Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Asean doublespeak

It's hilarious that Asean leaders, save for former Malaysian PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad, still engage in old-world doublespeak.

The latest example is the meeting between Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his new Thai counterpart -- interim PM Surayud Chulanont (pix) -- on the sidelines of the Asean-China meet in China.

According to media reports, Surayud told Hsien Loong that he did not see the Shin Corp deal affecting relations between the two countries. The Thai general also reportedly said bilateral relations remained 'excellent'.

Er, which Shin deal are they talking about? The one with Singapore investment arm Temasek Holdings that led to the military coup that ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra? The one that led to widespread protest and the unprecedented burning of effigies of Hsien Loong and wife Ho Ching, who is also the head of Temasek? The one that led to the royal rebuke of Temasek's Thai adviser for its new Thai office?

Singapore-Thai relations are obviously at the nadir in recent history. Any attempt at positive doublespeak won't change that.