12 Nov 2019
On Nov 5 another climate change report came out. Yawn. But this one made the news. Not because of the information it contained. This was just a distillation of countless earlier papers, many of them compilations of yet more reports. But there were 2 newsworthy features in this report.
28 Oct 2019
The sorry situation facing the Kurds in northeastern Syria needs a radical re-framing. So far the political situation in the region has been reported within the framework of simple-minded dichotomies between good hats and bad hats and Trump-friendly nostrums like ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’.
18 Oct 2019
Harrison George unpacks the talk/rant delivered by Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong on 11 October 2019.
3 Oct 2019
The future of Amnesty International Thailand has been thrown into doubt after the government ordered a member of its Executive Board to be replaced with a Deputy Minister.
16 Sep 2019
This week in Alien Thoughts, Harrison George imagines what a government press release on the reported conviction and incarceration of Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Thamanat Prompow in 1993-1997 in Australia and the allegations that he falsified his education might be like.
2 Sep 2019
The bride was radiant in white; the groom was in black. The courtship had been respectful and circumspect, yet passionate and enchanting. The families had carefully estimated the socioeconomic standing of the prospective in-laws and declared themselves satisfied. A pre-nuptial agreement had been successfully negotiated and the list of wedding gifts had been well subscribed.
19 Aug 2019
‘Where learned you that oath, fool?’ (William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 1 Scene 2)
5 Aug 2019
Dear Mr Natthaporn Sir, No one can misunderestimate the tremendous service you have rendered to the nation by exposing the link between the Future Forward Party and the insidious subversive international secret society known as the Illuminati and by petitioning the Constitutional Court to have the party dissolved on these grounds.
20 Jul 2019
The recent unexpected death of former Prime Minister Gen Prem Tinsulanonda – What? Yes I know he was 98 but I would have put folding money on him reaching his century, wouldn’t you? As I was saying, the death of Gen Prem has had us reviewing the 1980s when he presided over a series of fractious coalitions in a system of semi-democracy or semi-dictatorship, take your pick.
16 Apr 2019
We’re going to have to find something else. You mean sedition won’t be enough? But he’s admitted giving that chappy a ride home and he’s now in his party, thick as thieves. Cut and dried for a military court, surely. Well, yes, they may make that stretch to aiding and abetting in escaping arrest. But even then it’s not going to look good in court when they show that the NCPO rep who persuaded the students to leave the police station at the time is the same officer who is now bringing charges of evading arrest.
2 Apr 2019
Suppose you are running an elitist authoritarian political system with one of the highest levels of economic inequality in the world. You’ve managed to spin out your democracy-free administration for almost five years – longer than any democratically-elected government has ever lasted. But the pressure is mounting to acquire at least the appearance of democratic rule. Besides, you are getting a bit irritated at being called ‘the last military dictatorship in the world’. So what can you do?
22 Feb 2019
We all have a favourite mistranslation. Personally, I have always cherished ‘poitrine de culottes’ as an endearingly ingenuous rendition in French of ‘chest of drawers’. But mistranslations can have more serious consequences. In 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, then President of Iran, said that Israel ‘must be wiped off the map’. Cue a chorus of condemnation from all corners.