New branding: From Grassroots To Glassroots/Taproot

5 10 2006

(Picture from http://www.guru.co.th)

What is different between grassroots and glassroots?

Council for National Security (previously Council for Democratic Reform) has recently urged Thai people to brand the rural people asglassroots instead of grassroots, as it offers a healthier meaning.

Thaksin often referred to 16 million votes gained from his grassroots supporters, who are the majorities of the country, to justify his ruling power. His populist policies targeted directly at the grassroots who were usually referred to as poor and uneducated people in the rural area. They were not well informed and as such was not aware of the corrupt and complex policies of the government. They tended to believe whatever the leader said. Understandably, not many leaders traveled hundred kilometres to meet, talk and give cash to them. He portrayed the image of the grassroots as a group of people who he could buy…and as long as he has their support the power would always remain with him…This in a sense has contributed to create the gulf between urban and rural communities…

With the new branding of glassroots or taproot which refers to the backbone or a group of people who are important to the well being and growth of the country. I guess one of the main aims is to reduce the gulf between the urban and rural people and for the latter to see the former in a different light. This idea came up when the chief of the CNS gave an interview in regards to poverty alleviation and civic education. He said that the new government should provide education on political system to theglassroots . They should be well informed and be aware of the work of the government. It is undeniable that not many people in remote communities understand the concept of liberal democracy. Liberal democracy does not mean only to win an election and form a government. It involves good governance, transparency and enough check and balances and so on. Civic eduction is a long term process. It is not easy but necessary…

To look at it positively, the new branding may hopefully lead to the change in the attitude and perception of the urban towards to the rural people. But whether this will have a large scale effect in reality remains to be seen.


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