arrogant and abusive treatment at the hands of the Brits. If the Brits had won the war and clamped down, it would have spawned further resentment and more generations of people in the colonies dreaming of some degree of autonomy. Likewise, the only way the Thais will maintain control of those three provinces is through clamp-downs such as the numerous human rights violations already noted, a police-state apparatus, etc. 80% of the rural population there supports the insurgency, according to Amnesty International, which blows away your suggestion that the civilian population there is under a disproportionate burden due to the insurgents. Quite to the contrary, the disproportionate burden comes from the Thais there, since they impose their "one nation, one culture, one religion" idealogy on the Pattani population with a police-state apparatus. The comparison with Lao and Khmer doesn't fit the situation since those regions are basically Siamese in nature. Actually the region will never be assimilated since it is Malay Muslim rather than Siamese Buddhist in nature. The Thais can bully them all they want but they won't accept it. Also according to Amnesty International there are groups of Thai Buddhist revenge squads that attack Muslim civilians in the region, and I bet if we heard the full story it would reveal that Thai authorities are complicit in a large percentage of the deaths there...based on the fact that it's essentially a police-state there and they know what's going on. Did you read the article about the Malay-Muslim human rights attorney who was "disappeared" by Thai police?

    Also I don't want to get into conspiracy theories but there are billions of dollars of military and police yearly budgets tied up in the three provinces, and given the cheapness of life in Thailand, you can bet there are powerful Thais who have a vested interest in keeping some level of violence going on in the region. Not to get into conspiracy theories, but...

    I don't see how you can say that Thailand is a "safe" destination for tourists either, since TAT seems to make up numbers about the number of tourists that enter, there's no systematic criminal justice system (rather the police consist of disconnected fiefdoms), etc, so no way to actually generate accurate statistics. For one, they always instantly determine tourist/expat deaths to be drug/alcohol overdoses, accidentally falling off tall buildings in Pattaya, etc. It seems appropriate to term the place as a "mafia state" given the Thai authorities' complicity (or at best failure to properly investigate very suspicious chains of crimes) in these deaths. But if you manage to avoid the places with the "bad karma" like Samui/Krabi/Patts/Phuket and avoid dodgy overnight buses, I agree it's a reasonably safe place.

    #81 Posted: 3/1/2013 - 04:56

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    "Madmac - so do you consider the American Revolution appropriate?"

    I don't use the word appropriate. Passive voice. Bad juju.

    First of all, you will note the American Revolution was not an insurgency. The American's fielded an Army and fought the British with uniformed, organized forces. There was very little of what we would today describe as insurgency.

    Secondly, the American political complaint was legitimate, but we were VERY lucky in our outcome and ultimately (because of unresolved issues) we paid for it with a vicious civil war. Canada achieved essentially the same result minus the blood shed. There's a lesson there.

    "Likewise, the only way the Thais will maintain control of those three provinces is through clamp-downs such as the numerous human rights violations already noted, a police-state apparatus, etc. 80% of the rural population there supports the insurgency, according to Amnesty International, which blows away your suggestion that the civilian population there is under a disproportionate burden due to the insurgents."

    Square - The disproportionate burden is PRECISELY because of the support by the civilian population. Not in spite of it. And it's not a theory. It's a reality, always, in all insurgencies. This isn't some speculative idea. This is grounded, studied, reality.

    "Quite to the contrary, the disproportionate burden comes from the Thais there, since they impose their "one nation, one culture, one religion" idealogy on the Pattani population with a police-state apparatus."

    You are confusing burden with justification. They are not the same thing. Nor even related things.

    "Actually the region will never be assimilated since it is Malay Muslim rather than Siamese Buddhist in nature. "

    This is not correct. Any region can be assimilated. It simply requires a population shift. If more Thais move into the region and change the balance of population, assimilation becomes inevitable. The same as China has done in Tibet. Also, this can (and has been historically) be achieved through genocide. I'm not saying the Thais are prepared to kill or drive out all of the Malay, but not are they prepared to give it up. It is likely that this insurgency will burn itself out - as others have there historically.

    "Did you read the article about the Malay-Muslim human rights attorney who was "disappeared" by Thai police?"

    I already knew the story. But what you are trying to do is defend the insurgents. I am opposed to insurgency in principal and Muslim inspired insurgencies in all cases. Because I do not consider Islam a legitimate socio-economic compact and oppose it at every opportunity recognizing it as an enemy of western civilization (which it also sees itself as).

    "I don't see how you can say that Thailand is a "safe" destination for tourists either, since TAT seems to make up numbers about the number of tourists that enter, there's no systematic criminal justice system (rather the police consist of disconnected fiefdoms), etc, so no way to actually generate accurate statistics. "

    I can use this arguement with any country. But the fact is expat murders and tourist murders and violent crime are well reported in the media even when the police make a suspicious ruling (western and Thai) and there is no reason to believe that it's not a reasonably safe travel destination.

    "But if you manage to avoid the places with the "bad karma" like Samui/Krabi/Patts/Phuket and avoid dodgy overnight buses, I agree it's a reasonably safe place."

    Even if you don't avoid these places, if you apply some common sense you usually don't have any trouble. The guys who run into trouble in these places are, for the most part, guys looking for trouble or not exercising good judgement. Samui does seem pretty suspect though, I'll agree. It's on my "avoid" list.

    #82 Posted: 3/1/2013 - 06:37

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 1557

    The guys who run into trouble in these places are, for the most part, guys looking for trouble or not exercising good judgement.

    Maybe you are KSR watching where you have a lot of farang troublemakers but look at this article from the Bangkok Post.

    Krabi Tourism Association president Ittirit Kinglek should be commended for his outspoken criticism of police in Ao Nang over their handling of the alleged rape of a young Dutch woman in the beachside town on July 27. As reported in the Phuket Gazette on Friday, Mr Ittirit accused local authorities of being involved in a failed cover-up that has now backfired and is costing local resorts lost revenue through booking cancellations by tourists. While it is not clear if there was an organised attempt to cover up the incident, it does seem that from the start the police did not handle the case with the urgency it deserved, and even worse, there were attempts to downplay the incident and even cast aspersions on the character of the young woman, as if she had somehow brought it on herself by forming an acquaintance with the alleged attacker, a tour guide.
    It is highly unfortunate that whenever there is a case that might affect tourism all too often the first reaction of police and sometimes government officials as well is to go into damage control mode instead of conducting an aggressive investigation.
    According to reports, Tourism Minister Chumphol Silapaarcha made the remark that the incident could not be considered rape, quoting provincial tourism police chief, Pol Maj-General Loi Ingkhaphairoj as saying: ``The woman had dinner with the Thai suspect and a foreign man. Later, she told the foreign man to return to the hotel before heading off with the suspect.'' This reflects an attitude that is outdated and should not be tolerated. In her testimony, the woman told police that she was beaten so badly that she had to stop resisting in order to survive.
    She was treated for her injuries at a Krabi hospital before she filed a police report and returned to the Netherlands.
    This case might have slipped off the radar if the father of the young woman had not posted a video labelled ``Evil Krabi Man'' in which he challenged the alleged attacker and lambasted police for allowing him bail. Police have subsequently said they had nothing to do with granting bail as this was a decision made by the court.
    Bail is granted to accused rapists and even murderers the world over, but it is questionable in this case as the suspect apparently escaped after initially being questioned by police and hid out for more than a month before he was apprehended again on Sept 20, only to be granted bail soon after.
    As Mr Ittirit said last week: ``This is a great example showing that government officers should solve problems, not ignore them. You have to help tourists and make them feel that they have not been abandoned ... Being quiet does not make things better, and public safety measures must be clear and in the public by CouponDropDown">view.''
    The incident comes on the heels of other reports of violence against tourists in the province, including the recent attack on a woman who had her thumb cut off and the attack on Oct 22 of a British couple by a gang of knife-wielding youths, leaving the man badly injured, as well as the mysterious deaths of two Canadian sisters from apparent poisoning in June. In the latter incident the authorities were less than forthcoming, leading to charges of a cover-up from the parents, and drawing comparisons to the deaths of six tourists in Chiang Mai in early 2011 which are still unexplained.
    A police source was quoted as saying the Oct 22 incident in Krabi arose over a ``misunderstanding''.
    The couple insists that the attack was entirely unprovoked, and in any case there can be no justification for an assault by six or seven armed youths on an unarmed man.
    Violent assaults on tourists and deaths under mysterious circumstances can and do happen anywhere, and if you ask expats and return visitors to Thailand, overwhelmingly most will say they feel at least as safe here as in their home countries. But news like this is most damaging to Thailand in the eyes of those who do not know the country, and it's likely that this group makes up most of those who've cancelled bookings in Krabi.
    The longstanding Thai spirit of welcoming foreigners and making them feel at ease in this beautiful country is still alive and well, and the authorities are right to emphasise this whenever there is a negative incident. But at the same time there must be quick action and total transparency whenever such incidents occur.

    Would you say these people were looking for trouble or not exercising good judgement?
    Ittirit Kinglek should be commended for his honesty.

    How about the young Brit girl brutally raped and murdered by fishermen on Koh Samui a few years ago.
    Did she exercise bad judgement by making a call home at night on the beach?


    or look at this report from www.topix.com


    Tourist murders

    While the mainstream media continues to promote Thailand as a holiday paradise, violence against tourists, especially women, has increased sharply in recent years.

    In March, a British tourist was murdered on his sailboat.

    Last January police arrested a local Thai man for the murder of a German woman who was killed during a full moon party on a beach in southern Thailand.

    In 2007, two young female tourists were murdered on the beach in Pattaya.

    In January 2006, two Thai men were convicted of raping and killing 21-year-old British tourist Katherine Horton on Koh Samui.

    The next day, a Swedish woman who was visiting Thailand with her husband and children, was also raped on Koh Samui.


    I don't think you can justify saying that in most cases people are the architects of their own demise.


    #83 Posted: 3/1/2013 - 08:55

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "Would you say these people were looking for trouble or not exercising good judgement?"

    Sayadian - you note I said "for the most part". There are outliers. But then, there are outliers everywhere in the world. Citing one incident as indicative of the dangers to tourists to Thailand is a bit disingenous, don't you think? You know as well as I do that while the police / judicial system is flawed, that does not mean Thailand is a dangerous tourist destination. One does not equate to the other.

    As for determining that, all I have to do is look at the environment where I live. The ONLY guys who find themselves in real trouble here are guys who are asking for it. Everyone else is getting a free pass. A better deal than they would get in the US or Europe.

    "While the mainstream media continues to promote Thailand as a holiday paradise, violence against tourists, especially women, has increased sharply in recent years."

    15 million people came here last year, and they cite a handful of cases and do not cite any statistical evidence to support the claim of a "sharp increase". The fact of the matter is for the vast majority of the people who come here Thailand IS a holiday paradise. The reason that there's a rub isn't because it's not safe - it is safe - it's because they don't like the negative outcomes on blatant cases as specified above.

    #84 Posted: 3/1/2013 - 10:32

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Citing one incident as indicative of the dangers to tourists to Thailand is a bit disingenous, don't you think?

    No, I don't think so. Let me remind you of what you said.
    The guys who run into trouble in these places are, for the most part, guys looking for trouble or not exercising good judgement.

    So you were referring to those people who got into trouble and now you change tack and we are talking about the 15 million tourists that come to Thailand. Like you, I was just referring to the people that got into trouble.
    Anyway, I think it's not so much the violent incidents against women and men but the way the machismo of the Thai refuses to accept any blame and hence the police spend more time on the cover up than solving the crime and getting the perps to court.

    As far as statistical evidence I just have to accept the word of the UK Foreign Office until I hear otherwise.

    A better deal than they would get in the US or Europe.

    I know it's not what you mean but yes, they get a better deal if they escape justice.

    #85 Posted: 3/1/2013 - 12:16

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    Sayadian I think you are confusing whether or not the criminal justice system functions fairly with whether or not Thailand is a reasonably safe tourist destination. Those two things are not the same. You can have a crappy criminal justice system and still have a safe tourist destination. And Thailand does.

    "As far as statistical evidence I just have to accept the word of the UK Foreign Office until I hear otherwise."

    I don't accept the word of any government just because they say so. The would apply to the UK government as much as any other. If they don't cite stats, it don't count for me.


    "A better deal than they would get in the US or Europe.
    I know it's not what you mean but yes, they get a better deal if they escape justice."

    What I mean is that you get a pass here by the cops a lot quicker than you would get a pass back home. Back home you get hassled for all and sundry minor offenses. Out here, if you don't hurt anyone and say you're sorry if you cause offense, you get a free pass most of the time. It is one of the primary reasons I live in Thailand.

    #86 Posted: 3/1/2013 - 12:33

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    I think you are confusing whether or not the criminal justice system functions fairly with whether or not Thailand is a reasonably safe tourist destination.

    Krabi tourism Association president Ittirit Kinglek seems to have wised up that it's not the statistics which count so much as the perception people have and it has reached a point where Thailand seems to be in the newspapers frequently with stories of extreme violence against tourists.The fact that there is perceived to be no clear justice in Thailand makes the incidents far worse. If there is no justice there will be continued offending and further negative publicity. That is my point.
    Look at the sort of crass statement put out (below). It hardly encourages people to feel confident they can come to Thailand and have reasonable protection from the police. Most Westerners would expect that.

    Tourism Minister Chumphol Silapaarcha made the remark that the incident could not be considered rape, quoting provincial tourism police chief, Pol Maj-General Loi Ingkhaphairoj as saying: ``The woman had dinner with the Thai suspect and a foreign man. Later, she told the foreign man to return to the hotel before heading off with the suspect.''

    But you miss my point. You've made a very bold statement that most people get into trouble because of their actions or inaction. I have laid out a few cases which disprove this. So where are the cases from which you got your opinion?

    #87 Posted: 4/1/2013 - 03:06

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "But you miss my point. You've made a very bold statement that most people get into trouble because of their actions or inaction. I have laid out a few cases which disprove this."

    No my friend, this does not disprove it. What you did was cite a few specific cases which don't fit the model. But as you well know from observation, the animals in the KSR and Pattaya zoos make up the bulk of tourists getting banged up around here, and they are getting banged up because they are doing stupid things because they are high or drunk or both. That's not to say there are no outliers, but they are outliers, like in every country in the world.

    "Krabi tourism Association president Ittirit Kinglek seems to have wised up that it's not the statistics which count so much as the perception people have and it has reached a point where Thailand seems to be in the newspapers frequently with stories of extreme violence against tourists.The fact that there is perceived to be no clear justice in Thailand makes the incidents far worse. If there is no justice there will be continued offending and further negative publicity. That is my point."

    And my point was that obviously this perception is not having a meaningful impact on people coming here and that it IS in fact a reasonably safe place to come for vacation. Hence the following important stat:

    In 2010, there were 15,936,400 tourists in Thailand. This number increased to an amazing 19,098,323 in 2011.

    #88 Posted: 4/1/2013 - 10:11

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Just a couple of quick points on the above.

    Krabi Tourism Association president Ittirit Kinglek seems to think it's an issue even if you don't.

    Personally, I've never had any problems in Thailand and I didn't used to be as mellow as I am now. I find Thais around KSR rude and obnoxious but that's because they've spent too long around Western idiots.You probably agree KSR is about the worst impression you could have of Thailand but it's a lot of people's first port of call.
    And a little bit off topic...
    A lot of these new tourists are from Russia. Nothing fazes them. ;-)
    If you'd seen inside Russia you'd know why!

    #89 Posted: 4/1/2013 - 13:27

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "Krabi Tourism Association president Ittirit Kinglek seems to think it's an issue even if you don't."

    Maybe he wants to nip it at the bud before it becomes a problem. Nothing wrong with that.


    "You probably agree KSR is about the worst impression you could have of Thailand but it's a lot of people's first port of call."

    Funny huh. The place is like a magnet because of reputation. Kind of like VV, but at least VV looked like it was fun.

    Yeah, the Russians crack me up. But those in the dance scene are actually quite nice for the most part. I do know one who's very, very good, but she has the coldest personality of anyone I've ever met.

    #90 Posted: 4/1/2013 - 22:13

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    but she has the coldest personality of anyone I've ever met.

    You've got a wife but if anyone wants to thaw her out I suggest giving her a bunch of flowers and ask her to cook borsch for you. The Russians love romance.
    Underneath that cold exterior is a smouldering volcano. :-)

    WTF are the Russians doing in Mukdahan? Most of the ones I know are up to no good just like the Nigerians. Seems these two nationalities got a bad rep in SE Asia.

    #91 Posted: 5/1/2013 - 03:43

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "WTF are the Russians doing in Mukdahan?"

    She's not in Mukdahan. She's in Pattaya. Part of Jojo's scene.

    #92 Posted: 5/1/2013 - 06:09

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Sorry I don't know who JoJo is. I hope I'm not offending anyone but in my mind Russian woman+ Pattaya only means one thing or maybe two if you bring in the gangs that run them. They are really cold-hearted, I agree, especially if she's from Siberia. Most of them come from there. It had an exceptionally difficult time during the transition from communism to capitalism. Most of the 'capitalists' would make Al Capone look like a nursery nurse. All women between 25 and 35 are scarred by this period. Women were pretty much just there to be abused.
    So it looks like we've driven everybody else off this thread.
    I knew Russians in Cambodia. All the girls worked in massage and had humongeous heroin habits as well as the capacity to drink men under the table. They tell me there is a surplus of women in Russia because the men drink themselves to death by age thirty.

    #93 Posted: 5/1/2013 - 11:10

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    Having said that, there are three other Russian laddies that dance there and I am reasonably sure they are not in the "industry". They told me they work for a tour company arranging tours for Russian tour groups coming to SEA and given their level of sophistication, I believe this to be the case. They are also friendly, pleasant, attractive and not big drinkers. I've never encountered (but have heard of) Russian working girls in Thailand. As you suspected, we don't have any here.

    #94 Posted: 5/1/2013 - 20:51

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Well, always looking for a chance to practice my rusty, cold-war Russian.This thread has been hit in the tail and is rapidly spiraling to to the ground.
    Russians are an interesting topic though.
    Tough country. Did you know they still have punishment battalions in a basically conscript army?
    When I am on the beach I can tell Russians from other Westerners. When the beggars arrive the Russians just look at them with contempt whilst everybody else looks embarrassed and gives something.The ones in Sihanoukville behave like something you'd expect in a James Bond film. Private Island, getting around in a helicopter.

    #95 Posted: 6/1/2013 - 02:13

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    MADMAC, you say "First of all, you will note the American Revolution was not an insurgency..."

    The Brits certainly considered it as such. Under British law (which did uphold freedom, the issue was monetary) what the American revolutionaries did was clearly a crime. The simple fact that the Americans wore uniforms doesn't change the fact that what they were doing was criminal under British law, but ultimately what matters is not whether it's legal/illegal but whether it's right/wrong. I maintain that it was wrong for the Brits to control the US territories, it's wrong for the Han Chinese to control the Tibetans, and the Thais have no moral justification for their occupation of the south. Maybe, if my dreams come true, and the Chinese finally buy up Thailand and reassert their status as slave-master/overlords to the Thais, the issue will be moot.

    "Secondly, the American political complaint was legitimate, but we were VERY lucky in our outcome and ultimately (because of unresolved issues) we paid for it with a vicious civil war. Canada achieved essentially the same result minus the blood shed. There's a lesson there."

    Canada's head of state is Queen Elizabeth II. Hardly the same result.

    "Square - The disproportionate burden is PRECISELY because of the support by the civilian population. Not in spite of it. And it's not a theory. It's a reality, always, in all insurgencies. This isn't some speculative idea. This is grounded, studied, reality."

    This blows all democratic principles away. "Because they support an insurgency that's fighting for their principles, it's their fault that they get the brunt of the crackdown in the form of a police/military state, economic choking, etc." Actually, to the contrary, I'd say that insurgencies are almost always justified since they wouldn't exist without support from the majority of the local populace. By definition an "insurgency" is a local populace fighting against an occupying government. Once again, the US/NATO doesn't get this idea and wonders why it keeps losing against insurgencies in various places such as Afghanistan.

    "This is not correct. Any region can be assimilated. It simply requires a population shift. If more Thais move into the region and change the balance of population, assimilation becomes inevitable. The same as China has done in Tibet. Also, this can (and has been historically) be achieved through genocide. I'm not saying the Thais are prepared to kill or drive out all of the Malay, but not are they prepared to give it up. It is likely that this insurgency will burn itself out - as others have there historically."

    Previous insurgencies didn't burn themselves out. The current form is just a rehatch of what's been going on for a hundred years there. Actually Pattani is the one region in Thailand where Thai whores must be guarded by MPs with HK44/M16 assault rifles - but this again shows the Thais' attitude towards the Pattani people, who are conservative (but peaceful IME) Muslims and find this immodest and offensive. If you want to know who's morally right in Pattani, compare how Malay-Muslims are treated in Thailand with how Thai-Buddhists are treated across the border inside of Malaysia.

    "I already knew the story. But what you are trying to do is defend the insurgents. I am opposed to insurgency in principal and Muslim inspired insurgencies in all cases. Because I do not consider Islam a legitimate socio-economic compact and oppose it at every opportunity recognizing it as an enemy of western civilization (which it also sees itself as)."

    Likewise you're defending the Thais' criminal (under international law, to which they don't hold themselves accountable) actions against the Pattani people. If they weren't such a-holes as colonizers this probably wouldn't be an issue. Same with China in Tibet, Bamars of Myanmar in Shan/Kachin/Karen areas, etc. The fact that they resort to using thuggish measures to maintain "control" alone suggests that their territory there is illegitimate. If Pattaya can have its own little sub-governed fiefdom, why can't Pattani?

    Also your view regarding Islam seems quite ignorant of the role that Islam has played in the development of western civilization. I would agree if you restricted your statement to Wahhabi-style extremist Islam, which wants to establish their version of Shariah law on the world and should be fought with pen and maybe some nuclear weaponry (invented by the Jews)...but ironically this sect gets its lifeblood due to US/European support of the Saudi royalty, who have spread what was previously a minority sect into a far more powerful (but ultimately doomed) cult, using billions of dollars of oil money to fund Wahhabi schools/mosques around the world.

    But the Malays aren't Saudis, SE Asian Muslims aren't Arab Muslims, and despite Thaksin's suggestions that they are extremist Muslims (presumably to tie Pattani in with the "War on Terror" and thus justify his tactics to the international audience), this isn't the case on the ground. The comparison with Tibet is more accurate.

    "I can use this argument with any country. But the fact is expat murders and tourist murders and violent crime are well reported in the media even when the police make a suspicious ruling (western and Thai) and there is no reason to believe that it's not a reasonably safe travel destination."

    "Reasonably safe"...but they also have a mentality that if you're a foreigner who's a victim of crime, it's your fault because if you hadn't come to the country, the crime wouldn't have been committed.

    #96 Posted: 9/1/2013 - 07:00

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    Square
    You don't know a lot about warfare do you? You have a lot of experience or research background on same? Because legal and illegal count for a lot. What someone arbitrarily decides is right or wrong counts for little. Because consensus on same can almost never be reached.

    "Canada's head of state is Queen Elizabeth II. Hardly the same result."

    Queen Elizabeth is not the de facto head of state even in England. Come on now. Canada is every bit as independent from England today as the
    US is.

    "This blows all democratic principles away."

    Democratic principals are not related to who bears the burden in insurgencies. Once again, you are mixing apples with oranges. You know what the word "burden" means right?

    "Actually, to the contrary, I'd say that insurgencies are almost always justified since they wouldn't exist without support from the majority of the local populace. "

    You might say that, but the laws of land warfare say otherwise. And while you're on it, consider the Malay insurgency, the LRA, AIAI in Ethiopia, Al Qaeda in the Sahel... these groups do not entertain the support of the majority of the populations in which they operate. They derive that support from terrorizing the population.

    "By definition an "insurgency" is a local populace fighting against an occupying government. Once again, the US/NATO doesn't get this idea and wonders why it keeps losing against insurgencies in various places such as Afghanistan."

    First of all, the US won in Iraq. Please note the insurgency was defacto and dejure defeated there. Secondly, the PASHTUN support the Taliban, not the rest of the Afghans. Guess you missed that one.

    "The fact that they resort to using thuggish measures to maintain "control" alone suggests that their territory there is illegitimate."

    Their control is recognized under international law - therefore it is legitimate. You don't get to create your own definitions of legitimacy. Well you can, but that don't have force of arguement.

