The Ant Has Bad Dreams

"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself king of infinite space", Hamlet said in his namesake play. This year, ASEAN has been Thailand's nutshell and its chairmanship has allowed the government to exercise a degree of leadership over an unwieldy coalition. Given that Thailand's previous chairmanship of ASE1AN in 2009 was borderline [...]

Building Broad Support for Constitutional Reform

My new article in the Bangkok Post on building consensus for constitutional reform in Thailand: As is characteristic of our polarised society, opinion is deeply divided on whether the 2017 constitution should be amended. Some will say that constitutional revision is effectively hopeless, a remote possibility until the powers that be permit an amendment. The [...]

Right is Wrong and Wrong is Right

"Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we reflect upon them", Immanuel Kant once said, "the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me." If the heavens above and morality within filled Kant with wonder, so has it been for Thais. The [...]

On Google and Governance

It's been a busy start to the semester here at Cal and time has not been something with which I have been well-endowed. But I do want to comment on the latest uproar in Thai politics over Prayut's remarks at Asia Society in New York. The prime minister began with a riff about social media: [...]

What Thailand Can Learn From Brexit

Thailand may have supposedly changed its system of governance in 1932, but it is well known that skepticism about democracy remains deeply entrenched amongst many Thais. It is not uncommon to observe some using democracy as a bit of a dirty word, representing in their view the wrongful empowerment of the ignorant masses who often [...]

Constitutional Revision Matters for the Economy

Why revise the constitution, some ask, when the government's attention and toil would be better spent on improving people's livelihoods? This is a question that has come up with ever-increasing frequency as the Future Forward party has organized town halls across the country to promote the idea of constitutional revision. Despite the bipartisan look that [...]

Some Thoughts On Hong Kong’s Protests

Tear gas. Violence on the streets. Airport closures. The view from Bangkok on the Hong Kong protests is almost one of weary familiarity. Not exactly déjà vu; the nuances mean that resemblance with Thailand's color-coded movements will never be reached. But the parallels are there and they are eery. This makes it particularly interesting to [...]

A Taste of Defeat

Attention in Thai politics has been focused this week on the cabinet's oath-taking error. The episode is worrying for several reasons. This was succinctly summarized by Parit Wacharasindhu: if it was an unintentional gaffe, it casts doubt Prayut's ability to handle complex issues; if it was intentional, it puts into question his respect for a [...]

US-China Relations Beyond 2020

I recently wrapped up my internship at the Bangkok Post, and my lead piece for this week's Asia Focus section was published today. In the world's preeminent superpower, the race to elect the new president is starting to yield clues about the future of its foreign policy. The narrowing gap between China and the United [...]

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