The new President of the United States believes that ‘torture works.’ Or rather, with his unremitting bombast, ‘absolutely torture works.’ He bases this not on any empirical evidence (which all points the other way) but on the same kind of fact-free ugly-gut faux-hard-man reaction that has led him to claim that climate change is a Chinese hoax, that his election victory would have been more impressive if millions had not voted illegally, and that his inauguration attracted the biggest audience ever. Period. Ever.
The venue: The meeting room of the Thailand 4.0 Policy and Planning Division, Scenarios Section.
The seminal Imagined Communities by Benedict Anderson is one of those works which joins up dots you had never before thought were even on the same page. And hence the insights. It appears on graduate reading lists for all manner of degrees. But it is a dense text. And should a successful product of the Thai education system, a student accepted for a graduate programme overseas, be asked to read it, the result is unlikely to be satisfactory. Thai students don’t do dense texts.
The revised Computer Crime Act has introduced the novel offence of ‘distorted information’. Once the Act comes into force, any information which is transmitted online, like these articles, and which is deliberately false, can serve as the basis for a criminal prosecution.
Years and years ago, when I was still trying to figure out who really ruled the world (I now know – it’s misogynistic, racist, bigoted braggarts with strange hair and an even stranger attitude to the truth), an unusual thing happened in Thailand. The civilian government of the day suddenly found a sliver of spine and tried to tell the military that their lethal-toys-for-the-feral-boys budget might not be as excessive as they wished. Predictable outrage from personages with starch-pressed uniforms and ditto minds.
I assume we’ve all seen the video clip where Acharanat Ariyaritwikol drags an unresisting Kittisak Singto across Charoen Krung by the lapels, acting purely out of self-defence of course. He then punches him in the face 3 times because he thought he had a gun or a knife (a manoeuvre that is guaranteed to protect the puncher from being shot or knifed by the punchee). And finally he screams at him to kowtow to the broken tail light on his treasured Mini Countryman (which indeed cost a treasure) (And before we go any further, let me note the confusing names in this case.
Perhaps I should take the opportunity of these troubled times to clear my conscience. It was the coronation of the person who has taken over the mantle of the longest-reigning monarch in the world. I was a pre-schooler still trying to figure out how the world worked. One thing that I couldn’t figure out was why, if I wasn’t old enough for real school, I still had to go to Sunday school. Only much later in life did I learn the delights of the Sunday afternoon naps that my father enjoyed while I was sent to The Schoolroom.
A first-year Kasetsart University student was put in a coma after a near-drowning in a pond at the university’s Sri Racha campus. The university authorities strenuously denied claims on social media that this was part of a freshman hazing activity that went wrong. Anonymous posts (from, it must be said, suspiciously distant places) say that the freshman was ordered or challenged by senior students to go into the pond to wash himself after being muddied in other hazing activities.
You have nothing to lose but your chains! Unless you vote to hang on to them of course, which is what the good citizens of Thailand seem to have done. Let’s move backwards through the process to see where it all went wrong.
Ah, Ebbw Vale! That evocative name that conjures up the once biggest steelworks in Europe, the socialist ghosts of Aneurin Bevan and Michael Foot, and the gross affront to common sense that is Welsh spelling. Then the steel industry collapsed and the coal mines were savaged by Thatcher’s anti-unionism. By the beginning of this century Ebbw Vale’s people suffered chronic unemployment and its land suffered the toxic legacy of its industrial heyday.