Tag: Thai politics

The Future of Thai Politics at the FCCT

The Future of Thai Politics talk at the FCCT on March 11th with

• Alongkorn Polabutr, senior member of the National Reform Council & former deputy leader, Democratic Party
• Chaturon Chaiseng, former Education Minister, Pheu Thai Party
• Kasit Piromya, former Foreign Minister, Democratic Party
• Phongthep Thepkanjana, Former Deputy Prime Minister, Pheu Thai Party

A great evening and great responses from various stakeholders in Thai politics. The FCCT did a great job with this one. A few tweets below and the full discussion in three videos at the bottom.

 


Thailand Anti-Government Protests Interviews December 2013

Thailand Anti-Government Protests Interviews December 2013 from Mark Moran on Vimeo.


Intangible Cultural Heritage

Pravit Rojanaphruk’s editorial on Yingluck’s new bill against manipulating “intangible cultural heritage” to “offend the monarchy, religion, national security, as well as public order and morality,” whatever this means.  In this vein we shall proceed.

paradoxbox

As the World Film Festival Bangkok is coming to town in November, I am taking note of certain films  that stand out.  Unfortunately the film Paradoxocracy,  by Pen-ek Ratanaruang, will not be shown.  I will hunt this film down to see it.  From what I’ve read about it, it sounds like a film many people would relish with its unvarnished look at Thai democracy.  Ratanaruang barely squeaked by the censors with a few modifications (like deleting subtitles and sound) when speakers spoke too candidly.

What a shame.  Wise Kwai has more here and here.

If anyone, Pen-rek, (are you out there?) has any idea how I can see this film please email me at markemoran@hotmail.com.

 


Protest culture: June ’12 – July ’13

More protest culture examined (thank you Gigi for your translation!) at this recent protest at Sanam Luang (สนามหลวง) with its melange of anti-government groups lingering on this royal cremation ground where kings and queens and other highly born have been burned since the time of King Rama I.  Where else but at a protest in Thailand would we see such a syncretic display of resentment against the powers that be.  From free haircuts to a Siamese King’s interpretation of an English poet’s war poem to the basest of insults, to masked allusions to a 17th century English rebel.

Yingluck’s speech in Mongolia  back in April at the 7th Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies enraged many ultra royalists.  Her money quote:

“This is because there are people in this world who do not believe in democracy. They are ready to grab power and wealth through  suppression of freedom.  This means that they are willing to take advantage of other people without respecting human rights and liberties.  They use force to gain submission and abuse the power.”

Thanong Khanthong is the oracle of the mystical Siam and offers a poetic way out of the troubles in Thailand.

 

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“Donation point: central cooking.”

If there is a protest in Thailand there is going to be protest cuisine to be sure. Both Napolean’s army and Thai protesters march on their stomachs.

“Your brother’s fault—you see a mountain
your fault—it’s the hair on your arm
your brother farts—sewage
you fart—a flower
virtue is not for sale— it comes from within.”

Citizen poetry loosely translated.

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“What do you think?  How do we solve the nation’s problem together?”

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“The Cremation Area Salon: Free Barber Gentlemen & Ladies”

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“Travel from afar to save the Kingdom.

At this moment only our power can save our land.”

A poem is also shown:

“Come and protest with us and if you die you are a soldier.

You will have paid back something to the country.”

poem

A translation of excerpts from William Wordworth’s “The Character of the Happy Warrior” (1806) commemorating the famous British naval commander Horatio Nelson’s death in the Battle of Trafalgar.  King Bhumipol’s translates the English into a Thai poetic version.  A translation below:

“Who is the happy Warrior…

That every man in arms would wish to be?

—It is the generous spirit…

Who, doomed to go in company with Pain,

And Fear, and Bloodshed…

Turns his necessity to glorious gain…

And in himself possess his own desire…

And therefore does not stoop, nor lie in wait

For wealth, or honors, or for worldly state…

And, through the heat of conflict, keeps the law

In calmness made, and sees what he foresaw.”

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A group from southern Isan pleading for people to come and “volunteer to protect Thailand.”

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Gotmai (means law, but with the final consonant absent means dog law, an insult.)

“We don’t use yaw yak (Thai consonant) because the government uses the dog law to rule the country.  Dumb people are dogs who take money.”

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Donation boxes: donate and  get dvd’s of political propaganda.

“Sign to show you don’t support decision of world court.” (Regarding World Court’s decision about Preah Vihear.)

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“His ancestors were water monitor lizards.”

This piece of post modern art is referring to none other than Plodprasop Suraswadi, a Deputy Prime Minister, known for his nuanced bedside manner in dealing with opponents, various environmental groups, who he described as ai hia, water monitor lizards.  He later apologized.

I don’t know why this monitor lizard is the Thai patron saint of assholes, but I will certainly try to get to the bottom of this.

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“Our country is not a toy, Mr Taksin, it’s not something you can play with…”

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“The government fund is to steal (gin: eat)

The country is for sale

The law is for breaking

Our votes are bought

Media is for propaganda

Democracy is a facade.”

 

More images below from the anti-government rally back in November:

 

 

 

Below editorial cartoons from the Thai newspaper Manager last November translated by 2Bangkok.com:

Stuff in

“Thaksin Shinawatra says to his sister: Stuff in as much as you can, Nong Daw. Don’t worry about those who are making noise outside. So long as we have these 15 million buffaloes to prevent them, we can keep stuffing ourselves… ”

 

Taxpayers

On shirts of the men: Taxpayers
Man on the left: Let’s go to the King Rama V ground tomorrow.
Man on the right: I surely am going!!!
Caption: After 1 year of suppression… they start to find a way out.
[Red buffaloes refer to Red Shirt group’s supporters who have benefited from the government’s populist policies. This cartoon encourages people to join the November 24 protest to stand up against government policies to benefit the Red Shirts.]

 

Yingluck flirting

In the U.S. President Barack Obama’s hand reads: Thaa
President Obama: I don’t want it… But she forced it [into my hand].
Caption: A souvenir from Yingluck
[At Obama’s side is the U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. On the rear building’s ladder are Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Foreign Minister Surapong Towichakchaikul. The point being made is that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra ‘gave thaa’ or ‘hai thaa’ to President Obama. ‘Hai thaa’ in Thai is saying means ‘flirting’ or ‘seductive.’ Like other women who dare to present themselves in a prominent way in the Thai world, Yingluck is criticized for being flirtatious.]

 

Below a montage of the red shirt protest in June 2012.  Notice their own use of the monitor lizard and water buffalo.  A few royalist counter protestors thrown in for good measure:


Democracy, October 6th, Nazis, and Turbo

Former Thai prime minister Anand Panyarachun on lack of understanding of democracy and tyranny:

“Thais do not possess a public mind; they only get together as a group to oppose something and not to proactively call for something.”

Anand Panyarachun makes good points in his discussion, but I’d be eager to know what he thinks the role of education plays in the development of democracy.  He criticizes absolute control, but can there be a check on absolute control in the mechanisms of government if  everyone is not absolutely under the law?

student-6oct1

Student group from Thammasat University, Prakai Fire, are staging three plays commemorating the October 6th, 1976 massacre at Thammasat University.  The students have been threatened and several media outlets have banned coverage.


nazi02

Students at a school in Chiang Mai dressed up as Nazis for their “Sport” Day creating quite a stir internationally.  Coverage here, here, and here.

Worship ceremony to the River Goddess to protect Bangkok from flooding will be sponsored by the BMA.

The latest singing sensation with over 16 million hits.  Beware, this clip is not Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood.  Interesting discussion in the blogosphere: