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Untouchable Sheriff rides into the sunset

November 16, 2001

In this Cowboy Land, nobody can draw a gun faster than Thaksin Shinawatra, the Untouchable Sheriff. One by one, he has gunned down his critics, from Chulakorn Singhakowin to Anand Panyarachun to Ammar Siamwalla. Any voice of dissent has to be silenced, once and for all. Then he rides his horse, quite triumphantly, into the glorious sunset.

The trouble is, there has never been a duel in the first place. Some months ago, inside his Robot Bank, Chulakorn fired his shot into the air with just a popgun.

“I have not seen any real reform agenda. So we would be just like Japan. I don’t see how we can recover from the mess eight years from now,” Chulakorn mumbled.

Then, under the influence of beer, wine and scotch whisky, he fired another shot into the air. But the cork did not pop out this time.

The next day Thaksin was angry that somebody dared to challenge his intention to reign supreme as sheriff for eight years in Cowboy Land. He fired back, and fatally hit Chulakorn with a hail of bullets.

But, thanks to marvellous technology, Chulakorn was given a new breath of life. But he would never be the same Chulakorn. He is now a Robobanker.

As a Robobanker, he has no heart. Nor has he any opinion. He only functions mechanically, and methodologically, as a banker.

Then Anand came along with his golden gun and silver bullets. A man of reputable stature beyond Cowboy Land, Anand was himself a former sheriff.

He fires his shots only under very extreme circumstances. But when he does fire, the silver bullets pierce the hearts of his opponents.

Anand was the only person in Cowboy Land against whom Thaksin had developed an inferiority complex. Anand was economical with his words. But when he spoke out, the whole of Cowboy Land listened.

About a month ago, Anand criticised the Untouchable Sheriff for failing to heed a list of recommendations outlined by the National Economic and Social Advisory Council, of which he was chairman. He was concerned that the sheriff was not conducting the affairs of his office according to the social contract.

His job – as entrusted by the Constitution of the land – was to provide a checks and balances system to the Office of the Sheriff.

Thaksin returned his fire, bullet by bullet, to show who was in charge. But he withdrew back into his office shortly afterward so that they could do no harm to each other. Anand will wait before coming out again with another salvo if Cowboy Land should face another crisis of confidence.

Ammar could never have imagined that the Untouchable Sheriff would honour him with a duel he did not deserve. He was totally harmless. Only occasionally did he bring out his slingshot.

Ammar is an economist, a rare breed in this Cowboy Land. And by the way, who would listen to an economist?

But thanks to Thaksin’s challenge to a duel, Ammar has become famous almost overnight. The entire populace began to pay attention to every word of Ammar as if they were divine truth.

The people began to question whether they were better off compared to eight months before.

At first, Ammar felt uneasy with the Untouchable Sheriff’s onevisionadayjusttokeeptheproblemsaway style of management. For he had to go to sleep with one nightmare a day too.

The Untouchable Sheriff was angry that Ammar did not try to have a good night’s sleep but blamed the nightmares on him.

But he did not draw his gun because Ammar only had a slingshot.

Then Ammar prophesied that Cowboy Land would follow in the footsteps of Japan, being hooked to government spending – like a heroin addict – until it was destined to become bankrupt.

This time the Untouchable Sheriff could not take it anymore. He fired back furiously until he ran out of bullets. Some of the bullets missed his foot by an inch.

So this is yet another story of Cowboy Land. It has happened before, but this time it happened again to the Untouchable Sheriff.

Thanong Khanthong



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