17 Dec 2014
Weeks of rumour and speculation were partly confirmed this week with an announcement by the Foundation for Community Educational Media, the organization which produces Prachatai, which acknowledges the resignation of Harrison George from his position as columnist. All titles and honours attached to this position have also been withdrawn, such as ‘Advisor on Satire’, ‘Sarcastic Sod’ and ‘Perpetrator of Impenetrable Muddled Prose’ (the much sought-after PIMP decoration.)
10 Dec 2014
I am a responsible consumer. When I get to the checkout, I flourish my cloth shopping bags. And the first time out in a new shop you can expect to be met with bemusement. Many will try to ignore the existence of the bags and start loading your purchases into the regular plastic. So you ask them not to do that and draw their attention to the cloth bags. One 7-Eleven employee immediately saw the light and pulled out another plastic bag into which he stuffed my cloth bags. At no extra charge, I hasten to add.
3 Dec 2014
Prime Minister and junta chief Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha returned from an official visit to Vietnam in his normal relaxed mood and engaged in his regular jovial banter with the media. They had been hearing from ministers and such that the elections won’t be happening next year as expected and wanted to hear the truth from the head honcho himself. ‘What do you want from me?’ the General expostulated. ‘I have just returned from meetings, exhausted and sleepless. Why don’t you ask whether I am tired instead of going on about the election and constitution?’
26 Nov 2014
For all its faults, Wikipedia has been a godsend to the Thai education system. Think of the thousands and thousands of term papers and theses that have benefitted from a judicious cut-and-paste job, sometimes on a massive scale, sometimes even with proper attribution. In this way, Wikipedia has helped to secure a ready supply of suitably trained academics to serve the plagiarism-friendly educational institutions of the country.
20 Nov 2014
This government is beginning to get up my nose. Why can’t they stick to what they do best? Like barging into TV stations and telling them what they can and cannot show. And then saying they don’t do censorship. Or resurrecting a xenophobic rewrite of the Foreign Business Act that will stop these filthy foreigners from controlling their own investments. And then buggering off to international meetings and telling foreigners that we just love your filthy money so please keep investing here.
29 Oct 2014
The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security has drafted a Gender Equality Bill, to be sent for consideration by the blatantly gender-unequal Cabinet and then for enactment by the similarly gender-biased National Legislative Assembly. Its proponents are touting its progressive characteristics. For the first time, it mentions a gender other than male and female. Whoopee.
21 Oct 2014
The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace is a bit of military flummery that nominally provides security for the monarch but in reality keeps the tourist dollars flowing. The sight of humans imitating automatons in ridiculous hats attracts the gawping attention of those in need of regular trivial mental stimulation. At 6 pm every evening a similar change-over occurs in police stations around the country. This attracts no attention at all and the mechanics of it are unknown to the general public. But perhaps they should be.
15 Oct 2014
Perhaps this is what comes of appointing an Air Chief Marshal as Minister of Transport. If the General formerly known as Prayuth Chan-ocha had chosen an Admiral, I don’t think the idea of raising the three oldest bridges over the Chao Phraya would ever have seen the light of day.
7 Oct 2014
A recent comment on the New Mandala blog said of the Pheu Thai rice-pledging scheme: ‘It stripped wealth out of Thailand to about 800 billion baht, on a criminally stupid rice scheme and maybe another similar amount to the Thaksin and cronies.’ OK, you have to excuse the ‘and cronies’ stuff. The poor dears who make comments of this ilk seem obligated to use such flaming language. I am beginning to suspect they have a programme on their computers that waves red flags if they fail to include ‘crony’ or ‘clone’ or ‘fugitive from justice’ or the like.
1 Oct 2014
The study tour by Election Commission officials to observe the recent Scottish referendum on independence has been widely criticized. Some have noted that the Election Commission has not shown itself to be overly keen on organizing elections in this country, so why the interest in other countries?
15 Sep 2014
Educational reform is going to be tricky. I mean, where to start? The Office of the Vocational Education Commission or OVEC (sibling to Basic Ed or OBEC and Higher Ed or OHEC) (stop giggling there; if they hadn’t called it that it would be Further Ed) (OK you may laugh now) has already had to start its reform by recalling its Basic Mathematics textbooks. Or more accurately the covers.
6 Aug 2014
When the summons was announced for the leaders of the anti-Israeli rally to report to the Thai Army Club, most observers assumed that it was the normal ‘we’ll have none of this marching about no matter what noble cause you say it’s in aid of’ message. And the representatives of the Al Quds International Council of Thailand emerged from their enforced conversation and reported telling the military that the protest was nothing to do with Thai politics. Oh yeah?