Political test results | 15.10.05

They say a fat pope should be followed by a thin one. So perhaps a fat post should be followed by a thin one, too… Nah, it doesn’t work the way. But still, here’s a cheap, quick & easy entry for no better reason than I feel like being a normal blogger for a change.

I took the OkCupid! Politics Test recently and got the following results:

You are a

Social Liberal
(81% permissive)

and an…

Economic Conservative
(88% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Libertarian

Yeah, right, whatever.

First, I don’t think I’m as libertarian as all that, having answered “strongly disagree” to the test question about the death duel between consenting adults. Second, I reject the American usage of the words “liberal” and “conservative”. The former is one case where the French got right and the Americans got wrong and the latter hardly means anything anymore (see Mark Steyn for the media’s abuse of “conservative”). Third, and most importantly of all, I just hate to be pigeonholed.

Why, then, did I take the test at all? Well, if I hadn’t done so, I wouldn’t have this cool graphic to show you.

OkCupid! Famous People chart

It’s great to be right on Thomas Jefferson’s shoulder (and not, mind you, the Unabomber’s — I have a solid record of condemning homemade explosives, thank you very much). And it’s more gratifying still to think of what this chart implies about people I consider my polar opposite — people like Sanitsuda Ekachai, Thirayuth Boonmi, and Anand Panyarachun.

Darth Vader, Stalin, Osama…

Yep, sounds about right.

18:55 ▪ politics, miscellanea

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1
post staffer 16.10.05

Death duel between consenting adults? What?

Is this the death penalty, or a sex thing? (I must be getting old).

2
Tom Vamvanij 16.10.05

Neither. Take the test, Post Staffer, and you’ll find out.

3
JW 16.10.05

You are a

Social Liberal
(71% permissive)

and an…

Economic Conservative
(71% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Libertarian

There is a better test out there somewhere, but I couldn’t be arsed googling for it now. I really dislike some of the questions on this particular test as they seem to emotive, also too US-centric. I have actually done this test before after 3 weeks ago and I swear I was libertarian then.

4
poststaffer 16.10.05

Shit test, Tom. So shitty I do not want to leave my result here.

As JW says, US-centric. Reads like it was written by rednecks.

I don’t see the point in the ‘strongly’ disagree or disagree option for many questions, other than to paint yourself into an extreme category…extremely permissive or whatever.

Duels, I would have thought, usually are between consenting adults (the consensual bit seems redundant).

They don’t sound pretty to me either. Innocent birds could get shot.

5
JW 17.10.05

On a stupid tangent, I was looking at The Nation’s website and on the front page now is an article Alarm over changes to alien business law.

The sub-heading (that is the correct name, isn’t it?) cracked me up though.

The Opposition and academics are raising alarm bells over the Thaksin government’s proposed move to allow non-residents to operate businesses and work in the financial-services industry as part of Thailand’s liberalisation of the Alien Business Law.

Usually, my litmus test for supporting any legislation in Australia is when the Greens come out against it. If they are against it, then the legislation is probably necessary. For Thailand, it will be the oppostion and academics. The opposition to this legislation seems bizarre, but there are quotes from the usual suspects. Tomorrow, the NGOs will come out against it and my support of the legislation will be sealed.

6
Tom Vamvanij 17.10.05

JW:

You want stupid? You can’t handle stupid! Here’s the same news on Matichon’s front page yesterday:

เสนอครม.เปิดทางต่างชาติ ฮุบ20กิจการ

นักวิชาการแฉลักไก่เขมือบไทย ทั้งร.ร.-โรงหนัง-การเงิน-หุ้น

Propose to cabinet opening way for foreigners to gobble up 20 enterprises [industries; poor word choice as usual –ed.]

Academics expose as furtive devouring of Thailand — schools, movie theaters, finance, stock [brokerage]

Thailand’s most respected newspaper, as they say.

