Opinion

22 Sep 2017
On May 22, 2014 the Thai military, led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha, staged a coup d’état to end several months of political and civil chaos in Thailand. At its very basic level, the chaos was caused by an on-going conflict between the so-called ‘red-shirts’, followers of the government of Yingluck Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai party and comprising the rural voters forming a majority of the electorate, and the ‘yellow-shirts’, an alliance between the military, the Thai elite, and the middle-class Democrat party of Abhisit Vejjajiva with a strong following in Bangkok.
19 Sep 2017
Late last month, Private Noppadol Worakitpan died from cardiovascular failure soon after returning home. Allegedly, two other privates accompanying him informed his family he had been physically punished the day before, resulting in police investigations into the ninth such death within a decade. In addition to holding the perpetrators accountable for these crimes, it is time that Thailand replaced mass conscription with a national service programme to offer citizens a choice.
4 Sep 2017
My name is Atipong Pathanasethpong and I am the Spokesperson for the Project for a Social Democracy. You may have heard of my colleague at the Project for a Social Democracy, John Draper, the PhD student in Public Affairs Management at Khon Kaen University in Northeast Thailand who just over week ago offered to organize a mass surrender to the Thai authorities for attending the International Conference on Thai Studies in Chiang Mai, in solidarity with five academics and students charged with illegal political assembly there.
15 Aug 2017
On 19 July, 2017, Dr. Atipong ‘Tao’ Pathanasethpong, Spokesperson of the Project for a Social Democracy (PSD), and John ‘Special Circumstances’ Draper, member of the PSD Working Group, visited Mr. Khornchanok ‘Pob’ Saenprasert, Director of the Legal Centre for Human Rights in Khon Kaen and a representative of the Commoners’ Party of Thailand, and Mr. Tong, Co-ordinator of the Neo-Isan Movement, at the Legal Centre for Human Rights. The dialogue focused on the political future of Thailand.
3 Aug 2017
With a secret military court again denying bail last week to Jatuphat Boonpattararaksa, a law student from Khon Kaen University in Northeast Thailand, the regime is adopting show trials targeting university students, human rights activists, and academics. In effect, it is engaging in cyberwarfare against its own people, cementing a surveillance state. In addition, the military state mentality presents a clear and present threat to Thailand’s overseas image and economy.
2 Aug 2017
Tools of the state. Political opportunists. Foes of democracy. These are all rather harsh descriptions of NGOs. But for Pinkaew Laungaramsri from Chiang Mai University’s Faculty of Social Science, they are truly the roles many NGOs have played in recent Thai political history.
18 Jul 2017
The US State Department recently issued its 2017 edition of the Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report). As might be expected, China, with over three million people living in modern slavery, has once again been downgraded to Tier 3 (countries whose governments do not fully comply with minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so), a ranking it held for a single year in 2013.  However, one must ask why China was upgraded from Tier 3 in 2014, and why the downgrade now, for this is by no means clear from the reports for the two years.
12 Jul 2017
The easiest Buddhist critical-thinking skill-set to recollect is found in the Visuddhimagga, a fifth-century treatise which borrows from the Abhidhamma. This expresses a coherent framework and structurally examines sila (moral regulations), samadhi (calming meditation) and panna (wisdom), through a fourfold-scheme to determine the characteristics, function, manifestation and proximate cause of the threefold-training.
11 Jul 2017
Far from costing governments’ and companies’ money to meet the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a major report by the Business and Sustainable Development Commission (BSDC), an alliance of business leaders, economists, trade unionists and civil society actors, details how businesses and governments can actually benefit. Asian businesses stand to obtain five trillion dollars in business opportunities from countries meeting the new ‘Global Goals’.
6 Jul 2017
In a televised address on 17 June 2017, General Prayut Chan-o-cha released ‘50 thoughts’. The junta leader took great pains to emphasize that the ‘thoughts’ were not questions, and made it clear, in fact, that he does not necessarily want answers — he apparently simply wants the people to hear and to approve the junta’s principles and logic.
30 Jun 2017
I've received the official invitation letter from the United States Embassy of Thailand 2 weeks ago. It was sent to the faculty of Chulalongkorn university. I learned from the letter that I'm invited to attend the 241 years of Independence Day celebration which will be held on 29th of June, at InterContinental hotel, Bangkok: As an ordinary student, of course, I’m genuinely delighted for such an opportunity.   However, being invited to this event also made me question something. Why am I invited to this event? I'm not different from any other student.
24 Jun 2017
Seminal historian Thongchai Winichakul argues that Thailand’s many constitutions have progressively torn power from the people to be placed back in the hands of the King —  a process seen most clearly in the latest charter.

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