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Chotisak, a coordinator of the September 19 Network Against the Coup, told The Nation yesterday that he and his companion had had to call the police in order to end the feud after someone in the audience shouted at them and a slight physical skirmish took place.

Chotisak, 26, and his 23-year-old friend Chitma Penphak filed charges of physical assault and defamation at Pathumwan Police Station against the alleged attacker.

The alleged assailant, 40-year-old Bang Rak resident Nawamin Wittayakul, in turn yesterday threatened to counter-sue on a lese-majeste charge.

Chotisak said some 20 or so fellow movie-goers had also shouted abuse at them and some thrown water bottles before the police arrived to calm things down.

The incident took place at a city-centre cinema at 7pm, where the two were about to watch a Hollywood film. Theatre staff at first tried to end the feud but apparently failed.

"I was shocked. I didn't think it would be this violent," Chotisak told The Nation. "They were emotionally violent. It's barbaric for this to take place in this day and age."

Chotisak insisted that he had rarely stood up for the Royal anthem in the past, but this was the first time he had got into a scuffle. "I usually don't stand up. Some people have thrown things at me once or twice."

He said the attacker who threw popcorn at them had accused them of being "unpatriotic" and disloyal to the monarchy. The man also allegedly called them "pathetic" and questioned if they were real Thai citizens.


Relevant Discussions: 

Foreigners and tourists beware of nationalism 

Published on Sep 20, 2007 

Seventy-year-old retired general, Pricha Rojanasen, chairman of the Committee on Religion, Art and Culture, proposed a draft to make it compulsory for everyone to stop his or her activity and pay respect to the national anthem, heard every evening on street loudspeakers. The proposal also applied to the raising of the national flag to the top of a flagpole.

Admitting there was no penalty mentioned in the draft, he welcomed suggestions to enforce his proposal. He argued that a one-minute pause would not cause much inconvenience to anyone.

Well, my suggestion is that his idea is extremely absurd. Nationalism and patriotism are not the same. Deposed prime minister Thaksin got himself in trouble when he confused the two. Even if a national flag is being raised on a flagpole, any sane passer-by would not stop unless within the perimeter in which the flagpole is supposed to be respected.

If Pricha's nationalistic draft is passed, aeroplanes might be required not to fly over any flagpole in the kingdom, if not be forced to stay put in mid-air until the national anthem is over.

Chamnong Watanagase 


National anthems can sometimes be a national embarrassment

Published on Sep 21, 2007

Re: "Foreigners and tourists beware of nationalism", Letters, September 20. 

Khun Chamnong Watanagase took exception to some outdated jingoist advocating a compulsory salute to the nationalist anthem.

In this regard he might like to know that, at the French National Day reception around 1975, Princess Chumbhot Paribatra sat unperturbed throughout the said anthem, which she regarded as nationalist and republican.

The anthem was again played at a similar function about 10 years ago when I walked up to the French ambassador, who happened to be a good friend, and told him that it was the wrong anthem. He was visibly shaken and immediately ordered the (Royal Navy) band to replay, this time, the royal anthem.

More recently, at an embassy concert at the Thailand Cultural Centre, I sat throughout the nationalist tune at the beginning of the programme. I apologised and explained to the ambassador, who sat next to me, that we have not yet changed the Constitution to a republican one.

Since then I have come to terms with the fact that this country thrives on contradictions and the co-existence of opposites or the unlikely. Besides the two anthems, we also have two names for the same country, "Siam" being officially used on auspicious occasions. Then we have had two monarchs reigning concurrently, once at the end of the sixteenth century, and more recently in the mid-nineteenth century, a formula which proved to be useful.

I expect some correspondent will ask who is more "dated": the jingoist or I? I would plead guilty as far as I am mildly a monarchist who has an aversion to anything being overplayed.

Sumet Jumsai



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