Defending Against Thaksin And His Red-Shirt Gang
Sondhi Interviewed By The Nation Weekend After Being Shot, May 2,2009
( Last edit 2009-05-02 )
Sondhi Limthongkul revealed for the first time after the miraculous survival of more than 100 military bullets shot. He is confident that the attempted assassination is of a political motive. Being a PAD's core leader calling for the new politics, affecting the military secret deals with old- fashion politicians, he becomes the target.
He suggested PM Abhisit to choose between the life expectancy of the government coalition at the expense of that of the (Democrat) party and the other way round. He was confident that the PM was serious in going after the actual masterminder and that the police already knew the gun men. If caught, several circles would be shaken. He is not mad at anybody but preys with compassion in return to the assasins.
Mr.Sondhi Limthongkul core leader of the People's Alliance for Democracy revealed for the first time to Mr.Bundit Jansrikam or "Can Sariga" ,the executive editor of the Weekend Nation, on Tuesday, April 28 about the in-depth matters of the ambush with military weapons of more than 100 bullets just before the dawn on April 17, 2009.
Mr.Can: "Looking at the Sondhi's assasination case, one relives the atmosphere of the past 20-30 years ago and sees that Thai politics has not changed. Is it because of your "New Politics" proposals? Is it because of your initiatives to the changes in structure? Would this make the existing power groups in the old-style want to wreck you?"
Mr.Sondhi: "Actually, if we look back just for some time, what happened to me, is not surprising. Why it is not surprising is because Thaksin had an opportunity to establish "New Politics" with 1997 Constitution. The 1997 Constitution maximally empowered the Prime Minister, recognizing the status of the Prime Minister as the so called "Strong Prime Minister". There were a lot of regulations to prevent the insults on the Prime Minister by political parties like happened in the past in which there could be 3-4-5 votes of confidence in a year. There was a rule allowing MP to swap to another party within 90 days. It looked as if it was a potential politics. However, the 1997 Constitution was based on an assumption that the Prime Minister was scrupulous and moral. The assumption was that he must be decent which was wrong. Failing that, Thaksin made use of the political loop holes to build his own style politics. If Thaksin were ethical, not interfering with independent check-and-balance bodies, working for the public, the "New Politics" would have been born as a so-called mission under protection.
As well, the independent check-and-balance bodies would have been working freely. Instead, they failed altogether because of poliitical interferences. Political party dissolution was to satisfy a consolidation into a single party for an absolute authority. That is Thaksin was looking at 1997 politics as under merger and acquisition laws, allowing taking over of political parties, merging of parties, and operating the parties like businesses in his family. That is the state which people like me see 1997 politics as a failure.
Therefore, when a coup d'etat on September 19, 2006 cut in, there were backfireing all over. If you, Mr.Can takes a good look, you would see that CNS (Committee of National Security) and General Surayudth were the problems themselves because they sticked to the old belief that if the power was in their hands after a government was set up, nobody would be able to depose them. That was the reason why they did not push the reform for further improvements. They regressed to old-fashion politics which is "take-turns assets".
Metaphorically, it was like Thaksin once stationed in a castle (secured the PM office), he controlled and lifted up all the bridges. Previously, there were several beneficiary factions and various stakeholder groups who had used the bridges to reach the stakes in Thailand.
Thaksin monopolized all the stakes. All other then became united opponents against him. When CNS came in, they saw that Thaksin was readily gone with their coup d'etat. It was too naive and too simple view. They did not understand that during the six years of Thaksin in power, Thaksin brought in marketing to lead the politics. He lured people with greeds, rewards and promotions instead of ethics and righteousness.
Therefore, CNS could not solve the problems. Moreover, CNS misunderstood that if they were in power, Thaksin would not be able to fight back. As a result, a circle of old-style politics came back. Stakes were shared and settled among top people instead of a reform. It continued that way until Thaksin got puppet Samak and later puppet Somchai to be his proxies. It was just a plain interlude. In fact, since Thaksin was ousted, there was a start of political vaccuum. Though Thaksin ran around, to Cambodia, to Hong Kong, gave insulting interviews to stirr up turmoils, eventually, I really believe, he cannot come back after he was put on indicted.
I am more interested in the current politics after Thaksin. How did it happen? It happened on the day the military decided to squeeze out the old coalition parties to break apart to join the Democrat Party. To me, it is clear that this is 100% old-style politics which the military or old-style political groups prefer to let live. Newin group would never want "New politics" since it would be transparent which he would not be able to make any moves. If it is an old-style politics like this, he is able to do anything.
