This is a collection of 28 articles from the Bangkok Post's "Outlook" section, which appeared over the period 1987 - 1993. The author takes up various rural issues such as declining traditional cultures, devastating effects of the Green Revolution, and villagers' struggles to regain economic sustenance and cultural integrity. Each article comes with colorful photographs which illuminate villagers' lives.
This is a story of Prem. Having been born to a poor family in a rural village in Burirum, his prospects are grim. However, a progressive school teacher Kumjai recognizes his talents and persuades his parents to send him off to a temple in Bangkok to further his studies. After years of diligence and perseverance, he enters university where he wins a government scholarship to study in England.
This is a 1990 nominee for the Nobel Prize for literature.
The author examines the historical transition of the village economy in Thailand. During the primordial era, the village was an autonomous community, enjoying subsistent economy. In 1455, the Ayutthaya dynasty started the oppressive corvee system, enslaving villagers as long as six months a year for forced labor. From the mid-19th century onwards, the Chinese merchants brought capitalism and materialism to the village, causing many villagers to fall into debt and lose their land.
----- オビより -----
This is a collection of 57 interviews on the six largest hill-tribes in Thailand; namely, Yao, Akha, Lahu, Hmong, Lisu and Karen.
Through the discourse, it becomes apparent that recent penetration of capitalism and materialism in their villages affects their traditional life-styles, yet the social exclusion prevents them from enjoying financial stability. Many of them are poor compared to even the poorest Thai villagers. Expectation of sexual roles persists in the tribal community, which puts far more burden on women than on men.
The author challenges the commonly held view that Siam was unjustly forced to concede vast territories to Western colonial powers in the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. He contends that the "lost territories" had never exactly belonged to Siam, and that it is rather a figment of nationalism in the twentieth century.
Until the late nineteenth century, the Siamese court in Bangkok, like any other courts in the Southeast Asia, wasn't much concerned with its geographical territory. Whereas the control of human labor and material resource was the major concern, scarcely populated lands in the periphery didn't much count. It was only after the Western colonial powers advanced their frontiers toward Siam and started to demand explicit borders that the Bangkok court grasped the gravity of the matter and started its own military progression to expand its direct control over the peripheral region.
In the area now divided by Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, there prospered numerous kingdoms which maintained their semi-independence by paying tribute to single or plural military powers. To them, it didn't make much difference whether they were annexed by Siam or French Indochina. Siam was, after all, another colonial power based in Bangkok, competing to acquire smaller kingdoms to expand its territory.
This is a collection of theses concerning the formation and propagation of nationalism in Thailand. Twelve authors contribute their views from various perspectives.
This is a collection of writings by Pridi. During the period 1932 - 1946, as Pridi was actively engaged in the pursuit of democracy as a leader of the People's Party, he produced numerous law-drafts, speeches, and letters. During his exile in China, he kept silent. As he moved his domicile to Paris in 1970 and academics and journalists of new generation started to visit him for inspiration and guidance, he was invigorated to resume writing memoirs and opinions until his death in 1983.
The People's Party was his creation and devotion. Although it was temporarily 'mislead' by Phibun's dictatorial regime between 1938 and 1944, Pridi managed to win back the steering of the Party and readjusted its path to the original intention--realization of democracy. When he saw the 1946 constitution promulgated, he dissolved People's Party whose aim had been accomplished. Many of the former members of the People's Party established their own political parties to contend under the rule of parliamentary democracy, but Pridi remained independent of any political parties.
Many later historians hold the People's Party responsible as the initiator of the vicious circle of coups, but Pridi rejects this accusation. For him, the People's Party achieved its goal with the 1946 constitution and subsequent coups were carried out by the younger generation, like Sarit or Pao, who didn't share the ideal of democracy with the People's Party.
The author examines contemporary social crisis in Thailand--failure of parliamentary democracy, widening gap of income distribution, the environmental destruction, etc. He condemns the indigenous social structure as well as the capitalistic malpractice by transnational corporations, and makes some suggestions which lead to equitable society and sustainable development in Thailand.
The Bank of Thailand itself was woefully inadequate in its own disclosure, to the extent that it misled the whole economy. It had never punished financial institutions for generating bad loans; rather it had bent to their managements' pleas to conceal information about such loans, apparently to protect the institutions' public image. Analysts inside the country said they were unable to detect a coming crisis, as vital information was concealed by the Bank of Thailand.
Up to the end of 1999, we have seen that no elected government in Thailand has wanted to prosecute MPs or current or former cabinet ministers for criminal activity, even when that activity has done great harm to the country. There seems to be a pervasive assumption cutting across all major political parties that "we are all in it together". After all, today's accused opponent in politics may be tomorrow's potential coalition partner. Thus, those within Thai politics who are guilty of abuses remain protected.
By mid-1999, no names had been disclosed. Perhaps influencing that decision was the fact that the Chat Thai Party of former prime minister, Banharn--to which several of the suspected politicians had belonged--had been brought into the second Chuan government in mid-1998 to give it added "stability".
