Asia in 2016: Thailand

Asia in 2016: ThailandThailand, under military rule since 2014, made little progress towards democracy during 2016. In August, a clear majority of voters – more than 60 percent supported a military-backed draft constitution in a national referendum. Turnout was estimated at no more than 55 percent, although authorities did not issue an official figure. An army-appointed committee wrote…

Thailand Faces Uncertain Future Under Erratic Pretender

Thailand Faces Uncertain Future Under Erratic PretenderWith the Oct. 13 death of Thailand’s 88-year-old monarch Bhumibol Adulyadej, the country enters unknown territory, with his heir, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, widely recognized as an erratic and out of control womanizer. And given the growing use of social media, the Thai public largely knows the sordid tales despite the overwhelming efforts of the…

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, 1927-2016

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, 1927-2016Former Far Eastern Economic Review Correspondent Paul Handley, the author of "The King Never Smiles," by far the most authoritative book ever written on the Thai monarch, wrote this assessment of his reign exclusively for Asia Sentinel Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died on Oct. 13 at 88, was Asia's most venerable head of state…

A Sensible Answer to Southeast Asia’s Drug Problems

A Sensible Answer to Southeast Asia’s Drug ProblemsIn February of 2003, then-Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra launched a bloody “war on drugs” that lasted for three months and resulted in police killings of 2,800 suspects, only half of whom were later found to have anything to do with drugs. The rest may simply have been in the wrong place at the wrong…

Two Veterans, Three Countries, Much Damage

Two Veterans, Three Countries, Much DamageMay 31 is Memorial Day in the US, something that as a veteran I still think of as a time for mattresses and auto sales. But there are other veterans besides those in the US who are equally as battle-scarred.  I have met a couple – Vietnam War veterans from China and Thailand.  One was…

Thai New Year Awash in Groping and Road Deaths

Thai New Year Awash in Groping and Road DeathsOn the first day of Songkran this year, Thailand’s three-day lunar new year celebration and festival, 52 people died in car crashes and another 421 were hurt in nearly 400 road accidents as a combination of speeding and drunk driving took its toll. Even without Songkran, Thailand has the world’s second-highest death toll per million…

Thailand’s Junta Tightens the Screws on Shinawatra Country

Thailand’s Junta Tightens the Screws on Shinawatra CountryA year and a half after Thailand’s junta seized power, the so-called Isaan region – the  northeast that formed the power base of the Shinawatra clan – has seen rights curtailed, land stolen and the military aiding the powerful in stealing resources, according to an explosive new report by Thai Lawyers for Human Rights. “High-profile…

‘Affluenza’ in Thailand

‘Affluenza’ in Thailand Early in the morning of Sept. 3, 2012, a 27-year-old driver named Voravut Yuwitthaya drove his speeding US$1 million Ferrari FF into the motorcycle of a Thai traffic policeman named Wichien Klinprasert, killing him instantly. Voravut dragged the dead policeman for more than 100 feet before he fled for his family’s mansion to hide out.…

Christian Asylum Seekers in Thailand Face Persecution

Christian Asylum Seekers in Thailand Face PersecutionIn the face of relentless violence, discrimination, harassment and persecution, Pakistani Christians are migrating from their birthplace to an uncertain world for safety and security, with thousands of them washing up in Thailand where they face situation that is hardly any more secure. Christians make up Pakistan’s largest religious minority, with the total estimated at…

Silencing by means of “superstition”

Silencing by means of “superstition”The most interesting – and yet most disturbing – thing about the latest Thai craze for Kuman Thong, or “Angel Dolls”, is not the phenomenon itself. After all, it is not a novelty of the past month, the past year, the past decade, or even the past century. Rather, it is the harsh criticism the…
Page 1 of 512345