They anticipate a plan for General Prawitr Wongsuwan to take over Poom Jai Thai party. Then they would force a dissolution of the parliament to enter a general election. General Prawitr would be elected to be the party leader. Then they would buy votes and abuse the power with the authority they have in hands such as the Ministry of Interior and the police under his younger brother of Prawitr (Pol.Gen Patcharwas, police chief). They would appoint their people to take charge (to help cover up electoral frauds). Then, they would win the general election. Nobody would oppose it. Why? Because the party belongs to the military. Suppose Prawitr became a PM, Anupong would have to wait for a while. After Prawitr PM's term, Anupong would take turn of the legacy, like inheritable assets.
As a result, these people hate "New Politics" because "New Politics" is what the People's Alliance for Democracy, especially me, call for. I call for transparency in works. Since I see that the country can no longer move forward. No way. Look at an easy example of the lost of more than 20 billion baht of Thai Airways. It did not take long, yesterday, the Newin's cabinet had a resolution to buy 40 more aircrafts. Why buy 40 aircrafts? Each plane costs a billion baht and make a total of 40 billion baht. A (undertable) commission of 3% would make 1.2 billion. For what? It is dirty money for dirty politics, the corrupt money to buy the power.
Therefore, here it is a wicked vicious cycle which is never breakable. People who can break it is the military. Unfortunately, some military is ambitious. They do not see that in the long run, the country actually needs new alternatives. For examples, the military and Newin group accept that the red-shirt group, Pua Thai party, People's power party and other proxy parties have made errors in that they committed lese majesty and attempted to overthrow the Monarchy. They see the dangers which they cannot accept.
Therefore, they plan the political stage in the way that they would, without committing lese majesty, leave the Monarchy sacred and honoured, they would be able to go ahead with old-style politics as they like. They would be able to build as many airports and runways as they like (without any hearings, check and balance).
Therefore, with such claims, they can access the control of the national benefits, assuming that the Monarchy is secured. They do not know that it is only a short-term stability. But in the long run when the country suffers, when the society collapses and economic pillars collapse, the Monarchy would be in a severe danger. "New Politics" does not mean only new thoughts, news practice or everyone's participation. It also means the deterrence, the ending of corruptions. That is why they cannot afford it.
That is why they cannot afford it. Therefore, the attempted assassination of me is indeed a proof that they see me as the biggest obstacle because I am aware of all of their tricks.
I clearly spoke out 3-4 days before I was shot. that you PM Abhisit vejjajiva had twice survived attempted assassinations first in Pattaya and second at the Ministry of Interior. They were supposed only to be a claim for a conspired coup d etat. Miraculously, PM Abhisit survived those like me but with different miracles. PM Abhisit escaped unhurt but I was hurt. Correct?
Therefore, PM Abhisit is now facing a big problem which way to walk. Since I am aware of all their tricks, they also have an additional motive when I expose a "Lady" (Lady Wiriya Chawakul) who shows off that she is always close to the Monarchy. As a result, a joint venture was made (to hire assasins), like a mass Kathin ceremony (pleuralistic donation) because of so many of my creditors. I do not deny it, Mr.Can, because what I fight, I fight against almost all bad people in the country. When you are standing on the point of transparency, on honesty. and you say the government must work for the public, it must stop personal earnings. If not for public interests, the country will not survive. If you become (rebellious) like this, when you turn left, Mr.Can, it is your enemy next to you. You turn right, it is again, your enemy next to you. Enemies are all around you. What next? You need to move forward.
Mr.Can: "With this view, the military and the current power groups see "New Politics" as a threat for them. Would they see that the other group (red-shirt) which raise the issue of overthrowing aristocratic buraucracy or overthrowing of feudalism, less dangerous to them as compared to the "New Politics".
Mr.Sondhi: "Hmm... Some military is in a state of being gagged. Superficially, they show themselves as if they are loyal to the establishment. In fact, deep down, No. I know they do not feel a thing. Just let "ME" take. Just let "ME" have the budget to buy weapons. Just let "ME" prosper. The establishment exists or not is of no importance. It is the official position which forces out the expression of loyalty. So, they feel it hard to swallow.
Mr.Can, what you said is not wrong because actually "New Politics" is more scary than the old system, the bureaucracy. Today, we have to make clear. What the red-shirt talks about aristocratic buraucracy does not exist any longer. Please check it out. Where is it the aristocratic buraucracy? Supposed in the case of M.R. Pridiyathorn Tevakul (great-grandchild of a king), how can he bearistocratic buraucracy? Why did his son, M.L.Nattakorn (great-great-grandchild of a king) have to run in an election as a candidate for the Governor of Bangkok, competing with M.R.Sukumpan Boripat. Aristocratic buraucracy does not exist any longer. Military, however, particularly ones with greeds, would be ver scary of "New Politics" because they would have no more say, or more importantly, they can no longer put their hands on the country's assets.
