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  • OPINION

    Knives are out in death penalty row

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 23/06/2018

    » To execute or not to execute, the question weighed on Thai society in the past week with the force of righteous anger. It is a tough question, one that lays bare the complex intersection of morality, law, religion, belief, value, and even the position of the country on the spectrum along which the international norm is moving.

  • OPINION

    Movies shine light on dark Thai truths

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 09/12/2017

    » Last week, I watched a South Korean film called A Taxi Driver. Based on a true story, it's the account of a cabby who secretly drove a German journalist to cover the 1980 pro-democracy demonstration in Gwangju, a dramatic uprising that toppled Maj General Chun Doo-hwan, the ruler of the country at the time.

  • OPINION

    'Bob' Halliday gone, but his light lives on

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 03/06/2017

    » Bob told me many stories from a time when I hadn't even been born: During the Oct 14, 1973 student uprising, the authorities suspected he was a spy. When the Oct 6, 1976 massacre took place and the stench of blood was still fresh at Thammasat University, he surveyed the wreckage and bemoaned the state of the country he had adopted as his new home. Some evenings he reminisced on how he had lived through several dictators and prime ministers, hijacked or elected, overthrown or incapacitated -- he talked about Richard Nixon, Thanom Kittikachorn, Tanin Kraivixien, Thaksin Shinawatra, Prayut Chan-o-cha, etc. It didn't matter what happened, he'd say, as long as he could prowl produce markets in search of the perfect durian -- the caramelised Holy Grail of the fruit he adored above all else, the fruit that, as he'd say, made him "slobber like a mastiff".

  • OPINION

    For a ghost of a chance, use your talisman

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 01/10/2016

    » On Wednesday Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha talked for 135 minutes at the Bangkok Post Forum, more than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on Monday combined. And this isn't even an election campaign. A good soldier, he's unfazed by the presence of enemies and microphone. From the podium, arms outstretched, the PM touched on a lot of topics: Thai education, the economy, Section 44, Thailand as a "developed" country, the 20-year prophecy, etc. But what struck me like a hammer was when the general mentioned ghosts.

  • OPINION

    A nation of millions can't hold them back

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 29/10/2018

    » Rhymes and misdemeanours. Yo, yo. Rappers are threatened to be thrown in a slammer.

  • OPINION

    Proustian questions for our leaders

    Oped, Kong Rithdee, Published on 26/12/2015

    » What is your idea of perfect happiness? When 99.5% of respondents in a government-sponsored poll think that the government is the best thing that ever happened for this country. Or maybe in the all of the universe, because such figures are even higher than God's rating.

  • OPINION

    Thai idols fall in line with orthodoxy

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 01/09/2018

    » Poor coup-makers, no one wants to see them on TV. At 6pm sharp when the theme song begins, there's a rush of hands to the remote control. Not that you can escape them. The true mark of dictatorship is audiovisual dictatorship: They beam their images on every TV and radio channel, monopolising your sensory reception, like a sci-fi movie, or like a spoiled child demanding your full attention. At 6pm every day for the past four years, the hands clutching the remote have reached for the only possible button. Off.

  • OPINION

    Sucking the wind out of the elections

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 05/05/2018

    » The verb of the week is "to dood".

  • OPINION

    Religious fervour serves no god well

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 07/04/2018

    » Aformer rock musician has embraced the role of online preacher and denounced, above other things, rock music. In fact, he objects to most kinds of music, deeming it against Islam. Weerachon "Toh" Sattaying, once the high-pitched frontman of the band Silly Fools (love the name), has over the past six years quit his former lifestyle and became a born-again Muslim. Bearded, skull-capped, fiery-eyed and charismatic, Weerachon runs a dry-aged beef business and hosts an online religious programme that has cultivated quite a following.

  • OPINION

    'Bad Genius' exception to Thai film rule

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 21/10/2017

    » She cheats because she wants money, and because she believes the system has cheated her first. No politics please! The exciting Thai pop-culture news of the week was the box-office triumph of the Thai film Chalard Games Goeng (Bad Genius in English), an exam-cheating thriller packed with heart-racing set pieces in which bright students orchestrate an elaborate international cheating ring, outsmarting the system on the expense of their moral equanimity. When you're 17, perhaps that's a small price to pay.

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