NAKON RATCHASIMA: — About 1,000 members of the Khon Thai Rak Chart (Thai Patriots) group gathered at Lam Takhong reservoir in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Sikhiu district yesterday to express their objection to the ongoing World Court hearing of the Thai-Cambodian dispute over the Hindu temple of Preah Vihear.
Chaiwat stressed that the group’s focus was to make people understand that if Thailand lost its case at the World Court, it would lose 4.6 square kilometres or some 3,000 rai of land around Preah Vihear temple, and subsequently another 1.8 million rai in seven provinces along the Thai-Cambodian border in addition to 17 million rai in the Gulf Of Thailand, according to the French-made 1:200,000-scale map
Why don’t they make people understand that this issue was settled in the International Court of Justice in 1962? Thailand went away with a bruised ego and some people involved might have been mumbling their displeasure over the ICJ’s verdict, but since then, Thailand has not made any serious plans to develop the now disputed land. So why are some folks, obviously not even born when the dispute was first brought before the ICJ, suddenly so keen on securing their claim – and they are not prepared to accept no for an answer.
Standing on shaky ground, the Thai PM said that she backed the Thai team fully in the court battle and that the Cambodian testimony had not been surprising, the prime minister urged the public to hear the Thai team’s testimony peacefully and with an open mind, as she believed the team could respond to all the points raised by Cambodia and protect the Kingdom’s sovereignty.
As expected, her opponent Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said that Cambodia’s claim about Thailand’s intrusion was untrue, and that the government must therefore clearly point this out to the court. He insisted that the border clashes were not the result of a lack of understanding or defiance over the ICJ’s ruling, but had actually come from Cambodia’s alleged attempt to have the Hindu temple one-sidedly listed as a World Heritage Site.
Well, all I can say is that Abhisit obviously doesn’t know what the protestors really want. It’s not that they lack understanding over the ICJ’s ruling. They just want things their way and don’t give a damn what the court says!
In order words, “I don’t like this government. I don’t care if it has been democratically elected. I will topple it. I want Preah Vihear. It’s mine, period. I don’t care if the ICJ ruled that Cambodia owns it. I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t care.”
All this sounds painfully familiar to me. Sometimes, behind the facade of smiles, jai yen and mai pen rai, you may find a petulant, unreasoning brat. Pray that you’ll never need to get into any form of dispute with such people when you decide to live in the Land of Smiles.
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