Mr.Can, do you know what the first bonus is for any military who rise to the commander position regardless of any armed force? It is the secret budget. For every 100 baht, only 50 baht would be actually spent. Another 50 baht would be for himself. Secondly, the military weapon budget, who gets it? The highest in the army is the decision-maker to finalize, for whom, each contract would be assigned. Sale commissions for weapons are like aircrafts. Aircrafts may be 5%. Weapons may be 5% to 10%.
This stake is very essential for them. Then, why should they need "New Politics"? They do not want. They want to be happy. With Newin they are happy because they know that Newin needs them in terms of the force or the threatening force against the opposition political parties threatened to seize the power if they do not please the military. It is the same old style.
While Newin is also happy because the military is dependent on Newin since military, being unable to be of a high profile, has to use politicians like Newin as a front for secret earnings. Both groups neatly fit together. Then, how would the country survive? Eventually, people' s blood would be gradually sucked out. The social cost would be more expensive. For examle, Airport is more expensive. Correct? Obviously between Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi.
The transfer of Don Muang to Suvarnabhumi is for nobody else at all. It is only for a single busineesman to do a duty-free business. That's it. It is to help the total number of the passengers to be high enough to satisfy the business concession and the subsequent sales of the concession. It is also to serve the rationales to construct the third runway worth of 75 billion baht.
Mr.Can: Talking about this matter, there are some criticisms about PAD and you that it was PAD which called for the military to step out and take control.
Mr.Sondhi: In fact, personally, at the very least I do not object a coup d' etat, depending on for whom the coup would be. If the coup is for changing rounds of assets ownership like what supposed to take place in the last 2-3 days, then I am not with it. Like what the CNS did, I do not agree with it. On the other hand, if the coup is for improving the country, I am with it. You, Mr.Can, have a family. Would you like to stage a coup to enforce revolution in your house? Your children go to bed late and wake up late. Your wife cares for nothing except gambling and dressing up. She never looks after the children. One day, you may stand up and say all rules are changed. This is the house's revolution to abolish the wife's gambling, to make your children more responsible for the homework, stay at home longer, go to bed early, no venturing out at night to make family a closer family. This is a good revolution. Have the world been short of revolution?
Everything changes in two ways, by a revolution or by gradual changes. Did PAD call for the military to come out? Yes. I do not know about others but I was ready to call for them. They had to come out, I insisted all the time. You have to listen carefully. I say I do not object a military coup but if the military coup is for themselves, I will fight with it. In fact, my stance and the red-shirts's are not different. If the military stages a coup just for themselve, I will fight with it.
However, the difference between me and the red-shirts is that I see that Thai society needs the Monarchy. We need the Establishment. For who else may be different according to Chaiyaporn, the university lecturer. Who would be the King and how good he would be, according to Thospitrajjatham (Buddhism' Ten Rules For the King), would depend on his merits and the country's. I cannot do anything with that. The society as a whole would judge that.
Therefore, my stance is clear but the red-shirts's stance is not. The red-shirts does not want this. It is a different ideology based on how you believe what kind of structure, Thailand would step forward with. I still believe that the social structure having the country, the religions, and the Monarchy (as three principal institutions) is the best structure. So, this is the difference between me and the red-shirts. What they and I agree is that they want a social revolution, and me too. However, they want the revolution with force to result in a wide spread violence throughout the country, but I want a soft revolution. I told the military, if the country is failing, would you like to come out? If you come out to improve the country then we shall support you. Correct? No difference in principles. It is only the means to achieve it.
Mr.Can: With your view, suppose the military came out to stage a coup to change to "New Politics" as such, how would Thai society and the world community look at us when we change?
Mr.Sondhi: Thai society has a defect in that we care the world community too much. We have made such mistakes for too long. 1.We care the world community too much. 2.We use academic theories of the world community too much, including the economic theories. Why we suffer economic crises today, is it not because we have too many MBA? Is it not we have too many economists from USA? Most importantly, I believe we have to ask ourselves first who we are. At present, we do not know who we are.
Mr.Can, I see people discussing about amending the constitution. I say Thai society is misunderstanding that the presence of the constitution is the presence of democracy, which is wrong. Constitution is just a tool for ruling. Up to now, we have so many uncountable constitutions. Thailand has the highest number of constitutions in the world but we still do not know what are the philosophical principles. Mr.Can, you have to start with the principles first, don't you? Why did Buddha not start with Winai (practical rules) before Thamma (wisdom philosophy/ideological principles)? The Buddha had to enlighten himself first before preaching Thamma. After that was the lay down of the Winai (practical rules). Therefore, the ruling philosophical principles have to be present first. Whether or not would there be brotherhood, or ruling with generosity, or ruling with freedom to earn a living.
