Much Ado About Nothing

Anyone paying attention to Thai politics in the past week would have felt like parliamentary meetings have turned into fashion shows. Debate has raged fiercely as the Future Forward Party raised the issue of the dress code for MPs. Outraged was sparked when the party spokeswoman wore traditional regional clothing to a meeting. Twitter erupted [...]

Shinzo Abe’s Constitution Dream

My new commentary for the Bangkok Post's Asia Focus section on Japan's upper house election and Shinzo Abe's dream of amending the constitution. 'When the country is strong, and the risk of war small, when there is no threat of being attacked from without," the Japanese novelist Natsume Soseki once said, "then nationalism ought to [...]

The Fault in Our Cobras

When Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha ran for a second term, he did so with the slogan 'munkong, mungkung, yungyuen' — stability, prosperity, sustainability. Three months after the election, his government looks neither stable nor sustainable. Instead, it reminds us of British prime minister Theresa May's 'strong and stable' image that proceeded to produce the weakest [...]

Mission Impossible in Hong Kong

My new commentary for the Bangkok Post's Asia Focus section on Hong Kong's protests. Events have taken a different turn than anticipated since this was written, but given that the extradition bill probably hasn't been defeated for good, it's still worth analyzing how China is unlikely to let this slide. A million people on the [...]

Thailand’s First Election Since Military Coup Loosens Junta’s Grip on Power

My new article in openDemocracy analyzing the likely future trajectory of the Prayut administration: Last week, the leader of Thailand’s military junta, Prayut Chan-o-cha, easily won a parliamentary vote against his pro-democracy rival Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit to secure another term as prime minister.At first glance, it seems like a resounding victory for Prayut, a former army [...]

Parliament is Messy. Rightfully So.

"Democracy is messy, and it's hard", Robert Kennedy once said. "It's never easy". Autocracies, on the other hand, are fast and efficient. No wonder the so-called benevolent dictatorships are so attractive; why risk the messiness of democracy when you can get things done at the stroke of a pen? With the commencement of the new [...]

Principles and Parties

Watchers of American politics will be familiar with Texas senator Ted Cruz's statement that he is a Christian first, an American second, a conservative third and a Republican fourth, which led to much derision about whether that order actually holds true. The question of whether one holds party over country is one that continues to [...]

What Thailand’s Democrats Must Decide

I have finals coming up and so I don't have much time to write, but given that the Democrats will soon be electing a new party leader, I wanted to offer a few thoughts. That the Democrats performed catastrophically in the most recent election is a well known point. The extent of the electoral collapse [...]

After Coronation, A Return to Political Reality

(MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images) May your unity in expressing to me your goodwill augur that everyone, and all sides, shall take action for the further prosperity of our nation.King Maha Vajiralongkorn The coronation of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn was, politically speaking, a moment where everything in Thailand paused. All eyes were focused on the official [...]

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