Friday, December 7, 2007

Exposing Thailand's Taboo Topics

Taking on Thailand’s myths

Daniel Ten Kate

Asia Sentinel


These taboo issues are laid bare in a new collection of academic articles in a special issue of Journal of Contemporary Asia, a well-regarded Asian studies journal. This collection serves as required reading for anyone who wants to read an objective analysis of recent Thai political events that differs substantially from the sycophantic reports found in the country’s two English-language dailies. The journal is primarily geared towards an academic audience, according to editor Kevin Hewison, an Asian Studies professor at the University of North Carolina, but a limited number of copies will be made available in Thailand, particularly at the International Conference of Thai Studies in January.

With Thais heading to the polls on December 23 in the first parliamentary elections since the September 2006 coup, the journal offers a new lens through which to view telecom tycoon Thaksin Shinawatra’s unprecedented election victories and subsequent ouster by royalist factions of the military. While it’s impossible to note all the insights in this collection, the complementary pieces serve to repudiate two key myths that still get repeated constantly in Thailand: 1) The palace somehow sits “above politics” and 2) rural voters don’t know what’s good for them.

Read the rest here.


Anonymous said...

Rural voters definitely do NOT know what is good for them. If they will keep on voting for the same criminally inclined politicans over and over again . . . those same politicians who will buy their votes and promise them the world but still they remain dirt poor . . . that is stupid! Rural voters who look forward to "immediate cash benefits" of the elections do NOT know what is good for them, definitely! Their bought votes taint the "legitimacy" of political parties who end up in government because of massive money politics. Anytime "legitimacy" is in question . . . we know such government won't last. . .

Thai Observer said...

Nobody ever went broke underestimating the IQ of the Thais. 80 though it may be.