In Thailand, Pessimism Once Again

"If voting made a difference", Mark Twain once wrote, "they would never let us do it." In Thailand, this has more than a hint of being true. The election was never going to resolve many of Thailand's problems. The power of the pen, as a popular hashtag went, was never going to be enough to [...]

Democratic System More Than Just Popular Vote

My new article in the Bangkok Post: Sontirat Sontijirawong, secretary of the Palang Pracharath party, recently complained about the media labeling different parties “pro-democracy” and “pro-dictatorship”. PPRP, Sontirat argued, had run in an election and won 7.9 million votes. It has engaged with the democratic process and as such Palang Pracharath is just as pro-democracy [...]

Takeaways From Thailand’s 2019 Election

I just flew from Washington D.C to New York City with no laptop. Originally, I had planned on commenting on the Thai election after I fly back to Berkeley, but I couldn't resist the temptation to write a quick post. The election, already famous for its unpredictability, has took an even stranger turn: the junta's [...]

The Future Thailand’s Junta Fears The Most

My new article in the Asia Times: As Thailand edges closer to March 24 elections, the first to be held in the kingdom in nearly eight years, the upstart anti-military Future Forward Party is increasingly under siege.Among the parties competing for seats at the upcoming polls, the progressive party has arguably been the most outspoken [...]

Fight the Election Fairly

In an election that continues to be complicated by increasing twists and turns, the Future Forward leader Thanathorn Jueangroongrueangkit has been threatened with prosecution and a possible five-year jail term, which would disqualify him from standing in the election. The grave crime that he committed, it appears, is criticizing the junta and the disputed claim [...]

Younger Thais on Thai Politics

In Thailand's election next month, there will be 5.6 million first-time voters. We've heard a lot of conjecture in the news about what these "new voters" are thinking or supporting, with articles tending to opine that new voters are gravitating mainly towards the Future Forward party. I remained skeptical, however, about this generalization. Many of [...]

Vote Future Forward

"By three methods", Confucius once observed, "we may learn wisdom. First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is bitterest". If Thailand has gained wisdom, it has indeed been through bitter experience. Repeated military interventions that disrupts democracy, a corrupt political culture and an economy that [...]

The Case Against Prayut

"Oust me if you dare!", Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yelled at reporters in an angry outburst during a policy report. "Oust me if you can! I’m not challenging you, but I’m not quitting". It was quite a change in tone from a few years ago, when the prime minister, casting himself in the mould of [...]

Thailand’s 2019 Election, Explained

Thailand is (almost certainly) having a general election this year. With new political parties, new leaders to watch, a new constitution and a reconfigured political landscape, this election can feel complicated and quite different from polls in the past. To try to make Thai politics more accessible and the election itself easier to analyze, this [...]

Spraying Water and Sweet Words

The most consistently disappointing part about Thailand country is its governance. And this week, as Bangkok becomes enveloped in ever-thickening smog and the air quality index climbed up, we all have our faces in our palms asking: what is the government doing? Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha took to Twitter to assure the nation that "the [...]

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