The December 11 Bike for Dad’ cycling event was personally sponsored and led by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn. The event attracted 99,999 people (registered) in Bangkok as well as thousands in 77 provinces (498,105 registered) and approximately 9,800 Thais in 66 cities in 52 countries worldwide, coordinated by a sophisticated operation and website. In total, 703,792 Thais registered for the event.
This column is a follow up to this column on how Thailand is at the Bottom of the Global Creativity Index’s ‘ethnic and religious tolerance’ indicator, on which Thailand ranked 127th out of 130 countries. The importance of creativity is that it is linked to growth, especially in cities, where a cosmopolitan mix lends itself to dynamism.
As the negotiations at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris are ongoing, the following column analyses the effects of various global climate change scenarios on Bangkok. The planet has already experienced a 1ºC increase since the industrial revolution and is expected to reach 5-6ºC warming in a business-as-usual situation (BAU) (which incorporates the 1,600 planned coal-fired power stations globally) by 2200 at the latest.
The Bangkok Post’s front page lead story from 24 November, 2015, highlighted a speech given the previous day by General Prem Tinsulanonda, Thailand’s elder statesman, President of the Privy Council, and most influential non-royal Thai.
Paternalism is highly identified with the Thai system of rule, to the extent that the Sukothai-era King Ramkhamhaeng, a playable character in the massively popular game Civilization 5, possesses the unique ability of "Father Governs Children", which increases the level of loyalty to the ruler. The concept of paternalism in Buddhism dates back to the Indian Emperor Ashoka the Great (r. c238-c.262 BCE).
Authoritarianism as a form of government has been analyzed in some depth by the political scientist Juan Linz, and the relevant Wikipedia page provides four qualities of such governments according to Linz: (1) "limited, not responsible, political pluralism"; that is, constraints on political institutions and groups (such as legislatures, political parties and interest groups),
This column in about why Thailand’s Left (and Center) must treat the coming constitution drafting as a one-shot opportunity. If it does not, we know exactly what will happen because of the last constitution drafting process. The last draft constitution contained nothing for organized labour, nothing for pluralism and Thailand’s minorities, nothing for decentralization – in effect, nothing for a better version of democracy than the 2007 constitution.
When the mainly military members of the Thai National Legislative Assembly voted on 6 September 2015 135:105 against the draft of the approximately 20th charter, there were very few commentators who spoke out against this decision. The proposed charter, after all, had been criticised by both major political parties, the Democrats and Pheu Thai, as well as by civil rights groups and the alternative media.
This column is not an attempt to draw parallels between General Prayut Chan-ocha and Adolf Hitler nor to compare Thailand at present with Germany post-1933; it is an attempt to understand the similarities in how the present Thai and the historical German dictatorial models began.
Much has been made of the National Council for Peace and Order’s attempts at political reconciliation and its voting down its own draft constitution in an act of political theater. In fact, everyone in ‘Amazing Thailand’ right now is engaged in a giant ‘democratic thought experiment’ – trapped in a giant, country-size military camp. As no one except General Prayut, the NCPO, and the National Legislative Assembly has any power in these ‘special circumstances’, the whole country has an ideal opportunity to collectively consider the nature of power and the absence of it – nautonomy.