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  • News & article

    Charter to deal us a crippling blow

    News, Songkran Grachangnetara, Published on 01/09/2015

    » After scanning through what might be Thailand's 20th constitution in more than 80 years, I have to say, in my view it is a nasty piece of work. Imagine the most conniving characters in all of fiction, like Cruella de Vil, Fagin, Lex Luther and Hamlet, got together and decided to write a new constitution for Thailand. This draft would easily be something they could have come up with.

  • News & article

    Without change the Democrat Party faces irrelevance

    News, Songkran Grachangnetara, Published on 04/08/2015

    » Does anybody really think that political progress is conceivable without also reforming the Democrat Party? As they say, "honesty is an expensive gift, so never expect it from cheap people". Well, here is my gift of honesty.

  • News & article

    Thailand urgently needs to tackle development traps

    News, Songkran Grachangnetara, Published on 28/07/2015

    » About two weeks ago while having supper with my family, my wife received a phone call from former prime minister Anand Panyarachun. So far, so good. But when my wife turned the phone over to me and said, "Khun Anand wants a quick chat with you", my instincts told me I had written something irritating and was about to be lectured by a former prime minster. However, my concerns quickly dissipated, because to my surprise I had just earned a different kind of lecture: an invitation to the Amartya Sen lecture series which was held last Tuesday at the Intercontinental Hotel in Bangkok. Phew! Dodged another bullet.

  • News & article

    Let's face it, the chickens are coming home to roost

    News, Songkran Grachangnetara, Published on 25/06/2015

    » No single Thai administration is capable of solving the country's most chronic and deeply embedded problems. Any administration that says it can is talking absolute tosh and insulting the nation's cumulative intelligence.

  • News & article

    The silence is deafening

    News, Songkran Grachangnetara, Published on 07/07/2015

    » What kind of society is the junta creating when the peaceful "New Democracy Movement" protesters, all in their early twenties, are jailed without due process, to have their fate decided on by a military tribunal? Without any doubt the junta's behaviour in this matter is utterly deplorable. But what is soul-destroying is the comfortable silence from certain sections of our society. You can almost hear a pin drop. The leader of the Democrat Party? Not a sound. Venerable statesmen? Not a squeak. Or maybe the rector of Thammasat University would like to voice his objection? Not a single word. Ladies and gentlemen, right or wrong, the only people that have demonstrated any courage at all through this episode are the 14 kids in jail, while the adults hide.

  • News & article

    Thailand needs an informed citizenry

    News, Songkran Grachangnetara, Published on 11/06/2015

    » The concept of citizenship is fundamental to the principles of democratic governance. The two go hand in hand. The democratic state can basically be reduced down to the citizen, and citizens can only exist under the auspices of a democratic state. Without delving into political theory, it is this "social contract" which defines the relationship between a citizen and the state.

  • News & article

    Thailand's political landscape rivals that of 'Hamlet'

    News, Songkran Grachangnetara, Published on 02/06/2015

    » I was recently invited by the British ambassador to attend a performance of Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' organised by The British Council and the British embassy at Chulalongkorn University. I must admit to never having seen Hamlet but I'm glad I finally did because it rather reminded me in parts of what's happening here in Thailand.

  • News & article

    Time to redefine Thainess for 21st-century success

    News, Songkran Grachangnetara, Published on 16/05/2015

    » When the government seeks to promote Thainess, what exactly do they mean? I guess every nation has their particular traits, but what are our national traits? And are they traits which we would want to advertise or encourage?

  • News & article

    The constitutional merry-go-round revolves once again

    News, Songkran Grachangnetara, Published on 23/05/2015

    » So finally we’re going to have a referendum on this draft constitution. Hooray! This makes it 20 constitutions since 1932. That’s one constitution every four years on average if you do the maths. Therefore, it will come as no surprise to foreign observers that Thais have very little emotional investment in this document, because it’s more than likely we’ll be rewriting, redrafting, rewinding and reinventing another constitution in a few years time. Thailand has become a serial murderer of constitutions and the more constitutions we put to death, the less meaning each one has.

  • News & article

    Setting the record straight on my conservative roots

    News, Songkran Grachangnetara, Published on 05/05/2015

    » On Thursday, the United Kingdom will go to the polls in what looks to be one of the most closely contested general elections in British history.

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