Thailand’s current protests have dragged a pleasure-seeking monarch away from his Bavarian retreat and into the heart of national politics as he stumblingly ventures out of royal compounds for selfies and overexuberant adoration from bused in crowds. Thus far, hard power has not been fully deployed against the demonstrators and the military’s role in all this remains unclear. The military must be brought under more coherent leadership before Thai praetorian...
The clash between living god’s notions and basic human rights does not only lead to many dilemmas in Thailand, but there are also struggles in the Thai community over the nation’s border, like what has taken place in the Thai community in Boston, USA.
In cyberspace, the Thai Palace and its proxies are taking an aggressive approach. But this approach will eventually be counterproductive, since social media users today, mostly in their youths, have access to alternative information about the monarchy and refuse to be “brainwashed” by the state, like their predecessors.
Against the backdrop of the current framing of protests as “unprecedented” in the way they publicly and frontally criticise the Thai monarchy and the monarch himself, Thongchai reminds us that it was only 2 or 3 generations ago that the public in the kingdom were able to openly talk about the monarchy, critically or not.
Thongchai Winichakul, one of the world's best known scholars on Thailand and Southeast Asia and a prominent student leader from the 1976 Democratic Uprisings at Thammasat University in Bangkok will offer a historical overview of Thai people's struggles for democracy and freedom.
In this webinar, we shall discuss the Thai students’ movement history and involvement in the protests, and the merits and demerits of their three main demands. We shall also reflect on whether this phenomenon could spread to other monarchical countries around the region.
At first glance, the Thai monarchy’s deceptions, manipulations, and silence appear far less fragile than the good silences recounted in Thongchai’s text. Crudely put, monarchic silence is motivated by self-preservation. It continues to deploy an extensive panoply of coercive and cultural power to protect its privileges, albeit to declining effect.
Now that core leaders of the protests are in custody, the authorities are ramping up their suppression of demonstrators, and the possibility of life imprisonment has been mooted, it seems hard to imagine where this movement goes from here.
FORSEA issues the strongest condemnation statement against the Thai government. It urges the government to lift the emergency decree, release all those arrested, return free space for the people, and most importantly, stop using violent tactics against the protesters.