    "Also your view regarding Islam seems quite ignorant of the role that Islam has played in the development of western civilization. "

    That was then, this is now.

    "...using billions of dollars of oil money to fund Wahhabi schools/mosques around the world."

    Regrettably, oil is the lifeblood of the global economy. So we are stuck with the Saudi's for now. We collectively (the US, Europe, Asia, etc.).

    "But the Malays aren't Saudis, SE Asian Muslims aren't Arab Muslims, and despite Thaksin's suggestions that they are extremist Muslims (presumably to tie Pattani in with the "War on Terror" and thus justify his tactics to the international audience), this isn't the case on the ground. The comparison with Tibet is more accurate."

    Oh yeah, the Malay Muslims are oh so much like the Tibetan Bhuddists in lifestyle and law...

    "Reasonably safe"...but they also have a mentality that if you're a foreigner who's a victim of crime, it's your fault because if you hadn't come to the country, the crime wouldn't have been committed."

    This is hyperbole. Thais can be, and have been, convicted for murdering westerners. I'm not saying their legal system is unbiased, but then, it's also biased in our favor at times. In the aggregate, this is a safe place to come visit. And that's the bottom line.

    #97 Posted: 9/1/2013 - 10:44

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    BTW why do you think that Hat Yai is packed with Malay men? Hmmmm....

    #98 Posted: 9/1/2013 - 10:45

  • Thomas922

    Joined Travelfish
    1st July, 2007
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 346

    Wow! I have been gone for months and I saw this thread today while sitting in a "gasp" McDonalds in Atlanta. Mac you crack me up how you morph from subject to subject based on who responds about which particular topic....

    But I agree with you on the earlier stuff about the snobby way backpackers like to separate themselves with elitism. I am happy to get my friends to consider an " off the cuff" vacation but if the consider a cruise traveling then hey, more power to em.

    I won't get into the whole insurgency thing except that if everyone stops blowing up stuff and the Thai leadership lets people be who they are ( though of course you should promote the general language first within your borders) then in 20 years hopefully we won't be having this discussion. As with Tibet, a lot of academic outsiders get involved with " free" slogans who have never been near said area and seem to think they can bully the dominant country through protests. Will never happen. The US has Hawaii, maybe unfortunately China has Tibet, and Thailand has "Pattani". This won't change in our lifetimes so why not less bombs and more dialogs as to better living and a saving of the way of life for the indigenous people? ( haha I didn't use culture or local).

    Also for the crime thing I agree that most "males" who were part of crime statistics in Thailand ( Farang that is) had some help in getting there. Notice the word most. I think Thailand is a safe destination even Samui. Certain crimes get big headlines disproportionate to the overall crime level. People would have you thinking Tokyo is more dangerous because of recent killings of white female teachers in the last decade. 2-3 huge cases that dominated the headlines and Japan bashers using it to warn white women all over Lonely Planet. Yet I lived in NYC for 5 years and I can promise you a white young girl was raped or killed every month. Didn't stop tourism nor were tourists normally raped or killed. In Atlanta/NYC/Miami//LA/Tokyo/Bangkok/ etc I haven't been a victim of a major crime but in every place if I used my big mouth differently or used my size to try to intimidate I guarantee you I would be. White males visitors in Thailand do such things regularly as well as involve themselves in seedy situations. That leads to crime stats everywhere in any country. ( I am only focusing on males not females). Thailand statistically as related to TOURISTS can be as safe as any place especially with research.

    #99 Posted: 9/1/2013 - 14:36

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    Well Thomas they say a conversation that drifts is a healthy conversation.

    #100 Posted: 9/1/2013 - 20:45

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    Thomas -- agreed that trouble tends to come to those looking for it.

    Madmac--no official experience with warfare, but you seem to concede my point that the US revolution was, in the measurement of English law, an illegal rebellion...and fairly considered an "insurgency" in the eyes of the English, no? And Canada's head of state is legally defined as the Queen, its structures are patterned around English political structures, etc. So the violent revolt in the US did accomplish more than the peaceful revolt in Canada.

    "First of all, the US won in Iraq."

    By which you mean the former Bush/CIA lackey Mr. Hussein was offed, and a new "friendly" regime put in position?

    "Their control is recognized under international law - therefore it is legitimate."

    Same with Tibet and China, ethnic states in Myanmar, etc. The fact that it says on paper that it is "legitimate" means a lot for lawyers, but not so much for people on the ground trying to make their living.

    "Oh yeah, the Malay Muslims are oh so much like the Tibetan Bhuddists in lifestyle and law..."

    No but the gripe is similar. Actually I can't see why the Thais are so adamant about Pattani being theirs, since it's not loaded with resources, unlike Tibet. So why shouldn't the Pattanis have some degree of autonomy, still under the Kingdom. That seems to have worked in Aceh, Indonesia, and the south of the Philipines. If that's what you mean by Victory in Pattani, then that's fine, but it sounds like continued military dominance and that seems despicable in my book. To complete my response, I still think that it's ironic you have "Victory in Pattani" as your signature when complaining about others' Annoying Verbiage.

    #101 Posted: 11/1/2013 - 07:39

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "Madmac--no official experience with warfare, but you seem to concede my point that the US revolution was, in the measurement of English law, an illegal rebellion...and fairly considered an "insurgency" in the eyes of the English, no?"

    Square - you're killing me here man. International law concerning land warfare was not well developed in 1776. There were customs which were generally (but not always) observed. But certainly the US revolution was not an insurgency. It was a revolution. These are not synonymous terms. Although certainly technically they are sometimes used as such, the US fielded an Army when it revolted. It was a uniformed Army and fought in the conventions of the times. Non-uiformed insurgency is an illegal form of warfare. Period. End of story.

    "And Canada's head of state is legally defined as the Queen, its structures are patterned around English political structures, etc. So the violent revolt in the US did accomplish more than the peaceful revolt in Canada.:

    Defacto the Queen has zero authority and the US structures are also largely patterned after the English (although not exclusively). Do you think the American form of governance is so superior to the English that it was worth the tens of thousands of dead it took to accomplish it (not to mention our civil war)?

    "By which you mean the former Bush/CIA lackey Mr. Hussein was offed, and a new "friendly" regime put in position?"

    No. By which I mean the insurgency was pretty much defeated and Al Qaeda did not succeed in setting up a government there (which was their intent).

    "Same with Tibet and China, ethnic states in Myanmar, etc. The fact that it says on paper that it is "legitimate" means a lot for lawyers, but not so much for people on the ground trying to make their living."

    Using this rationale anyone can make said that claim the central government is not legitimate. Hell the people of Issan can make that claim. The peple of the southern US can make that claim (to the extent they don't do that already) and so forth and so on. That list can go on forever.

    "No but the gripe is similar. Actually I can't see why the Thais are so adamant about Pattani being theirs, since it's not loaded with resources, unlike Tibet. So why shouldn't the Pattanis have some degree of autonomy, still under the Kingdom."

    Because it's a pandora's box. Once you open it, it's tough to close it again. Pretty soon every group in Thailand wants autonomy. It erodes the authority of the central government. An idea I suspect you are sympathetic to, but one which has not proven to play well in countries not called Switzerland.

    "That seems to have worked in Aceh, Indonesia, and the south of the Philipines."

    It worked in Aceh because you had Muslims working with Muslims. It didn't work in the Philippines... Mindanao is nothing approaching an autonomous province and was plagued with violence until the psychos were simply beaten like red-headed step children. Also, Christians (read the PI) and Muslims get along better, because Muslims respect Christians as wayward children. Muslims despise Bhudists as idolaters. Big difference.

    "If that's what you mean by Victory in Pattani, then that's fine, but it sounds like continued military dominance and that seems despicable in my book."

    Continued military dominance is exactly what I prefer in my book. I don't want muslims to gain one political inch anywhere on planet earth. As a socio-policital system, I want to see it utterly crushed and delegitimized, as largely has happened to communism.

    "To complete my response, I still think that it's ironic you have "Victory in Pattani" as your signature when complaining about others' Annoying Verbiage."

    I don't see any irony at all. But each sees the world differently I suppose.

    #102 Posted: 11/1/2013 - 09:39

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
    17th June, 2011
    Posts: 684

    I am only loosely following this thread but I feel like contributing after MADMAC's last comment.

    If you are justifying the war in Iraq, ignoring legality or illegailty, purely from a human lives lost and devastation wrought impact, based on the "Al-Qaeda" argument then you are utterly deluded. Read Peter Bergen on this topic, a well respected and very knowledgeable author on such matters. If anything the insurgency and resulting occupation has resulted in more Al Qaeda recruits to Iraq than was ever going to be the case 10 years ago. So while they may not have set up government there (as you state was their aim), they have certainly set up many bases and recruited many followers which otherwise would not have been the case.

    Three days after 9/11 George W Bush asked his advisers, "how can we pin this on Saddam Hussein?". This despite the attacks having diddly squat to do with him. But yet it appears you are standing over the actions of this imbecile.

    #103 Posted: 11/1/2013 - 11:05

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "If you are justifying the war in Iraq, ignoring legality or illegailty, purely from a human lives lost and devastation wrought impact, based on the "Al-Qaeda" argument then you are utterly deluded. Read Peter Bergen on this topic, a well respected and very knowledgeable author on such matters. If anything the insurgency and resulting occupation has resulted in more Al Qaeda recruits to Iraq than was ever going to be the case 10 years ago. So while they may not have set up government there (as you state was their aim), they have certainly set up many bases and recruited many followers which otherwise would not have been the case."

    No, I was not justifying the war in Iraq China. While I do not agree it was illegal, and I certainly will not shed tears over the downfall of Saddam and his happy bathists, I do agree that it was foolish and from a counter-terror campaign rather foolish. BUT it was an example of an insurgency that was defeated, which is why I mentioned it. Insurgencies can and are defeated all the time.

    "Three days after 9/11 George W Bush asked his advisers, "how can we pin this on Saddam Hussein?". This despite the attacks having diddly squat to do with him. But yet it appears you are standing over the actions of this imbecile."

    It would appear wrong. You drew an incorrect inference.

    Whatever the real causus belli was for the war in Iraq (and we'll never know because the architects aren't talking and they probably won't) I would not assume that men like Rumsfeld and Cheney are (were) imbeciles. They are Machiavellian to be sure. But not stupid.

    #104 Posted: 11/1/2013 - 22:58

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    ***Non-uiformed insurgency is an illegal form of warfare. Period. End of story.

    So was the American Revolution, under the law then-currently established there. You seem to tacitly agree that what's considered "right-and-wrong" and "legal-and-illegal" don't always match up. Sometimes it is right to fight the powers that be when non-violent resistance does not work.

    "Defacto the Queen has zero authority and the US structures are also largely patterned after the English (although not exclusively). Do ou think the American form of governance is so superior to the English that it was worth the tens of thousands of dead it took to accomplish it (not to mention our civil war)?"

    No, but the way Canada played out probably wouldn't have happened if the US hadn't successfully revolted. Sometimes it's necessary to put forth a violent response to governments who exercise their authority with no deference to the populace.

    "Using this rationale anyone can make said that claim the central government is not legitimate. Hell the people of Issan can make that claim. The people of the southern US can make that claim (to the extent they don't do that already) and so forth and so on. That list can go on forever.

    But the people of Issan are better off under the Thais than under the Laotian government.

    "No but the gripe is similar. Actually I can't see why the Thais are so adamant about Pattani being theirs, since it's not loaded with resources, unlike Tibet. So why shouldn't the Pattanis have some degree of autonomy, still under the Kingdom."

    Because it's a pandora's box. Once you open it, it's tough to close it again. Pretty soon every group in Thailand wants autonomy. It erodes the authority of the central government. An idea I suspect you are sympathetic to, but one which has not proven to play well in countries not called Switzerland.

    No, Pattani is different due to ethnicity/language/religion/culture.

    "If that's what you mean by Victory in Pattani, then that's fine, but it sounds like continued military dominance and that seems despicable in my book."

    Continued military dominance is exactly what I prefer in my book. I don't want muslims to gain one political inch anywhere on planet earth. As a socio-policital system, I want to see it utterly crushed and delegitimized, as largely has happened to communism.

    But you - and the Bushes and the CIA and Israel- support the Saudis, who are the ones behind the extremist form of Islam to which you refer. Actually the style of Islam that came through the Indian subcontinent over to SE Asia caught fire because it teaches about the unity of "God", which resonated with ppl here for whatever reason. The Wahhabis/Salafis (ultra-conservative, dictatorial political Islam) you refer to were a minor extremist sect until the Saudi royalty got rich with oil/petrol; they're a minority here but have an overbearing influence on the thought through their sponsorship of the schools/universities. The Thais seem to have done a good job at connecting the Pattanis with the Arab-style Shariah spreaders, but the connection is bogus. Killing/torturing/disappearing Malay-Muslims does nothing to counter the extremist Muslims, but it does cast serious doubt on your claims that Thailand is capable of ensuring "rule of law" inside of Pattani. Western media has done a good job at brainwashing people into seeing Buddhists as peaceful people and Muslims as terrorists, but you can see in Myanmar and Thailand's wars on Muslims and Christians that this isn't the case.

    #105 Posted: 13/1/2013 - 05:54

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "So was the American Revolution, under the law then-currently established there. You seem to tacitly agree that what's considered "right-and-wrong" and "legal-and-illegal" don't always match up. Sometimes it is right to fight the powers that be when non-violent resistance does not work."

    The American Revolution was fought along the lines of the conventions of the time. International conventions concerning internal conflicts did not exist in 1776.
    As for "sometimes it is right to fight 'the powers' when non-violent resistance is not working" - that bar is extremely high. It is certainly NOT met in Pattani . Not even close. What this means is that sometimes minority peoples have to learn to assimilate or migrate when they don't like their governance. Violent, non-uniformed resistance (oh so popular in the 20th century) is, more often than not, a recipe for destroying your society. Not for making it better. Even in places where the "resistance" prevailed, they usually end up imposing heinous government.

    "No, but the way Canada played out probably wouldn't have happened if the US hadn't successfully revolted. Sometimes it's necessary to put forth a violent response to governments who exercise their authority with no deference to the populace."

    That is speculation. What we do know is that violent revolutions in China, Cambodia, the Soviet Union, Somalia, Angola... I could go on and on - were the direct cause of tens of millions of deaths and hundreds of millions living in oppression and misery for a long time. Gulags, work camps, education camps, mass murder, mass rape. Those are the common consequences of violent resistence. Even in Pattani today, as in Northern Ireland yesterday, small insurgent groups were using the political backdrop to run their fiefdoms like mafia's. The VAST majority of extra judicial killings happening in Pattani today are being done by insurgents. Because that's all they know how to do.

    "No, Pattani is different due to ethnicity/language/religion/culture."

    That's irrelevent. There is a powerful, very powerful, communist holdover here in Issan and we've had plenty of political violence related to it in the last ten years. You don't need major differences to breed major fighting. If one group sees violence creating success, it encourages others. Witness Ethiopia and the shot in the arm Eritrea gave to other insurgencies there.

    "But you - and the Bushes and the CIA and Israel- support the Saudis, who are the ones behind the extremist form of Islam to which you refer."

    You left out the Brits, the French, the Chinese... all of the world that needs oil. Which is all of the world. Yes, the world is a complicated place, isn't it? The House of Saud made a Faustian pact with the Wahhabis and we, collectively, have made a Faustian pact with the House of Saud. Options were limited (although I suppose we could have just seized Saudi Arabia and ethnically cleansed it of Arabs in 1945 - that would have been a viable solution. Do you have any constructive solutions there?).

    "The Wahhabis/Salafis (ultra-conservative, dictatorial political Islam) you refer to were a minor extremist sect until the Saudi royalty got rich with oil/petro."

    You need to study this more. The violent version of Jihad has been omni-present within the Ummah since the days of Mohammed. From the Mad Mullah in Somalia to the Mahdi in the Sudan to Qutb in Egypt to Al Zawahiri today. Even when western power waxed supreme, there has always been, in the minds of the Ummah, the belief that in the end Islam would win - shari'a would rule. They believe in divine intervention on their behalf. It is our job to disabuse them of this belief in the way we disabused the Nazi's of the belief that they were a superior race.

    "Western media has done a good job at brainwashing people into seeing Buddhists as peaceful people and Muslims as terrorists, but you can see in Myanmar and Thailand's wars on Muslims and Christians that this isn't the case."

    It's not a creation of western media. It's not propaganda. It's a result mostly of the 60s peace movements which were casting about looking for alternative social constructs as saw in Bhudism and confucianism something sufficiently different from their own Judeo-Christian background that they took it at face value. And visiting here, with the smiles and pleasant demeanors, it's easy to walk away thinking that way as well.

    As for Pattani, what we were talking about originally, I NEVER support Islamic based political movements. I am ALWAYS oppossed to them. In the same way I am ALWAYS oppossed to communist based movements and fascist based movements. These movements are my ideological enemy. If the people of Pattani want Islamic governance, I don't give a ****. Just like I don't give a **** that the Germans wanted fascist based government. In these cases, what the people want doesn't matter.

    #106 Posted: 13/1/2013 - 21:38

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    "VAST majority of extra judicial killings happening in Pattani today are being done by insurgents. Because that's all they know how to do."

    Any justification for that statement? Locals indicate that Buddhist revenge squads (that don't face judicial repercussions) go tit-for-tat with Islamic insurgents there. 2% of the deaths in the last ten years occurred in one day at the hands of Thai authorities in Tak Bai. They do Chinese-style disappearances, torturing, etc., outside of the rule-of-law.

    "No, Pattani is different due to ethnicity/language/religion/culture."

    That's irrelevent.

    So you see nothing wrong with Malay-Muslim people being governed by Thai Buddhists? I think if the situation were the other way around, Thai Buddhists were fighting an insurgency against a dictatorial Malay-Muslim colonizer, you would support it, which shows where your hatred for Muslims comes in. Granted you would be justified if we were talking about Islamo-fascists and their Shariah law, but the irony is that this gets its power from petrodollars in little dictatorships on the Arabian peninsula, which doesn't seem to trouble most westerners. Since we're talking about whether Malay-Muslims should be able to run their own little province, with some level of autonomy, rather than live in a military fiefdom ruled by some Buddhist a--holes from Bangkok, the Arabian devils you bring up are irrelevant.

    So you don't support Islamic based political movements, period. So what about Christian based political movements - such as districts in the southern US that are ruled by right-wing Christian groups, have laws against alcohol and dancing, etc. The conservative regions in Malaysia seem to have that level of government. They don't force women to wear veils (as they do in Arabia, so the men aren't tempted to rape them, which is literally the justification they give for the veils). They have hookah bars, music, western TV, etc., all of which would be banned in an extremist environment. So I think you're right that the Islamo-fascists should be stopped with force, but don't see how this applies to Pattani, or treatment of Muslims elsewhere such as in western China.

    #107 Posted: 16/1/2013 - 05:14

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "Any justification for that statement? Locals indicate that Buddhist revenge squads"

    Buddist revenge squads would also be insurgents although the government may turn a blind eye to them. But here's the bottom line - counter-insurgencies are messy. As I tried to explain to you, it is ALWAYS the population that supports insurgents that bleeds the most. Always. This is why it's an illegal form of warfare.

    "So you see nothing wrong with Malay-Muslim people being governed by Thai Buddhists?"

    That's correct, I see nothing wrong with that. The Malay are welcome to form their own political parties, elect their own representatives, and participate in the system.

    "I think if the situation were the other way around, Thai Buddhists were fighting an insurgency against a dictatorial Malay-Muslim colonizer, you would support it, which shows where your hatred for Muslims comes in."

    I would not support it because I don't support insurgency. However, I am categorically oppossed to Islamic governance. Since those two things would be in conflict, I come down on the side of systemics - which is to say against insurgency.

    "Granted you would be justified if we were talking about Islamo-fascists and their Shariah law, but the irony is that this gets its power from petrodollars in little dictatorships on the Arabian peninsula, which doesn't seem to trouble most westerners."

    Long before there were petro-dollars, there were Islamic fascists. Nevertheless, whether or not it "troubles" weserners doesn't mean a thing. The world needs oil to run the global economy, and Muslims are sitting on most of it. This is an inconvienient fact of life, but it is a fact of life. Would you prefer we invade Saudi Arabia, occupy the oil fields, and simply take it? Certainly within our capacity militarily.

    "Since we're talking about whether Malay-Muslims should be able to run their own little province, with some level of autonomy, rather than live in a military fiefdom ruled by some Buddhist a--holes from Bangkok."

    Again, this doesn't justify insurgency. The Malay have never tried meaningful peaceful resistance to achieve their ends.

    "So you don't support Islamic based political movements, period. So what about Christian based political movements - such as districts in the southern US that are ruled by right-wing Christian groups, have laws against alcohol and dancing, etc. The conservative regions in Malaysia seem to have that level of government."

    I do not support any level of theocracy. The Christian right wing groups are particularly annoying. And when they use violence (such as when such persons kill abortion doctors or bomb clinics) they should be prosecuted within the full extent of the law. And I do mean full extent. But you will note that those Christian movement in the US, annoying though they sometimes are, are not running an insurgency. If they do, you can bet that I will be the first one to be willing to go back on active duty to crush them.

    "So I think you're right that the Islamo-fascists should be stopped with force, but don't see how this applies to Pattani, or treatment of Muslims elsewhere such as in western China."

    Militant anti-government movements should never be rewarded unless the government is so eggregious that there is no alternative. That is most certainly not true of the government in Bangkok. Political movements that associate themselves with Islam and use violence to achnieve their end state should ALWAYS be resisted with force and NEVER accomodated.

    #108 Posted: 16/1/2013 - 11:56

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    *Always. This is why it's an illegal form of warfare.

    It's illegal because it's against the central government. Whether it's right or wrong is another story. If you look into the matter the "rebel armies" in Myanmar such as Shan State and Kachin armies are pretty clearly fighting a legitimate insurgency, due to well-documented abuses of locals by Burmese. You seem to think they're clearly on the "wrong" side of the stick based on the fact that they're Muslim. I think that the fact that a large percentage of the local population there supports the insurgency suggests that it's more legitimate than you claim. If the Thais gave the local populace a proper voice, it would be illogical for them to sympathize with insurgents.


    *Long before there were petro-dollars, there were Islamic fascists.

    Yet they had no power without support via the Saud dynasty.

    Would you prefer we invade Saudi Arabia, occupy the oil fields, and simply take it? Certainly within our capacity militarily.

    That'd get messy pretty quickly. It does seem hypocritical to invade and set up a friendly "democracy" in one country, when its dictator doesn't cooperate with NATO, and meanwhile develop business/military/political relationships with another family of "friendly" dictators.

    Again, this doesn't justify insurgency. The Malay have never tried meaningful peaceful resistance to achieve their ends.

    The Thai state has not given meaningful participation to Malay Muslims. If they had, there wouldn't be support for a violent insurgency. Look at how they Thai authorities let each other off-the-hook for extrajudicial killing/murder of citizens there.

    I do not support any level of theocracy.

    There's a difference between theocracy and giving meaningful participation to the local populace. Trying to tie them in with Arab-style extremists ignores the facts/history there.

    The Christian right wing groups are particularly annoying. And when they use violence (such as when such persons kill abortion doctors or bomb clinics) they should be prosecuted within the full extent of the law.

    So you think, for example, that counties in conservative regions should not be allowed to ban alcohol?

    Militant anti-government movements should never be rewarded unless the government is so eggregious that there is no alternative.

    Political movements that associate themselves with Islam and use violence to achnieve their end state should ALWAYS be resisted with force and NEVER accomodated.

    This seems like pure bigotry, Madmac. Actually the Thai "problem" in Pattani mirrors other Asian central states difficulties with minorities - such as Tibetans and China and Shan/Kachin/Karen in Myanmar. In each of these states (except for Tibet?) a violent insurgency has arisen. This has done good, for example, in Myanmar, since they've fought against Myanmar government forces to carrying out terroristic methods. The fact that the Pattanis are Muslims seems like a side issue. Mr. Thaksin managed to manipulate the situation to suggest that the region's insurgents are tied in with outside Islamic terrorists, with 0 evidence. That was simply to justify the Thai government's brutality there. That sort of arrogant authoritarianism is exactly what will continue to drive people in that region into random violence against the Thais. You think that the appropriate comparison is with Shariah-imposing extremists ala OBL. A more apt comparison (considering how liberal even the most conservative areas across the Malay border are) would be with these other minority insurgencies in SE Asia. Again, none of these groups - in Myanmar, Thai, Laos (Hmong) - would have popular support if the government were giving them a proper voice.

