Last Saturday marked the 85th anniversary of Thailand’s 1932 Democratic Revolution. Academics, politicians and activists enthusiastically commemorated the historical event. Meanwhile the authorities worked hard to clamp down on ‘sensitive issues’.
Despite relentless attempts by Thailand’s conservative elite to bury the memory of the People’s Party, which brought to an end the absolute monarchy, the legal legacy of the 1932 democratic revolution which gave birth to the first constitution of the nation and laid the foundation of the rule of law lives on.
How much room is there to learn about revolution in Thailand’s education system, a system facing mounting criticism for preaching obedience over creativity? Today, on the 85th anniversary of the 1932 Democratic Revolution, few students are likely to remember the arguable birth of democracy in Thailand.
Last week, liberal values prevailed in social media controversies, while the junta faced unprecedented resistance to its attempts to abolish universal healthcare and the fast-track construction of a Thai-Chinese high speed train. Thai people love a good drama, both on TV and in real life.
While the junta seeks reasons to remain in power, the public, politicians and even the anti-election protesters from 2014 are increasing their demands for elections. The National Council for Peace and Order is once again attempting to delay the country’s democratisation. Late last month, Prayut posed a four-question survey through his weekly televised address.
While taking credit internationally for the country’s healthcare scheme, the Thai junta has begun the process of amending the law which could put at risk the health of millions of Thais who rely on public health coverage.
In response to the junta’s four questions on elections, Prachatai invited activists and members of civil society to pose their own questions to Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). The fifth question is whether they will dare to answer. Last week, Prayuth posed the following four questions to viewers of his weekly televised address, seeking feedback on the issue of elections: 1. Will elections bring a ‘good governance’? 2.
After three years of the junta’s ‘returning happiness’ mission, the country’s poor and ethnic minorities are still suffering from the junta’s ‘return the forest’ policy while the junta opens up more land for investors and cuts environmental regulations for big business.
More than three years after the first bill in Thai history to recognise the existence of same-sex couples was introduced, the Thai junta still shows no sign of passing it. Meanwhile, many LGBT activists point out that although the bill might provide greater equality, it still discriminates against LGBT people.
Seven years ago, Bunthing Pansila, a volunteer rescue worker, was shot dead during the government crackdown on red shirt protesters.