Thailand’s Disgraceful Human Trafficking Record

Thailand’s Disgraceful Human Trafficking RecordIn its annual 2014 report, the US State Department has declared the Thai government’s efforts to curb human trafficking highly ineffective, with trafficked undocumented migrants totaling as many as half a million people and held in virtual slavery. Of 188 countries, according to the report, Thailand tied for last place among 20 that are directly…

Visa Enforcement Tightens for Thailand’s Expats

Visa Enforcement Tightens for Thailand’s ExpatsSince the days of the Vietnam War, Bangkok, with its louche hotspots like Soi Cowboy and Patpong, has been a haven for lonely ex-GI’s, drunks and others looking for love in all the wrong places, as the song goes. But it appears that the days when a middle-aged male could wash up on Thailand’s shores…

Asean Lawmakers Blast Human Rights Commission

Asean Lawmakers Blast Human Rights CommissionA group of Southeast Asian lawmakers has issued a blistering statement saying the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ human rights commission has failed to bring any discernible improvement to or provide any protection for basic rights since its inception in 2009 and must be radically changed to strengthen its independence. The human rights commission…

The Strange Tale of Thailand’s Last Executioner

The Strange Tale of Thailand’s Last ExecutionerIt remains to be seen whether “The Last Executioner” wins a prize at the Shanghai International Film Festival where it was premiered on June 15, but this Thai-language, English-subtitled production is surely one of the more unusual movies to hit Asian screens this year. It was inspired by real events and the life of Chavoret…

Welcome to the Thai junta! We’ve got fun and games

Welcome to the Thai junta! We’ve got fun and gamesDear “The West” You’ll have to forgive me if I have been somewhat lax in getting back to you regarding the events of May 22. On that day, as you’ll recall, a vast empire of venality and corruption, the likes of which you won’t be able to comprehend without regular access to HBO programming, was…

Escalating the Mekong War on Drugs

Escalating the Mekong War on DrugsThe seizure yesterday of more than a million methamphetamine tables worth more than Bt200 million (US$6.2 million) being smuggled from Myanmar into Thailand is the latest episode in an intensifying war against drugs by six countries along the Mekong River Basin. The meth pills were being transported via the Ruak River bordering Thailand and Myanmar…

Surveying the Wreckage of Thailand’s Monarchy

Surveying the Wreckage of Thailand’s MonarchyThe past week has been a great one for determined republicans, but it has been sorrowful for those, like this writer, who believe that monarchies still have a useful role to play in modern states. Republicans may be few in number in Thailand – at least in public – but their numbers must surely grow…

It May Take a Village After All

It May Take a Village After AllOne of the greatest problems facing today's rural societies across the globe is finding culturally sustainable activities that provide both material and social well-being for the individuals and families in them. Traditional skills are eroding and the logistical supply chains that can propel rural products to international market places are inadequate. Access to opportunity within…

Buddhist Dharma: Better Than a Therapist?

Buddhist Dharma: Better Than a Therapist?Over the New Year break, hundreds of thousands of Thais, mainly women, take time to attend prayer and meditation retreats in Buddhist temples across the country. Prayer halls descend into anticipatory silence, waiting for monks to take their places in front of congregations, an air of serenity occasionally interrupted by the ring of a mobile…

Monkhood for Thai Women: Sexism’s Religious Barrier

Monkhood for Thai Women: Sexism’s Religious BarrierThailand’s gender dynamics have shifted dramatically over the past few decades to where women fulfill many of the major roles in society. The majority of university enrollees are women, the breadwinners in many families are women, corporate executives and civil servants are women, the majority of new entrepreneurial start-ups are undertaken by women, and even…
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