Even with this only one item about the equality in the rights and freedom to earn a living, it would take ages to extensively discuss how to protect the minor capitals from the encroachment of major capitals. Therefore, whoever with larger capitals would not be able to put Makro or Tesco Lotus in the people's community where they can have their own grocery shops. This is one example. Would we have equality in education? Would we accept the local and traditional collective wisdom? What does it mean? It means we would have to accept all knowledges like what Pra Ajarn Chainarong (a Buddhist monk) is treating me (with traditional medicine). All subjects are to be accepted into the mainstream health education. This is my elaborating of some examples for you.
Since we never have philosophical principles in ruling, Damn it, you can check it out, for ages, never. Up to now we still do not know what it is for. Should everyone be equal? The constitution just stipulates that for this article, everyone must be equal. Is that our actual and ultimate principles in ruling? No. It was only the principle of the drafters who thought that it should only be writen there. Therefore, there must be discussions among people first, what should be the philosophical principles in ruling. Let's have extensive discussions and debates then a national referendum after one year of study and public hearings. Major 14 concluded principles of ruling then should be for the national referendum. And then, if approved, drafting of the constitution would proceed to be a tool in ruling next.
From what it actually has been, we have never stopped complaining that our constitutions have templates from abroad. Why not? It is because we have never found out what we really want. Please check it out with academics in political sciences, in laws or all knowledgables scholars how Thailand should step forward. Has anybody done that? They just only amend the existing one. When the 1997 constitution did not work because the leader was a crook, immoral, unethical, they drafted a new more intense, strict and tough 2007 constitution. Do you see? Now, they are amending it again. Do you understand, Mr.Can?
Mr.Can: As you said, for the change to the "New Politics", this must be done first.
Mr.Sondhi: Correct. We have to settle with the principles in ruling first, then, the methods of ruling. We need all groups, red-shirts as well. Some red-shirts are patriotic. I do not hate red-shirts. I believe some red-shirts have good intentions. Only they may have false information that one thing. Second, they do not know they have been used.
Mr.Can, do remember. We, People's Alliance for Democracy, our PAD members have never been used as a tool. We are transparent with them, no matter what it is. We are transparent. What we are going to do, we tell them all. It is different from the red-shirts. What the red-shirts are to be doing, it is a decision among a few leaders, Weera, Jatuporn, Nattawut, Doctor Weng and some others, just 4-5 people. There are layers of more decision makers behind them which end at Thaksin Shinawatra. Therefore, the red-shirts are pitiful because they have not been able to get to the actual facts.
I believe a lot of red-shirts have good intentions toward the country. Don't you see, after the burning of the buses, the number of the red-shirts supporters have been a lot less. As a result, Mr.Can, I say the military have not envisaged this. They just believe only red-shirts and yellow-shirts are the causes of division in the nation. This kind of view is too simple.
Mr.Can: There are people who believe red and yellow are troublesome. Both colours have to be dealt with.
Mr.Sondhi: So what? I want to ask those, after they had dealt with the two colours, would it be quiet? How? Quiet because there would be no more protesters, wouldn't it? Is the word "No More Protesters" good?
Mr.Can: Perhaps, they may think it is better for the economy and trades.
Mr.Sondhi: By no means, they get it all wrong. What red-shirts and yellow-shirts do, good or bad, even with any of red-shirts' violence, at the least, it allows some groups of people, right or wrong, to express their opinions. The rights to express their opinions are justifiable rights which every society must possess.
The reason why they do not like this is because it is a simple rationale to eradicate both colours, claiming red and yellow are trouble makers. If you, Mr.Can consider how many issues which yellow-shirts have fought for you would see that we fought the attempts to amend the constitution. We fought the lese majesty and the attempts to overthrow the Monarchy. We fought for the transparency in politics and corruption-free government. We fought against the interference with the judiciary system. It is about 4-5 issues which we fought for.
I ask you, regardless of what colour you are, what I said, if for reasonably wise people, they would all agree. If they agree with us, then they are surely yellow. If they say no, it is OK. No matter what colour they like, if they agree with the principles I fought for, that's it.
Therefore, it is not that easy as they think. Such of their thought is military-like, like Suthep's, like Anupong Powjinda's. The reason (why it is not that eabeinsy) is if there would be any colour left, the red would be easier to subdue than the yellow because the red is only Thaksin alone. But for the yellow, there are a lot of us. The wisdom and knowledge are networked.
Mr.Can: There are some who say if Sondhi ('s life) alone is taken, that would be it.
