Defining ‘Thai-Style Democracy’

Our country cannot afford any more conflicts. We certainly need to have a democracy. But it must be a Thai-niyom democracy- that is, a Thai-style democracy. -Prayut Chan-o-cha, January 2018 What exactly is the ‘Thai-style democracy’ that prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha talks about? Is it like socialism with Chinese characteristics, but applied to democracy in a Thai […]

For Prayut, Mahathir Not a Warning Sign

Southeast Asia has never been a beacon of democracy, but its democratic backsliding has been more than apparent in the past few years. Thailand underwent a military coup in 2014; the coup’s four year anniversary is coming up shortly. Philippines is now under the rule of strongman Rodrigo Duterte, who seems to have scant respect […]

Time for the Curtain Call

Valentine’s Day is typically a time for romance between lovers, but the prime minister had different ideas. Prayut chose to release a new pop single, ‘Diamond Heart’, a song ostensibly about how two lovers must remain steadfast together despite the challenges they face. “Make your heart a real diamond, unrelenting/Side by side today together, obstacles […]

Reflections on Reconciliation

Late last year, rumours began bubbling in the Thai media that the two biggest political parties, the Pheu Thai party and the Democratic party, were weighing an alliance in the next election. Chaturon Chaisaeng, a former minister under Yingluck Shinawatra, said, “If the two parties can’t join hands, it cannot form a government”. This idea […]

What Next for Thailand?

Millions watched as the Great Victory chariot, carrying the royal urn of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was pulled through the streets of Bangkok towards the glittering royal crematorium. Troops marched in perfect unison to the tune of the late king’s musical compositions, along with members of the royal family and government. Hundreds of thousands of mourners […]

Why Yingluck Is Wrong on the Rice Pledging Policy

On August 1, 2017, former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra delivered a tearful closing statement to the Thai Supreme Court. The case in question: negligence and corruption in the Yingluck administration’s flagship policy, the rice pledging scheme. Yingluck declared that the policy was “honest and correct” and pled that the court dismiss the case. I think […]