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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

    The anatomy of a very tricky election

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 29/03/2019

    » Thailand's first election in nearly eight years was supposed to bring some closure to a self-appointed military government and clarity to the country's democratic future. Instead, it has generated much controversy and probable continuity for the incumbent military regime with murky political directions ahead. Central to the questions and outcomes surrounding the poll on Sunday is the Election Commission (EC). Its actions and interpretations of events will have much to say about what happens next.

  • 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

    Thailand's year of hunting normality

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 11/01/2019

    » Three related events that will shape Thailand's path this year and beyond are evidently the coronation of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, the much-anticipated election, and the once-a-decade rotational chairmanship of Asean.

  • OPINION

    Lasting lessons from Malaysia for SE Asia

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 25/05/2018

    » Some have likened it to an "earthquake," while others have called it a "tsunami." However it is billed, Malaysia's election outcome still reverberates far and wide. Its political aftershocks yield lessons and considerations for politics in Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand, which holds the dubious distinction as the only parliamentary system in this region that does not know when it will next stage a poll.

  • OPINION

    Thailand's changing political narrative

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 09/09/2016

    » So far in the 21st century, the main narrative of Thai politics has centred on a colour-coded class divide, characterised by an urban-rural chasm along the lines of elites versus the masses.

  • THAILAND

    Vote prospects in Thailand's long transition

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 05/08/2016

    » Thailand's second-ever referendum on its second consecutive military-inspired constitution in 10 years should be a foregone conclusion. The government of Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha that seized power in May 2014 has deployed all instruments and organs of the state from village headmen and upcountry teachers to the entire bureaucratic apparatus and official media propaganda to ensure the charter's passage. The Referendum Act, a law that effectively prohibits open and inclusive debate and public discussion, has been enacted for good measure to keep the draft constitution on course. Yet what appears like a one-way state-sponsored campaign for referendum approval may boomerang into a rejection owing to several factors.

  • OPINION

    Let Thai electorate be referendum winners

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 12/08/2016

    » Amidst the wide-ranging fallout from Thailand's second-ever referendum results, one clear outcome that should not be downplayed and marginalised is that Thai voters have more or less collectively spoken yet again. Their preference this time is to approve a military-inspired constitution that codifies longer-term military supervision of Thai politics. This sobering reality from Thai voters is not music to pro-democracy ears but it must be heeded.

  • OPINION

    17,410,742 Britons versus the world

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 01/07/2016

    » Thailand's recent habit of rejecting voter results through denial, manipulation and contrivance is apparently a global phenomenon. When it comes to the United Kingdom's spectacular referendum decision to leave the European Union, popularly known as "Brexit", the court of world public opinion does not like what it sees. Global critics have lamented and opined widely against Brexit voters, who numbered 17,410,742, representing a 51.89% overall majority from nearly a 72% turnout. But in many ways, Brexit may just be the wake-up call that the EU sorely needs. Making the best of Brexit should now be the task at hand rather than its reversal.

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