Opinion: Remembrance of an Activist Thai Poet

Opinion: Remembrance of an Activist Thai PoetIt is nearly one year since Kamol Duangphasuk, widely known among Thailand’s Red Shirt activists as “Mainueng Kor Kunthee,” was assassinated by an unidentified gunman who approached his car and shot at him five times in a restaurant parking lot in northern Bangkok. The gunman escaped on a motorcycle. Mainueng, whose pen name (ไม้หนึ่ง) means…

Rodney Tasker, 1945-2015

Rodney Tasker, 1945-2015Rodney Tasker’s name may now mean little to the current generation of journalists and politicians in Asia. But for 25 years from the mid-1970s, Tasker, chief correspondent of the now-defunct Hong Kong-based Far Eastern Economic Review, was well-known to leaders and media throughout Southeast Asia. Tasker, who died on March 24 after a long illness, was…

Thailand Ramps Up Cyber Surveillance

Thailand Ramps Up Cyber SurveillanceThailand, which already has one of the most draconian computer crimes acts in the world, is putting together a legislative package of eight measures that would restrict even more the use of the Internet on the part of Thai citizens, enable wider surveillance, and raise the penalties against offenders. While the new laws are ostensibly…

Thailand’s Coup Leader Advises the Tourist Trade

Thailand’s Coup Leader Advises the Tourist TradeHaving used the military to enforce his Twelve Values on the Thai population since a May coup, self-appointed Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha would now like tourists to also get with his program. Thus, at Prayuth’s suggestion, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has launched the “2015 Discover Thainess” campaign, which incorporates the  general’s 12 national core values, which he has…

Humor: Journalists’ Rules For Thailand’s New Year

Humor: Journalists’ Rules For Thailand’s New YearThis time last year, Thailand was in such a state of tumult that people didn’t even bother wishing each other a Happy New Year because they knew better than to hope for such an outcome.  Thais walked around slope-shouldered, shrugged and grunted – the joy snuffed out of their once beaming countenances by money politics…

Thailand’s Sex Trafficking Figures Suspect?

Thailand’s Sex Trafficking Figures Suspect?Few issues in Thailand are as emotive as sex trafficking, which activists say is a growing problem despite the millions of dollars spent on tackling it each year. At least 80,000 women and girls are supposedly trafficked into Thailand’s sex industry annually, some claim, with children as young as eight locked up in brothels and…

Thai Prince Said to Trigger Police Purge

Thai Prince Said to Trigger Police PurgeA figurative earthquake passed through the notoriously corrupt Thai police this week with the arrests of some of the force’s top officials, including Pongpat Chayaphan, the head of the Central Investigation Bureau, Thailand’s FBI. Seven of Pongpat’s colleagues were arrested with him on charges of soliciting bribes for job appointments, allowing illegal gaming and oil…

Humor: Thai Junta’s Jobs for Dissidents Abroad

Humor: Thai Junta’s Jobs for Dissidents AbroadSince Thailand’s Democratic Revitalization and Happiness Restoration Under Traditional Thai Principles Program kicked off in May, an increasing number of confused Thais have chosen to extend their stays abroad. Many were alarmed when their names appeared on the nation’s television screens along with an invitation to attend information sessions initiated by our leader, General Prayuth…

Thailand’s Enduringly Crooked Police

Thailand’s Enduringly Crooked PoliceIt is a ritual that has gone on for decades.  At the beginning of each month, when the average brown-shirted Thai cop’s household bills come due, long lines of motorcyclists form at freeway underpasses in Bangkok while their riders endure shakedowns for real or imagined traffic violations. While there are hugely controversial cases involving the…

Holiday Killing 101: Checklist for Thai Authorities

Holiday Killing 101: Checklist for Thai AuthoritiesMy fellow Thais, it is now more than two weeks since horror once again struck the pristine shores of this paradise we call home, and no culprits have been found – certainly no Thais involved -- as the reports grow faint.  I am, of course, referring to the debasement of this country’s reputation in the…
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