The 1997 Constitution creates, for the first time, a comprehensive system of checks and balances that greatly increase transparency and accountability in government, and offer the means to reform politics and usher Thailand towards a more enlightened process of development--and, hopefully, a sustainable quality of life.
The tragedy of the election was that despite clear evidence of massive fraud in the original poll, the perpetrators were not disqualified from contesting the re-run. Neither members of the Chuan cabinet, the provincial courts, nor the provincial administration were willing to apply the full force of the law, and pursue criminal charges. Despite attempts to clean up politics, through reform and through an invigorated legal system, big money and big influence prevailed.
Thailand's (feudalistic) culture of patronage and favouritism is perpetuated within Thai society right from childhood. It starts early in the schools: teachers will often give high marks or an undeserved passing grade to certain children following school examinations, merely because the teachers are acquainted with the parents of the child in question or because the child comes from a prominent family in the community.
From time to time, we hear the notion expressed that workers need only education that will allow them to function as economic entities--i.e. skills for factory work such as high-tech assembly.
No doubt there is also an undercurrent of apprehension that a thinking population might be dangerous in future to the status quo which favours Thailand's privileged classes.
The Education Ministry has been rife with allegations of corruption scandals in recent years, including a billion baht fiasco over the purchase of vastly overpriced and obsolete computers for schools under the tenure of the Banharn and Chavalit governments. The Education Ministry in 1998 was named as the second-most corrupt within the administrative system, following the perennially first-placed Interior Ministry.
Stead suspects there was a form of collusion at work: if a mass transit system had been developed, and residential land developed in the suburbs, property prices could not have risen so high. He noted that so many cabinet ministers had interests in the property market, either owning property companies or owning significant stakes in property companies or in banks. Thus, they had no incentive to develop mass transit to end the massive traffic jams of Greater Bangkok that forced many people to live in the centre.
This is a controversial biography of King Rama IX published in 1999 in England. The author claims to have had intimate relationship with the King for several years, and that the King himself suggested or even requested authoring his biography.
The King is assumed to have a wealth of first-hand information on the political history of Thailand. Although the nature of this kind of publication requires critical reading and puts a certain limit on touching upon controversial topics, this book poses scores of discussions which no other authors or academics have ever attempted.
First published in 1994, this book can be regarded as a preview of his 1997 masterpiece Thai Images. In this volume, the author examines Thai mentalities, which are often mysterious and baffling to westerners, and proposes a set of sociopsychological models.
This is a collection of articles posted on the Nation by the author between 1972 and 1987. The author is an architect and his articles mainly present architectural views. Some of them, however, discuss contemporary social issues, and are of historical interest, as listed below.
* Genuine self-help demonstrated, 1978: About Miss Prateep and the Klong Toey slum.
* The unwanted election law, 1979: About the election law which eliminates Chinese descents.
* Goodbye to Kriangsak Government, 1979: Overall evaluation of Kriangsak's regime.
* A requiem for the refugees, 1979: Protest for government's harsh policy on refugees.
* Thinking about national anthems, 1980: Curious history of Thai National Anthem.
* Thai or Siamese?, 1983: Political significance of renaming Siam to Thailand.
* Sulak Sivaraksa unmasked, 1984: The author seems to be annoyed with Sulak's "Unmasking Thai Society."
* Let's have a coup once a year, 1985: A reflection on the short-lived coup.
This book, commemorating the Rattanakosin Bicentennial, is a summary report of Thai economy and environment as of 1982. Although its text is largely boastful, which requires critical reading, it provides various statistical figures and numerous photographs, which illuminate the onset of the economic growth in the 80's.
Published in 1987, this book examines the military's internal factionalism and its interaction with the parliamentary democracy under General Prem. The author concludes that: While the party system was fragile, the Army, due to its internal rifts, was also weak. As a result, the balance of power between these two institutions was maintained.
1980: Prem becomes Prime Minister. Prime Ministerial Order No. 66/2523 is issued, which legitimizes the political intervention by army leaders. The military engages in various domestic programs which successfully won popularity among rural population (National Defense Volunteers, Volunteer Development and Self-Defence Villages, Military Reservists for National Security).
1981: Abortive coup by the Young Turks. Other factions in the military prospers.
1982: Arthit becomes Commander in Chief of the Thai Army.
1984: Arthit supports the reinstatement of Young Turks who, in turn, support the extension of Arthit's term in office. As a result, Class 5 group redirects its support from Arthit to Chaovalit. Arthit severely criticizes Prem on the baht devaluation policy.
1985: Arthit's term is extended for one year. Another abortive coup by the Young Turks. The Army, in its turn against the Democratic Party, supports Chamlong in the election of the governor of Bangkok.
1986: Arthit's request for extension for another year is denied. Chaovalit takes over Commander in Chief of the Thai Army. Young Turks extend influence in the parliament, compelling Prem and Chaovalit to reinstate the dismissed Young Turks officers.
