Why I removed a blog post yesterday


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As birthdays go, yesterday’s probably ranks as my worst to date. I figure I’ve got a few more left, so there’s plenty of room for improvement. Yesterday, however, was just one disaster after another. Dinner was particularly memorable. In between all the catastrophes, I had to remove this post. The last time I removed a post it caused an uproar, but this one was really out of my hands.

The problem with the post was that it was picked up by the MICT in Bangkok. The MICT then called me at work in Phuket and told me to remove it. It was actually one of the comments in the post that was the issue. The comment in question was about HmtK. I think this underlines how seriously bloggers in Thailand have to watch what they say.

The post itself was was only two days old, which shows you just how vigorously the Internet is monitored. It was my fault for letting the comment slip through. There are certain subjects that just cannot be addressed without serious repercussions.

If the MICT had called me out on any other topic then it would be another issue, but this is one thing that has to be respected, regardless of what people’s opinions are.

Has anyone else ever been contacted by the MICT about the content of a blog post?

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73 thoughts on “Why I removed a blog post yesterday

  1. I enjoy visiting your blog Matt but there are times when i doubt some of the stuff you come up with. Do you seriously think we are going to believe that the MICT in Bangkok went out of there way to contact MICT Phuket, then incredibly find your phone number and call you? About one single comment!

    There are plenty of other websites/blogs which are much more popular than this one, which post much more provocative and sensitive stuff than yours. They never get contacted by the MICT.

    There are times Matt, when trying to pull in more viewers, you just make something sensational up. Oh and before i go, i saw you in a Phuket disco. But then again, you always get noticed when you go out just because of your blog.

  2. Everything I write in this blog is true and has happened. Why would I make something like this up? There is no MICT Phuket. Someone in Bangkok called my office, the number of which you could find yourself in two minutes.

    If it wasn't the MICT then it was someone pretending to be. Why would I make this up?

  3. Imagine that — the government of Thailand pays someone to read your blog! Perhaps it would be cheaper for them if they simply paid you directly — a monthly fee, say — for not writing certain things. How's that for a blog money-making concept?

  4. Greetings Matt. What was the upshot of all this? To be honest it all seems a bit hard to believe. The Government has people looking at blogs about Thailand to see that they are conforming to Thai propriety? Surely not.

    How did they identify themselves? Had you considered it may be a wind-up?

  5. Maybe it was just a wind-up. With all due respect I dont think this blog is a huge threat to Thai culture…

  6. Thumbs Up – for the wonderful tale. But…..
    Fabulous to know that the Thai government is moderating this blog!
    Yes, we are the MICT are right up your arse, cause you are the most famous writer in Thailand (You wish!!!!!!!!!)
    No-one else has been contacted by the MICT – unless they lie!

    Phuket girl, Jazz

  7. The call came from a man named K. Suksiri. The call was actually taken by one of the Thai staff here.

    Believe what you want. I'm not making this up. If it was a wind up, then so be it, but what would you do if faced with the same situation? All I know is that a Thai man called the office and identified himself as from the MICT in Bangkok.

    If it was a windup then I would have expected it to be a little more elaborate, rather than specifying one comment, which would offend most Thai people.

    Whatever your opinions of me — I can see they are pretty low — it was just common sense to remove the post/comments. If the call was fake, what have I really lost? If it was real, then you're all wrong.

    And when have I ever claimed to be the "famous writer in Thailand"? Pathetic insults when really I haven't done anything to warrant them.

  8. "unless they lie!"

    Hi Jazz. I'm not lying. And I have spoken with other bloggers who have gone through the same thing, so I guess there are a lot of hoaxers out there. Maybe we'll never know.

  9. I think you did the right thing in removing the post. It could be a wind up, but on the other hand, it's better safe than sorry. Now, all this people accusing you of creating a tall tale, I think it's shallow. There's no way on Earth for them to know whether MICT did or did not call you, and the accusations are already flying in. That says something, in my opinion.

  10. Hi Matt,

    I believe you but I also believe you are a bit gullible in this case! The MICT has much bigger fishes to can and I guess you have been tricked by one of your own reader.

    In all case you should not have caved in! As a journalist you must stand by your writing and if it was a comment that was offending, add a not saying your are not responsible for the comments made on your blog or the content of other blog you link to (see the BBC website).

    Bring back this post for pity's sake! and don't tell me your life depends on it! And if you ae asked again ask for it to be done in writing!

    ~R

  11. On balance I believe Matt believed he was being contacted byt eh genuine MICT. It surely says something for Matt's opinion of Thai officialdom that he believed they would be inclined to monitor blog posts. Actually I believe they are petty, closed-minded and arrogant enough to do just that, we all know how Thais like to exercise personal power, especially over the wicked foreigner, come to pervert Thai culture and innocence.

    I would be interested in what the offending comment was to be honest, can't have been Matt's post, that was innocuous enough. must have been an awful calumny though…

  12. Alright I'll put the post back up, but I'm leaving the comments deleted and turned off. Thing is, my first thought was that it was a prank, but then, how can I know one way or the other?

    If I have been tricked, well, I haven't lost much. It gave me something to talk about anyway.

  13. Matt. I was part on the http://www.thaipulse.com/ but my blog was removed from it after the owner had a phone call from someone telling him they would shut down his website.

