Soft Landing

Images: Lion Air aircraft overshoots runaway, crashes at sea @757Live

Mr Brown was swearing that he would never fly Lion Air. I tried to reassure him. Lion Air flies you direct to Kuta Beach. No need to transfer at the airport at Denpasar. Which other airline does that? On a more serious note, we should be relieved that nobody got killed in that crash. The plane was reported as “intact” yesterday with a “slight rupture in the fuselage”. It has since broken into two.

It has been reported that the plane was brand new. Well, perhaps the pilot was not. I’ve been getting pain in my toes when I run, pain in my wrists when I do chin ups. Don’t ask me to fly a plane and guys who date much younger women had better not take offence when they are addressed as Dearest Dinosaur.

Meanwhile, it’s still Songkran in Thailand. The death toll from all that unrestrained partying has reached 218. Those injured reached 2,020 so far. According to reliable sources, this only represents the tip of the iceberg. Many accidents go unreported and those who died in hospital will not be counted as a death from accident. Talk about starting life anew.

Preah Vihear

Amazingly, some folks in the Land of Smiles are not celebrating Songkran but preparing to argue a case at the International Court of Justice. Yes, it’s the Preah Vihear temple again. And if the folks still involved in the tussle with the Cambodians over an issue which has already been settled in 1962 would listen to their ex-PM, the case does not favour Thailand at all. When the generals were running Thailand circa 2006, they flatly rejected any ASEAN mediation and would only accept an outcome in Thailand’s favour if the case were brought before an international court.

This attitude is consistent with their repeated rejection of election results, occupying Government House and the airport to insist on having things their way. Why would these browbeaters listen to Thaksin when this peaceful co-ownership of the ancient ruin was deliberately disrupted “in his honour”?

One Prof Singh from NTU (the usual “expert” that Channel News Asia engages) declared since Day 1 of the coup that Thaksin’s political career was over. When Thaksin calmly and prudently persuaded the military and their puppets the Democrats to back down from the fight over Preah Vihear (which had already resulted in casualties), our dear prof proudly declared once again that Thaksin had dug his own grave by poking his nose where he was not welcome and “siding with the enemy”.

Enemy? Yao mo gao chor ah? Thais at the Cambodian border and Cambodians at the Thai border had no border disputes or ownership issues over Preah Vihear since 1962. This dispute was deliberately crafted to start a hate campaign against Thaksin. As I expected, Thaksin read his people a lot better than Prof Singh did. Finished? He’s still the de factor PM of Thailand for Buddha’s sake. Prof Singh has also commented on sectarian violence in Myanmar (on CNA) just a couple of weeks ago. I wouldn’t pay one cent for his opinion.

The flood of yellow

There are dark clouds ahead. As one genuine Thai expert pointed out, Yingluck Shinawatra will have great difficulty managing the possible backlash stemming from a highly probably outcome – that the case will be settled in Cambodia’s favour. The generals won’t like it and by default, the Democrats and the Yellow Shirts won’t like it either. Legally binding or not, some people will hit the streets and insist on having things their way. Every thinking Thai is praying for a soft landing. Even in water it’s OK.

AP reports:

Cambodia is now hoping a definitive clarification of the 50-year-old ruling will form a foundation for peace.

“I hope your court will be able to hand down a judgment … Which will finally close this dispute which has darkened relations over the past years” between the two countries, Mr Namhong said

What’s the other side thinking? I can guess.

“I’ll let you decide, but I don’t care if it’s fair or unfair, against the rules or not. Make sure you decide in my favour.”

Sounds familiar? Peace would be a tall order.

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