Take the First Vaccine Available. For Me, That Was Sinovac.

Thailand has ordered millions of doses of Sinovac, which enjoys the dubious honor of being perhaps the most doubted vaccine brand in the world. Its reputation has been butchered in the international press. It has yet to be approved by the World Health Organization. Many Thais make no secret of their fear and derision. Some …

The Country With No Hope

The concept of Gross National Happiness is well known, as a fun fact that has become a staple of introductory economics classes. “Gross National Happiness,” the former king of Bhutan had once declared, “is more important than Gross Domestic Product.” Whether there is any efficacy in using Bhutan’s idea of GNH to measure well-being in …

Thailand’s Worst Coronavirus Surge Puts Government on the Line

On April 8th, as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was about to enter a van, he gave some brief remarks to the press. The coronavirus had returned to Thailand with a vengeance, after a cluster of cases found in Thonglor’s entertainment centers, and cases were threatening to spike right before the Songkran break.  “Whatever happens, happens,” …

Photoshopping Khmer Rouge Victim Photos Was Altering History

I didn’t think too much of it at first when I first opened Vice’s article on the victims of the Khmer Rouge genocide.  The article covered a project by Matt Loughrey, an Irish artist who has been working to colorize headshots of the people that were murdered in the S-21 prison in Cambodia, now known …

A Reflection on the Rise in Asian-American Hate Crimes

Last May, Thai-American actor James Tang tweeted, “My mom said we should speak Thai in public so we don’t get targeted for speaking Mandarin.” Oh, such motherly innocence! “I think it’s so sweet that she’s nice enough to believe that these stupid f***king racists can differentiate between Asian languages,” Tang added.  A year later, however, …

Analysis: Thailand’s 2021 Municipal Election Results

Thailand held its long-delayed municipal elections this past Sunday. This was the second round of local elections, following the polls held last year for Provincial Administration Organization (PAO) seats.  Thailand uses the thesaban system to govern municipalities. According to this system, there are three types of municipalities depending on the total population, population density and gross income: thesaban …

Constitutional Reform Efforts Staring at a Dead End

Forgot to post this earlier – after this article was published, the third reading of the constitution amendment bill was indeed voted down in parliament. But the point of this piece still stands… The Constitutional Court’s recent verdict on the legality of constitutional amendment seems straightforward at initial glance. Any effort to write a new …

Thaksin’s Complicated Legacy Under Re-interpretation

I was in first grade when I woke up, one fateful day in 2006, to go to school. Alas, school was cancelled. A military coup was happening. A military coup? Meaningless words to a first grader, but at least it meant more time to sleep. Almost fifteen years have now gone by since that military …

Government’s Vaccine Strategy Must Remain Under Scrutiny

In Thai, there is an oft-used phrase: tok ma tai, “to die after falling off a horse.” It is an idiom that describes how someone can do something well almost to completion, only to make a mess of things just before reaching the finish line.  For many, this is an idiom that increasingly looks fitting for …

The Longer, but Not Better, Telegram

On January 28th, the Atlantic Council published “The Longer Telegram”, written by an anonymous author described as a former senior government official with extensive experience dealing with China. Its source of inspiration is, as its name suggests, no other than the Long Telegram, the article that set forth America’s national strategy of containment written by …