    #109 Posted: 23/1/2013 - 06:58

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    Square
    You need to check out convention III to the Geneva conventions concerning international humanitarian law dated 12 August 1949. I am not talking Illegal from the Thai government point of view. I am talking illegal from an international law point of view.

    "If you look into the matter the "rebel armies" in Myanmar such as Shan State and Kachin armies are pretty clearly fighting a legitimate insurgency, due to well-documented abuses of locals by Burmese. You seem to think they're clearly on the "wrong" side of the stick based on the fact that they're Muslim. I think that the fact that a large percentage of the local population there supports the insurgency suggests that it's more legitimate than you claim. If the Thais gave the local populace a proper voice, it would be illogical for them to sympathize with insurgents."

    I think they're on the wrong side of the stick because they are fighting an insurgency. I am not sympathetic to the Shan or Kashin either. Claiming Islam as a political identifcation simply aggravates this fact. There isn't a single insurgency active in the world today I support. Not one.

    "That'd get messy pretty quickly. It does seem hypocritical to invade and set up a friendly "democracy" in one country, when its dictator doesn't cooperate with NATO, and meanwhile develop business/military/political relationships with another family of "friendly" dictators."

    Where did I say "set up a democracy"? We could simply kill everyone. That would be much easier, particularly in that terrain.

    "The Thai state has not given meaningful participation to Malay Muslims. If they had, there wouldn't be support for a violent insurgency. Look at how they Thai authorities let each other off-the-hook for extrajudicial killing/murder of citizens there."

    That's not true. The Malay are welcome to participate in the system, and many do. You are trying to say a moral arguement in favor of the Malay trumps legal standing in favor of the Thai government. I don't support the moral arguement. I say to the Malay of Pattani - assimilate.

    "There's a difference between theocracy and giving meaningful participation to the local populace. Trying to tie them in with Arab-style extremists ignores the facts/history there."

    As long as they use Islam to justify their violence, I am oppossed to them. Simple.

    "So you think, for example, that counties in conservative regions should not be allowed to ban alcohol?"

    What Christian country currently bans alcohol? How did you get from my opposition to Christian theocrats to alcohol?

    "This seems like pure bigotry, Madmac."

    I don't care what it sounds like. Change Muslim to Nazi, is it still pure bigotry. Because I am talking about a socio-political system, and last I checked being oppossed to a socio-political system doesn't qualify as bigotry.

    "Again, none of these groups - in Myanmar, Thai, Laos (Hmong) - would have popular support if the government were giving them a proper voice."

    It doesn't justify their behavior. Name a government in the world and I can specify how it is abusing it's population in some way. As I said before, the bar for violent government overthrow is very high. Much higher than anything we see in Pattani.

    #110 Posted: 23/1/2013 - 10:06

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    "You need to check out convention III to the Geneva conventions concerning international humanitarian law dated 12 August 1949. I am not talking Illegal from the Thai government point of view. I am talking illegal from an international law point of view."

    Are you referring to the Thai governments' actions down there? They are clearly illegal from an international point of view.



    I think they're on the wrong side of the stick because they are fighting an insurgency. I am not sympathetic to the Shan or Kashin either. Claiming Islam as a political identifcation simply aggravates this fact. There isn't a single insurgency active in the world today I support. Not one.

    Great. So you support the Myanmar Army and its well-documented raping and pillaging. But don't support people who fight back.

    Where did I say "set up a democracy"? We could simply kill everyone. That would be much easier, particularly in that terrain.

    But then there's Iran.

    That's not true. The Malay are welcome to participate in the system, and many do. You are trying to say a moral arguement in favor of the Malay trumps legal standing in favor of the Thai government. I don't support the moral arguement. I say to the Malay of Pattani - assimilate.

    Very sympathetic. "We can abuse you all we want, but you must submit to our control". I wonder where according to Buddhist cosmology the sort of dirtbags in charge of Thailand are headed in their next incarnation?



    What Christian country currently bans alcohol? How did you get from my opposition to Christian theocrats to alcohol?

    The county where Jack Daniels is made, for one. They think alcohol leads to sexual promiscuity and thus have banned it.



    I don't care what it sounds like. Change Muslim to Nazi, is it still pure bigotry. Because I am talking about a socio-political system, and last I checked being oppossed to a socio-political system doesn't qualify as bigotry.

    But presumably you support Israel's existence as a Jewish state?



    It doesn't justify their behavior. Name a government in the world and I can specify how it is abusing it's population in some way. As I said before, the bar for violent government overthrow is very high. Much higher than anything we see in Pattani.

    How about the US? Anyways I'd say most of the deaths there are actually due to the actions of Thais, not Malays. The fact that they have a police-state like set-up and bombs, etc., still go through with no arrests, seems fishy. Same with Pakistan's support of the Taliban.

    #111 Posted: 24/1/2013 - 05:02

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    "You need to check out convention III to the Geneva conventions concerning international humanitarian law dated 12 August 1949. I am not talking Illegal from the Thai government point of view. I am talking illegal from an international law point of view."

    Are you referring to the Thai governments' actions down there? They are clearly illegal from an international point of view.



    I think they're on the wrong side of the stick because they are fighting an insurgency. I am not sympathetic to the Shan or Kashin either. Claiming Islam as a political identifcation simply aggravates this fact. There isn't a single insurgency active in the world today I support. Not one.

    Great. So you support the Myanmar Army and its well-documented raping and pillaging. But don't support people who fight back.

    Where did I say "set up a democracy"? We could simply kill everyone. That would be much easier, particularly in that terrain.

    But then there's Iran.

    That's not true. The Malay are welcome to participate in the system, and many do. You are trying to say a moral arguement in favor of the Malay trumps legal standing in favor of the Thai government. I don't support the moral arguement. I say to the Malay of Pattani - assimilate.

    Very sympathetic. "We can abuse you all we want, but you must submit to our control". I wonder where according to Buddhist cosmology the sort of dirtbags in charge of Thailand are headed in their next incarnation?



    What Christian country currently bans alcohol? How did you get from my opposition to Christian theocrats to alcohol?

    The county where Jack Daniels is made, for one. They think alcohol leads to sexual promiscuity and thus have banned it.



    I don't care what it sounds like. Change Muslim to Nazi, is it still pure bigotry. Because I am talking about a socio-political system, and last I checked being oppossed to a socio-political system doesn't qualify as bigotry.

    But presumably you support Israel's existence as a Jewish state?



    It doesn't justify their behavior. Name a government in the world and I can specify how it is abusing it's population in some way. As I said before, the bar for violent government overthrow is very high. Much higher than anything we see in Pattani.

    How about the US? Anyways I'd say most of the deaths there are actually due to the actions of Thais, not Malays. The fact that they have a police-state like set-up and bombs, etc., still go through with no arrests, seems fishy. Same with Pakistan's support of the Taliban.

    #112 Posted: 24/1/2013 - 05:02

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "Are you referring to the Thai governments' actions down there? They are clearly illegal from an international point of view."

    No, they are not. The insurgent actions (the insurgency itself actually) is clearly illegal from an international point of view. I guess you didn't read the link. You might argue that specific cases are in violation of international laws of land warfare, but Thailand would be justified in arguing that since it's not a war per se, international law does not apply. That's a sticky wicket that didn't sell in Bosnia, but might in this case. At any rate, the insurgency itself is a clear violation of international law.

    "Great. So you support the Myanmar Army and its well-documented raping and pillaging. But don't support people who fight back."

    I don't support either party. I recognize the excesses of both.

    "But then there's Iran."

    Iran wouldn't dare do anything - cause we could kill all of them too. And they know it. We constrain ourselves. We do not have exernal constraints. The US has enough military power right now to kill every human being not sitting under a nuclear umbrella. And it would not be all that difficult - a few stragglers aside of course. So my question to you is, knowing the global economy is dependent on oil, what do you suggest? Buy it from the Wahhabis and deal with the troublemakers that producers, or just kill everyone over there and take it? I'm all ears here.

    "The county where Jack Daniels is made, for one. They think alcohol leads to sexual promiscuity and thus have banned it."

    I am oppossed to the banning of alcohol anywhere - since I drink it. I would never live in a place (county, country or whatever) that bans alcohol. I am also oppossed to legal structure that is constructed only based on religious mores. So stupid things like "blue laws" where I grew I consider anathema. In short, religiously motivated legal edict doesn't get a pass from me ever. I am always oppossed to it.

    "But presumably you support Israel's existence as a Jewish state?"

    Not any more than I support Germany's right to exist as a German state. Why would you presume that? Israel as a state embracing a religious identity in it's social and legal mores and in an exclusionary manner as you see today is a joke as far I am concerned.

    "Anyways I'd say most of the deaths there are actually due to the actions of Thais, not Malays. "

    I disagree and would further state that if there were no illegal insurgency nobody would be dying at all.

    #113 Posted: 24/1/2013 - 11:55

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    //No, they are not.//

    I was referring to killing/"disappearing" people without trial.

    //At any rate, the insurgency itself is a clear violation of international law.//

    So is the "Emergency Decree" which provides immunity to Thai authorities from prosecution under most circumstances in Pattani.



    "I don't support either party. I recognize the excesses of both."

    But those groups all formed in response to MYR military abuses (kill the men, enslave the women). They targeted minority groups (the Burmese and the Thais both see the "hill tribes" as subhuman, in the same way that the Chinese see the Burmese and the Thais). You don't think people have the right to fight back?

    So my question to you is, knowing the global economy is dependent on oil, what do you suggest? Buy it from the Wahhabis and deal with the troublemakers that producers, or just kill everyone over there and take it? I'm all ears here.

    No clue. Simply pointing out the irony in insisting the Malay-Muslims must assimilate due to militant Muslims, while insisting "we just need to accept" that buying oil from SA directly funds backwards-style Islam.

    "I am oppossed to the banning of alcohol anywhere - since I drink it."

    What about cannabis? Certainly less harmful than alcohol.

    "Israel as a state embracing a religious identity in it's social and legal mores and in an exclusionary manner as you see today is a joke as far I am concerned."

    So who should run that region then, in your opinion?



    "I disagree and would further state that if there were no illegal insurgency nobody would be dying at all."

    That's not the root of the problem, though. It also won't go away since (as Thai officials have noted in their response to Amnesty International) the region is used for oil and drug smuggling, most of the violence is in fact due to these conditions, and provides a convenient cover. If you read reports about the killings taking place it gives the impression that some are actually protected by higher-up authorities: they do it in plain daylight, are known but don't seem to fear arrest, etc. Seems more complicated than militant Muslims trying to establish an Islamic state.

    #114 Posted: 25/1/2013 - 07:48

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "I was referring to killing/"disappearing" people without trial."

    Yeah, insurgents would never do that. They always have a trial first.

    "So is the "Emergency Decree" which provides immunity to Thai authorities from prosecution under most circumstances in Pattani ."

    Far more questionable. As far as I am aware (please indicate specifically if you are aware otherwise) Thailand is not party to any treaty that the Emergency Decree violates. Can you cite said treaty?

    "But those groups all formed in response to MYR military abuses (kill the men, enslave the women). They targeted minority groups (the Burmese and the Thais both see the "hill tribes" as subhuman, in the same way that the Chinese see the Burmese and the Thais). You don't think people have the right to fight back?"

    Those groups formed in response to political marginalization. Make no mistake they were not formed just to resist, or even primarily to resist, physical threat. And yes, they have a right to raise an Army and fight back. And in some cases they have and have uniformed armies and organizations to defend themselves. The Burmese situation is, of course, FAR more eggregious than the Pattani situation. Or it was. Having said that, you will note I said the right to raise an Army and defend themselves. Not the right to plant a bomb at the local bank or cut off the head of the local ethnic Burmese school teacher.

    "No clue. Simply pointing out the irony in insisting the Malay-Muslims must assimilate due to militant Muslims, while insisting "we just need to accept" that buying oil from SA directly funds backwards-style Islam."

    There is no irony. You are comparing apples and oranges. Pattani is part of Thailand. The Thai government is pursuing a policy of encouraging assimilation, and I don't see a problem with that. Insurgency is not a reasonable response to that. The insurgency is not justifiable. Every minotiry group who feels it's not being sufficiently accomodated doesn't have a right to start an insurgency, even if the majority of the population support it.

    "What about cannabis? Certainly less harmful than alcohol."

    I don't use cannabis, but I also don't think it should be illegal. I'm a libertarian.

    "So who should run that region then, in your opinion?"

    Not a reasonable quesiton. Who should run a region? That's up to the people who live there to decide. But if I were king for a day, I think the entire historical "Palestinian protectorate" should be incorporated and have a contitution that guarantees everyone's right to CHOOSE their own religious practices (including satanism if that's your thing), that protects individual rights and has free and fair elections for all it's citizenry. Every citizens rights should be protected and religious or ethnic identity should count for nothing. Sadly, a very large number of the people who actually live there don't see it this way, so they screwed. They deserve each other.

    "That's not the root of the problem, though. It also won't go away since (as Thai officials have noted in their response to Amnesty International) the region is used for oil and drug smuggling, most of the violence is in fact due to these conditions, and provides a convenient cover. If you read reports about the killings taking place it gives the impression that some are actually protected by higher-up authorities: they do it in plain daylight, are known but don't seem to fear arrest, etc. Seems more complicated than militant Muslims trying to establish an Islamic state."

    All conflicts are always like that. BUT, I should note that for long, protracted periods of time there was no violent resistance to the Thai central government in Pattani. At the end of the day, this is about one thing: The Malay using violence to maintain a seperate identity. It's as simple as that. Take that away, and all the rest of this goes away as well. Again, they do not have the right to use violence to maintain a seperate identity. Not a legal one, and not a moral one.

    #115 Posted: 25/1/2013 - 21:14

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 132
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    "Yeah, insurgents would never do that. They always have a trial first."

    Doesn't excuse the Thais' behavior. They like to scream "This is Thailand" with no consideration for the rights or history of the people living there. This is one situation where it's pretty clear to me that the Thais are in the wrong and it'll take some growing up for them (and maybe a bit of humanity) to own up to that.

    Far more questionable. As far as I am aware (please indicate specifically if you are aware otherwise) Thailand is not party to any treaty that the Emergency Decree violates. Can you cite said treaty?

    The Thais don't sign treaties involving western conceptions of human rights.

    "The Burmese situation is, of course, FAR more eggregious than the Pattani situation. Or it was. Having said that, you will note I said the right to raise an Army and defend themselves. Not the right to plant a bomb at the local bank or cut off the head of the local ethnic Burmese school teacher."

    The attacks clearly by "insurgents" mostly target soldiers, policemen, etc.

    "There is no irony. You are comparing apples and oranges. Pattani is part of Thailand. The Thai government is pursuing a policy of encouraging assimilation, and I don't see a problem with that. Insurgency is not a reasonable response to that. The insurgency is not justifiable. Every minotiry group who feels it's not being sufficiently accomodated doesn't have a right to start an insurgency, even if the majority of the population support it."

    Pattani and Malaysia/Indonesia were a series of inter-related sultanates until the British/Portuguese/etc came. Anyways the conflict runs deeper than what you're saying (the Siamese and Malays were sparring, with Siamese raids south of the border a problem for Malay shippers many centuries back) but I don't understand why there's deeper support for the insurgency. In the Malay side of the border across from Pattani, there are Thai Buddhist temples with no security. Also hookers walk around without security. On the Thai side, Buddhist statues are surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards, and the only hookers are in the secured Thai areas of the cities. Clearly it's not a religiously motivated battle.

    "Sadly, a very large number of the people who actually live there don't see it this way, so they screwed. They deserve each other."

    For sure.

    "All conflicts are always like that. BUT, I should note that for long, protracted periods of time there was no violent resistance to the Thai central government in Pattani."

    They had a nice balance.

    "Again, they do not have the right to use violence to maintain a seperate identity. Not a legal one, and not a moral one."

    No morality in that view, that a country's ethnic minorities should just "assimilate". I'm a bit biased since I consider the Malays more of a civilized, rational people and the Siamese more-or-less an uncivilized, and irrational, nation of rats (the national animal) with a few exceptions. Maybe I give the former too positive a view but can see why they resist forced assimilation. Too bad the Thais choose brutal nationalism over Buddhist compassion, and same with the Burmese.

    #116 Posted: 1/2/2013 - 05:55

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "Doesn't excuse the Thais' behavior. They like to scream "This is Thailand" with no consideration for the rights or history of the people living there. This is one situation where it's pretty clear to me that the Thais are in the wrong and it'll take some growing up for them (and maybe a bit of humanity) to own up to that."

    Seems to excuse insurgent behavior to you though. How many teachers have the insurgents murdered?

    "The Thais don't sign treaties involving western conceptions of human rights."

    Sure they do. The Thais are party to the 1949 Geneva conventions for example.

    "The attacks clearly by "insurgents" mostly target soldiers, policemen, etc."

    Actually mostly they don't. Not in Pattani or any other insurgency. Insurgencies invariably hit what they call "soft targets". Targets not capable of defending themselves and designed to destroy the credibility of the central government.

    "Clearly it's not a religiously motivated battle."

    Religion is the most critical element for sure. The people of Issan speak a different language than the central Thais and yet they are not supporting a widespread insurgency. Nor are any other minorities (although recently it was a close run thing). They have bought into assimilation, they are just pushing hard for total enfrachisement. Fair enough as long as they don't use violence to gain that end. The only place in Thailand with an active insurgency just happens to be the only place with a majority muslim population. What a coincidence.

    "They had a nice balance."

    Indeed. And what changed that balance in 2001? Another interesting coincidence.

    "No morality in that view, that a country's ethnic minorities should just "assimilate". I'm a bit biased since I consider the Malays more of a civilized, rational people and the Siamese more-or-less an uncivilized, and irrational, nation of rats (the national animal) with a few exceptions. Maybe I give the former too positive a view but can see why they resist forced assimilation. Too bad the Thais choose brutal nationalism over Buddhist compassion, and same with the Burmese."

    And now we get to the heart of the matter - you are prejudiced against Thais. Fair enough, but it's not a rational arguement for the support of insurgency.

    #117 Posted: 1/2/2013 - 07:18

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    "the Siamese more-or-less an uncivilized, and irrational, nation of rats (the national animal) with a few exceptions"

    square, it is pretty easy to disregard what you say after a sweeping generalization like that. this is just an attempt to dehumanize the other side and by extension justify anything and everything your side might do to get what they want.

    #118 Posted: 1/2/2013 - 07:23

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    "the Siamese more-or-less an uncivilized, and irrational, nation of rats (the national animal) with a few exceptions"

    square, it is pretty easy to disregard what you say after a sweeping generalization like that. this is just an attempt to dehumanize the other side and by extension justify anything and everything your side might do to get what they want.

    #119 Posted: 1/2/2013 - 07:25

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    "Seems to excuse insurgent behavior to you though. How many teachers have the insurgents murdered?"

    People who kill innocents should be brought through the criminal justice system.

    "Sure they do. The Thais are party to the 1949 Geneva conventions for example."

    In the Amnesty International report on the situation there, it lists a series of UN treaties that the Thais haven't signed and that would hold their actions there (particularly with respect to torture) accountable to international law. As of now the Thais do want they want in "the three provinces" with no legal accountability.

    "Actually mostly they don't. Not in Pattani or any other insurgency. Insurgencies invariably hit what they call "soft targets". Targets not capable of defending themselves and designed to destroy the credibility of the central government."

    The latest attacks have been gun attacks on soldiers in Narathiwat, bomb attacks on soldiers in Narathiwat, a Muslim teacher in a school without Thai security (ie: a Thai Muslim school). Probably safe to conclude the first two were insurgent attacks. The Muslim teacher in the Muslim school doesn't make sense for a well-thought-out attack by insurgents. They drove up to the school in plain daylight, stepped off their motorbike, matter of factly shot the teacher in front of a few hundred students, stole his car and then split the scene. That doesn't sound like the actions of someone who's fearing capture.

    "Religion is the most critical element for sure. The people of Issan speak a different language than the central Thais and yet they are not supporting a widespread insurgency.

    It's a different religion but more or less the same worldview, like Burmese workers living elsewhere in Thailand.

    "Fair enough as long as they don't use violence to gain that end. The only place in Thailand with an active insurgency just happens to be the only place with a majority muslim population. What a coincidence."

    They say people get the religion they deserve. There are Christian insurgencies in Indonesia and Myanmar with similar patternings: formerly disparate sultanates/ethnic regions were lumped in with a central government that treats the population there like useful tools.

    "Indeed. And what changed that balance in 2001? Another interesting coincidence."

    The balance changed around 2004 with Mr. Thaksin, who used the global "war on terror" was used as a justification for war crimes here as well as elsewhere. Apparently the situation there was normal for a significant period before that, with Thai army commanders having built solid networks of information with the local populace, who naturally, for the most part, want peace. If the goal is "defeating" an insurgency and bringing peace to a region, using torture as your source of information, and revenge squads as a means of justice, doesn't work.

    "And now we get to the heart of the matter - you are prejudiced against Thais. Fair enough, but it's not a rational arguement for the support of insurgency."

    Indeed and the same holds for the Burmese, but that's not the crux of the issue why both governments are at fault in their respective countries. Poor, ethnic minority regions with natural resources get (ab)used by the majority population, resent the abusive treatment, and ultimately find ways to respond in a likewise manner.

    #120 Posted: 1/2/2013 - 07:44

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6341
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    "In the Amnesty International report on the situation there, it lists a series of UN treaties that the Thais haven't signed and that would hold their actions there (particularly with respect to torture) accountable to international law. As of now the Thais do want they want in "the three provinces" with no legal accountability."

    Ultimately it will be on the Thais to enforce their own laws. Counter-insurgency is not a police action. Law enforcement can't keep up. So it becomes messy business. I know. I fought one.

    "The latest attacks have been gun attacks on soldiers in Narathiwat, bomb attacks on soldiers in Narathiwat,"

    These are abberations. Not normative. Insurgents can plant IEDs or the like, but they seldom take troops on in direct combat. They're outgunned.

    "It's a different religion but more or less the same worldview, like Burmese workers living elsewhere in Thailand."

    Muslims world view is structured around their religion, which dictates law and custom for them. Kind of my point.

    "They say people get the religion they deserve. There are Christian insurgencies in Indonesia and Myanmar with similar patternings: formerly disparate sultanates/ethnic regions were lumped in with a central government that treats the population there like useful tools."

    What "Christian insurgencies" are being fought in Indonesia and Burma? The only Christian based conflict I am aware of right now is the LRA - and they psycho. No credibility at all. Ostensibly the scum of the IRA were a religious based movement, but that was more about removing the British from Northern Ireland than bringing in the pope.

    "The balance changed around 2004 with Mr. Thaksin, who used the global "war on terror" was used as a justification for war crimes here as well as elsewhere."

    Nope, the fighting began to pick up in 2002. And the Thais were certainly not the ones who drew first blood.

    "Poor, ethnic minority regions with natural resources get (ab)used by the majority population, resent the abusive treatment, and ultimately find ways to respond in a likewise manner."

    The conflict in Pattani isn't about resources and the government most certainly did not start this lattest round. Again, insurgency is illegal and immoral. Pretty simple really.

    #121 Posted: 1/2/2013 - 08:11

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    "Ultimately it will be on the Thais to enforce their own laws. Counter-insurgency is not a police action. Law enforcement can't keep up. So it becomes messy business. I know. I fought one."


    They don't enforce the laws on themselves, though. Look at the pictures of Tak Bai.



    "These are abberations. Not normative. Insurgents can plant IEDs or the like, but they seldom take troops on in direct combat. They're outgunned."

    Why it's necessary to build relationships with the local populace who presumably have some idea what's going on. The Thais have majorly F-ed themselves in this point.



    "Muslims world view is structured around their religion, which dictates law and custom for them. Kind of my point."

    Islam means "peace" and "surrender to will of God" and forbids violence except when persecuted. Pattani sultanate was invaded by the Siamese.

    "What "Christian insurgencies" are being fought in Indonesia and Burma? The only Christian based conflict I am aware of right now is the LRA - and they psycho. No credibility at all. Ostensibly the scum of the IRA were a religious based movement, but that was more about removing the British from Northern Ireland than bringing in the pope."