7
Tom Vamvanij 17.10.05

I forgot to note that:

  1. “Gobble up” (ฮุบ) is also the word that the media used to call the short-lived Matichon takeover bid.
  2. One of the “academics” cited is a professor at the Thai Chamber of Commerce University.
8
JW 17.10.05

Thailand has often wanted to be a hub for financial services. It was never going to happen with this law in place. The stupid thing is that there are already foreigners working in the financial services industry including for the major Thai banks. If anything, it could lead to an expansion of the financial sector for Thai professionals and could lead to companies moving operations to Thailand from Singapore. This is aside from the fact the person will still need to obtain a work permit which could be difficult unless the person is senior enough.

It reminds of the (unjustified) criticism of Chuan’s government about the corporate insovlency reforms imposed in the late 90s at the request of the IMF. The TPI case is a case in point - I wrote a research paper on the application of the new insolvency laws at the time to TPI. Thailand was meant to the selling out to foreigners, this was despite the fact that Bangkok Bank was the largest creditor. There are so many ugly incidents over the TPI case and the news reporting in the Thai media was just unbelievable at the time. On a completely unrelated matter to the TPI case, I wonder what happens to the news coverage of a certain newspaper if a certain person pays a large amount of money to that media organisation. Is it a coincidence that they are strongly against the bankruptcy laws. Don’t expect my sympathy when you later complain about press freedom and for this particular newspaper, legal action being brought against you.

I thought the only thing famous about the Thai Chamber of Commerce University were its female students.

9
Tom Vamvanij 17.10.05

JW:

It reminds of the (unjustified) criticism of Chuan’s government about the corporate insovlency reforms imposed in the late 90s at the request of the IMF.

Too bad the Democrats have now switched over to the dark side, like all good opportunists do. (Follow the link to see their “economic platform” in all its glory.) You didn’t really think they actually believed in those IMF-prescribed reforms, did you?

Of course, Thaksin did flirt with the dark side, too, in the run-up to the 2001 general election, what with his IMF bashing and all that. But it was just that, a flirt. And I don’t think it was due so much to opportunism as to some criticisms of the IMF he’s probably encountered and believed. There were more than a few bona fide, technical ones in those days — I mean the ones that are not from the usual anti-globalization, anti-capitalism fanatics — and the guy does read a lot for a Thai politician. When it’s all said and done, however, he and his team truly believe in capitalism and free trade (though not without some bleeding-heart provisions, which aren’t always a bad thing).

The TPI case is a case in point - I wrote a research paper on the application of the new insolvency laws at the time to TPI.

Would you be so kind as to share it?

There are so many ugly incidents over the TPI case and the news reporting in the Thai media was just unbelievable at the time. On a completely unrelated matter to the TPI case, I wonder what happens to the news coverage of a certain newspaper if a certain person pays a large amount of money to that media organisation.

Indeed. Totally, completely, absolutely, positively, categorically unrelated. (For those who are unfamiliar with Thai Petrochemical Industry, please see “TPI update” and “Prachai v. the Government”.)

Don’t expect my sympathy when you later complain about press freedom and for this particular newspaper, legal action being brought against you.

One convert at a time, Tom. One at a time. (JW’s use of the word “you” is a bit unsettling, but I understand no harm is intended.)

I thought the only thing famous about the Thai Chamber of Commerce University were its female students.

I’ve never heard of that reputation. In any case, we’re talking about infamous here, are we not? That, and the irony of the “academic” belonging to an institution that one would expect to be pro-business.

10
JW 17.10.05

I am not sure whether I have a copy of the research paper anymore. I’ll have to have a look. It was on my old computer which I no longer have, but I still think I have a paper copy lying around. After I submitted it for assessment, I turned my mind to something else.

I hadn’t seen your previous posts about TPI so thanks for that. I wrote the paper at the beginning of 2001 and a lot has happened since then. I did have some dealings with some issues surrounding this case when working in Bangkok at the time as well. The problem with the TPI case is the wider effects it has had on foreign investment in Thailand which has been to the detriment of the Thai economy.