Mr.Sondhi: They are foolish. When people have been enlightened, no single murder can finish it off. They will have to subpress too many enlightened people. Like India having Mahatama Ghandhi who waked Indians up. Would it be possible for Britain to kill Ghandhi then, just to mute Indians? No way. Hundreds of million Indians were enlightened. How would you silence the awakened. That is called wisdom. When one knows, one is awakened and content. Supporters of People's Alliance of Democracy are truly knowledgable without delusions and illusions.
Therefore, it is difficult to subdue these people. But the red-shirts are easy to be subdued because 70-80% are hireling-base. It is no pay, no go. Or if eventually, Thaksin gets what he wants, the red-shirts would disappear. It is different between the fight for ideologies and the fight for self-interests. The fight for ideologies can be persistent, profound, solid, deeply rooted and extensive, despite being slow. The spread to groups, to networks can be extensive and nonstop. If you compare between the people on the People's Alliance of Democracy's side in 2009 to that of 2005-2006, you would see huge increases in both the quantity and the quality.
Mr.Can: If from now on, it is like red-shirts are in hiding, repressed or in retreat and it is only yellow-shirts which remain then there are attempts to amend the constitution and some movements to protest from the yellow-shirts...
Mr.Sondhi: Correct. It is a matter of principles which the core leaders have to discuss. We will discuss on Friday, the same day when this magazine would be on sale. My personal thought is if they want to amend the constitution, then do it. The reason is that the key is with PM Abhisit Vejjajiva and the Democrat party. If the Democrat party wants to lengthen the life span of the government at the cost of the party's life span, then do it. Otherwise, if they want a long life span of the party, despite the government's life is short, then they should not do it. As far as I can see, the amendment is not easy because PM Abhisit said that it would need a referendum. Actually, it is for buying time. That is my personal opinion, not the resolution of People's Alliance for Democracy. By Friday after this magazine is on sale, perhaps there may already be our resolution.
Personally, I think that People's Alliance for Democracy should turn to support PM Abhisit to stay in the office for 2 more years to finish the term because he has expressed the leadership personality with virtue, ethics, gentlemanliness and most of all, prudence. He used prudence, nonviolence, calmness and peace to subdue the red-shirts. He is kind of, from what I have made a long observation, non-authoritarian. Anytime, before he would exercise his authority, he would think it over again and again.
Do you remember when People's Alliance for Democracy demanded him to replace the inspector-in-charge, Police Major General Amnuay Nimmano because of the hostility, he was quiet and let Suthep (Tuaksuban) deal with it. Suthep ignored us. This time, my attempted assasination case, in which Police General Patcharawas ordered Police General Jongrak Juthanon to be responsible, PM Abhisit ordered Police General Thanee Somboonsap to replace Jongrak. Perhaps, first, already he might have had rejected Suthep and no longer listen to Suthep. Or second, he might subconsciously sense that if Jongrak is in then there would be no justice for me because of the hostility between me and Jongrak. That is certain since the first thing Jongrak said as soon as being assigned was that he did not exclude personal conflict motives. It was just an excuse. Until later, yesterday or the day before, Thanee said that there was no personal conflict motive. There was only a political motive. Do you see? Therefore, I have to praise good PM Abhisit whom Thailand have lacked for a long time. Actually, there was none. It is only this time.
I am proposing to PAD's core leaders that this Friday, on the day of your magazine on sale, about lunch time, there may be an announcement. I am proposing that if we are launching a new political party, then go ahead. However, PAD should also support PM Abhisit to finish the term for two more years.
Mr.Can: Mr.Sondhi, have you estimated the consequence of Abhisit being a PM upon the military with connection of some politicians.
Mr.Sondhi: The military has a unique feature. The military or the police when in power, look great. When out of power, out of position, they become meaningless. Therefore, it depends on how well PM Abhisit can seize the opportunity. If Gen.Anupong is no longer the army chief, Gen.Anupong would be of no meanings. Similarly, if Gen.Prawit Wongsuwan were not a Minister of Defence, but instead, PM Abhisit were in that seat, the political game would be different because Newin would have no connection with the military. At this moment, Newin cannot call for an immediate general election because of his personal (legal) problem as well as the busy earning activities (for the up-coming election). So, it depends on what kind of game PM Abhisit would play.
Mr.Can: It depends on the leadership.
Mr.Sondhi: Correct. The leadership. A lot say PM Abhisit is weak. I say he may look weak but I believe when he makes a decision, he means it. For example, inmy attempted assasination case, he made it clear both to the public and in person that the culprits must be arrested. This is an important implication because he, all the time, declares the principle of legal state (rules of laws). If the culprits who attempted assination on me with military weapons, were let loose, would PM Abhisit survive? No way. Therefore, whoever did this or were involved, if the police gets the leads to, then they will have to grasp all. They would not care.
Mr.Can: Comparing your case and PM Abhisit's, Gen.Prem also survived over ten ambushes.
