2 Oct 2013
IS "KNOWING BUDDHA" - a group of Thai Buddhists who are relentlessly tackling what they see as a disrespectful act against the image of Buddha - the new face of Thai Buddhism? The year-old group has been battling manufacturers of all sorts of products around the world that exploit the image of the Buddha to make money.
23 Sep 2013
Chaiwat Limprasertying, 33, knew he was gay when he was 12 years old, when he found himself different from others. But he is used to being different. He was born deaf. He couldn’t tell anybody about being gay at that time. “It was like being doubly disabled, and I was embarrassed to tell others about my gender identity.”
22 Sep 2013
Following from his short story, “Incident on the Fourth Floor,” the unnerving story of a younger brother who faces charges of lèse majesté under Article 112 brought by his older brother, Noom Rednon wrote a novelette which provided the long back story to the day the younger brother was placed behind bars.
18 Sep 2013
AT a street corner in Kamayut Township, Yangon, a young man does what would be seen as freakish in his country just three or four years ago – he lowers his head, fixes his eyes on his smart phone, swipes the screen and smiles at it.
14 Sep 2013
The university uniform drama has unfolded a new ugly reality in Thai society. Recently, a vocal Thammasat student, under her chic nickname Aum Neko, has daringly defied a traditional practice of student uniform wearing within the walls of a prestigious university. As it is understood, there is no fixed rule on the necessity of wearing university uniform.
9 Sep 2013
RANGOON, Burma – Five years ago, Nay Phone Latt tried to kill time by reading, doing yoga, and writing letters, short stories, and poems. But on a recent gloomy Monday morning, the blogger could hardly answer a phone call as he rushed about before he took a bus to Burma’s administrative capital to help change the law that sent him to prison.
5 Sep 2013
SINGAPORE – Twenty-two-year-old Wendy (not her real name), on her first day as a Hospitality Intern in a budget tourist hostel in Chinatown in Singapore, speaks surprisingly frankly on a seemingly taboo subject, much to this writer’s relief. Clad in a colorful traditional gown, the native Singaporean is taking a break from washing dishes and chatting with guests to talk about how free people and media in her country are to criticize the government – a subject which senior Singapore-based journalists were extremely reluctant to discuss with the writer.
3 Sep 2013
RANGOON—Two years ago, Freddy Lynn was spending most of his time at a public access centre in downtown Myitkyina in Kachin State. There he was introduced to a world that he did not learn in his university or heard about in his community that had been slowed down by more than six decades of armed conflict.
28 Aug 2013
It is true that most of the political opposition and many others across the country are now unsympathetic to the idea of bringing Mr Blair to Thailand. Yet his premiership saw a historic accomplishment in ending over thirty years of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, and a near equivalent to the challenge of the Thai reconciliation process in attempting to heal profound societal divisions. Although an immediate significant breakthrough seems unlikely, the approach that Mr Blair brings to the table may well prove instructive.
23 Aug 2013
On 19 August 2013, New Mandala published an article titled “The role of public interest litigation in the quest for democracy in Malaysia.” You are now invited to read this one, slightly different title, and significant differences between countries and cultures vis-à-vis Malaysia.
14 Aug 2013
Next week, the witness hearings in the case of Yutthapoom (last name withheld) will begin in the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road in Bangkok. Yutthapoom was accused of violating Article 112 while watching television and writing an insulting message on a CD. What makes his case different from many others that have passed through the courts in the years since the 2006 coup is that the alleged criminal acts took place in the private space of his home. The person who filed the complaint against Yutthapoom was his older brother.
7 Aug 2013
It is summer in Japan. All the leaves are bright green, offering comfortable shade on a hot day. In Kyoto, an ancient capital of Japan and where I have been residing since late March last year, tourists are flooding the city. Kyoto has the second largest number of world heritage sites after Rome. Hundred of temples hide themselves deep in the tranquil mountains. Others line busy streets cheek by jowl with state-of-the-art buildings and shopping centres.