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How to boot political stress out of your system
Publication Date : 25-07-2012
There are two types of politically stressed Thais - those who asked for it and those who didn't.
This "survival" manual, inspired by the latest Dusit poll, which shows that an alarming number of politically weary people are now on the brink, is meant for both. You can ignore these tips at your peril, as the parliamentary break is ending in a few days, charter revamp remains high on the government's agenda and Thaksin Shinawatra has once again blamed "independent bodies" for Thailand's predicament.
This updated "do's and don'ts" list, if strictly followed, will soften the blow. Political tension has no way to go but up, especially if there is an early referendum on whether we want a new Constitution. So, here goes: what you should and should not do so your blood pressure reader doesn't scream for an ambulance:
- Don't visit web boards of "the other side". If you can't resist the urge to comment on those web boards, hit and run. By that, I mean go in there, leave a comment and get the hell out. Don't read anything. I repeat: Don't read anything.
- Even "friendly" web boards are not totally safe. You think you can "share" your plight, your ideals or your misery, but you could end up amplifying them. Pay those sites fewer visits.
- With a similar caution, you can talk politics with friends who think the same way. If your friends or co-workers are on the other side, never ever go for a drink with them. This rule is final and must never be amended under any circumstances.
- Remember this. You don't know Abhisit Vejjajiva, Yingluck Shinawatra and the likes in person. All you know about them is what their propagandists or opponents want to make you believe. Some information may be true but some isn't. If you want to judge them to a certain degree, fine. But don't kill yourself in the process.
- Upset about people trying to change a Constitution that you like? Repeat after me: Someone will definitely change it back in the future.
- Upset about people stubbornly protecting a Constitution that you don't like? Repeat after me: No Constitution lasts forever.
- Watch "The Kennedys". You will gain a deep sympathy for all politicians, no matter which side they are on. I highly recommend this eight-part mini-series.
- Watch or read "The Hunger Games" trilogy. The dictator and the rebel leader are equally bad. Why get so stressed over one or the other?
- Your stress is caused by your belief that you are absolutely right. Spare a minute to ask yourself, "What if I've been wrong all this time?" (Trust me, "political" stress is ego-related. It's a symptom generated by not understanding why things don't go your way - which you believe with foolproof certainty is the right way.)
- Playstation. Farmville. Or real tennis. Take your pick.
- If you can't abandon Facebook, be selective when reading posts. Hide or unsubscribe politically talkative pals. Focus on ones that give you less stress - like those friends who seem to travel all the time, look ever younger and eat heavenly food every day.
- New soccer seasons are just a few weeks away. Couldn't care less? Too bad and best of luck, then. Parliament reopens next week.
- Avoid, like the plague, news reports whose headlines start with "Thaksin", or "Abhisit", or "Yingluck", or "Jatuporn", or "Chalerm" or "Prayuth".
- Manufacturers of televisions invented the mute button on remote controls not just for when the boss calls, but also for politically divided folk like us. Use it when Thepthai Senpong or Vorajet Pakirat appears on the screen, depending on who usually drives you up the wall.
- Ask yourself this: If you could trade places with Thaksin, would you?
- If you could have Abhisit's life, would you?
- If the answers are "No", why threaten your fragile blood vessels by envying them, or worrying for them?
- It pains me to say this, but my job requires me to write about politics once in a while. Quite frequently, in fact. If you think my articles make you stressed, I'll make it an exception that you can continue reading them or following my tweets. As long as you obediently do all of the above, that is.
- If all else fails, remember that, in the end, everybody dies. If you believe in life after death, surely it's not going to be governed by a Constitution enacted by opportunistic generals or self-serving politicians. If you believe in permanent blackout after death, why care so much about a Constitution enacted by opportunistic generals or self-serving politicians anyway?