For Section 44, Chaos on the House Floor

This past week saw parliamentary chaos over whether or not to establish a committee examining the now-defunct National Council for Peace & Order's usage of Section 44, which permitted the NCPO chief to issue absolute executive commands. The fiasco went briefly as follows: the government initially lost the vote, as six members of Prime Minister [...]

Thailand Should Abolish Military Conscription

Every year, unless they have been exempted through reserve training, Thai men at the age of 21 receive a letter in the mail instructing them to attend the military draft. It is a summons for a dreaded rite of passage: jub bai dum bai daeng, the red and black cards that they will pick through [...]

Three Takeaways From the Thanathorn Ruling

The ruling by the Constitutional Court on Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Juangroongrueangkit's media shareholding case was not unexpected. Indeed, it would have been a shock if the decision went another way. This article is not a commentary on the substance of the ruling; it has already happened, and there isn't much to be gained [...]

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 [...]

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