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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]