Mr.Sondhi: Over ten ambushes, but not as showing off as mine. Gen.Prem got some missiles and some grenades, didn't he? Mine was military weapons of over a hundred rounds plus two M-79 grenades in the city center. This is the first time ever recorded, Mr.Can. It is about a media reporter who gets up in the morning to do his job. Then he would be assasinated just because he does not agree with someones in the government or some state officers. I think this is really very important. If this cannot be rectified, Thailand will have no place for people to stand. Mr.Can, we can no longer stand up in Thailand. How would you answer to the international community and the international media? Therefore, what Thailand would have to care about the international views on Thailand are only these matters because they do not accept these, the brutal assasination because of the difference in opinions.
Mr.Can: Are you confident that PM Abhisit would stick to this principle and govern the officers?
Mr.Sondhi: I am confident. I am sure because if PM Abhisit does not stick to this principle, his future would be gone. His future would be gone either physically or philosophically if people say he is fake. Correct? Therefore, I believe. I am confident. Personally, I know he may look weak but he dares to make decisions. I still honour him. I think he will dare to decide because whether or not the country would survive depends on his decision. If in my case he make a decisive decision, nobody would defy him again. Who will defy him then? Would Gen.Anupong do? Would the next army chief do? Would the police chief do? We already know the facts since the incidences in Pattaya until today. It is the security people who were not listening to him as well as not supporting him. Instead, they were stabbing him in the back to enable their people to thrive.
Mr.Can: With this view, how do you see this case? Is it going to be concluded soon?
Mr.Sondhi: I think it is going to end soon. I have not met Pol.Gen.Thanee. He is going to interview me on Thursday, probably a general interview. I have not made a materialized statement but I am sure from what the insider's information I have received that they have made a lot of progress. Today, Mr.Can, it is no longer the matter of the bullet cases. It is beyond that. They already know all the gunmen. They are prepared to arrest the gunmen at anytime. Therefore, what Colonel Sansern, as the army's speaker, gave the media about the department of ordnance's serial numbers issue and denials of its responsibility. The issue is no longer about those. It is much beyond those.
Mr.Can: The police has made a good progress.
Mr.Sondhi: Pol.Gen.Thanee has made a really good progress. He is serious with his work and does not afraid of anybody. I believe one day when it is the time to reveal, he will do it. He reports directly to the PM, not to the police chief. Therefore, I believe when they reveal the masterminds in my case it is going to shake the stage. It is truly a political problem which the PM has to make a decision which, I believe, he has the courage. Because if he does not have the courage, Thailand will have no place to stand. You won't and me too.
For the people who look down on me, laugh at me, some media, do imagine that one day after you get up in the morning and come to work. On the way, sitting in the car, and suddenly a pick-up bombards you with 3-4 military rifles, leaving 80 bullet shells and then you have to undergo a brain operation. Would you be happy with your life? The question about happiness is not as importnat as the bitterness you have because you have to hold on to your media principles.
It is a pity, what I want to talk about a bit, that what is a most pity is that since it happened I have never seen the army, Gen.Anupong or the Minister of Defence expressed their stances to the assasination attempt with military weapons at a media reporter despite of the alleged military involvement. They have never expressed the stance what they think about this. They only deny with excuses that military weapons may be possessed by anybody and that it is a usual crime, and that the bullet shells do not indicate the source from the First Regional Brigade. When there are rumours that they are from the 9th Division, then they excuse that the bullets may not belong the 9th Division.
There is never an occasion that Gen.Anupong or Gen.Prawit Wongsuwan as a Minister of Defence coming out to briefly say that this is an outrageous incidence and that it is not supposed to happen in Thai society, and that as an army chief or the Minister of Defence, they cannot let go of it, and that if it were any colour involving, they would be strictly dealt with. Mr.Can, check it out. Have they ever said that? i say this through you and the Nation Weekend magazine that I forgive the gunmen who got paid. I forgive the masterminders because they did it with anger and preoccupied delusions. I let the law of Karma (deeds) and the legal system deal with them.
For me, I will tell you the background story. On the day after I left the hospital, I went to the Buddha image room, where I rest and recuperate. I lit candles and joss sticks and prostated myself to pay respect to the Buddha, to Luangta Maha Bua (a highly repected and eminent Buddhist monk in Udorn Thani) in appreciation for the miraculous protection. Then, I chanted a chapter of Metta Parit, the major chapter by the Lord Buddha on kindness and generously good wishes for the gunmen, for the masterminders and the people involved. Then, I used the sacred water from Luangta Maha Bua to pour down to the ground as a gesture to extend my merits to rescue their souls and to express my absolute forgiveness to them. Therefore, for the very least, I am no longer in spiritual debt with them. No more. I let the law of Karma (deeds) and the legal system deal with them.