    Kachin in Burma are Christian. In fact Burmese Army launched airstrikes on the Christmas holiday in violation of a peace agreement. So much for Buddhists being peaceful.



    "Nope, the fighting began to pick up in 2002. And the Thais were certainly not the ones who drew first blood."

    The Siamese invaded long before this time. And the new wave of violence began in January 2004 according to a simple google search.

    "The conflict in Pattani isn't about resources and the government most certainly did not start this lattest round. Again, insurgency is illegal and immoral. Pretty simple really."

    Why do you think the Siamese are insistent on maintaining the region like the rest of Thailand, then?

    Insurgency, armed rebellion against a constituted authority, may be illegal, but the morality of it depends on the situation. If a central, constituted authority abuses a local minority population, and doesn't properly include that population into just rule-of-law, I see no problem with them fighting back. In fact this is why the Roman empire essentially stopped at Scotland. The Scots successively fought back.

    "square, it is pretty easy to disregard what you say after a sweeping generalization like that. this is just an attempt to dehumanize the other side and by extension justify anything and everything your side might do to get what they want."

    The point is that Malaysia is at least a step above Thailand as a civilization according to international standards, and this defeats Madmac's ignorant bigotry to the effect that Muslims are uncivilized barbarians. He seems to think the insurgency there is part of the global Islamist movement, and thinks that the insurgency should be put down esp. since the locals there are Muslim. I suggest instead that what's going on there is more like other places in Asia, such as Myanmar, Indonesia, and Tibet, where minorities who faced forced assimilation, abusive treatment, etc., find ways to fight back. Actually there was an editorial by a Thai uni professor a few months ago in the Bangkok Post that decried Thailand as a nation of "rats, bats, and vultures" and was not referring to the inhabitants of its gutters.

    #122 Posted: 3/2/2013 - 06:01

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6341
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    "They don't enforce the laws on themselves, though. Look at the pictures of Tak Bai."

    First of all, name the last time a government fighting a counter-insurgency that prosecuted it's own for crimes committed against the insurgent based population. Anywhere in the world. It happens - but it's exceedingly rare. Because once insurgencies gain momentum, conventional law enforcement can not effectively function. The insurgents are not based around rule of law, and hence the govenments fighting them begin to disregard law as well. This is normal, if not healthy, in counter-insurgency. And one of the primary reasons I despise insurgencies.

    "Islam means "peace" and "surrender to will of God" and forbids violence except when persecuted. Pattani sultanate was invaded by the Siamese."

    This is not true. Who taught you this? Islam means submission. Submission to the will of God. Not peace. Salam means peace. Violence is permitted and encouraged in order to expand the faith. Fact. You need to read the Qur'an and the Hadith.

    "Kachin in Burma are Christian. In fact Burmese Army launched airstrikes on the Christmas holiday in violation of a peace agreement. So much for Buddhists being peaceful."

    The Kachin are an ethnic minority in conflict with the central government. But their conflict is not about religion any more than the Provos were. That's because Christianity does not have an equivelent of Shari'a. Christianity is no longer militant. Those days are LONG GONE. You aren't paying attention to the reality of modern religious conflict. And who days Bhudists are peaceful? Where did you get that from. It's tripe.

    "The Siamese invaded long before this time. And the new wave of violence began in January 2004 according to a simple google search."

    The initial conflict renewed began in 2002, but didn't pick up real steam (takes time to organize you know) until 2004. And that was my point. The Thais annexed Pattani 100 years before. And for long stretchs, there were no problems. Suddenly, right after 2001, there's a conflict renewed. Hmmmmm. What a coincidence.

    "Why do you think the Siamese are insistent on maintaining the region like the rest of Thailand, then?"

    I answered this before. It's about precedent. Almost never (it happens, but it's rare) do government allow their territory to be lopped off. It invites additional separatism and conflict. This isn't unique to Thais. This is normal globally. The kind of separation you see between the Czechs and the Slovaks is unusual. Yugoslavia is much more common.

    "Insurgency, armed rebellion against a constituted authority, may be illegal, but the morality of it depends on the situation. If a central, constituted authority abuses a local minority population, and doesn't properly include that population into just rule-of-law, I see no problem with them fighting back. In fact this is why the Roman empire essentially stopped at Scotland. The Scots successively fought back."

    The Thais aren't the Romans, and Pattani isn't Scotland. You see no problem with it, because you've never been near one. Go fight in one and come back and talk to me. Insurgencies destory institutions more thoroughly and viciously than any other phenomenon. Local poulations always suffer because of them (even when they support them - no esspecially when they support them). On top of all that, there is nothing to prevent the Malay in Southern Thailand from participating in the system. They can vote. They can run for office. They can form political representation. Again, if there were no insurgency there would be no repression. Sure, Malay's would ultimately have to assimilate - that's true of any state. All states, some more, some less, require certain levels of conformity to their population. Bottom line: The borders are never going to be redrawn. So the Malay's should learn to conform. The longer they pursue a violent agenda, the worse the outcome for them will be.

    "The point is that Malaysia is at least a step above Thailand as a civilization according to international standards"

    That's your opinion. One I do not share.

    "and this defeats Madmac's ignorant bigotry to the effect that Muslims are uncivilized barbarians."

    This is nonsense. Muslims are people like everyone else. I lived with a Muslim woman and almost married her (I didn't because her family would not permit her to marry a non-Muslim, not because I didn't want to). I have many Muslim friends. Muslims are most certainly not incivilized barbarians. Islamic law is barbaric (there's a difference. Just as Naziism is was barbaric but Germans are not). Islamic governance is outdated. But Muslims, like people everywhere, come in good and bad.

    "He seems to think the insurgency there is part of the global Islamist movement"

    It is to a degree. Not interconnected in terms of C3I, but interconnected in terms of sympathies and emotions. To a lessar extent motivations.

    a"nd thinks that the insurgency should be put down esp. since the locals there are Muslim."

    Not because they are Muslims, but because Islam is one of the drivers. But I oppose almost all insurgencies. I'm not an idiot romantic.

    "I suggest instead that what's going on there is more like other places in Asia, such as Myanmar, Indonesia, and Tibet, where minorities who faced forced assimilation, abusive treatment, etc., find ways to fight back. "

    I oppose insurgencies in those places too.

    "Actually there was an editorial by a Thai uni professor a few months ago in the Bangkok Post that decried Thailand as a nation of "rats, bats, and vultures" and was not referring to the inhabitants of its gutters."

    Internal social critics exist in every society that allows social and political criticism. Finding said article is a positive reflection of Thailand, not a negative one. In countries where you can't find that, you know there's a problem.

    #123 Posted: 4/2/2013 - 03:06

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    "First of all, name the last time a government fighting a counter-insurgency that prosecuted it's own for crimes committed against the insurgent based population. Anywhere in the world."

    If central governance was doing its job, ppl would have no incentive to fight against it. I read of at least one counter-insurgency Afghan official who promised to hang any of his men guilty of raping local women. Actually any successful anti-insurgency action would consider this a key component of its tactics, since failure to do so jeopardizes relations with the local populace and makes it into an abusive colonizer rather than a legitimate government.

    "This is not true. Who taught you this? Islam means submission. Submission to the will of God. Not peace. Salam means peace. Violence is permitted and encouraged in order to expand the faith. Fact. You need to read the Qur'an and the Hadith."

    Words in Arabic have different shades. Islam means submission to the will of God as well as the peace believed to come with such.

    "That's because Christianity does not have an equivelent of Shari'a. Christianity is no longer militant. Those days are LONG GONE."

    Sure it does, in the Book of Leviticus. Also "Christian Dominionism" is the Christian equivalent of Shar'ia and seek to create crisis in the Middle East in order to bring about Biblical prophecy. They have powerful roles in US military policy.

    "You aren't paying attention to the reality of modern religious conflict."

    The fact that there is 0 international interest in the region suggests it's not connected with Islamist impositions elsewhere, such as Europe and US.

    "And who days Bhudists are peaceful? Where did you get that from. It's tripe."

    It's a stereotype stating that Muslims are militants and spread their religion by the sword, while Buddhists are peaceful. The former idea comes from the Crusades, while the latter appears to be more recent.

    "The initial conflict renewed began in 2002, but didn't pick up real steam (takes time to organize you know) until 2004. And that was my point. The Thais annexed Pattani 100 years before. And for long stretchs, there were no problems. Suddenly, right after 2001, there's a conflict renewed. Hmmmmm. What a coincidence."

    Are you suggesting involvement of international terrorist organizations? I cannot find anything supporting that, though radical Islam is making advances in other places, not because it's logical or rationally founded but since Islamist propaganda centres are propped up, worldwide, by petro-dollars.

    "I answered this before. It's about precedent. Almost never (it happens, but it's rare) do government allow their territory to be lopped off. It invites additional separatism and conflict. This isn't unique to Thais. This is normal globally."

    Doesn't prevent them from having some sort of "special region"; they certainly do have a sort of "hands-off" approach with the well-connected criminal organizations that seem to control Pattaya and Phuket .

    "On top of all that, there is nothing to prevent the Malay in Southern Thailand from participating in the system. They can vote. They can run for office. They can form political representation. Again, if there were no insurgency there would be no repression."

    Again you're ignoring the fact that it's a Thai/Siamese colony. It's invading someone's house (or having a thief give you control over a house they invaded), imposing your ways on them, but claiming this is okay because you let them have "political representation" (but naturally "disappear" any that get too much power).

    "Bottom line: The borders are never going to be redrawn. So the Malay's should learn to conform. The longer they pursue a violent agenda, the worse the outcome for them will be."

    This attitude - complete squashing of minority rights - is a recipe for losing against an insurgency, or at least failing to tame it without causing massive deaths of innocents (eg: Sri Lanka). The fact that the Thais are very willing to allow for little mafia-run fiefdoms in Patts and Phuket but insist that Malays in Pattani submit to the Thai "culture", shows very clearly the Thais are in the wrong in this instance.

    "That's your opinion. One I do not share."

    Also the UN Human Development Index shows that Malaysia is far more advanced than Thailand. If it were the other way around there'd probably be considerably less resentment against the Thais' colonization of the region.

    "Islamic law is barbaric. Islamic governance is outdated. But Muslims, like people everywhere, come in good and bad."

    So you think Islamic governance is outdated, but are faced with the fact that Malaysia is a significantly more advanced nation than Buddhist-governed Thailand.

    "I suggest instead that what's going on there is more like other places in Asia, such as Myanmar, Indonesia, and Tibet, where minorities who faced forced assimilation, abusive treatment, etc., find ways to fight back. "I oppose insurgencies in those places too."

    So you think they should simply put up with the colonizer's domination? You act like the fact that a government is in power means that no one has the right to fight against it when it does wrong. This is the view of a bully rather than a just person IMO.

    "Internal social critics exist in every society that allows social and political criticism. Finding said article is a positive reflection of Thailand, not a negative one. In countries where you can't find that, you know there's a problem."

    The article writer was a foreign professor. In one year I've across maybe 3 Thais who had any sort of introspective capabilities regarding their country. Also many times I've overheard Tards (as I think of them) trash-talking f-rangs as if they consider the "farangi" dirty and stupid, and as if they thought I had no clue what they're saying. Also friends in Laos and Myanmar have the same resentment towards them since they ironically consider both of those countries as inferior. In fact the opposite is true, outsiders generally have a better conception of the Thai's "culture" than they do, and it's increasingly clear that if they actually want peace inside of Pattani, some outside intervention (not simply Malaysia) is necessary. If peace is actually the goal - and if the Thais can bear the "loss of face", which seems unlikely.

    #124 Posted: 5/2/2013 - 05:41

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "If central governance was doing its job, ppl would have no incentive to fight against it. I read of at least one counter-insurgency Afghan official who promised to hang any of his men guilty of raping local women. Actually any successful anti-insurgency action would consider this a key component of its tactics, since failure to do so jeopardizes relations with the local populace and makes it into an abusive colonizer rather than a legitimate government."

    That is not necessarily true. Some grievances are born of circumstance. Obviously governments have to walk a line between placating local desires and rewarding violence (thus encouraging more violence). Again, the fact is that in almost all counter-insergencies, laws cease to become enforceable in many cases.

    "Words in Arabic have different shades. Islam means submission to the will of God as well as the peace believed to come with such."

    The peace comes if everyone submits. That's an extrapolation. Islam means submission, Salam means peace. Come on.

    "Sure it does, in the Book of Leviticus. Also "Christian Dominionism" is the Christian equivalent of Shar'ia and seek to create crisis in the Middle East in order to bring about Biblical prophecy. They have powerful roles in US military policy"

    This is so wrong I don't know where to begin. Christianity has no role in US military policy. I served as a US Army officer for 23 years. I'm not a Christian. Policy comes directly from our political apparatus. Name ONE military operation in the last 50 years tied to religion. One. Secondly, if Christianity has shari'a, tell me what's the penalty for stealing?

    "Doesn't prevent them from having some sort of "special region"; they certainly do have a sort of "hands-off" approach with the well-connected criminal organizations that seem to control Pattaya and Phuket ."

    That might have been achieveable if there weren't any violene going on. But now it would reward violence, which would encourage violence in other places, like Issan. And many of the demands are not realistic.

    "Again you're ignoring the fact that it's a Thai/Siamese colony. It's invading someone's house (or having a thief give you control over a house they invaded), imposing your ways on them, but claiming this is okay because you let them have "political representation" (but naturally "disappear" any that get too much power)."

    It's not a colony. It's part of the territory of Thailand recognized by the UN as such. It has been for over 100 years.

    "It's a stereotype stating that Muslims are militants and spread their religion by the sword, while Buddhists are peaceful. The former idea comes from the Crusades, while the latter appears to be more recent."

    Islam was spread by the sword and it is a violent socio-political pact. No question there. As for the Bhudist issue- not relevent to our discussion.

    "Are you suggesting involvement of international terrorist organizations? I cannot find anything supporting that, though radical Islam is making advances in other places, not because it's logical or rationally founded but since Islamist propaganda centres are propped up, worldwide, by petro-dollars."

    Radical Islam has been making advances since the days of the Mahdi in Sudan. You keep harping on "petro-dollars" like there is something that can be done about that (although you admit having no idea what). As for Pattani, the connection is emotional more than physical. Same with the PI and the psychos there. The physical connection is minimal.

    "Also the UN Human Development Index shows that Malaysia is far more advanced than Thailand. If it were the other way around there'd probably be considerably less resentment against the Thais' colonization of the region."

    It wouldn't matter. When Muslims are a large population they resent being governed by non-Muslims. This is true everywhere in the world. They believe, like you believe, that they are superior.

    "So you think Islamic governance is outdated, but are faced with the fact that Malaysia is a significantly more advanced nation than Buddhist-governed Thailand"

    I don't think it, I know it. Using your rational, I can simply point to Saudi Arabia and Germany and draw the conclusions that support my position. And Malaysia is not significantly more advanced. That's nonsense. It has some slight advantages. Not significant.

    "So you think they should simply put up with the colonizer's domination? You act like the fact that a government is in power means that no one has the right to fight against it when it does wrong. This is the view of a bully rather than a just person IMO"

    They do not have the right to fight with violence. And this isn't opinion, this is fact. They don't have the legal right. They are criminals - as all insurgents are. By definition. If they want to resist, they have the right to peacefully resist with non-violent resistance. They don't have the right to kill. Period. End of story.

    "The article writer was a foreign professor. In one year I've across maybe 3 Thais who had any sort of introspective capabilities regarding their country. Also many times I've overheard Tards (as I think of them) trash-talking f-rangs as if they consider the "farangi" dirty and stupid, and as if they thought I had no clue what they're saying. Also friends in Laos and Myanmar have the same resentment towards them since they ironically consider both of those countries as inferior. In fact the opposite is true, outsiders generally have a better conception of the Thai's "culture" than they do, and it's increasingly clear that if they actually want peace inside of Pattani, some outside intervention (not simply Malaysia) is necessary. If peace is actually the goal - and if the Thais can bear the "loss of face", which seems unlikely."

    Bascially you're just prejudice against Thais (and I am willing to bet against Americans too). It comes through in your posts loud and clear. You lack credibility on the issue for that reason.

    #125 Posted: 5/2/2013 - 12:12

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    "Obviously governments have to walk a line between placating local desires and rewarding violence (thus encouraging more violence). Again, the fact is that in almost all counter-insergencies, laws cease to become enforceable in many cases."

    There's a huge gap between that and the Thais' current policy of torturing and/or murdering those, particularly local leaders, who give less than 100% commitment to Thai gov't policies. I can't see how you support the Thai government's actions there which seem pretty plainly in the wrong.

    "The peace comes if everyone submits. That's an extrapolation. Islam means submission, Salam means peace. Come on."

    You're interpreting the Qur'an through the eyes of an extremist. Most normal muslims would say that peace comes directly through submission to will of god. Qur'an only justifies jihad in the case of defense or persecution.

    "This is so wrong I don't know where to begin. Christianity has no role in US military policy. I served as a US Army officer for 23 years. I'm not a Christian. Policy comes directly from our political apparatus. Name ONE military operation in the last 50 years tied to religion. One. Secondly, if Christianity has shari'a, tell me what's the penalty for stealing?"

    Just google "Christian Dominionism and the US military". The so-called Moral Majority which got Reagan elected directly supports Zionist policy in the Middle East. The Zionists and Sauds are in alliance, but "intervene" when "less friendly" dictators get in the way. They want to actively fulfill the "prophecies" given in Revelations and are dead serious.

    "But now it would reward violence, which would encourage violence in other places, like Issan. And many of the demands are not realistic."

    Any violence in Issan would be easily squashed. Who wants to turn the place into something governed like Laos? The Thai side of the river is far richer and better off. No one with any sense would support that.

    "It's not a colony. It's part of the territory of Thailand recognized by the UN as such. It has been for over 100 years."

    It's effectively a colony, part of the old sultanate extending through the east coast Malay states. Also it would not be necessary to re-make borders to work out a compromise between the Thais and Malays.

    "Islam was spread by the sword and it is a violent socio-political pact. No question there. As for the Bhudist issue- not relevent to our discussion."

    First statement isn't true. It spread like wildfire west to the Atlantic and east to the frontiers of China, plus Indonesia, due to its intellectual contents. This can be seen from the fact that small warring tribes in the Arabian desert could not effect such a rapid "invasion" as you claim. Second statement regarding Buddhists is completely relevant since people - such as international media - consistently blame the violence on Muslim extremists, but if you look at many of the actual attacks, interviews with locals, police officials, and such, it's clear that a notable proportion of the violence there is carried out by Buddhists.

    "It wouldn't matter. When Muslims are a large population they resent being governed by non-Muslims. This is true everywhere in the world. They believe, like you believe, that they are superior."

    If they want to spread their ways by force, I agree they should be stopped. But I think the reverse is true in Pattani. A previous sultanate was overtaken by the Thais. Stating that the Thais should assimilate the inhabitants of the region into their ways is immoral IMO.

    "And Malaysia is not significantly more advanced. That's nonsense. It has some slight advantages. Not significant."

    It's around 50 places ahead of Thailand on the Human Development Index.

    "They do not have the right to fight with violence. And this isn't opinion, this is fact. They don't have the legal right. They are criminals - as all insurgents are."

    Yet you think Thai police/army thugs have the right to murder/torture/abuse plus the drug/oil/human trafficking said to be going through down there. Or at the very least you excuse their criminal actions as "inherent to a counter-insurgency". You can see the arrogance behind the Thais' claim of being "one nation, language, culture" in how they treat the Malays there, or the hill tribes in the North.

    "Bascially you're just prejudice against Thais (and I am willing to bet against Americans too). It comes through in your posts loud and clear. You lack credibility on the issue for that reason."

    Likewise, due to your prejudices, you easily overlook evils committed by central governments or standing armies, but condemn the ground-up response that is inevitable. People will only take so much abuse.

    But my generalizations about the Thais was formed from seeing their (overall) xenophobia, arrogance, and ignorance of other countries. They are taught in their schools that their country is superior, with no rational argument behind this, and it shows in how they respond to "falangs" in the country. Once I learned a bit of their language I saw the darker side of "the land of smiles". They are shooting themselves in the foot with this behavior, IMO. It also shows in how they've misgoverned their little territory in Pattani, with rampant illicit trafficking, extrajudicial murders, and general lies/broken promises to the population there. Also the Thais there seem to have this arrogant attitude typical of colonizers in a place they don't belong - which once again begs the question of why the Thais completely ignore the facts and history underlying their own territory.

    I do know a few Thais who are respectable, but they are all somewhat westernized due to overseas experience or contact. Also the Thais overall seem like the "good guys" along the Burmese and Laos borders, in my impression, but not in the place you mention, hence why I do not wish them what you consider "Victory in Pattani".

    Back to the topic of "Annoying Verbiage", I came across a comment on a travel board re: Thailand decrying how westerners "take advantage" of the innocent Thais when marrying them. Actually in every Thai-western relationship I've seen this has been very much far from the truth, and it's very much a choice on the Thais' side. Also the author of "Bangkok 8" noted how many western men here are refugees from western feminism, enjoying how the Asian women are glad to take care of the house, make food, clean up, provide sex, etc. Western women influenced by extreme varieties of feminism are too mean to take care of their men.

    #126 Posted: 6/2/2013 - 05:18

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "There's a huge gap between that and the Thais' current policy of torturing and/or murdering those, particularly local leaders, who give less than 100% commitment to Thai gov't policies. I can't see how you support the Thai government's actions there which seem pretty plainly in the wrong."

    Again, you are painting a one sided picture. The Thai's didn't draw first blood, not in this latest round. The Malay did. Simple as that. The insurgents actions are pretty plainly wrong. There is no justification for killing school teachers. Period. End of story.

    "You're interpreting the Qur'an through the eyes of an extremist. Most normal muslims would say that peace comes directly through submission to will of god. Qur'an only justifies jihad in the case of defense or persecution."

    Not true. Do I need to cite verse? I can certainly do so if it will make you happy. The Quir'an most certainly justifies violence to expand the faith. Most modern Muslims believe that is not necessary, but no Muslim will tell you that Islam should not be the system of governance for all humans.

    "Just google "Christian Dominionism and the US military". The so-called Moral Majority which got Reagan elected directly supports Zionist policy in the Middle East. The Zionists and Sauds are in alliance, but "intervene" when "less friendly" dictators get in the way. They want to actively fulfill the "prophecies" given in Revelations and are dead serious."

    This is fringe thinking, not mainstream thinking. And US military policy does not support it. US support for Israel has a long and complex history that began well before the neo-con movement. You're way off base here and making excuses or trying to make moral parrallels where they don't exist.

    "Any violence in Issan would be easily squashed. Who wants to turn the place into something governed like Laos? The Thai side of the river is far richer and better off. No one with any sense would support that."

    Not so simple. For a long time, there was a potent communist movement here. The junior leaders of that movement are now senior leaders in the Red Shirt movement. Since the people of Issan were marginalized politically, they still have raw power now. It could easily turn to violence, and almost did not that long ago.

    "consistently blame the violence on Muslim extremists, but if you look at many of the actual attacks, interviews with locals, police officials, and such, it's clear that a notable proportion of the violence there is carried out by Buddhists."

    Again, this is not true. You are excuse making. And you know it. You were the one who supported their use of violence in the first place to remove Thai regional hegemony in Pattani. You can't have it both ways.

    "It's around 50 places ahead of Thailand on the Human Development Index."

    And the US is fourth in the world. So are you conceding that the US is superior to every European country except Norway and Holland? Or are you saying the index maybe isn't spot on. Furthermore, you are ignoring the fact that the Chinese are disproprotionate income generators in Malaysia. Well ahead of the Malay.

    "Yet you think Thai police/army thugs have the right to murder/torture/abuse plus the drug/oil/human trafficking said to be going through down there. Or at the very least you excuse their criminal actions as "inherent to a counter-insurgency". You can see the arrogance behind the Thais' claim of being "one nation, language, culture" in how they treat the Malays there, or the hill tribes in the North."

    I remind you YET AGAN, there would be no violence if there were no insurgency. And insurgents do not have the rights that governments have. How many times do we have to go down that road? Insurgency is NOT LEGITIMATE, I say again.

    "Likewise, due to your prejudices, you easily overlook evils committed by central governments or standing armies, but condemn the ground-up response that is inevitable. People will only take so much abuse."

    And AGAIN - there would be no abuse if there were no insurgency. One leads to the other. You have it ass backwards.

