Time to Listen to Thailand Beyond Twitter

My piece for Thai Enquirer: “Nothing is so firmly believed,” the skeptic Michel de Montaigne once wrote, “as that which we least know.”  A fitting corollary to be added could be that nothing is so confidently tweeted as that which we least understand. It is the nature of social media that we create our own [...]

Delayed Local Elections Expose Failure in Decentralization

My piece for Thai Enquirer: Last week, the voters of Kaohsiung, Taiwan voted to throw out their mayor. The disgraced politician, Han Kuo-yu, had just earlier this year been on the presidential ballot. Now he has the dubious honour of being the first local official to be recalled in Taiwan history.  Given the depth of [...]

Gripped by Infighting

“Politicians” as a group tend to be relatively uncontroversial to bash. We may perhaps like individual politicians, and we support certain political parties. Venal, self-interested, and in Thailand’s case, bad people: a positive label is seldom attached when discussing the political class as a whole Of course, the use of such labels, entirely lacking in [...]

Joe Biden’s New Cold War?

My piece for Thai Enquirer: East Asia had for decades depended on both the generosity and might of successive American presidents. The United States has served as the key offshore balancer in East Asia, maintaining a stable power structure that created an environment of peace and prosperity. The occupation of the American throne by an [...]

The View From Bangkok: Black Lives Matter

Originally published in Thai Enquirer — click here. When I arrived to study in the United States, I did not know much about race relations.  Part of it is due to the environment in which I grew up. While at school I learned about the horrors of racism, it was not something I internalized. Watching [...]

What’s Behind Thailand’s Coronavirus Success?

Just a brief Axios-style discussion today. I wanted to opine, but certainly not at any considerable length given that I am not an epidemiologist and have no expertise in public health, about what is behind Thailand's coronavirus success. Thailand has undeniably so far been one of the more successful nations in the world at combating [...]

The Utopian Coup

My new piece for Thai Enquirer, reflecting on the 2014 military coup on its sixth anniversary: On the ground, those who did support the coup had no doubt about its moral righteousness. An idealist can dream for democracy; those less starry-eyed realize the country is not ready. Dictatorship, as ugly as it may sound, could [...]

The Positive Case for Joe Biden

"Almost no one I came across said they were going to vote because someone, anyone, but especially Joe Biden, had made their heart sing," said Alex Wagner in The Atlantic. Joe Biden's candidacy, she argued, is less about Joe Biden the person and more about the idea of Joe Biden. What the former vice president [...]

Five Things to Watch for in Post-Lockdown Politics

My analysis for Thai Enquirer: In late February and early March, Thailand looked like it had arrived at a political turning point. A no-confidence debate aimed at multiple cabinet ministers had just failed. A wave of student demonstrations had erupted across the country, sparked by anger at the dissolution of the Future Forward Party on [...]

Thailand Locked Down Successfully. Now Comes the Hard Part.

Glyn Morgan, a professor at Syracuse University, recently categorized the different strategies that states have been pursuing to respond to the coronavirus. One is what he terms the “Darwinian state”: the state favors limited social distancing and instead largely protects the economy, albeit at immense human cost to those most vulnerable to the virus. The [...]

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