But Mr.Can, here is an important issue. Somebody asked me what Buddha image I wear (as amulets). In fact, I have a lot of deferential sacred masters. At the office, every morning, I pay homage to Jatukamramthep image which is downstairs besides the pond. Then, I pay homage to Pra Oopakoot, then the Earth Angel, then King Taksin (not Thaksin) Shrine, then the local angels, then the major set of Buddha images inside, then Luangta Mahabua image. I have the images of Luangta Mahabua, Luangpu Man Puritato, Pra Ajarn Sao the master of Luangpu Man, Luangpu Dul. Then I pay homage to all grand masters monks, Luang Poo Boon Me Choti Palo, Luang Por Ya. Therefore, I have a lot of masters whom I respect. However, more important than adhering to the masters is that every time I concentrated during prostating myselft I swear for committing myself to serve the country, the religion, the Monarchy and the public until my death. That is it. I believe why I survived is because of the masters' merits and my merits. Therefore, the master which protects me is the merits.
It is very important. People look at me, in terms of miracles, for amulets or Buddha images. At least it is a proof, for several people who begin to loose faith in sacred divinity, that good people would eventually be protected.
Mr.Can, if you include the bullet shells which might have fallen in their own pick-up trucks as well as on the ground, it would be more than a hundred. All fired and penentrated through and through. You know very well for AK bullets, not to mention the car's seat, a tree trunk would be too easily penetratable. How I survived was miraculous. It is because what I have done are correct. Honestly, during the seconds I was being shot, I saw the gunmen's faces. They were in shooting positions. Bang, bang, bang, bang... I thought, I concentrated, I prayed and I meditated for a fair while. I concentrated on if I were to die because of the fate (Karma, the past deeds), I welcome it. I prey for the Monarchy, the country, the religions to remain secured with stability. That was what my thought. My mind held on to HM the King all the time, wishing him good health and to bring the nation out of dangers. Only that, nothing more, to the least. As it was to the probably last moment of my life, I could no longer help others. Mr.Yao, or Mr.Wayupak the guard, sitting in front of me, wore an image of 2005 Jatukarm. It is funny when he later told me how he sustained no wound. He said he did not know. To him it was like the bullets flew around and could not reach him.
Mr.Can: He sat in the front seat.
Mr.Sondhi: In the front seat. He said it was like the bullets flew around and could not reach him. What happened to me despite of the injury, if it helps Thai society to appreciate merits, the mean virtue and the protection from the sacred divinity, I think perhaps, some part of Thai society would revert to merits more. I think it is beneficial.
Mr.Can: Human beings certainly would be scared. When you were going to the hospital, were you revengeful?
Mr.Sondhi: No. I am not the same old Sondhi. You, Mr.Can, have known me for a long time. This incidence does not make me mad at anybody. Really no anger, honestly. What I said before about me chanting a chapter of Metta Parit, preyinggenerously good wishes and the extension of my merits to rescue their souls and to express my absolute forgiveness to them, I am honest with it. Although if they are arrested, I would make merits as extension to them without anger. I feel the incidence stems from preoccupied delusions. The hired gunmen had to take the job because of: first, being an inferior; second, being paid; third, being misled that I deserved a death.
No, Mr.Can, no anger, to the least. The only anger I would have is toward my fate. My life has been full of difficulties. It is a never easy path. Everything comes with sufferings. My media business is full of difficulties unlike others. We are always short of money but full of utmost sufferings. Still, I bit my tongue and carry on. I am anger at my fate why others can do whatever they want. They can afford to pay for DTV or Newin's network. They always have readily payable wealth at will, whereas what we do to enlighten people is extremely difficult. This is my anger or disappointment but not in personal toward anybody. None. I feel pitifully regret toward Gen.Anupong Paojinda and Gen.Prawit Wongsuwan in that they have come to this high level, and yet, they do not understand what "New Politics" might do to help Thailand. I feel pity for them.
Mr.Can: We have passed the May, 1992 incidence, why do some (military) people remain attached to such matters of power, interests, or conspiracies with politicians like that?
Mr.Sondhi: I say because of 2 factors. First, we have to accept that it was Thaksin who brought up these military. Gen.Anupong, Gen.Prawit and their colleagues, actually, have been closely related to Thaksin. There are also other connecting mediators. Gen.Prawit and Sudarat Kayurapan (a former MP and top leader of Thai Rak Thai party) are closely acquainted. The world of capitalism is the world of interests and desires. Anybody would want to be rich.