    "But my generalizations about the Thais was formed from seeing their (overall) xenophobia, arrogance, and ignorance of other countries. They are taught in their schools that their country is superior, with no rational argument behind this, and it shows in how they respond to "falangs" in the country. Once I learned a bit of their language I saw the darker side of "the land of smiles". They are shooting themselves in the foot with this behavior, IMO. It also shows in how they've misgoverned their little territory in Pattani, with rampant illicit trafficking, extrajudicial murders, and general lies/broken promises to the population there. Also the Thais there seem to have this arrogant attitude typical of colonizers in a place they don't belong - which once again begs the question of why the Thais completely ignore the facts and history underlying their own territory."

    I've lived in eight countries in my life. Thailand is nothing unusual in any of the respects that you cited above.

    "I do know a few Thais who are respectable, but they are all somewhat westernized due to overseas experience or contact. Also the Thais overall seem like the "good guys" along the Burmese and Laos borders, in my impression, but not in the place you mention, hence why I do not wish them what you consider "Victory in Pattani"."

    My father in law is a poor rice farmer and a very decent human being. He is a good guy. If you've been around, as you claim, then you should know people are pretty much people and you find good and bad everywhere. I oppose insurgencies and I oppose Islamic governance or Islamic political motivation - always.

    "Thailand decrying how westerners "take advantage" of the innocent Thais when marrying them. "

    You didn't come across it from me.

    "Actually in every Thai-western relationship I've seen this has been very much far from the truth, and it's very much a choice on the Thais' side."

    I've seen all sorts of marriages with all sorts of results from all sorts of ethnicities. You can't label them. My first wife (German) didn't have nearly the integrity of my second (Thai). Again, you take people one at a time.

    "Also the author of "Bangkok 8" noted how many western men here are refugees from western feminism, enjoying how the Asian women are glad to take care of the house, make food, clean up, provide sex, etc. Western women influenced by extreme varieties of feminism are too mean to take care of their men."

    Those guys ought to move to Somalia. Nobody takes care of a man like a Somali woman - deeply culturally ingrained.

    #127 Posted: 6/2/2013 - 10:44

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    "Again, you are painting a one sided picture. The Thai's didn't draw first blood, not in this latest round. The Malay did. Simple as that. The insurgents actions are pretty plainly wrong. There is no justification for killing school teachers. Period. End of story."

    Thais annexed Pattani in 1902 and killed many religious leaders in the ensuing years. They have never held their own kind to justice for murdering locals there. Of course there is no justification for killing school teachers (or farmers like two days before) but the Thais are in no position to cast stones about this.

    "Not true. Do I need to cite verse? I can certainly do so if it will make you happy. The Quir'an most certainly justifies violence to expand the faith."

    Please, go ahead. The book justifies violence in defense, or in cases of persecution. It forbids killing of innocents. You're reading it through the eyes of an extremist and quoting out of context. You can do the same with the Bible.

    "This is fringe thinking, not mainstream thinking. And US military policy does not support it. US support for Israel has a long and complex history that began well before the neo-con movement."

    Fundamentalist Christian influence within the military seems to have begun with the Vietnam War. It was defended as a war of "good vs. evil". Then the "Religious Right" got Reagan into power with his dirty tricks in the Middle East and South America. They see their actions and interventions (to keep the oil flowing) as carrying out the will of "God".

    "For a long time, there was a potent communist movement here. The junior leaders of that movement are now senior leaders in the Red Shirt movement. Since the people of Issan were marginalized politically, they still have raw power now. It could easily turn to violence, and almost did not that long ago."

    A separatist movement won't easily form there as the cultures are quite similar, and the living conditions are poor in Laos compared to Issan.

    "Again, this is not true. You are excuse making. And you know it. You were the one who supported their use of violence in the first place to remove Thai regional hegemony in Pattani. You can't have it both ways."

    If you don't think that the Thai gov't looks the other way when Thai death squads murder religious leaders or civilians in the South, then you're ignoring what the locals say and ignoring logic. Most of the deaths are Malay-Muslim and given the police state apparatus in place there, it's clear at least some of these attacks are carried out with the complicity of crooked Thai authorities. In the same way, given all the checkpoints along the Myanmar/Thai border, it's obvious there's official complicity in the drug trade there.

    "And the US is fourth in the world. So are you conceding that the US is superior to every European country except Norway and Holland? Or are you saying the index maybe isn't spot on. Furthermore, you are ignoring the fact that the Chinese are disproprotionate income generators in Malaysia. Well ahead of the Malay."

    Don't know about US versus Europe but it sounds like the UK is a socialist nightmare.

    The point is that the relatively advanced state in Malaysia is another driver behind - or at the very least certainly does not stall - resentment against the Thai annexation there.

    "I remind you YET AGAN, there would be no violence if there were no insurgency. And insurgents do not have the rights that governments have. How many times do we have to go down that road? Insurgency is NOT LEGITIMATE, I say again."

    Neither is Thai Buddhist annexation of Malay Muslim sultanates. You show no objection to large-scale crimes committed by governments so your claims that "insurgents do not have the rights gov'ts have" is flat out amoral.

    "And AGAIN - there would be no abuse if there were no insurgency. One leads to the other. You have it ass backwards."

    Likewise, there would be no insurgency if the Thais hadn't annexed the region.

    "My father in law is a poor rice farmer and a very decent human being. He is a good guy. If you've been around, as you claim, then you should know people are pretty much people and you find good and bad everywhere."

    The levels of nationalism, xenophobia and general ignorance exhibited by locals here, even "educated" ones, exceeds anything I've seen elsewhere. Contrary to your claims, you can in fact make generalizations about people's culture, as this forms a back-drop around which people's behavior forms. The absence of technological innovation, in this part of the world, for one, arises out of the cultural fabric, and other facets are likewise products of a culture that rewards cheating and offers no incentive for honest innovation (since it can be quickly stolen). The flip-side is it's possible for a westerner with a Machiavellian personality to take complete advantage of this, but I cannot.

    "I oppose insurgencies and I oppose Islamic governance or Islamic political motivation - always."

    So, in your view, if a minority group is treated like second-class citizens by the central government, they have no recourse other than going through established political streams, especially if they're Muslims? At some point, people have the moral entitlement to fight back. This is the political idealogy of a bully rather than a just ruler.

    "Those guys ought to move to Somalia. Nobody takes care of a man like a Somali woman - deeply culturally ingrained."

    You must be joking, no?

    #128 Posted: 7/2/2013 - 06:14

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "Thais annexed Pattani in 1902 and killed many religious leaders in the ensuing years. They have never held their own kind to justice for murdering locals there. Of course there is no justification for killing school teachers (or farmers like two days before) but the Thais are in no position to cast stones about this."

    Yes they are. Because they are not running an illegal insurgency. Don't you get it? No insurgency, no blood letting. Simple as that. There were long stretches of time where there was no violence in the region and the Malay were just fine. Long stretches. You keep ignoring this fact. The Thai government did nothing to provoke the latest round of violence. There was no policy or behavioral change.

    As for Qur'anic verses on violence and expansionism, try this one (if you need more let me know - there's a lot):

    "They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks."

    "Fundamentalist Christian influence within the military seems to have begun with the Vietnam War. It was defended as a war of "good vs. evil". Then the "Religious Right" got Reagan into power with his dirty tricks in the Middle East and South America. They see their actions and interventions (to keep the oil flowing) as carrying out the will of "God"."

    How many years have you spent in the US military? I spent 27 total. I never encountered this line of thinking. Never. Ever. Hmmmm. We were (and are) professionals who see our business as the controlled application of violence for political ends (not for religious ends).

    "If you don't think that the Thai gov't looks the other way when Thai death squads murder religious leaders or civilians in the South, then you're ignoring what the locals say and ignoring logic. Most of the deaths are Malay-Muslim and given the police state apparatus in place there, it's clear at least some of these attacks are carried out with the complicity of crooked Thai authorities. In the same way, given all the checkpoints along the Myanmar/Thai border, it's obvious there's official complicity in the drug trade there."

    And I say again, no insurgency, no deaths. You are ignoring the root cause (the insurgency) and arguing the periphery (specific cases) because you don't want to admit that the root cause lacks sufficient justifcation.

    "The point is that the relatively advanced state in Malaysia is another driver behind - or at the very least certainly does not stall - resentment against the Thai annexation there."

    It's not relevent. If the Malay were not Muslim, there would be no fighting.

    "Neither is Thai Buddhist annexation of Malay Muslim sultanates. You show no objection to large-scale crimes committed by governments so your claims that "insurgents do not have the rights gov'ts have" is flat out amoral."

    Again, the bar for violent resistance is very high. When did the Malay ever try non-violent resistance? When did they try and participate in the political system to make changes from within? The majority of the people in Pattani (and this is vindicated by polls) do not want independence from Thailand. Interesting fact.

    "The levels of nationalism, xenophobia and general ignorance exhibited by locals here, even "educated" ones, exceeds anything I've seen elsewhere."

    Then obviously you haven't been around. Spent any time in Ethiopia or Somalia? Or even Laos? Now Laos, there's a **** government.

    "So, in your view, if a minority group is treated like second-class citizens by the central government, they have no recourse other than going through established political streams, especially if they're Muslims? At some point, people have the moral entitlement to fight back. This is the political idealogy of a bully rather than a just ruler."

    AGAIN, the bar for violent resistance is extremely high. Pattani isn't even close. The insurgency there is not justifiable. Nor will it succeed. Mark my words. It's been over 110 years now. If it were going to succeed, it already would have. The periods where there's been violence have not achieved a thing except a lot of dead people and suffering among the supporters of the insurgency (which is inevitable in all insurgencies).

    "You must be joking, no?"

    Nope. You ever live with a Somali woman?

    #129 Posted: 7/2/2013 - 10:45

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    "Long stretches. You keep ignoring this fact. The Thai government did nothing to provoke the latest round of violence. There was no policy or behavioral change."

    The change came when Thaksin came into power. When the Army was in charge there was a network between the military and the local populace. This trust was eroded by the behavior of the Thai authorities under Thaksin.

    "But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks."

    Exactly my point. It says if the hypocrities turn renegades (ie: actively fight against you), fight back and do not take assistance from their allies. It does not say to attack them without cause. You will not find justification to attack people, who haven't attacked first, in the Qur'an. Self-serving scumbags take these verses out of context to justify their hatred.

    "How many years have you spent in the US military? I spent 27 total. I never encountered this line of thinking. Never. Ever. Hmmmm. We were (and are) professionals who see our business as the controlled application of violence for political ends (not for religious ends)."

    Evangelicals trying to launch a full-blown war in the Middle East (ie: against Iran) are in active roles in the military but are tempered by Obama and his feminized version of the military. The military is dominated by right-wing Christian fanatics, as with similar public service groups such as fire departments and police departments in the US.

    "It's not relevent. If the Malay were not Muslim, there would be no fighting."

    Conversely if the Muslim were not Malay (ie: they were Thai), there would be no fighting. But they're Malay and their land was annexed by Thailand.

    When did they try and participate in the political system to make changes from within? The majority of the people in Pattani (and this is vindicated by polls) do not want independence from Thailand. Interesting fact."

    Thai religious, political and ethnic suppression of the Malays is well documented from the time of the annexation. They're considered "guests" and claim to feel treated like second-hand citizens. Once again you're holding the people who are abused at blame (for not trying to participate in a system that actively suppressed them), and defending abuses committed by the Thais. Also the fact that there is widespread popular sympathy with the ghost-like "insurgency" but no support for border shifts indicates that they would be fine having a self-determined sub-state under the Thai kingdom. Patani was autonomous but paid tribute to the Siamese king from the 17th century.

    "Then obviously you haven't been around. Spent any time in Ethiopia or Somalia? Or even Laos? Now Laos, there's a **** government."

    Yes, but not as bad as Myanmar, and never encountered the sort of rat-like "hospitality" that seems widespread in LOS.

    "AGAIN, the bar for violent resistance is extremely high. Pattani isn't even close. The insurgency there is not justifiable. Nor will it succeed. Mark my words. It's been over 110 years now. If it were going to succeed, it already would have. The periods where there's been violence have not achieved a thing except a lot of dead people and suffering among the supporters of the insurgency (which is inevitable in all insurgencies)."


    The fact that there is widespread popular sympathy for the "insurgency" indicates that it is fully justified. The people there indicate being treated as second-class citizens, effectively at the end of a gun barrel, by the Thais, don't have political means available to stand up for themselves - since their demands for some sort of self-determination are used by BKK to foment a national identity - and hence are justified, like every similar ethnic separatist movement in SE Asia. I predict they also will in fact succeed since the Thais' idea that they are "one nation, one language, one culture" is patently false and doomed, like every other instance of Nazi-like "we are a pure race" nationalism in the past. The fact that people there won't flat out submit to assimilation shows that the ethnic nationalist ideas of the Thais are inherently weak and founded in falsehood. Same with the way they use the hill tribes as slaves in the north. Their current approach to the problem in Pattani is doomed to fail and raises serious questions about their ability to maintain rule of law within their borders. Did you see how drunk Mr. Chalerm got before his meeting regarding the Pattani situation with leaders of Malaysia a few weeks ago?

    #130 Posted: 8/2/2013 - 06:38

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "The change came when Thaksin came into power. When the Army was in charge there was a network between the military and the local populace. This trust was eroded by the behavior of the Thai authorities under Thaksin."

    This is not true - and were it true the violence would have ended when Thaksin was overthrown.

    "It does not say to attack them without cause. You will not find justification to attack people, who haven't attacked first, in the Qur'an. Self-serving scumbags take these verses out of context to justify their hatred."

    Did Mohammed seize Medina through violence or peavefully co-opt it? Or was Mohammed an extremist? There's a ton of verses that reference killing to expand the realm of Islam (not to expand the faith, there is no compulsion to join the faith in Islam, just incentives).

    "Evangelicals trying to launch a full-blown war in the Middle East (ie: against Iran) are in active roles in the military but are tempered by Obama and his feminized version of the military. The military is dominated by right-wing Christian fanatics, as with similar public service groups such as fire departments and police departments in the US."

    No, it is not. Most military leaders in the US are very sanguine. I know many of them. On top of that, they don't make policy. Your description is so far off base it's laughable. Again, you never served and yet you are trying to tell me, a guy who served for 27 years, what's what. It's a joke.

    "Conversely if the Muslim were not Malay (ie: they were Thai), there would be no fighting. But they're Malay and their land was annexed by Thailand."

    Again, if they were Bhudist or animists or whatever, there would be no fighting. The issue is Islam at the end of the day. If they had any other religion, this conflict wouldn't be happening. So don't tell me religion isn't an important role in the conflict when obviously it is.

    "Yes, but not as bad as Myanmar, and never encountered the sort of rat-like "hospitality" that seems widespread in LOS."

    Rats are not hospitable. I live here and have a great many Thai friends, have encountered incredible hospitality, and in general find the Thais to be a congenial people easy to get along with. If you can't get along here, you can't get along anywhere.

    "The fact that there is widespread popular sympathy for the "insurgency" indicates that it is fully justified. "

    It doesn't work that way. Also, I might mention, more than half the population oppose independence from Thailand. But on top of that, if there is widespread support for something doesn't mean it's justifiable. There was widespread support for Naziism (A poll conducted by the US Army in 1946 indicated Hitler was still favored by more than half the population - this after all his misdeeds had come to light). Destruction of European Jewry had widespread popular support too (read "Hitlers willing Executioners" on the topic). Having popular support doesn't mean something is justified. Jefforson termed this the "tyranny of the majority".

    "The people there indicate being treated as second-class citizens, effectively at the end of a gun barrel, by the Thais, don't have political means available to stand up for themselves"

    Blacks in the US were treated much worse. They adopted a tactic that was moral and worked as well. Non-violent resistance. Maybe the Malay should give it a try sometime.

    "like every similar ethnic separatist movement in SE Asia. "

    The behavior of the insurgents is nothing short of thuggery, like all such movements are. Like the Provos of Northern Ireland. They just become gangs.

    "The fact that people there won't flat out submit to assimilation shows that the ethnic nationalist ideas of the Thais are inherently weak and founded in falsehood."

    All nations pursue assimilation to some degree. This isn't a Thai idea. If Malay are to succeed in a Thai state, of course they have to master Thai language and cultural norms. Every state does this. Occassionally states with extremely large minorities (like the French in Canada) are able to get some compromise on language, but generally most states pursue mono-culutral agendas for legitimacy and practical reasons. It's not a "falsehood". Christ, you use language lik Goebels writing a propaganda leaflett. Charged with hyperbole and racism.

    #131 Posted: 8/2/2013 - 23:15

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    "This is not true - and were it true the violence would have ended when Thaksin was overthrown."

    The changes in policy he introduced - establishment of martial law, etc. - weren't disbanded when he was overthrown.

    "Did Mohammed seize Medina through violence or peavefully co-opt it? Or was Mohammed an extremist? There's a ton of verses that reference killing to expand the realm of Islam (not to expand the faith, there is no compulsion to join the faith in Islam, just incentives)."

    Peacefully co-opted it. In fact prior to his arrival there was significant warfare which eased after he came to power. If there are so many verses that reference to killing to expand the realm of Islam you should be able to easily produce them. In fact it does not permit killing of innocents, or in offense, since that would be unjust. Are you capable of using google?

    "No, it is not. Most military leaders in the US are very sanguine. I know many of them. On top of that, they don't make policy. Your description is so far off base it's laughable. Again, you never served and yet you are trying to tell me, a guy who served for 27 years, what's what. It's a joke."

    Before you claimed you served for 23 years, now you claim serving for 27 years. Not to pry into your private life, but I'm guessing that, based on your inconsistent statements and frequent grammatical errors, you are often drunk when logging onto travelfish. It's easy to read about the spread of evangelical Christianity through the US military. It's an institution dominated by right-wing thinking, like most or all militaries. Same with western police forces, and Nazi scientists/war criminals recruited for NASA.

    "Again, if they were Bhudist or animists or whatever, there would be no fighting. The issue is Islam at the end of the day. If they had any other religion, this conflict wouldn't be happening. So don't tell me religion isn't an important role in the conflict when obviously it is."

    The issue is self-determination, just as in other insurgencies in SE Asia as I have pointed out. The Shan are Buddhist and the Kachin are Christian but they are fighting similar insurgencies. These all fomented at the end of World War I when the British drew border lines as they retreated from their former colonies here.

    "Rats are not hospitable. I live here and have a great many Thai friends, have encountered incredible hospitality, and in general find the Thais to be a congenial people easy to get along with. If you can't get along here, you can't get along anywhere."

    "Friendship" with the vast majority of Thais is skin deep since they don't have western conceptions of friendship.

    "It doesn't work that way. Also, I might mention, more than half the population oppose independence from Thailand. But on top of that, if there is widespread support for something doesn't mean it's justifiable."

    So you don't think the people of the region should control their province, and instead it should be dictated by Thai Buddhists taking orders from Bangkok. The vast majority of Thais think they should rule the region, just like every Burman I've met has been fine with the genocidal behavior of their military against minorities along Myanmar's borders. You claim that local sympathy for the "insurgency" is akin to German support of the Nazis. In fact the opposite is more accurate - the Thais' support for their domination of the minority region is akin to German support for their domination of the Jews.

    "Blacks in the US were treated much worse. They adopted a tactic that was moral and worked as well. Non-violent resistance. Maybe the Malay should give it a try sometime."

    The Blacks were "freed" by the Civil War. I say "freed" because their living status was essentially the same. The north's economy depended/s as much on their labor as the south's.

    "The behavior of the insurgents is nothing short of thuggery, like all such movements are. Like the Provos of Northern Ireland. They just become gangs."

    Likewise, the behavior of the Thais is nothing short of thuggery. You still haven't explained why it's just for Thai Buddhists to control a Malay-Muslim former sultanate.

    "If Malay are to succeed in a Thai state, of course they have to master Thai language and cultural norms. Every state does this. Occassionally states with extremely large minorities (like the French in Canada) are able to get some compromise on language"

    Not just language but government as well. Quebec is quite different in culture and governance from the rest of Canada. Which begs the question which you continue to avoid: it's a Malay sultanate within Thai borders. Why can't the people there have some level of self-determination - a separate region. The Thais have granted this with Patts and Phuket and it seems criminal on their behalf to insist on Bangkok-dictated rule over Pattani.

    #132 Posted: 10/2/2013 - 07:46

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "The changes in policy he introduced - establishment of martial law, etc. - weren't disbanded when he was overthrown."

    Again, you're putting the cart before the horse. Changes in policy didn't happen until violence escalated.

    "Peacefully co-opted it. In fact prior to his arrival there was significant warfare which eased after he came to power. If there are so many verses that reference to killing to expand the realm of Islam you should be able to easily produce them. In fact it does not permit killing of innocents, or in offense, since that would be unjust. Are you capable of using google?"

    I guess you missed the battle of the trench. Or the killing of the Jews who lived there. How about the attack on Constantinople? I could go on and on. Only someone being deliberately obtuse would argue that the expansion of Islam was not due to violence. I read the Qur'an and Hadith. I know the history. I have lived in three Muslim societies. If you think that Islam is about peace with others, you are fooling yourself. It's about imposition and dominance. There is no religion in the world today that fosters more conflict than Islam. From the Sahel to the PI.

    "Before you claimed you served for 23 years, now you claim serving for 27 years. Not to pry into your private life, but I'm guessing that, based on your inconsistent statements and frequent grammatical errors, you are often drunk when logging onto travelfish. It's easy to read about the spread of evangelical Christianity through the US military. It's an institution dominated by right-wing thinking, like most or all militaries. Same with western police forces, and Nazi scientists/war criminals recruited for NASA."

    It was 23 years for pay purposes, 27 years for contract purposes. I contracted with the Army when I entered military university. As for reading about the spread of evangelical Christianity - makes for a nice read, but doesn't reflect the reality that the US military is slave to it's political masters. It doesn't make policy.

    "The issue is self-determination, just as in other insurgencies in SE Asia as I have pointed out. The Shan are Buddhist and the Kachin are Christian but they are fighting similar insurgencies. These all fomented at the end of World War I when the British drew border lines as they retreated from their former colonies here."

    Again, at this point in time, irrelevent to Pattani . That conflict is clearly rooted in Islam. Burma is another problem set because Burma has a large number of ethnic minorities and never developed a stable political foundation to deal with that problem. You also see this problem often in Africa. But the fact remains Pattani IS part of Thailand and it is NOT the only part with an ethnic minority but it IS the only part engaging in violence and happens to be the only part with a majority Muslim population. What a coincidence.

    "Friendship" with the vast majority of Thais is skin deep since they don't have western conceptions of friendship."

    Says you. My experience has been different.

    "So you don't think the people of the region should control their province, and instead it should be dictated by Thai Buddhists taking orders from Bangkok. The vast majority of Thais think they should rule the region, just like every Burman I've met has been fine with the genocidal behavior of their military against minorities along Myanmar's borders. You claim that local sympathy for the "insurgency" is akin to German support of the Nazis. In fact the opposite is more accurate - the Thais' support for their domination of the minority region is akin to German support for their domination of the Jews."

    AGAIN, no, the local people should not "control their province." They should exercise the same degree of control of any other province. Their status should be no different. And would be, if there were no violence. As for the comparison with Nazi Germany, you missed the point. The point was that because a local people think something is OK, doesn't make it so (as you were trying to invert). The bottom line is AGAIN insurgency is illegal, immoral, and often creates more problems than it solves. It is NOT justified in Pattani and I want to see it crushed.

    "Likewise, the behavior of the Thais is nothing short of thuggery. You still haven't explained why it's just for Thai Buddhists to control a Malay-Muslim former sultanate."

    The issue of the border is already long since settled. Malaysia does not want this region. The majority of the people there do not want independence. So... again, the bottom line isn't the end state as you are trying to argue it. The bottom line is the methodology, which you don't want to acknowledge is WRONG - almost always wrong and almost never justifiable.

    "Not just language but government as well. Quebec is quite different in culture and governance from the rest of Canada. Which begs the question which you continue to avoid: it's a Malay sultanate within Thai borders. Why can't the people there have some level of self-determination - a separate region. The Thais have granted this with Patts and Phuket and it seems criminal on their behalf to insist on Bangkok-dictated rule over Pattani."

