By Tulsathit Taptim
Published on October 28, 2009
(Posted by CAAI News Media)
Disclaimer: The following e-mail was intercepted on its way from Rangoon to Thaksin Shinawatra. Though unsigned, it seems to have been written by someone in the top echelons of power. It could be a fake, but it sounds as sincere as Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and Hun Sen put together.
WE NEVER thought of doing this, but since our pal Hun Sen can give an international lecture on humanitarianism and political persecution, it makes us believe that we, too, should be in with a shout. Dear friend Thaksin Shinawatra, what has happened to you is horrible, and if you think Phnom Penh is too risky a place, please consider a warm exile in Rangoon.
Of course, we are totally aware of the irony. How can a foreign version of Aung San Suu Kyi seek refuge in a country where she is under house arrest and her political party is denied a role? We would like you to put that aside for a minute and hear us out.
This whole exile thing is benefiting both of us. Thanks to Hun Sen, the world - which has been shedding crocodile tears for its "Lady" Suu Kyi - is starting to know the truth. The sincerest tears we've soon belonged to his wife who cried over you. And the man himself was spot on when he said that if international babbling about our country is not considered nosy or inappropriate, why should his comments on your plight be?
We don't mind you comparing yourself to Suu Kyi. You were in need of something catchy, and we don't blame you. But most of all, your actions spoke louder than words. The Exim bank loan was the true reflection of our friendship. You can call us dogs for all we care.
This offer is being made out of concern for your well-being. No offence to Hun Sen, but Phnom Penh isn't the safest place in the world. How could you do your second favourite thing after fighting for democracy - shopping - when you wouldn't be able to tell innocent Cambodian pedestrians from Thai agents sent by your enemies?
And not all Cambodians will be friendly. Your telecom endeavour there, while it brought everlasting friendship with many, left several others with a bad taste in their mouth. Not to mention the silly rumours about you and a power play there in the past. Yes, any political victim can go to Dubai, but it takes a real man to go and live in Cambodia. What we are saying is, why take unnecessary chances?
We also want to take some heat off our good friend Hun Sen, who we know is sincere but was naive enough to wait exactly one year since the Ratchada land ruling to come out and decry the verdict. And he did that just hours before the Thai government was about to host the Asean Summit, too. Whereas Hun Sen can be wrongly accused of being political, we can't be.
So please consider our offer. We can build you a home near Aung San Suu Kyi's, and everyone will win. We will have repaid you the Exim loan favour, you will be near your real-life heroine, safe and sound, and she will enjoy the company of a great admirer. Cambodia will be spared the heavy political baggage your exile there could entail, while Thailand will be able to quit thinking about seeking extradition, and concentrate on things more plausible.
Last but not least, although accommodating you won't get the human-rights fanatics off our back, hopefully it will confuse the daylights out of them. It will also give the otherwise pretentious and ambiguous "constructive engagement" policy of Asean a solid platform. Anwar Ibrahim, if he faces new persecution, can now flee to Phnom Penh, while defanged Cambodian princes - if somehow they need sanctuary in the future - can go to Manila.
What an intriguing web that would be. You can be the catalyst for it. And don't worry about your phone-ins. Whatever Hun Sen has promised you, you will get from us - and more.
We are terribly sorry if the Hun Sen saga was just supposed to be a tactic to steal the media spotlight and you didn't really mean to come back to this region. If that was the plan, bravo. You have caused quite a stir, and this must rank in the top five of the world's much-ado-about-nothing diplomatic issues.
But if Hun Sen is dead serious and so are you, give our offer a little thought. At least think about the publicity you'll get. Of course, "Thaksin begins Cambodia exile" is a sexy headline, but nothing would beat "Aung San Suu Kyi counterpart given asylum in Rangoon".
Another true friend of yours.