A Look Back at the Trump Presidency and Thailand

My piece for Thai Enquirer: Many Thais would have been asleep when the election results in Pennsylvania were finally called at nearly midnight, Bangkok time. Some of those who were awake greeted the news that former vice president Joe Biden had won the state, and with it the American presidency, with relief. President Donald Trump …

The War on Salim

My piece for Thai Enquirer: On August 24th, the Manager newspaper published a political cartoon depicting Mao Zedong and Thanathorn Juangroongureangkit side by side. In front of Mao are the red guards, holding Little Red Books; in front of Thanathorn are today’s anti-government protestors, three fingers in the air. It was not an accurate depiction. Today’s protestors …

A Pragmatic Look at Constitutional Reform

My article for Thai Enquirer: “We’ve seized Government House. We’ve seized airports. That couldn’t accomplish anything. What will the current protests do?” This was a tweet from a conservative account.  This netizen doesn’t give the protestors enough credit. Already, political parties, parliament and government are moving to respond to the new and fast-changing situation. But …

The Decline of the Pheu Thai Party

My piece for Thai Enquirer: “With respect, I must say that if the government is unable to answer my aforementioned questions, I will not be able to support this budget.”  A threat issued by no lesser a figure than the leader of the opposition to the prime minister during the budget debate, but a threat …

The Hubris of Palang Pracharath

My piece for Thai Enquirer: “Never regret thy fall, O Icarus of the fearless flight. For the greatest tragedy of them all, is never to feel the burning light.”  Words penned, supposedly, by Oscar Wilde, and ones that Thailand’s ruling party seems committed to heeding.  Palang Pracharath is currently a party to envy. Helped by …

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 …

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 …

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 …