    I am not sure who the guy was but the name of Mr Somchai He said “there are things that cannot be said about Thai people on the internet”

    In this post I confronted this Mr. Somchai http://isaanstyle.blogspot.com/2007/07/thailand-have-i-pissed-off-wrong-people.html and told him to contact me if he had a problem with the blog. He had my email but the myth never came through.

    I have bagged politicians, police, very well to do people when they deserve it. I express my views and if they don't like it so be it. If they tell me what is offensive and it makes sense I might moderate it.

    I've had a few threatening emails about certain things, I passes them onto my policeman friends and they have been looking into them. I ahve written to the idiots who sent them but they are too gutless to reply.

    The censorship is bordering on stupidity at times but again you can say almost anything as long as it doesn't criticise the big ones. The King of Thailand and his family adn of course Monks. I have bagged Buddhism many times when it has been just but wouldn't step over the line cut my own toes off.

    I think Matt that it is more than likely a tosser who wants you to believe what he said and isn't anything more than a small man with a small you know what trying to fit into big shoes and seem important.

    Anyone can contact Thaipulse.com and ask about this as it is true everything I said.

  14. MICT maybe dumb but they're not stupid. They work with service providers, they can block YouTube and jail forum posters. It's not hard to monitor the net everytime HMtK is mentioned.

  15. I don't understand why it is hard to believe. A Thai who posted on a Prachatai thread went to jail for comments about the Big Kahuna, as Kitty pointed out.

    Matt doesn't blog about politics often, but he does have a popular blog and he is part of the Thai media, so it doesn't surprise me if the powers at be want to control him and his content.

  16. They took you seriously because you are a genuine blogger, a real writer.

    I mean you are credible.

    I think.

    But why did you delete my comment? I just wanted to say "Happy Birthday". I reckon I was not qualified to say that,

    wasn't I?

  17. HMtK stands for HM The King, right?

    Fonzi calls MHtk, the 'Big Kahuna'. What does he mean by use these. I hope he isnt being very impolite

  18. Sooksiam, I don't know really. I was at work when they called and I just rushed through it and deleted everything as quick as I could. Sorry to delete your birthday comment.

    Sorry.

  19. Sara-

    Kahuna is the Hawaiian word for king. Nothing disrespectful about it. I was just trying to be sensitive to Matt's predicament by using a different word for king.

  20. Or you take this approach – I would have no problem with that, it is the right way as a guest in Thailand: http//absolutelybangkok.com/?p=151
    Why you even thought about posting such a topic?

  21. Interesting Matt. You put the post up again but refuse to put the comments up again. This suggests the calumny was in a comment and not the post? Whets the curiosity does it not? I don't remember seeing anything in the comments to that post which could reasonably be described as likely to be offensive to HMK, but then He has already indicated he thinks the Lese Majeste laws here are inappropriate, and he pardoned the victim of the last prosecution after 2 weeks, something the Government lost a lot of face over. Perhaps the only people concerned about this are indeed the Government, in which case one might reasonably ask why…

  22. It is not that strange that the internet is watched for this kind of things. I believe you Matt. I know how serious they are about everything that is said and written about HMtK.

    In Holland many companies do the same. The scan blogs for complaints or problems about their products and take action on that.

    I once had troubles with my ISP and could not work it out with the helpdesk. That night I wrote a pissed-off article about them on my weblog and the next day they contacted me. Another day later the problem was solved and never has returned.

    And many more people have that kind of experience.

  23. So typically Thai. No freedom of speech and too much time devoted to pathetic, anal issues. Don't worry so much Matt, if you get thrown out of the country for mentioning this bloke's shirt in a disrespectful way at least you can sell the story to papers around the world, you'd make a mint mate. This Thai obsession with **** **** really is too much.

  24. Pathetic, anal issues and this bloke’s shirt? Clarification, please? Who are you comparing to an anal issue?

    It should not be too difficult to request anybody to respect just one particular subject in this society. ;o)

    If this issue was known publicly, this could put Matt into a very difficult situation. It is not only a problem with the Thai authorities, a great deal of Thais will certainly turn against him too; and the Thai media could easily spin this story around. Who knows what would happen next?

    Anyone who regularly reads this blog will know that Matt has no intention of offending anybody, regardless of whether they are Thai or Farang, albeit he hastily comments about women from time to time.

  25. Sooksiam. Kindly get off your high horse, outpourings of righteous indignation is never pleasant. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and so far as I am aware, you have never been appointed to the opinion police. You peddle the same obsequious and fawning lines about Thais on many blogs, perhaps to show what a good Thai you are (if a Thai) or how much you love the Thais (if a farang). Either way it seems you have something to prove and that is always tedious. I am sure Matt is eloquent enough to speak for himself, and doesn't need you to defend him – that's his Mum's job.

    2 out of 10. must try harder.

  26. Here here Bedwyr! Come on Sooksiam, try to step outside the box and take a look at Thailand from an outsider's POV. Nearly the whole nation wearing yellow every Monday, and now adding pink and blue on other days. From outside it does look a bit freaky ya know, a little bit like a frenzied obsession. Kinda like monarch led communism.

  27. Thanks anyway. I pick those with whom I "come" carefully. I like my women to be intellectual and have a sense of identity independent from those whom they wish to impress.

  28. That's a shame!

    I thought I might enjoy your company.

    Anyway, I don't usually go out with young blokes; I reckon they are a tad tactless

  29. 50

    Hooray!!!

    Matt is the most likeable Farang in Thailand.

    Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…

    Maybe

    or maybe not.

    I really go for middle-aged men.

    sorry ;o(

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