ICG’s Latest Report is Ill-Informed, Unsubstantiated and Wrong-headed-Benedict Rogers

Thursday, 14 April 2011 18:48 Benedict Rogers
The latest report from International Crisis Group (ICG), Myanmar’s Post-Election Landscape, is one of the most extraordinary documents I have read in a long time. Rarely have I seen such naïve and ill-considered analysis from an otherwise highly-respected and intelligent organisation.

Riddled with inconsistencies and with no substantiation, ICG has surpassed even its own previous Burma reports in levels of idiocy. Its recognition at the beginning that the November 2010 elections “were not free and fair and the country has not escaped authoritarian rule” is welcome, but it is what then follows that stretches the boundaries of credibility.

ICG argues that “it would be a mistake to conclude that nothing has changed”. The top two leaders of the former military regime, Than Shwe and Maung Aye, have “stepped aside” and “a new generation has taken over”. Both points are wrong, as even ICG itself admits later in its report. Contradicting itself, ICG notes that Than Shwe “will continue to influence events from behind the scenes” and will “exert considerable influence”. His power of patronage, “accumulated wealth” and control of business cronies “will underwrite his ongoing influence”. Exactly – so he has not “stepped aside”. Continue reading “ICG’s Latest Report is Ill-Informed, Unsubstantiated and Wrong-headed-Benedict Rogers”

Thailand: Special Report: 2011 Songkran Goddess Prediction

The Thai traditional New Year’s Day is called Songkran Day. The word ‘songkran’ refers to the event in which the sun moves from one sign in the zodiac into another. The action has led to a Thai mythology involving a young prince, a powerful deity and his seven daughters. The myth begins with a battle of wits between the deity and the prince and ends with the task assigned to the seven angel daughters, all referred to as ‘Nang Songkran’, who have to take turns each year carrying the head of the deity around Phra Sumane Mountain. This gives rise to annual prophecies which change in accordance with Nang Songkran on duty, her position, attires, weapons, food and vehicle she is using. Nang Songkran for 2011 or this Year of the Rabbit is called ‘Kirini Thewi’. 

According to a senior official of the Office of the National Culture Commission, Tassachon Thepgumpanat, Kirini Thewi is dressed in emerald green with emerald ornaments, having Magnolia or Montha flower on one of her ears. She mounts on an elephant. Her food is nuts and sesame. The goddess holds an elephant hook in her right hand and a gun in her left hand.

Based on the prophecy in relation to this year’s Nang Songkran, Thailand will face with plague while people will die because of disasters and mishaps. Subordinates will easily listen to their superiors. Product prices will be expensive and the country remains fertile. Wildlife will be endangered. Widows will have fortune. Troops will have victory over their enemies. Continue reading “Thailand: Special Report: 2011 Songkran Goddess Prediction”