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  • OPINION

    'My country's got' these socio-political ills

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 02/11/2018

    » The explosive Rap Against Dictatorship music video that has taken Thailand by storm has raised myriad socio-political questions and issues. Known in Thai as <i>Prathet Ku Mee</i>, the sensational music video has been viewed on YouTube more than 25 million times in just 10 days in a country of 69 million people, a feat in its own right and a record for its artistic kind in Thailand. How this five-minute rap song in the Thai language has done so much says a lot about where Thailand has been and where it is going.

  • OPINION

    Semantics and Thailand's political divide

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 25/09/2015

    » Language can be about power as much as communication. It can tear societies apart or bring them together, depending on its design and application.

  • OPINION

    5 years backwards under military rule

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 24/05/2019

    » Now that five years have elapsed since Thailand's last military coup, it is an opportune juncture to take stock of where the country is heading. When it seized power in May 2014, the military junta, known as the National Council for Peace and Order, initially had legitimacy from royal ascent and broad approval from its restoration of stability and order after more than half a year of street protests in Bangkok by the People's Democratic Reform Committee that was intent on overthrowing the Pheu Thai government.

  • OPINION

    Army-backed regime pulls poll disguises

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 15/03/2019

    » At issue in the looming election is less about Thailand's return to democratic rule and more about the country's slide into long-term military-authoritarianism with democratic disguises. The most recent military seizure of power on May 22, 2014, appears increasingly like a coup to remake all coups. However the votes are decided, the army-backed junta under the National Council for Peace and Order, spearheaded by Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, intends to stay for the long haul.

  • OPINION

    Policy ideas absent from poll campaign

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 01/03/2019

    » As the election campaign season moves into full swing after a nearly eight-year hiatus, many will see it as the same old tired routine of politicians smearing each other, slinging mud and squabbling all the way to the poll and beyond.

  • OPINION

    All quiet on the Thai-Cambodian front

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 18/01/2019

    » The Hun Sen government's decision last week to annul Cambodian passports issued to foreigners, reportedly including self-exiled former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, has brought Thai-Cambodian relations into focus once again. As has been reported in international and local media, Yingluck apparently used a Cambodian passport to register as the sole director of a Hong Kong company. The Cambodian authorities' continuing cooperation with Thailand's military government demonstrates a workable new pattern in the bilateral relationship that is a break from the past.

  • OPINION

    Debunking two myths of the 2014 coup

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 19/10/2018

    » As momentum towards the next general election gathers pace, the two main myths that underpinned Thailand's most recent military coup in May 2014 deserve debunking. Both are associated with the military's role in politics. Seeing through these two perpetuated myths leaves us with the reality that all players in Thai politics are in pursuit of power and vested interests. All pretence to the contrary is sheer falsehood, hypocrisy and political manipulation.

  • OPINION

    The annals of Thailand's military dictators

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 12/10/2018

    » As Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha eyes longer-term power beyond the next election, his eventual legacy will be compared to other military leaders who have come and gone as heads of past Thai governments. Had he left office or stepped down to run for it earlier, Gen Prayut might be in a better place. As things stand, his tenure and subsequent exit from the political scene does not appear promising for how he will be seen in hindsight.

  • OPINION

    Thailand's new military and new politics

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 05/10/2018

    » Most likely not in accordance with his preference, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is finding out that the military high command he seized power with during the May 2014 coup will be fundamentally different when he leaves office.

  • OPINION

    Can technology transform patronage politics?

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 30/03/2018

    » By the time it takes place after evident foot-dragging by relevant authorities, the next election in Thailand will be unlike its precursors. There will be new parties with new policy ideas, new vote-gathering technologies and first-time voters who came of age during Thailand's political tension and polarisation more or less over the past two decades. At issue during the next poll is whether and to what extent Thailand's entrenched and endemic patronage-driven and vote-buying political system has really changed. The evidence is mixed but it is plausible that a new kind of politics will emerge not directly in the next poll but in the 2020s.

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