I think you are being a bit nice towards Thaksin. I do give some credit to the Democrats for the initial legislation. I understood some amendments were made to the Bankruptcy Act after Thaksin was elected which have weakened the provisions.

This article in Business Week on some of the problems the creditors faced dealing with TPI.

One convert at a time, Tom. One at a time. (JW’s use of the word “you” is a bit unsettling, but I understand no harm is intended.)
My you reference wasn’t to you it was to the specific person at a large Thai media organisation, who I will call S (I assume I am talking about the same S s the S below), who has been complaining about legal action being brought him by a certain politican, who I will call TS. Given S’s previous coverage of a company run by a person, who I will call PL, I don’t have much sympathy for S. My concern is the financial relationship between PL and S.

11
JW 17.10.05

In regards to your criticism of the international media for portraying Thaksin as being sympathetic to Prachai, I do think you are being a little bit unfair because Thaksin’s pre-2001 election statements certainly suggested this would be the case.

Thaksin’s election policy was for the government to get more involved in restructuring the debts of the companies concerned. After the unusual decision of the Bankruptcy Court in 2003 to allow the Ministry of Finance to administer TPI, the government was finally involved in restructuring TPI. At this point in time, given Thaksin’s previous statements and what you refer to as his flirt to the ‘dark side’, I think there were good grounds to be concerned about what would happen. Prachai, ever the optimist, certainly thought so.

It is easy with the benefit of hindsight to say the international media were wrong, but even in the middle of 2003, Thaksin was still making statements about amending the bankrputcy law to make it fairer which given his previous statments were interpreted to mean a change to the benefit of debtors and hence Pracha.

It wasn’t really until 2004 that Thaksin did really show his true hand and it became apparent that things weren’t going to go in Prachai’s favour. This caused Prachai to join up the following cabal of wackos to unite against Thaksin:

Those who made their way to the news conference to support Ekkayuth included Prachai Leophairatana, the former chief executive of Thai Petrochemical Industry Plc, Amarin Khoman, and core leaders of other activist groups including the labour unions of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand and other state enterprises. The Nation

12
Tom Vamvanij 17.10.05

JW:

My you reference wasn’t to you it was to the specific person at a large Thai media organisation, who I will call S (I assume I am talking about the same S s the S below), who has been complaining about legal action being brought him by a certain politican, who I will call TS. Given S’s previous coverage of a company run by a person, who I will call PL, I don’t have much sympathy for S. My concern is the financial relationship between PL and S.

Of course, it couldn’t have been me you were not talking to, but I actually thought the addressee was the Thai media in general. Indeed why just S? He’s not the only one who runs a media outfit named M, you know? In this case, another M is more relevant. And PL being who he is, he might be chummy with the powers-that-be at this other M, too, especially if he knows that they all stand for “merde”.

Now tell me why we’re talking like the dastardly Thai media already.

PS Don’t you just envy my ability to do block quotes, JW? You can have that extraordinary power, too, you know, simply with the help of the three-character long code explained in this tutorial. It’s actually easier than making links, something my other commenter admittedly has yet to learn. Grrrrr.

13
JW 17.10.05

PS Don’t you just envy my ability to do block quotes, JW? You can have that extraordinary power, too, you know, simply with the help of the three-character long code explained in this tutorial. It’s actually easier than making links, something my other commenter admittedly has yet to learn. Grrrrr.

Ok, got it now. I had tried to do it before, but was leaving out the “.” after bq.

14
Tom Vamvanij 17.10.05

Congrats, JW! How come Post Staffer isn’t such a fast learner? I wonder if this is an Aussie versus Kiwi thing…

Nah, it’s just the longtime exposure to the Bangkok Post’s hazardous materials.

15
post staffer 27.10.05

No, Tom, I am just old (at least according to my Thai friends, for whom anything over 30 is ancient).

We old guys need a playpit (sand box) in which to play before we feel confident to try new tricks.