Do you remember when we were younger? I remember my soldier friends, if having their children graduated from Chula or Thammasat (top Thailand domestic universities), they would become delighted to death. Now where are they? For any generals, particularly the chief, their children are to go abroad, to U.K. or USA which would cost not less than a million baht a year. Two children would cost 3 - 4 million bahts. Money and desires would have totally clouded the righteousness. No more ethics. No more morals. No more virtue. Actually, this is the people's movement to call for ethics and morals to return to Thai society which is currently rotten with all the bad stuffs from capitalism. This is the real movement.
Mr.Can: There must be, apart from these 2-3 military, good military.
Mr.Sondhi: I do not mean Gen.Anupong or Gen.Prawit are thinking bad. It is just they do not see it through. I say certainly some of the gunmen are soldiers, plus some polices. But they are a very small minority. A lot of them do not agree with it. It does not matter. I used to say long time ago that if I were to die for the interests of the country, it is O.K. What I say now is not because I have survived but at the second of bloodbath, I was not angry with anybody. I did not worry and was not afraid. I was not afraid of what to happen with me even crippled. Pra Ajarn Chainarong (a Buddhist monk) who is an expert in bones, felt my bones and said, "You are smart. There is no stress in your body. Usually, people being hit like you would certainly have physical stresses which would show up through joints and bones. How can you do that?" I told him,"Consciousness, I have it."
Mr.Can: You had a good consciousnes when you were hit.
Mr.Sondhi: Only consciousness alone with all senses intact. I was awake until before the immediate surgery. I said I would like to wait for my elder brother who used to work at Chulalongkorn hospital. Then he came. He talked to his former student, Dr.Surachai of Chulalongkorn hospital who is a former mentor of the surgeon who was about to operate on me. They discussed and my elder brother decided to proceed in fear of too long waiting would prompt more blood collection. That was my persistent consciousness throughout and without interruption.
Another matter which I would like to notify media people (in general) is that some may look at it as if it is just an attempted murder news waiting for, whether or not, the culprits to be arrested. Actually, the issue is not the killing of me, but it is the biggest threat incidence against media. If media do not unite to fight against this threat, soon, likewise would happen again (may be with you) and nobody would care (a damn). Our profession needs a protection. We have to unite for security. Do not just roughly say it is Sondhi whom we dislike. Why I say is not that I want support from them (other rival media) but I want to warn them that if you do not unite (against the violence threats upon media) you would stand no chance to defend the righteousness of media, the courage of media, the rights and the freedom of expression. If you cannot communicate facts as you wish, you cannot be a medium.
Mr.Can: Just toward the end of Pol.Gen.Pao (Sriyanon) era, (several decades ago) there was an assasination of Mr.Aree.
Mr.Sondhi: I think it is more or less the same but in different forms. In that period, it was a kind of abduction (and murder) but this time it is an explicit bombardment with four pick-up trucks. It is organized. Fortunately, they know all. I am sure soon, not later than two weeks, the matters would be revealed. It is over. I am sure the press release and the arrest are going to be rather like an earthquake. Although only the gunmen may be arrested, the whole network would be exposed. Suppose the arrested gunmen are from the 9th Division, what would the army say? How would Anupong response? Do you get it now?
Mr.Can: The responsibilty then goes to PM Abhisit.
Mr.Sondhi: I would not know. How about if there appears to be some connections to some polices? What would Pol.Gen.Patcharawas say? As the elder brother of Pol.Gen.Patcharawas, what would Gen.Prawit (also as a Minister of Defence) say? Don't you see it can be shocking? If it does involve a lady who might also mastermind the plot, it would be very much shocking. It is not a simple matter.
Mr.Can: Would there be any major change?
Mr.Sondhi: I do not know whether or not there would be any major changes. If there are arrest warrants with some certain connecting proofs, I think, it could be really chaotic. The society will have to face a dilemma of choosing between, on the one hand, the righteous Thailand where people have rooms to stand, and on the other hand, a compromised cover-up. The society has to decide is not as crucial as the Prime Minister has to decide once again with his leadership.
Mr.Can: If PM Abhisit dares to make some decisions, would he suffer like what PM Gen.Chartchai (Chunhawan) did?
Mr.Sondhi: A coup d etat? I think, today, the military does not dare to stage a coup. I believe so since if they would stage a coup because of my case (leading to an unwanted exposure), the people would not accept it. Suppose, if they would stage a coup in order to cover up their crimes, this is just a hypothetical guess, I am not saying that they actually did it, they would not be able to answer to Thai society and more importantly, they will not be able to answer to their military colleagues.
Most regretfully, I would tell you that when my blood dropped on the ground, I thought, the blood was not different from that of the border soldiers shot by Cambodian soldiers or that of soldiers in the south shot by terrorrists. It was the blood of the defenders of Thailand. I also defend the country, religions and the Monarchy but was shot by people who were supposed to defend the same things as I am defending. It was most regretful.