    AGAIN, I say, that the end state of governance there can not, should not be, the result of an insurgency. How many times do we have to go over that? Insurgency is immoral, illegal, and seldom yields a positive result. If the people of the region want more regional autonomy, the way to achieve that is through political participation (like the French Canadians did) and, if necessary, non-violent resistance. They do not have the legal or moral right to apply violence. It's that simple.

    #133 Posted: 10/2/2013 - 12:11

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    "Again, you're putting the cart before the horse. Changes in policy didn't happen until violence escalated."

    The Army had a good position with the local populace until Thaksin took control and asserted police power there.

    "If you think that Islam is about peace with others, you are fooling yourself. It's about imposition and dominance. There is no religion in the world today that fosters more conflict than Islam. From the Sahel to the PI."

    The Battle of the Trench consisted of Muslims *defending* Medina. No Jews were attacked. Actually the idea that Islam spread by the sword is a legend arising from the Crusades, and convenient for the Roman Catholic Church (and of course ironic for anyone versed in the history of the RCC in Europe and the Americas). In any case this is irrelevant since the only imposition and dominance involved in Patani was/is by Siamese Buddhists. SE Asian Islam is notable for its tolerance, even in "conservative" Muslim states in Malaysia and Indo, for example.

    "As for reading about the spread of evangelical Christianity - makes for a nice read, but doesn't reflect the reality that the US military is slave to it's political masters. It doesn't make policy."

    Recall that CoC Bush's policy was in lines with the Christian Right, and believed/s that the world is in a struggle of good v. evil which will culminate in a final confrontation. Hence the reckless "mission" in the Middle East and all the problems that will continue to foster. That's caused widespread anti-US hatred in places where there was none before, and they're quickly spreading through the west.

    "But the fact remains Pattani IS part of Thailand and it is NOT the only part with an ethnic minority but it IS the only part engaging in violence and happens to be the only part with a majority Muslim population. What a coincidence."

    The only other place that's comparable is the north, where the hill "tribes" are effectively underlings to the Thais, but that also is not a case where Thailand seized what had been a separate self-determined region.

    "AGAIN, no, the local people should not "control their province.""

    A people's right to self-determination is a fundamental human right, but this is on another level from where you're coming from.

    "As for the comparison with Nazi Germany, you missed the point. The point was that because a local people think something is OK, doesn't make it so (as you were trying to invert). The bottom line is AGAIN insurgency is illegal, immoral, and often creates more problems than it solves. It is NOT justified in Pattani and I want to see it crushed."

    I see your point perfectly, and . You still haven't answered my original question. Why should Pattani, a Malay sultanate, be controlled by Thai Buddhists and their god-king?

    "The bottom line is the methodology, which you don't want to acknowledge is WRONG - almost always wrong and almost never justifiable."

    Killing of innocents is clearly wrong and I have never indicated otherwise. You likewise don't want to acknowledge that the Thais' annexation and domination of the region is also wrong. You also implicitly support the murders made by police-supported Thai Buddhist death squads, most notable of which was the politically powerful (among the locals) human rights attorney mentioned previously. The cover-up surrounding these behaviors confirms what locals say about the Thais' attitude towards the natives of the region, that they are treated as second class citizens, below the Thais. It's not a case of "separatism" as you try to make it out to be, as no one is suggesting, but the question of who will have power in the region and how they will control it is up in the air.

    "If the people of the region want more regional autonomy, the way to achieve that is through political participation (like the French Canadians did) and, if necessary, non-violent resistance. They do not have the legal or moral right to apply violence. It's that simple."

    The Siamese did not have the moral right to annex the region, effectively at sword-point. The Thai authorities kidnapped and murdered the most proponent political person involved in the region (who, for example, got 50,000 signatures for a petition to restrict police domination of the region). According to what locals say (who of course don't matter to you, the self-considered counterinsurgency expert) the same behavior has happened many times over, but this one was simply notable. It really is a nation of rats.

    #134 Posted: 10/2/2013 - 14:25

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "The Army had a good position with the local populace until Thaksin took control and asserted police power there."

    Again, you are ignoring the reality about who drew first blood and why.

    "The Battle of the Trench consisted of Muslims *defending* Medina. No Jews were attacked. Actually the idea that Islam spread by the sword is a legend arising from the Crusades, and convenient for the Roman Catholic Church (and of course ironic for anyone versed in the history of the RCC in Europe and the Americas). In any case this is irrelevant since the only imposition and dominance involved in Patani was/is by Siamese Buddhists. SE Asian Islam is notable for its tolerance, even in "conservative" Muslim states in Malaysia and Indo, for example."

    Oh really. They were defending it, after they seized it. What happened to the Jews of Medina then? Medina had a large Jewish community. So did much of what is now modern day Saudi Arabia. And yet they're all gone. What, in a puff of smoke?

    "Recall that CoC Bush's policy was in lines with the Christian Right, and believed/s that the world is in a struggle of good v. evil which will culminate in a final confrontation. Hence the reckless "mission" in the Middle East and all the problems that will continue to foster. That's caused widespread anti-US hatred in places where there was none before, and they're quickly spreading through the west."

    Nothing is quickly spreading anymore. By and large the militants have been beaten down hard. And that will continue. The invasion of Iraq was reckless and stupid, I will grant you that, but not some Christian right scheme designed to generate a "final confrontation".

    "The only other place that's comparable is the north, where the hill "tribes" are effectively underlings to the Thais, but that also is not a case where Thailand seized what had been a separate self-determined region."

    Issan was part of Laos until 1823 when it was annexed as the result of warfare.

    "A people's right to self-determination is a fundamental human right, but this is on another level from where you're coming from."

    Using your definition of same, any group could terminate any association at any time. States would cease to function as states. You sound like an anarchist.

    "I see your point perfectly, and . You still haven't answered my original question. Why should Pattani , a Malay sultanate, be controlled by Thai Buddhists and their god-king?"

    You are asking the wrong question. The annexation happened long before any of us were alive. The question now is, is the political situation in Pattani so eggregious that it justifies violence in order to change it? The answer to that is patently no.

    "Killing of innocents is clearly wrong and I have never indicated otherwise. You likewise don't want to acknowledge that the Thais' annexation and domination of the region is also wrong."

    The annexation is not relevent to the quesiton of the methodology. AGAIN, the people there have the right to non-violent resistance. They have the right to try and modify their reltionship to the system from within. They don't have the right to use violence to achieve that end.

    "It really is a nation of rats."

    Again, your racism blurs your analysis.

    I also notice a certain antipathy towards Bhudism while you engage in a long line of excuse making for the excesses of Islam. Mohammed was engaged in some very questionable practices when he was alive, the social order he established wouldn't pass muster with a tribe of barbary apes, almost eveyrwhere you find Islam as a governing system you find political violence associated with it and yet I have not seen you write a single critical thing about it. Interesting. Repeat after me: Islam sucks as a socio-political system.

    #135 Posted: 10/2/2013 - 20:06

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    "Again, you are ignoring the reality about who drew first blood and why."

    The region converted to Islam peacefully in the 15h century, began paying protection money to the Siamese in the 17th century, and was seized in the early 20th century, by force. But that's of course irrelevant with the day-to-day tit-for-tat killings.

    "Oh really. They were defending it, after they seized it. What happened to the Jews of Medina then? Medina had a large Jewish community. So did much of what is now modern day Saudi Arabia. And yet they're all gone. What, in a puff of smoke?"

    The peaceful ones were there for long afterwards, but the warring ones were booted out. According to PBS. According to the Qur'an, "there shall be no compulsion in religion", the final word on the subject.

    "Issan was part of Laos until 1823 when it was annexed as the result of warfare."

    They're both Tai people and have no fundamental ethnic/cultural/religious distinctions.

    "Using your definition of same, any group could terminate any association at any time. States would cease to function as states. You sound like an anarchist."

    Likewise you sound like someone who supports the behavior of central governments in all but the most extreme situations (particularly if the recipients of their behavior are Muslim). You sound like a totalitarian.

    "They don't have the right to use violence to achieve that end."

    Thai police kidnapped and murdered the most prominent non-violent politically active person in the region. No one was punished for this. They don't have the right to non-violent resistance, or at least any meaningful resistance. Reports also indicate that those who don't fully support the Thai domination/assimilation are placed on "blacklists" or "hitlists" for arrest or assassination.

    "Again, your racism blurs your analysis."

    Likewise your hatred for Muslims leads you to justify subjugation of Muslims in the region.

    "I also notice a certain antipathy towards Bhudism while you engage in a long line of excuse making for the excesses of Islam."

    I also notice a certain antipathy towards Islam while you engage in a long line of excuse making for the excesses of Buddhists - but describing the Thai national character as like a rat, which is after all their national mascot, seems like an accurate description.

    "Interesting. Repeat after me: Islam sucks as a socio-political system."

    Politics in 7th century Arabia are irrelevant. Malaysia's implementation of Muslim governance is relatively (compared with other SE Asian nations) tolerant and moderate. You don't think the Malays should have some sort of autonomous control over the region, because they're Muslim. This seems irrelevant given Malaysia's governance, which emphasizes justice and mercy over literal interpretation of 7th century Islamic law. I don't see how this "sucks" as a sociopolitical system.

    #136 Posted: 10/2/2013 - 20:55

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "The region converted to Islam peacefully in the 15h century, began paying protection money to the Siamese in the 17th century, and was seized in the early 20th century, by force. But that's of course irrelevant with the day-to-day tit-for-tat killings."

    Of course it's irrelevent. Look at Germany today. My sons family (mothers side) were forcibly removed from their homes in Croatia where they had lived for generations. All their property confiscated. You don't see them planting bombs in Croatia to get it back. They horribly wronged - their only crime having been German. They had nothing to do with the war. But they are looking forward, not backward. Maybe the people of Pattani should give it a try.

    "The peaceful ones were there for long afterwards, but the warring ones were booted out. According to PBS. According to the Qur'an, "there shall be no compulsion in religion", the final word on the subject."

    Interesting there are no Jews there today. Not one. Not anywhere in Saudi Arabia. Not one.

    "They're both Tai people and have no fundamental ethnic/cultural/religious distinctions."

    That is not correct. Laos and Thai are kclosely related languages, not mutually intelligeable ones. Like Spanish and Italian. The fact is that the people of Issan were treated as second class citizens for a VERY long time. Even now, look at who makes up most of the factory workers, prostitutes and taxi drivers in Bangkok. But it's in Pattani where we have trouble. And what's the one outlier? Islam.

    "Likewise you sound like someone who supports the behavior of central governments in all but the most extreme situations (particularly if the recipients of their behavior are Muslim). You sound like a totalitarian."

    Nope, I believe in peaceful resistance for sure. Part of the democratic process. But emphasis is on the word peaceful. Storm the bastille from within.

    "Likewise your hatred for Muslims leads you to justify subjugation of Muslims in the region."

    I don't hate Muslims. Indeed I have a long and pleasant association with a lot of Muslims. I hate Islam as a socio-political compact. As I hate all religions as socio-political compacts. Religion doesn't belong in the public sphere. The more it's present, the more annoying it is. In Islam, it's pervasive.

    "I also notice a certain antipathy towards Islam while you engage in a long line of excuse making for the excesses of Buddhists - but describing the Thai national character as like a rat, which is after all their national mascot, seems like an accurate description."

    Nope - Bhudism is a fringe faith with no Shari'a equivelent. I have lived in Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Djibouti and the Ogaden of Ethiopia. I got a very good look at how Islam impacts life there. Sometimes it's more, sometimes less, always present. I have also lived in Germany and Thailand as well as the US (throw in Haiti) and there is much more personal freedom in those places. Particularly Thailand actually. Maybe you don't value personal freedom, but I do.

    "Malaysia's implementation of Muslim governance is relatively (compared with other SE Asian nations) tolerant and moderate."

    The word is relatively. Stand on a street corner in KL with a sign that says "Islam sucks and Mohammed was a pedophile" and see how long you last. Now stand on a corner in New York with a sign that says "Christianity sucks and Jesus was gay". People won't like it - but you won't be threatened with death or imprisoned because of it. See the difference?

    "You don't think the Malays should have some sort of autonomous control over the region, because they're Muslim. "

    I didn't say that. I said that non-state violence can not be rewarded. IF the people there favored some sort of autonomy and protested peacefully to achieve it... fine. I object to Islamic based insurgencies above all others, but I object to insurgencies in principal.

    #137 Posted: 11/2/2013 - 08:01

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    "But they are looking forward, not backward. Maybe the people of Pattani should give it a try."

    "Interesting there are no Jews there today. Not one. Not anywhere in Saudi Arabia. Not one."

    Yet the Saud family is the west/Israel's primary ally in the region.

    "But it's in Pattani where we have trouble. And what's the one outlier? Islam."

    The Lao and Thai come from the same roots. Politics rather than religion are the primary fuel behind the "insurgency" there. If you want to inform yourself you can read from online books such as "The Terrorist Threat from Southern Thailand" or "Sultans, Shamans, Saints: Islam and Muslims in SE Asia".

    "Nope, I believe in peaceful resistance for sure. Part of the democratic process. But emphasis is on the word peaceful. Storm the bastille from within."

    So you're fine with violence. As long it's committed by state militaries.

    "I don't hate Muslims."

    If the Malays had taken over, say, Phuket, imposed their religion/language/culture on it, there would be a gigantic outcry. But because it's Buddhists doing this to Muslims, no one cares. This is pure bigotry.

    "Nope - Bhudism is a fringe faith with no Shari'a equivelent. I have lived in Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Djibouti and the Ogaden of Ethiopia."

    SE Asian Muslims are a completely different group. You think it's fine to forcefully assimilate (a nice word for genocide) Muslims in SE Asia due to bad experiences in Africa. This is not okay, and is in fact criminal.

    "Now stand on a corner in New York with a sign that says "Christianity sucks and Jesus was gay". People won't like it - but you won't be threatened with death or imprisoned because of it. See the difference?"

    This is irrelevant and you're ignoring my question. You claim that the Malays have never tried to peacefully protest their assimilation (a "mild" form of genocide). The Malay attorney who collected 50,000 signatures for an anti-police-state petition in the region was murdered/disappeared by Thai authorities. A suitable comparison also exists in Xinjiang, China, as well. If some people were shipped to your home country by a crazed dictator and pushed your people off of their land and eventually tried to push their alien culture and traditions on you while punishing you for speaking your language, worshipping your God and other things then I imagine you might be a little perturbed too.

    "Islamic based insurgencies above all others, but I object to insurgencies in principal."

    You hypocritically object to violence committed by locally raised groups, but think if gov't authorities commit crimes, their victims should protest peacefully. Particularly if they're Muslims.

    #138 Posted: 11/2/2013 - 08:38

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "Yet the Saud family is the west/Israel's primary ally in the region."

    Are you on crack? The Saud family can't stand Israel. The Jordanians, the Egyptians and the Turks ALL have a better relationship with Israel than the Saudis do. If you have an Israeli passport you can't even legally enter Saudi Arabia.

    "The Lao and Thai come from the same roots. Politics rather than religion are the primary fuel behind the "insurgency" there. If you want to inform yourself you can read from online books such as "The Terrorist Threat from Southern Thailand" or "Sultans, Shamans, Saints: Islam and Muslims in SE Asia".'

    This is excuse making. There is one Muslim majorty region in Thailand and one region with an active insurgency. The PI has the same problem. Look across the globe and where you see religious rubs that lead to violence you find Muslims involved in it. Political Islam just doesn't play well with others.

    "So you're fine with violence. As long it's committed by state militaries."

    Depends on the military, depends on the situation. BUT, political violence is the purview of the state. Not of individuals and not of groups.

    "If the Malays had taken over, say, Phuket, imposed their religion/language/culture on it, there would be a gigantic outcry. But because it's Buddhists doing this to Muslims, no one cares. This is pure bigotry."

    See it how you want. Fact is this region has been part of Thailand for over 100 years. Again, the issue isn't who rules whom, it's non-state violence. You don't seem able or willing to understand that.

    "SE Asian Muslims are a completely different group. You think it's fine to forcefully assimilate (a nice word for genocide) Muslims in SE Asia due to bad experiences in Africa. This is not okay, and is in fact criminal."

    Genocide is when you kill, or attempt to kill, all members of an ethnic group. Assimilation brings that ethnic group into cultural line with another. Big diffference. Assimilation good, genocide bad. When I move to a new environemnt I try to assimilate with the cultural norms there. Got it?

    "This is irrelevant and you're ignoring my question. You claim that the Malays have never tried to peacefully protest their assimilation (a "mild" form of genocide). The Malay attorney who collected 50,000 signatures for an anti-police-state petition in the region was murdered/disappeared by Thai authorities."

    It's not irrelevent. It begs the question about personal freedom in Islamic societies. As for the Malay attornery - peaceful resistance has consequences. Some people do get hurt. how many Americans died during the non-violent resistance in the 60s in the US to bring about a reasonable level of racial equality? Also, said attorney was also caught up in the middle of said insurgency. Not during a period of peaceful resistance. I am not suggesting that the Thais hands are clean. I am suggesting that insurgency needs to be beaten down - almost always. Almost everywhere. Certainly in Pattani .

    "If some people were shipped to your home country by a crazed dictator and pushed your people off of their land and eventually tried to push their alien culture and traditions on you while punishing you for speaking your language, worshipping your God and other things then I imagine you might be a little perturbed too."

    But the solution is not insurgency. Certainly not in Pattani where the possibility for redress would be available were there no violence. Again, I am not sympathetic with the insurgents not because of their arguement, but because they are insurgents.


    "You hypocritically object to violence committed by locally raised groups, but think if gov't authorities commit crimes, their victims should protest peacefully. Particularly if they're Muslims."

    The state, and only the state, has a right to political violence. Simple as that.

    #139 Posted: 11/2/2013 - 10:32

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    "Are you on crack? The Saud family can't stand Israel."

    From King Faisal:From “WE, THE SAUDI FAMILY, are cousins of the Jews: we entirely disagree with any Arab or Muslim Authority which shows any antagonism to the Jews; but we must live together with them in peace. Our country (Arabia) is the Fountain head from where the first Jew sprang, and his descendants spread out all over the world.”

    "Political Islam just doesn't play well with others."

    Your statements about Islam would be applicable if the situation was reverse - the region had been a Thai Buddhist kingdom and was annexed by Malays.

    "Depends on the military, depends on the situation. BUT, political violence is the purview of the state. Not of individuals and not of groups."

    "See it how you want. Fact is this region has been part of Thailand for over 100 years. Again, the issue isn't who rules whom, it's non-state violence. You don't seem able or willing to understand that."

    Sometimes what's "legal" is not "just". The exact same reasoning applies to the drug trade, which is clearly linked in with government figures here and elsewhere, but the people who get arrested/executed are small scale.

    "When I move to a new environemnt I try to assimilate with the cultural norms there. Got it?"

    But the Malays didn't move to Thailand...

    "It's not irrelevent. It begs the question about personal freedom in Islamic societies."

    Since we're talking about personal freedom and Thailand, how do you think the Thais would respond if you held up a signpost saying their particular *cough cough* was a pedophile?

    "As for the Malay attornery - peaceful resistance has consequences."

    Not when the government is just. You're justifying criminal behavior.


    "But the solution is not insurgency. Certainly not in Pattani where the possibility for redress would be available were there no violence. Again, I am not sympathetic with the insurgents not because of their arguement, but because they are insurgents."

    Sometimes it's the case that what's "legal" is not "just".

    "The state, and only the state, has a right to political violence. Simple as that."

    If this is true then the US's foundation was illegitimate. Killing one insurgent in such a way that breeds a whole new generation of them does not lead to peace or "victory". With the continuing terrorist attacks here, in Iraq/Afghanistan/Indo/everywhere else, I don't see how a cowboy-like attitude of "squashing" insurgents is going to be successful.

    #140 Posted: 11/2/2013 - 13:53

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    Any Muslim will tell you that (from their persepctive) Jews and Arabs are close cousins with a lot of the same core beliefs. That doesn't change a word of what I said - that Jordan, Egypt and Turkey all have MUCH closer relations with Israel than Saudi Arabia does. The Saudis have no diplomatic relations with Israel and Israeli citizens may not enter the kingdom.

    "Your statements about Islam would be applicable if the situation was reverse - the region had been a Thai Buddhist kingdom and was annexed by Malays."

    It doesn't play well with anybody Square. Not with Bhudists, not with Jews, not with Christians, not with Hindus, not with anyone. In the modern world Islam is in conflict all over the planet. Look at a map. From the Sahel to Mindanao you find Muslims in conflict with non-Muslims.

    "Sometimes what's "legal" is not "just". The exact same reasoning applies to the drug trade, which is clearly linked in with government figures here and elsewhere, but the people who get arrested/executed are small scale."

    Of course, sometimes what is legal is not just. I agree. However, AGAIN, insurgency are almost always unjust, even if their goals are just. Don't you get it? The ends doesn't justify the means. Insurgencies place an undue burden on the population that supports them, and almost always the end state is negative.

    "Since we're talking about personal freedom and Thailand, how do you think the Thais would respond if you held up a signpost saying their particular *cough cough* was a pedophile?"

    Well in Thailand unfortunately that's a taboo subject. I object to taboo subjects, but since that one in particular has no impact on me, I let it go. But Islam is a system of governance that is all pervasive.

    "Not when the government is just. You're justifying criminal behavior"

    No government, not one in this world, is always just. None are just when fighting counter-insurgency. That's one of the reasons I oppose insurgencies. It turns everyone into an animal - insurgents especially. Look at the US civil rights movement in the 60s. Think how many good men were killed by agents of the government. Yet they achieved their end state and the level of blood shed was small. In insurgencies, they almost never achieve a positive end state and the level of blood shed and destruction is large.

    "Sometimes it's the case that what's "legal" is not "just"."

    Insurgencies are neither just nor legal. Their cause might be just. But the path to hell is paved with good intentions.

    "If this is true then the US's foundation was illegitimate."

    I partially agree with that - with the following caveat. The US had a political representative body which declared it an independent country. It had raised a conventional army and that Army fought the British Army. It was a uniformed Army. It was not fighting a non-uniformed guerilla war with no concept of rules of war. Both sides largely followed the conventional rules of warfare as applied at that time. So in that sense it was legitimate. When Lee was defeated at Appomatax in 1865, some of his officers urged him to disperse the Army of Northern Virginia into small groups and continue to fight as small groups targetting Federal Authorities and infrastructure wherever possible. Lee said he couldn't think of a worse fate for the south than to have armed brigands roaming the countryside under no officers positive control and that they would not do that. To the extent that happened in the American civil war (re: Quantrill and his merry men and other like associates) it was a disaster for the civil populace in the region. The postwar groupings using violence to resist the state brought us those fun loving KKK guys. Insurgency is wrong. Plain wrong. It's a cure that's worse than the disease. You've obviously never fought in one, so you don't know what they really mean.

    #141 Posted: 11/2/2013 - 20:53

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    "It doesn't play well with anybody Square. Not with Bhudists, not with Jews, not with Christians, not with Hindus, not with anyone. In the modern world Islam is in conflict all over the planet. Look at a map. From the Sahel to Mindanao you find Muslims in conflict with non-Muslims."

    You missed the point. There was no conflict when the region was a protectorate. When the Thais took the region, and began imposing their way on what is very much not Thailand, they had problems. Never before this, and in fact the Pattani sultanate previously paid the Siamese for protection from the Chinese.

    "Well in Thailand unfortunately that's a taboo subject. I object to taboo subjects, but since that one in particular has no impact on me, I let it go. But Islam is a system of governance that is all pervasive."

    In its mild SE Asian versions it has done no domination. If you want to find the all-pervasive/expanding/dominating systems of gov't in this region you'll be looking at Buddhists. The Burmese invade Christian/Muslim/fellow Buddhist regions, the Thais annexed this Muslim region, the Chinese annexed Xinjiang, a Turkish Muslim region. I would have no objection to what you're saying if the situation were the reverse, but your view that Muslims are creating the conflict in these places does not fit the concrete facts of these places.

    "No government, not one in this world, is always just. None are just when fighting counter-insurgency. That's one of the reasons I oppose insurgencies."

    A successful counterinsurgency operation would be just, since otherwise it will create another generation of insurgency. The current approach to insurgencies - for example, at the supposed West/Muslim "cultural clash" - has not worked, and most counterinsurgency operations of the past century have been glorious failures. Insurgencies - population-led armed rebellions - cause problems for countries with an imperialist streak.

    "Insurgencies are neither just nor legal. Their cause might be just. But the path to hell is paved with good intentions."

