Vajiralongkorn is an ambitious king, he has also become increasingly politically savvy. But he is not alone in the world of ambitious leaders. New leaders, like Thanathorn, are equally ambitious. 2020 could be the year when the two collide.
On 12 December 2019, up-and-coming Thai film producer, Thunska Pansittivorakul, thrilled his audiences at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, by showing one of his latest films – Screaming Goats – a film never to be screened in his home country, Thailand.
Rohingya campaigners launch a global boycott movement, urging corporations, foreign investors, professional and cultural organizations to sever their institutional ties with Myanmar, on the eve of Myanmar’s genocide trial at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Local and provincial warlords had been an integral component of national politics since the postwar period. During the Arroyo years, Ampatuan and Duterte increasingly influenced national affairs from afar by dealing out violence in their respective locales.
November 6, 2019, sees the release of the “Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Thailand” which is edited by FORSEA co-founder Pavin Chachavalpongpun. This timely volume discusses the condition of today’s Thailand and contains 34 chapters from an international line-up of academics.
The Thai military, which helped the country’s establishment create an unassailable monarchy to further its ends, now finds that it has created an uncontrollable figure in the form of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, the 67-year-old monarch who took the throne on the death of his revered father in 2016.
Those who vehemently oppose the repressive – and often racist, bigoted and economically predatory states – call attention to Myanmar's Rohingya people as the most terrorised by their own government.
The Criminal Code may yet be revised so that human rights like freedom of expression and association are better protected. But this requires the mobilisation of civil society in a way that has not been seen since General Suharto was ousted in 1998. It seems more likely that the pace of Islamization of the country has only faced a temporary setback.