    The American insurgency didn't exactly lead to hell. Insurgencies are also generally due to real grievances. A successful counterinsurgency operation would address these gaps rather than aim at, essentially, trying to kill ghosts.

    "Insurgency is wrong. Plain wrong. It's a cure that's worse than the disease. You've obviously never fought in one, so you don't know what they really mean."

    It's not wrong, in principle, for an armed body to fight against an illegitimate government. Your cowboy-like response to "squash" the "insurgency" is not just, as you admit, and not well thought through, and for this reason I flat out oppose it. Likewise everything you say about Islam spreading seems just as applicable to the US/west, or in this case to imperialist Buddhists.

    #142 Posted: 12/2/2013 - 05:48

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "You missed the point. There was no conflict when the region was a protectorate. When the Thais took the region, and began imposing their way on what is very much not Thailand, they had problems. Never before this, and in fact the Pattani sultanate previously paid the Siamese for protection from the Chinese."

    You missed the point. The annexation is defator and dejure a fait accomplis. It ain't going to change. You know that. I know that. The people of Pattani know that. You are arguing whether or not the annexation was justified. You don't get that that is now irrelevent. Sounds like the dipshits who argue about whether or not Israel has a right to exist or it's establishment was justified. Doesn't matter. It is here. It is not going away.

    "In its mild SE Asian versions it has done no domination. If you want to find the all-pervasive/expanding/dominating systems of gov't in this region you'll be looking at Buddhists. The Burmese invade Christian/Muslim/fellow Buddhist regions, the Thais annexed this Muslim region, the Chinese annexed Xinjiang, a Turkish Muslim region. I would have no objection to what you're saying if the situation were the reverse, but your view that Muslims are creating the conflict in these places does not fit the concrete facts of these places."

    Again, it depends on when you plant the date on it doesn't it? Before Islam was in Malaysia there was...??? And in Islam how does it regard those who it considers idolaters? And are non-Muslims considered equal citizens under Shari'a? Can non-Muslims rule in a Muslim country? Work with me here. It ain't some innocent, victimized socio-political idea that is generous at heart.

    "A successful counterinsurgency operation would be just, since otherwise it will create another generation of insurgency."

    Wrong, they get beat down. Like the British beat down the communist insurgency in Malaysia. Or the US beat down the native American insurgency in North America. Seldom is there accomodation. Sometimes things just fall apart... Like Somalia. The Somalis had a good reason for wanting to overthrow Mohammed Siad Barre. Their insurgency and subsequent civil war was as justifiable as any. And where did it get them?

    "The American insurgency didn't exactly lead to hell. Insurgencies are also generally due to real grievances. A successful counterinsurgency operation would address these gaps rather than aim at, essentially, trying to kill ghosts."

    The Americans didn't have an insurgency. Not as the term is understood today. The Americans had a revolution. Still, as I said before (obviously falling on deaf ears) the Americans were extremely lucky in their outcome. It could have gotten very ugly.

    "It's not wrong, in principle, for an armed body to fight against an illegitimate government. Your cowboy-like response to "squash" the "insurgency" is not just, as you admit, and not well thought through, and for this reason I flat out oppose it. Likewise everything you say about Islam spreading seems just as applicable to the US/west, or in this case to imperialist Buddhists."

    Since Bhudism is a superior faith to Islam, Bhudism should have been spreading West, and not Islam spreading East. The only way to convince people to embrace Islam is through threats and cajolery. Which is what happened. As for "cowboy like response" you just don't want to admit that Insurgency is wrong. Plain wrong. Simple. The cause doesn't matter. You don't get it. You don't want to get it.

    #143 Posted: 13/2/2013 - 10:15

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    "Before Islam was in Malaysia there was...??? And in Islam how does it regard those who it considers idolaters? And are non-Muslims considered equal citizens under Shari'a? Can non-Muslims rule in a Muslim country? Work with me here. It ain't some innocent, victimized socio-political idea that is generous at heart."

    Animism. Islam perfectly united the pre-existing beliefs. Malaysia and Indonesia are Muslim by name but non-Muslim in practice. The way they think through their religion would cause fatwas to be issued by Middle East style theocracies, but they use reason to work out whether specific laws are actually just. They focus on implementing overall virtues like justice and mercy rather than a literal implementation of Islamic law. Not that they do it perfectly, but they seem reasonably governed overall.

    "AWrong, they get beat down. Like the British beat down the communist insurgency in Malaysia."

    The British withdrew long before the end of the Malaysia insurgency, which ended in a political agreement rather than cowboys crashing the house. You can kill as many insurgents as you want, but if you don't take care of the underlying reasons, people will continue resistance.

    "Since Bhudism is a superior faith to Islam, Bhudism should have been spreading West, and not Islam spreading East. The only way to convince people to embrace Islam is through threats and cajolery. Which is what happened. As for "cowboy like response" you just don't want to admit that Insurgency is wrong. Plain wrong. Simple. The cause doesn't matter. You don't get it. You don't want to get it."

    On what basis do you say Buddhism is superior? Name one Buddhist nation that does not have long lists of well documented records of widespread human rights violations, slavery, human trafficking, genocide, etc: China, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Korea, Nippon. They're all more or less mafia states with pretty nasty human rights records. The countries with the largest Muslim populations, India and Indonesia, came into Islam through Sufism, the "spiritual" shade of Islam - voluntary conversion through traders practicing the religion.

    As far as insurgency being wrong - in some cases it's completely legitimate. If someone breaks into your house and expects you to submit to their control, you have the right to fight back. The same applies to larger bodies. The Thais have ruled the region by utter domination (for exploitation of its resources and trading routes). You think it's fine for a Buddhist state to dominate another land, as long as it's Muslim. I think this is despicable and criminal behavior that should be condemned, and hope that the people in charge can find the humanity to realize that. The Phillippines recently agreed, in principle, to home rule, for the Malay regions that were grouped into its borders. Hopefully something like this will emerge so innocents don't have to continue suffering.

    #144 Posted: 13/2/2013 - 13:41

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United States
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    Did anyone notice the recent headlines about Thai troops killing 19 militants in Pattani?

    #145 Posted: 13/2/2013 - 15:18

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    "Did anyone notice the recent headlines about Thai troops killing 19 militants in Pattani?"

    Yes, that was in Narathiwat. The Thais can kill as many insurgents as they want, but if they don't fix the underlying reasons fueling the insurgency - which people ignorant of the facts on the ground falsely claim to be militant Islam trying spread - it will keep coming back in different forms.

    #146 Posted: 13/2/2013 - 15:55

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    The reports I read said the insurgents were attacking a Thai military base.

    #147 Posted: 13/2/2013 - 23:18

  • Thomas922

    Joined Travelfish
    1st July, 2007
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 346

    OK guys it is obvious you will never agree. Mac has established his dislike of Islam as a political concept and some could stretch that to Islam itself but I got no feelings that it was about people. Square on the other hand seems to have a personal dislike of Thais period. Personally I think that without an "insurgency" there is a chance that future generations could actually co exist after an extended time with less violence. In almost every country assimilation takes a couple of generations of a family. The southern folks are mostly there. We all know there will be no autonomous region outside of Thai control after all this time being Thai provinces. I lived in Japan for example for years. They crushed a couple of insurgencies years ago and forcibly assimilated the Okinawans and the original Hokkaido people. The Thais are far more lenient. The southern people still have practices, dialects and religion As well as clothes and cultural practices. I have seen Mislim Thais in other parts of Thailand live their lives amongst Thais speaking Thai and other languages. In Japan even their names were stripped away. They are just now trying to get back their culture in Hokkaido. Square Thais are not the worst. They are not alone in Asia in Xenophobia. Japan, China, hell Singaporeans have lots of problems with Malays and they are damn related. Many in Malaysia would love to "take" back Singapore.

    Square you referenced the Obama feminization of the US military. That was a garbage statement and a backdoor slam at him as well as the people who voted him in for partly the reason of reining in military spending. To get us out of wars that many disagree with and refocus our boys and the money domestically. it takes balls to go against that train of thought in the states and I am not saying the prez is all right, but for you to ***** out Mac over military practices and then call the US military a bunch of bitches( I know not your exact words but my interpretation of how you came off) is disengenuous to me and puts a hole in your argument with Mac. This not a personal attack Square but it seems your argument against Mac crossed the line several ways racially, philosophically and otherwise. The Thias can be heavy handed yes but so can every country all depending on leadership at the time.
    You say the US military is right wing religious influenced. I disagree. The government at times can be so that can filter down to what they are ordered to do but the military has long had its own culture that at times conflicts with the outside leadership. Through conservative in its rules it is liberal in many practices on the inside. He'll it is partially the military to thank for black men and white men learning to live together even though it was hard fought and still not perfect.

    Also this thread is waaaaaaay to long. Start a part two or something guys. Haha!

    #148 Posted: 14/2/2013 - 00:22

  • froglink

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location France
    Posts: 18

    (To bring the topic back to where it started) I am 'amazed' that no-one mentioned Lonely Planet's uber-buzzword: 'stunning'. I've seen it three times per page. Those guides are now less about learning than scoring experience; something to brag about when you get home.

    #149 Posted: 14/2/2013 - 05:23

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    "Square on the other hand seems to have a personal dislike of Thais period."

    Not true, I have a number of Thai "friends" including police and soldiers, and friends and family in US military as well. I should specify what I mean by the dislike for the "Thais", or more accurately aspects of their "culture", which effectively congratulate behavior that is seen as criminal by westerners (as well as some non-western cultures such as Islamic ones) - for example, cheating/plagiarism that's pretty fundamental in their culture. If someone is found to have cheated in the west, the credentials they obtained through that are (ideally) removed. In Thai, as well as China and other Eastern nations, this behavior is generally rewarded. This is a big problem, not just domestically, but also for int'l companies that get their ideas stolen, for example. This also is applicable for Patani since the region is, historically/culturally/linguistically/ethnically/religiously, not Thai Buddhist, yet they run it like a gang of crooks without acknowledging the basic facts of the region, under the motto "One Language, One Culture, One Nation". I so no excuse for this behavior, and hate how it's depicted in the media - but also should apologize to Madmac if I have disrespected him as an elder.

    #150 Posted: 14/2/2013 - 13:08

  • Thomas922

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Global Village
    Posts: 346

    Haha! Mac an elder statesman! Just don't call him old....just well seasoned like fine wine!

    #151 Posted: 14/2/2013 - 18:25

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "but also should apologize to Madmac if I have disrespected him as an elder."

    I'm pretty hard to offend Square. No worries.

    #152 Posted: 15/2/2013 - 05:37

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    Yes, well despite the US's crooked foreign policy, hypocritically intervening in other countries with no regard to ethics - well-documented by Noam Chomsky among others - most of the previous generation of military members here seem quite decent.

    And with regards to my "racism" about the Thais, here's an essay from a Thai in the Bangkok Post a few years ago regarding "the perfect Thai idiot". http://teakdoor.com/the-teakdoor-lounge/72624-a-guide-to-perfect-thai-idiot.html

    Also, a post on Stickman Bangkok, highlights their apparent stupidity, and suggests it's not due to inherent traits, but instead a lack of Darwinian selection. They can't point out obviously idiotic or crooked behaviors since this would cause the other person to "lose face", so they continue to behave like crooked idiots. See the last paragraph: http://www.stickmanbangkok.com/reader/reader884.html

    #153 Posted: 15/2/2013 - 05:54

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "Yes, well despite the US's crooked foreign policy, hypocritically intervening in other countries with no regard to ethics - well-documented by Noam Chomsky among others - most of the previous generation of military members here seem quite decent."

    Noam is an idelogue and not always honest in his assessments. I remmember the twisted logic he was using to argue the US should not have intervened in Somalia. Noam sees every US military engagement as immoral. He's not intellectually honest.

    "And with regards to my "racism" about the Thais, here's an essay from a Thai in the Bangkok Post a few years ago regarding "the perfect Thai idiot"."

    Anyone can make any such arguement. I've met guys who say blacks are intellectually inferior and should be treated as such. They'll mention some study or other to support their case. Doesn't work for me.

    "Also, a post on Stickman Bangkok, highlights their apparent stupidity, and suggests it's not due to inherent traits, but instead a lack of Darwinian selection. They can't point out obviously idiotic or crooked behaviors since this would cause the other person to "lose face", so they continue to behave like crooked idiots."

    This is a gross over-simplification. As I said before, these are the kind of arguements that racists make when attacking a race they regard as inferior. It's the same across the planet.

    #154 Posted: 15/2/2013 - 06:29

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    "Noam is an idelogue and not always honest in his assessments. I remmember the twisted logic he was using to argue the US should not have intervened in Somalia. Noam sees every US military engagement as immoral. He's not intellectually honest."

    He's correct in his core assertion that US preaches democracy and freedom when that's a suitable position, then hypocrtically aligns with oppressive regimes, when that suits the crooked corporate-state hybrid there. ex: both Saddam Hussein and OBL were funded by the US when this was deemed "friendly" to their interests. The Sauds, perhaps the worst fundamental Islamist regime on the planet, are also hypocritically propped up by the US. Not that this type of amorality/hypocrisy is unique to that country. Eisenhower likewise warned about the rise of the "military-industrial complex" in his last address, and was very much on-the-spot.

    "Anyone can make any such argument. I've met guys who say blacks are intellectually inferior and should be treated as such. They'll mention some study or other to support their case. Doesn't work for me."

    Never said they should be are intellectually inferior or should be treated as such. Stupid behavior doesn't get corrected because that would cause the person at fault "loss of face". Irrational behavior thus becomes widespread.

    "This is a gross over-simplification. As I said before, these are the kind of arguements that racists make when attacking a race they regard as inferior. It's the same across the planet."

    Where? The argument implies that anywhere that idiotic behavior can't be immediately corrected by calling it out, it will proliferate. It says nothing about the race itself. It is also specific to a few Asian countries in which this behavior is ingrained.

    Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers gives an example of this in Korean Air, which previously had a very poor safety record arising from similar cultural idiosyncrasies/idiocies. He found that co-pilots literally would not be able to warn their pilot that they were about to run out of gas, or fly into a mountainside(!), due to traditional Confucian values about superiors. They brought in an American based HR expert who was able to institute cultural changes within the company and correct the idiotic behavior. (Do you think it's racist for me to call this aspect of their society flat out idiotic?).

    This type of irrational behavior plays out differently in SE Asia which is not Confucian, but is very similar in practice. Irrational behavior is not called out because doing so leads to "loss of face", so it becomes endemic in the society. Have you seen how, for example, when one coffee shop or beer bar opens up and is successful, people open 3 or 4 other ones right next door, obviously destined to fail?

    #155 Posted: 15/2/2013 - 07:01

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "He's correct in his core assertion that US preaches democracy and freedom when that's a suitable position, then hypocrtically aligns with oppressive regimes, when that suits the crooked corporate-state hybrid there."

    That is not true. The US puts expansion of democratic principals second to pragmatic concerns - like the containment of communism or the expansion of fundamentalist Islamic regimes. There have been very few cases of US putting corporate interests ahead of democratic principals, and most of those took place in the first third of the 20th century, when this was common practice in the world. The US was one of the first western countries to discard the practice.

    "both Saddam Hussein and OBL were funded by the US when this was deemed "friendly" to their interests."

    Hyperbole again. Critics who make these assertions love the simple. The US had working relationship with Saddam Hussein when he was fighting Iran. The enemy of my enemy is my friend - a true Arab proverb. We weren't ever going to be close friends, but we worked together out of mutual interests. Such associations are normal in geopolitics and altogether appropriate.

    As for Bin Laden - the US didn't have any direct relationship with him. He was leading a small group of Arab fighters during the war in Afghanistan, and our policy there was to support the Afghan Mujahedin and it's Arab associates in fighting the Soviet invasion. Again, this made complete sense. People who criticize it are basically talking out of their ass.

    "The Sauds, perhaps the worst fundamental Islamist regime on the planet, are also hypocritically propped up by the US."

    God, if I hear the word hypocracy one more time I'll puke. It doesn't apply in international relations and anyone who knows anything about geopolitics knows this. It doesn't, it never has, it never will. It shouldn't. The US did not put the House of Saud in power. It was in power when we arrived to extract oil. What do you suggest? That we overthrow that regime and take the oil? To be sure you'd be criticizing that. Wahhabi practice has been omni-present in Saudi Arabia for over 200 years. How were we suppose to change that? We either do busihness with them, or we invade and throw them out and install a regime we'd prefer? I'm all ears here.

    "Stupid behavior doesn't get corrected because that would cause the person at fault "loss of face". Irrational behavior thus becomes widespread."

    That is a particular cultural challenge of this area. But if you only look for the negative of a culture, you will find it. Islamic societies are burdened with tons of these, yet they don't seem to concern you. You seem to be trying to make the arguement that Malay culture is superior. I arguement I reject.

    "Where? The argument implies that anywhere that idiotic behavior can't be immediately corrected by calling it out, it will proliferate. It says nothing about the race itself. It is also specific to a few Asian countries in which this behavior is ingrained."

    That would include Malaysia, with it's large and economically powerful Chinese community. Face applies there too.

    #156 Posted: 15/2/2013 - 21:04

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2011
    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    "Wahhabi practice has been omni-present in Saudi Arabia for over 200 years. How were we suppose to change that? We either do busihness with them, or we invade and throw them out and install a regime we'd prefer? I'm all ears here."

    Dunno, but doing corporate business with the dictatorial regime that is a major factor behind militant Islam is going to contribute to a lot of suffering, I fear.

    "That is a particular cultural challenge of this area. But if you only look for the negative of a culture, you will find it."

    Agreed, what the west has in knowledge, the east has in intuition. I don't know that Malay culture is superior, but its implementation/interpretation of Islam is quite different than the sort of "Islamofascist" regimes spreading in the Middle East. Despite its imperfections it does not seem an illegitimate system of governance to me. One example is they previously had a shamanic/Hindu religion, both of which consider some people to be "holy" or "supernaturally gifted", and now consider some people worthy of being revered as "saints" or "sufis", which would result in crackdowns/fatwas/death sentences in Iran or al-Saud.

    "That would include Malaysia, with it's large and economically powerful Chinese community. Face applies there too."

    I don't know of scientific evidence but IMO it's been moderated by their colonial or trade interactions with Indian/Middle Eastern/European culture. One illustration - in Kelantan, the Malay state across the border from Patani, the Islamic regime in charge issued a "fatwa" against shisha shops, citing a verse from the Quran saying that what is bad for health is forbidden or Haram. They had a big press release and got the big government figures pictured with the ever-present fingers pointing at the seized hookahs, funny since it's exactly what the Thais do. They made a big fuss of it but since more or less ignore it if it's not too in the open/doesn't cross the line and make the officials involved "lose face", and presumably there are friendly officers giving the operating shisha shops a "heads up". So I reiterate, overall, SE Asian Muslims are "cool", whereas the dictators are over in the middle east.

    Madmac, is there a forum like travelfish, but for military issues? I find Jane's Intelligence Review fascinating, but can't afford the subscription rates.

    #157 Posted: 16/2/2013 - 13:53

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 6341
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    "Dunno, but doing corporate business with the dictatorial regime that is a major factor behind militant Islam is going to contribute to a lot of suffering, I fear."

    If you don't have a better plan, then being critical of the existing one is kind of absurd don't you think? The Saudis have the oil. The world needs it. This is simple math here.

    "Agreed, what the west has in knowledge, the east has in intuition. I don't know that Malay culture is superior, but its implementation/interpretation of Islam is quite different than the sort of "Islamofascist" regimes spreading in the Middle East."

    True. It's only when people start killing people and using Islam as part of the justification (and that is happening in Pattani - the only arguement isn't about language) then I will default to the government.

    "Despite its imperfections it does not seem an illegitimate system of governance to me. "

    But it does to me. I consider theocray bad, and Islamic derived theocracy the worst. Religion should, in an ideal world, have no place at all in governance.

    "Madmac, is there a forum like travelfish, but for military issues? I find Jane's Intelligence Review fascinating, but can't afford the subscription rates."

    Janes is great. I don't know of such a forum, but I've never looked for one. My discussions are usually via Email with my old colleagues who were intel types like myself.

    #158 Posted: 17/2/2013 - 01:03

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 132
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    "If you don't have a better plan, then being critical of the existing one is kind of absurd don't you think? The Saudis have the oil. The world needs it. This is simple math here."

    The alliance is also deeper than that - arms sales, interference in the affairs of neighboring countries such as Iran (together with the British), organizing coups, etc. Another way would be to find other sources of energy, but Big Oil has fought that viciously (and traitorously IMO). Also IME, anyone who had a better plan and worked to implement it would end up in prison on false charges, or as a "suicide" with two bullets in the head...

    "True. It's only when people start killing people and using Islam as part of the justification (and that is happening inPattani - the only arguement isn't about language) then I will default to the government."

    All that religion says about killing applies only to cases of self-defense. I've also been reading about how Islamic insurgents in the Phillippines were basically the only resistance the Nipponese faced in WWII. They don't "turn the other cheek". OTOH of course ones who want to spread it around the world via the sword should be put down.

    "But it does to me. I consider theocray bad, and Islamic derived theocracy the worst. Religion should, in an ideal world, have no place at all in governance."

    If it encourages the government to promote justice, individual rights, and the like, why shouldn't it have a place in government? Not necessarily encoded into the law, but as an inspirational source. Certainly the three Abrahamic religions have had a positive influence on the US's government, for example, even though it's not explicitly founded in religion.

    #159 Posted: 17/2/2013 - 05:54

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    The alliance is also deeper than that - arms sales, interference in the affairs of neighboring countries such as Iran (together with the British), organizing coups, etc.""

    All relationships in the international world run deeper than that. Kind of normal. Point to a place where they either don't or never have run deeper than that. Only between western democracies do you see the kind of stuff named above not occurring.

    Another way would be to find other sources of energy, but Big Oil has fought that viciously (and traitorously IMO). ""

    Not true. Oil companies look anywhere and everywhere to fund supplies. I don't know where you heard that want to protect Saudi supplies. In fact, it's "big oil"that wants to open up Alaska and environmentalists who want to keep it closed to drilling.

    All that religion says about killing applies only to cases of self-defense""

    That is simply not true. And even were it true, many Muslims don't believe that themselves. A large number of Muslims believe killing to expand the faith is OK. If they didn't, we wouldn't see so much violence emanating from the Islamic world.

    If it encourages the government to promote justice, individual rights, and the like, why shouldn't it have a place in government? ""

    Because it's inherently oppressive. Religion is about telling people what to do and what not to do. In the case of Islam, this goes all the way down to how to take a crap. Don't follow the rules, you're against God. It never leads anywhere happy. Even in it's benign form, I find it's omnipresence irritating. Women with scarves, beer treated like a sinful beverage, etc. etc.

    Certainly the three Abrahamic religions have had a positive influence on the US's government, for example, even though it's not explicitly founded in religion.""

    The three Abrahamic religions have been more trouble than they are worth, and I'd like to see them all go away. Sadly, that isn't about to happen.

    #160 Posted: 19/2/2013 - 02:47

  • PhiMeow

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    I haven't bothered to read the 160 posts here but I wanted to say that we should not criticise the use of the word "Amazing". Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has capitalised on this by its Amazing Thailand campaign over the past many years.

    Of course, everything in Thailand has to be amazing - TAT says so didn't they?

    5555

    #161 Posted: 19/2/2013 - 05:29

  • squaretheci-
    rcle

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 132
    Total reviews: 5

    "The three Abrahamic religions have been more trouble than they are worth, and I'd like to see them all go away. Sadly, that isn't about to happen."

    There's a saying that people get the religion they deserve, and it's difficult to say that they have been more trouble than they're worth, since they have all been reformations of the pre-existing society...and they haven't done as much damage over the past 100 years as atheistic religions such as in Russia and China. You're also ignoring the repressive Buddhist regimes and all they've done to Buddhists, Christians and Muslims in Myanmar/Thai/China/Laos/Cambodia/Nam/elsewhere. They go to the temple to pray to Buddha for wealth then (since Buddha isn't so effective) take slaves, kill off minorities and steal their land, traffic humans or illicit drugs, etc. Likewise, pparently in the old days (if you believe Howard Marks' account) it was customary for Buddhist fathers to de-flower their daughters before selling them off as prostitutes. Where is the outcry about these sorts of practices?

    "Of course, everything in Thailand has to be amazing - TAT says so didn't they?"

    Thailand is also the hub of ASEAN, the hub of technology, the hub of everything. And they get 23 million visitors a year, according to TAT.

    #162 Posted: 19/2/2013 - 08:12

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Two other words I can't stand:

    Baby Bump. OK, no a word, but a term. And not a travel term. Man it's irritating though. These inane kind of phrases just grate.

    Foodie: When I was a kid I never heard this term used. Now it's permeating everywhere the subject of dining comes up. Inherently annoying. Another made up word.

    #163 Posted: 14/4/2013 - 07:32

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    On the subject of the name game, my dance partner, who is Chinese, and I were talking about China. I mentioned "Beijing" and she looked at me with some degree of confusion. I said "you know, the capital of China"? "Oh" she says "Beiking". I asked her to repeat it a couple of times and spell it for me. "B e i k i n g" So maybe Peking wasn't so far off after all.

    #164 Posted: 20/6/2013 - 10:53

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 684

    Does the world really need to have this thread reignited?

    #165 Posted: 20/6/2013 - 11:15

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    I had to put it somewhere. This seemed like the logical place. Now I have to ask her how "Nanking" is pronounced.

    #166 Posted: 20/6/2013 - 11:21

  • stefanw

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 50

    Beijing (North capital) is the correct spelling in pinyin which is phonetic. Does beiking come from the the Wade-Giles romanization? I am not sure. Nanking is an old way of romanizing Nanjing (South capital).

    Maybe your Chinese friend thought westerners pronounced it with a k because it used to be spelt that way?

    #167 Posted: 22/6/2013 - 06:37

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Stefan - No, the spelling issue came up because when I pronounced it "Beijing" she didn't understand me. I then said "You know, the capital of China". She then said "Oh, Behking" (that's as close as I can write it). I then asked her specifically how it's pronoujnced. The "J" is not a "J", it's a hard "K". That's why I was surprised.

    #168 Posted: 24/6/2013 - 03:22

  • stefanw

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 50

    Beijing with a J is the correct way of pronouncing it. There is no K. People don't always pronounce words correctly even if it is there native language. Many English speakers frequently mispronounce words and so do Chinese with chinese words, especially with the huge number of dialects and accents found in China.

    #169 Posted: 25/6/2013 - 02:41

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
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    Don't **** with stefanw...

    #170 Posted: 25/6/2013 - 03:09

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    I'll have to ask another one. We have a lot of Chinese here in Thailand. But this was an educated woman. It's possible she has learned a different pronunciation. Seems strange though.

    #171 Posted: 25/6/2013 - 05:06

  • MADMAC

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    So I did a little more research (didn't take long - internet is a great thing). The "K" pronunciation is the way it's pronounced in Southern Mandarin. It also happens to be the Thai pronunciation of the same place. Hence her usage of it.

    #172 Posted: 25/6/2013 - 05:11

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

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    Most Thais I know rarely eat Pad Thai and green curries which are popular amongst farangs aren't eaten that much either.

    #173 Posted: 9/7/2013 - 22:03

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

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    "So, going back to MM's frustration with meeting people that call themselves travellers. I have far more respect for people who make an attempt to see the some part of the world independently, even if it is for only 2-3 weeks at a time, than who spend it lying on a sunbed on a cruise or at a resort."

    Why does it matter? If people are nice and friendly I don't much care how they spend their holidays. Sitting on slow local buses doesn't make you a superior person and often these people are rather smelly and take themselves too seriously. When Thais go on holidays they usually drive, not sit on buses so this whole attempt to be like the locals is missing the mark.

    Not that there's anything wrong with taking buses (safety issues aside) but it doesn't make you a superior traveller. You actually see and experience far more by driving and stopping at many places along the way.

    #174 Posted: 9/7/2013 - 22:10

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

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    "Amazing - It's almost as though there is a prohibition against using other like words such as "terrific', "superb", "Brilliant", etc. Now I cringe every time I see the word in print."

    The beach is terrific!!!!!!! But you don't like beaches so it doesn't matter anyway. LP books are aimed at newbies who know little about a country. They aren't for expats like yourself.

    If I do look at guidebook comments I find Rough Guides more reliable. They contain less BS.

    #175 Posted: 9/7/2013 - 22:16

  • MADMAC

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    Leonard - well, if you come out to Muk I'll show you a Pad Thai place that is HUGELY popular here. Every night a crowd. And it's a main item at our Big C. At least in Mukdahan, Pad Thai is a very popular dish. My wife certainly eats it more often than I do.

    "The beach is terrific!!!!!!! But you don't like beaches so it doesn't matter anyway. LP books are aimed at newbies who know little about a country. They aren't for expats like yourself.

    If I do look at guidebook comments I find Rough Guides more reliable. They contain less BS."

    This is, of course, good advice and I should take it. There's a Lonely Planet 2012 edition at Good Mook cafe, and for some reason when I eat there I can't resist picking it up and reading some of it even though I know it's going to annoy me. It's like rubber necking at a car accident - you just have to look.

    #176 Posted: 10/7/2013 - 01:32

  • questionans-
    wer

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 8

    Just bought a LP guide to India which will be stunning - do you remember when the guides were thin enough to fit into your belt and the maps were guaranteed to get you lost? Their slogan back then "Getting there is half the fun" had a ring of truth about it. That's all you ever did. Haven't been out to Muk and am looking forward to it hugely in November/early December.

    #177 Posted: 10/7/2013 - 13:58

  • MADMAC

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    Question: Well, I like this little city. But getting here isn't half the fun. In fact, it isn't any fun at all. It's a shitty bus ride from Bangkok that has no redeeming value at all. You can fly and then take a van - a trip that only sucks, as oppossed to the horrid night bus. But, you got to do what you got to do. Scotty can't beam me over unfortunately.

    This not a sightseeing town, but there is enough to do. That Phanom is close and in my opinion a must see. Kang Ka Bo is our version of Vang Vieng water sports and worth a trip. There is some decent nightlife and some good riverfront restaraunts.

    Let me know when you're coming out and I can help you out with finding a room that suites your budget and tastes.

    #178 Posted: 11/7/2013 - 00:27

  • questionans-
    wer

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 8

    Dear MM, thanks for info - good to see that it is not a sightseeing town. Coming over there because I don't know it and I want some "sharpness" for my book, in which the 2nd part of 3 takes place in Thailand. Don't worry! I am not looking for exotic expat type characters to feed into the story - I know enough of those already. The book is about a normal western bloke with normal western job and attitudes, who finally breaks through to the first stages of emptiness. Mostly, though, I love the river...and will pop over the border, too. Yes, thanks with inspiration for digs. I normally stay in simple (no TV/bar/girls bullshit) clean places. In that sense, Thailand is usually a dream. I guess the end of November, first week of December is the go.

    #179 Posted: 11/7/2013 - 04:38

  • 9preciousGe-
    ms

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    No trains to Muk then? I love Isaan style food (esp kor moo yang) so would love to try the real deal one day

    As for annoying verbiage well i guess like you say the lonely planet is pure train wreck - it's awful to see but you have to have a peak to satisfy that twisted inner desire.

    #180 Posted: 11/7/2013 - 04:45

  • LeonardCohe-
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    I read some new version of LP that was targeting more upmarket customers and it described Hua Hin and Samui in glowing terms, while backpackers love the talk down those places. The book was called the Best of Thailand or something like that. Basically it covered all the touristy spots.

    #181 Posted: 15/7/2013 - 08:32

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Samui, Hua Hin, Phuket, Pattaya - Backpackers like to talk down those four places hard. They are major tourist destinations.

    Of course backpackers are not monolithc, but some want to go to places where there are other backpackers first and foremost. They want the path beaten - but only with backpacker sandals. Not too many want to go to places where there's just no western influence at all, as that usually means no sights to see and brings up lanugage issues.

    #182 Posted: 16/7/2013 - 02:01

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

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    Any car hire places in Nakhon Phanom airport that rent for 1000 baht a day?

    #183 Posted: 16/7/2013 - 10:32

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    I don't think so, but I don't honestly know. I haven't used that airport yet. I was about to...

    #184 Posted: 16/7/2013 - 23:40

  • froglink

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location France
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    Hi Madmac, I wrote some time ago to say that I'm writing a book that is set partially in Thailand. I'm coming over (mainly to the south) but also thinking about your part of the world in early December. It would be good to have a chat - I'm not collecting "character" material, don't worry; I already have enough of that! Would be good to hear your take on why so many Westerners seek out Thailand and what that tells us about the decline of the west. We had a quick email exchange, but now I've lost all my emails from back then. Could you send me a quick one to froglink@wanadoo.fr if it's still OK to catch up when I pass through Mukdahan? Thanks!

    #185 Posted: 6/9/2013 - 10:09

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    Sure, no problem. Just send me a note right here shortly before you plan on coming through.

    #186 Posted: 6/9/2013 - 10:33

  • froglink

    Joined Travelfish
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    OK will do. They don't mind this sort of communication on the forum? I'm still a bit of a newbie, but I thought that they are rather fierce!

    #187 Posted: 6/9/2013 - 10:45

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

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    "Thailand and what that tells us about the decline of the west."

    They go because it's cheaper and less PC. But the west has a lot more in terms of sport and music. It goes both ways. Lots of Asians move to the west for work or better living standards.

    #188 Posted: 6/9/2013 - 11:33

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    I do not believe the west is declining as much as other societies are rising. And that is not a negative.

    As Leonard points out, cost of living is lower here (though that is slowly changing), and it's less PC - I'll add another huge factor for me: Personal freedom. Thailand is not a nation of laws. Western societies are almost fanatical in their enforcement of law and regulation. That has benefits, but comes at cost to personal freedom. Where I live, if you go out in the evening, you know that most of the drivers are drunk. Drive accordingly or don't go out. You are accepting risk. Construction is cheaper here, but quality is often lower. If you are not cool with the fact that life here entails more risk in order to gain that extra personal freedom - don't move here. You won't like it and you'll find yourself constantly comparing it to "back home". This place isn't for everyone. I won't go back. I love it here. I love the feedom I have, the weather, my friends... for me this place is cool. But I have friends who come and they are bothered by the trash on the street, the shoddy construction, the boring architecture, the bad driving, etc. Back home there are rules and regulations for everything - and I hate it. It grates constantly.

    #189 Posted: 6/9/2013 - 23:42

  • froglink

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    Madmac has hit the nail on the head. We talk of the "Nanny state" in Australia - go to any beach and see a huge sign full of prohibitions. And in France, life is a tangle of rules: so much so that it is a national sport to work out ways around them. This leads, naturally enough, to a spiral of rule making and evading and an army of "controllers" overlooking everything you do.
    I think that this freedom people find in Thailand (ie to ride a motorbike without a helmet, to buy knock-offs etc) is a real part of the attraction of the place. I also wonder (seriously!) whether this sense of freedom makes western girls, who are already hot from the weather and sea breezes, even hornier. Westerners have been battered with moral guilt for so long. Many of us may find the local girl scene sad and gross, but we still love it for the way it breaks through the inhibitions. The problems come, as always, with our lack of personal power. If we had more inner strength, or "presence" we would be much less offensive when we come to the Land of Smiles.
    Freedom is essentially interior. If you know that all of your cherished beliefs, knowledge, attitudes etc are fluid, without any solid base ("groundless" is a good word here) your sense of freedom expands enormously. In that space you can enjoy life for what it is.

    #190 Posted: 7/9/2013 - 05:25

  • LeonardCohe-
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    Thai drivers scare me a lot but where MM lives out east the traffic would be a lot less. Hua Hin-Bangkok-Pattaya is a nightmare for traffic and crazy drivers. But I do like BKK as a city.

    #191 Posted: 9/9/2013 - 05:31

  • MADMAC

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    Yep - traffic in Bangkok is difficult. I've driven there, but it's rough.

    #192 Posted: 9/9/2013 - 08:16

  • froglink

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    You should try driving in Marseilles. They drive in four dimensions down there.

    #193 Posted: 9/9/2013 - 08:58

  • chinarocks

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    I think as a rule the further south you go in Europe the crazier the driving gets - Sicily, Naples, Athens, the Balkans...thanks but no thanks.

    #194 Posted: 9/9/2013 - 09:19

  • LeonardCohe-
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    Bangkok has a lot more people and crazy drivers than any of those cities.

    #195 Posted: 10/9/2013 - 10:36

  • chinarocks

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    I don't dispute the craziness of BKK to drive in but on a per capita basis (people and cars) Thailand is way down the list of dangerous countries.

    #196 Posted: 10/9/2013 - 10:46

  • LeonardCohe-
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    http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2011/may/11/most-dangerous-roads

    Thailand as a whole is more dangerous than France or Italy. It's twice as bad per capita.

    African nations and middle east are the worst.

    #197 Posted: 10/9/2013 - 11:03

  • chinarocks

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    My reference to European cities / places was in response to froglink's comment about Marseille.

    #198 Posted: 10/9/2013 - 11:07

  • LeonardCohe-
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    Nice try.

    #199 Posted: 10/9/2013 - 11:12

  • LeonardCohe-
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    Most of the African nations and middle east I have no interest in visiting.

    #200 Posted: 10/9/2013 - 11:14

  • MADMAC

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    Africa is my favorite place in the world. I am at my happiest when I am there. But, the risks are too high for a family. If I were single, I would definitely be in Africa right now.

    #201 Posted: 10/9/2013 - 12:50

  • froglink

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    Marseilles has become a compelling city. We mostly hear about the gang killings in the northern suburbs, but down in the city and coastal areas, it has become a delight. I enjoy driving in Marseilles, probably because I find the nanny state stuff in many places rather flattening. Have you ever driven in Adelaide? Neat lanes of perfectly behaved drivers waiting at endless traffic lights. It might make sense to create a reasonable society in which everyone becomes a policeman; it's quite another if that order and conformity drives the soul out of the place.

    #202 Posted: 11/9/2013 - 03:42

  • chinarocks

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    I agree Lenny, rules and laws are okay and are generally there for the benefit of the decent people. In reality there are very few "nanny states" in the true sense of the word.

    #203 Posted: 11/9/2013 - 09:31

  • LeonardCohe-
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    Adelaide is a good city to visit. The wineries nearby are awesome. I don't like the nanny state stuff either but some manners and basic safety go a long way. I don't want to die because some scumbag is too lazy to look over his shoulder and is going 50km over the limit whilst talking on his mobile phone after drinking 10 beers.

    #204 Posted: 11/9/2013 - 09:35

  • MADMAC

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    It's the trade off. The more rules you have, and the more law abiding citizenry you have, the safer you are. No question. But for every rule, no matter how well thought out or well intentioned, you give up some personal freedom. The question each individual must answer for himself / herself is where they want that line drawn.

    #205 Posted: 11/9/2013 - 11:05

  • chinarocks

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    I don't think rules and laws mean you must sacrifice your personal freedom, and if they do it is a spurious connection.

    A few examples:

    - Drink driving laws: Unquestionably good, even if this law didn't exist I wouldn't choose to drink and drive. But this way there is a better chance that the other guy on the road isn't drunk.

    - Smoking ban in the workplace: Reduction in passive smoking damage and I don't smoke either - universally good (at least for me).

    - Building regulations: I fail to see any positives or additional freedom from having shoddily built houses / offices.

    #206 Posted: 11/9/2013 - 11:12

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
    17th June, 2011
    Posts: 684

    I'd say Stuart is mulling over closing off this thread too...

    #207 Posted: 11/9/2013 - 11:13

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    I like Madmac but he's definitely guilty of getting threads off subject.

    #208 Posted: 11/9/2013 - 11:55

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    It's my thread. So if I let it run off on a tangent, who cares?

    "I don't think rules and laws mean you must sacrifice your personal freedom, and if they do it is a spurious connection."

    It's not spurious at all. It's axiomatic.

    "- Drink driving laws: Unquestionably good, even if this law didn't exist I wouldn't choose to drink and drive. But this way there is a better chance that the other guy on the road isn't drunk."

    You might well approve. I dare say most westerners would. BUT without question it just impinged on your freedom in a significant way. You want to go to a restaruant and share a bottle of wine with your girlfriend and then drive home? Think again. Bad plan. Where I live, I would guess a majority of drivers on the road are drunk after 10 PM. Everyone knows it. So if you hit the road, you KNOW you are incurring risk. On the other hand, you also know you can hit the local bar and have a few drinks and not worry about the police on your drive home. Obviously there is more freedom in the second case, even if you think the risk isn't worth the gain. If you take this arguement to it's full conclusion, then a simple prohibition on alcohol would be the ideal, since alcohol is a social negative without question. Why not just close all bars, prohibit the sale or consumption of alcohol?

    "- Smoking ban in the workplace: Reduction in passive smoking damage and I don't smoke either - universally good (at least for me)."

    Again, you have sacrificed a freedom to have this "good". If you're a smoker, it's not going to seem good. It's another freedom lost. A freedom you don't value. But a freedom nonetheless.

    "- Building regulations: I fail to see any positives or additional freedom from having shoddily built houses / offices."

    Cost. There is significant cost in enforcing building regulations. I am building a home in rural Thailand right now. I did not need approval from any government agency, I did not need to hire an architect, and I did not need to follow any codes. The cost in many communities in both Europe and the US is significant even before you have laid a single brick.

    What you are doing China is simply justifying these rules and losses freedom and for some bizarre reason notacknowledging that freedom is lost as regulations mount when OBVIOUSLY it is. Now perhaps you prefer to live in a place that imposes a lot of rules and regulations because you prefer a safe environment over having more personal freedom. But don't deny the correlation. That's just stupid. For each rule the state imposes, a freedom of action is lost. Whether you value that freedom or not, there's no denying it's loss. Now I have lived in eight countries in my life, and I am well aware that different people place differing values on certain freedoms. There is no right answer. There is only a right answer for each individual.

    #209 Posted: 11/9/2013 - 13:33

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    It goes both ways. Surely I have the freedom to enter a building without smoke in my face?

    Surely I have the freedom to drive on the road and not have an ******* endanger my life?

    Of course you can have nanny state rules but basic rules and respect for others actually helps promote freedom and life

    If you believe in no rules then whats to stop people killing others and getting away with it?

    Do whatever you want mentality doesn't equal freedom and life.

    Don't Buddhists believe that you should respect all forms of life?

    As soon as person A starts acting in a highly reckless and dangerous fashion the freedom of person B is affected.

    Should I be free to punch anyone I like in the face? Of course not. So why should people be allowed to endanger my life by driving super fast/drunk etcc?

    It's not just rules but basic respect for others. Decent human beings don't go around harming and endangering others for no reason.

    #210 Posted: 11/9/2013 - 21:00

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    You missed my point Leonard.

    I'll reiterate. I am not arguing an individual issue one way or the other. Lots of people will agree with you on each and every point you and China made. BUT in the case of each retriction, a freedom of personal action is lost.

    So AGAIN, I will say, it depends on where you want the line drawn in the society you live in.

    In a society with virtually no lines, as Somalia was 10 years ago, you have a violent, dangerous place but no governmental restrictions of any kind. You may act and be constrained only by natural law. Most people would not enjoy living in a society like that (but some would).

    So again, it's a matter of what kind of society you want to live in. Where you want that line drawn. I personally find western society in its present form too constraining. China does not. We are not the same.

    #211 Posted: 12/9/2013 - 00:00

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
    17th June, 2011
    Posts: 684

    I fail to see your point MADMAC. Take the following example:

    If there are lax drink driving laws then a non-drinker will know that his chances of being involved in an accident at night time are highly increased, so he will probably choose to drive less at night time. Hence, by acting in a rational and self-preserving manner, he has lost some personal freedom by virtue of a lack of rules and laws.

    #212 Posted: 12/9/2013 - 03:47

  • froglink

    Joined Travelfish
    13th February, 2013
    Location France
    Posts: 18

    It would be a shame if this thread were closed. Mind you, this is not "idle banter" - these issues form the basics of any law course, and are at the heart of Jurisprudence. Some of the best minds have struggled with these issues. The problem seems to me that we are all - including me, with my Marseilles driving example - staying on the surface. What is the loss of freedom (on both sides) of smoking bans compared to the strictures we impose on ourselves day to day, minute by minute, for our entire lives? Why do we swallow the conditioning, entertain our beliefs, cling to the past, worship our little clever thoughts and rarely step aside to say "But where does all of that stuff come from?" What is it about the structure of our own minds that makes us miss 99% of life by allowing ourselves to be tangled in ceaseless thought? Just thought I'd throw it in...

    #213 Posted: 12/9/2013 - 04:09

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    Jesus Frog - talk about digressing. I think I'll skip the meaning of life question here and move on to China...

    China, again, you are missing the point. There are natural constraints. The quesiton is from whence the imposition comes and to what degree individuals feel constrained by it. From your perspective, the increased imposition from the state is preferable. But for mine, it is not. That is why I live here and not in Ireland. Why is that so difficult to understand? Western societies impose more constraints than Thailand does. Simple math here. You prefer the former, I prefer the latter. I want to get on my bike and go teach dance and have a couple of beers and not worry about being stopped by the cops. I'm a risk taker by nature. You are less so, and would prefer more constraints and more safety. Nothing wrong with that. BUT I REITERATE AGAIN - WE DO NOT ALL SHARE THE SAME PREFERENCES IN THIS REGARD.

    #214 Posted: 12/9/2013 - 04:33

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
    17th June, 2011
    Posts: 684

    That's fine, no need to "shout". Nor am I missing the point, I just disagree with you, something that you must accept can occur occassionally.

    Lack of rules and laws means more crime, which means more danger (and less freedom) for law-abiding citizens. I see your point, I just also think the facts can be spun to support either point of view. It's hardly a rock solid argument you make, to be fair.

    #215 Posted: 12/9/2013 - 04:55

  • froglink

    Joined Travelfish
    13th February, 2013
    Location France
    Posts: 18

    Yeah. sorry about that. I was getting a bit out there. I'll come down to earth now and go out and face the traffic...

    #216 Posted: 12/9/2013 - 06:16

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    "What is it about the structure of our own minds that makes us miss 99% of life by allowing ourselves to be tangled in ceaseless thought?"

    Thought is just a temporary stop between the cyclical nature of pleasure and pain. Replacing thoughts with actions will not stop the cycle, only increase the velocity and gravity. Any attempts to stop the cycle are both futile and counterproductive.

    #217 Posted: 12/9/2013 - 08:55

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    Holy ****, now Leonard and Frog have become hippies doing LSD.

    "It's hardly a rock solid argument you make, to be fair."

    It's a rock solid arguement. So let me put it another way, what we have here is a failure to communicate.

    When I retired in 2007 I could have (and still could) gone anywhere. I chose not to retire in Europe or the US, because of several reasons, including cost and climate. But among those reasons was personal freedom. I have more here than there. It's that simple. You can believe me or not, but it's a fact. A demonstrable fact.

    #218 Posted: 12/9/2013 - 10:21

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    You chose a quiet Issan town. Why Mukdahan btw? Thai family or some other reason?

    #219 Posted: 12/9/2013 - 10:45

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    Muk's provincial, but not that quiet. We have a tennis club; a Tae Kwon do club; a Muay Thai team; a basketball team; a soccer team; some decent clubs, a number of restaraunts - including a really good Korean one. I chose it because I liked it and it wasn't too far from dad. I'm tight with my father in law and we have property out there we're building on. Once I moved here, it really grew on me. I like Khon Kaen a lot too. And NKP. But I'm happy in Mul. It's home now.

    #220 Posted: 12/9/2013 - 11:19

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
    17th June, 2011
    Posts: 684

    You like having the last word...unfortunately what you have here is an opinion, like I have mine.

    "what we have here is a failure to communicate"

    Civil War - Guns N' Roses...great song.

    #221 Posted: 12/9/2013 - 11:20

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
    17th June, 2011
    Posts: 684

    Come on Stuart, do your thing...

    #222 Posted: 12/9/2013 - 11:21

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    MM started the thread and Stuart said Idle Banter is ok for going off topic. It's the travel sections he wanted to stay on topic. So no problem here.

    #223 Posted: 12/9/2013 - 12:03

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "what we have here is a failure to communicate"

    Civil War - Guns N' Roses...great song.

    Cool Hand Luke - a great movie.

    #224 Posted: 12/9/2013 - 12:56

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    Had a mate who loved GNR. Sweet Child of Mine is one song I'll be happy to never hear again.

    #225 Posted: 12/9/2013 - 19:01

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