Published in 1988 from the Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University. This book explores Thai Government's policies towards the Indochinese refugees from 1975 till 1987.
Since 1975 onwards, the falls of Vientiane, Phnom Penh and Saigon brought about an influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The Thai Government first tried to curve the influx by treating them as illegal aliens, but soon it was compelled to change its policy to accept them as refugees, on condition that the international community would lessen the burden of Thailand by giving financial assistance and accepting resettlement.
Although it justly describes the corruption on the part of Thai officials in refugee camps, the inhumane rejection of Vietnamese boat refugees on the shore, and the tolerance/participation of local Thai officials in piracy, it nevertheless fails to discuss the political responsibility on the part of the Thai government in cooperating with the U.S. in bombarding Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam during the preceding decade, nor does it comment on the covert Thai support for the Khmer Rouge.
This is an autobiography, first published in 1935. The author was born in 1912 in the southern province of Nakorn Sri Dharmaraj. His father was a judge and the whole family accompanied him as he was transferred to Surat, Bichitra, Bisanuloke, and then to Nakorn Sawanka where the author reached the age of thirteen and was sent to Bangkok for education.
He entered Chulalongkorn University to study political science, but in 1932, his suffered from a nervous breakdown and had to leave school. Soon after recovery, he decided to study in America and, having deceived his father who had only given consent to studying in the Philippines, he crossed the Pacific Ocean and landed in Seattle.
This book reveals curious aspects of Thai culture and society in the early twentieth century; namely, yet-unspoiled wild nature, school education, judicial system, nai/phrai relationship, courtship among young men and women, and conflict between the first wife and the second/third wife.
・ メナム−１９４５年 ... 著者の体験を織り交ぜた小説。戦中のタイにおける日本軍の様子や日本人社会の描写が興味深い。
・ プリーディー・パノムヨン ... プリーディーの伝記。特に１９４６年のラマ８世の死以降について、興味深くまとめられている。
・ 真実の話 ... いくつかの歴史上の通説について、著者が異論を提唱する。
・ タイと日本 ... ２０世紀初頭からの日・タイの関係についてのコメント。
・ 歩んできた道 ... 著者の伝記。
This 75-page booklet examines similarities and dissimilarities between the two military juntas: the NPKC in Thailand and the SLORC in Burma.
The author makes a curious point that the Burmese are more politically conscious than the Thai. The former has long been subject to anti-colonial struggle and leftist agitation for decades, and the political discussion is commonplace among the old and the young. In Thailand, however, the political consciousness only started to grow after the 1992 bloodshed, which is still limited to the middle class in the city. The long history of colonization followed by harsh military regimes in Burma has nurtured political awareness among its citizens, whereas the quasi democracy in Thailand failed to do so.
In 1923, the author traveled on land through Burma and Siam, then took a boat from Bangkok to Cambodia. This book is sort of his travel diary with some anthropological observations and a lot of inner reflections.
This book is roughly divided into two parts. Part one is the biography of Jim Thompson until his mysterious disappearance in the Malaysian jungle in 1967. Part two examines different theories and hypotheses concerning his disappearance, without much revealing new facts to solve the disputes.
Jim was 39 years old when he first came to Thailand in 1945 as an OSS agent, a few days after the Japanese surrender. In 1946, he resigned the OSS. He first went into joint-business with a French woman to renovate the much-dilapidated Oriental Hotel, but he soon experienced personality clashes with her, resulting in his pulling out of the project entirely. Then, in 1948, he established the Thai Silk Company, when the prospect for Thai silk was less than promising. He presided as the managing director, with 18% of the company's share, and vigorously promoted Thai silk industry.
Apart from his life and the story of the Thai silk industry, this book also depicts curious aspects of Thai history and anthropology during the period 1945 - 1967.
This is a detailed description of the Free Thai Movement and internal Thai politics during the World War II. Some of the intriguing facts are as follows:
At the onset of the war, Japan presented Thailand with four courses of action:
1. Complete cooperation with Japan on political, military, and economic matters.
2. Entering the Axis as a full partner with Japan, Germany and Italy.
3. Signing a defense pact without involving the Axis partners.
4. Signing a mutual defense pact of limited coverage, only allowing passage of Japanese forces through Thailand.
among which Thailand chose the last option which was least binding.
Pridi went into hiding when, as a regent, he was required to sign the Declaration of War on the United States and England. Phibun ordered Pridi's signature forged.
The espionage activities of the Free Thai Movement extended to the mainland Japan. The first U.S. B-29 raid in Japan was based on information collected by Thai in Japan, passed to the resistance leadership in Bangkok, and reported by the Thai agents to the OSS.
By early 1945, substantial amount of arms and material had been delivered to Thailand by the U.S. and England. Pridi felt confident enough to start open combat with the Japanese, but for military reasons, the Allied Military Command urged him to remain underground.
This is a collection of essays published over the period 1975 - 1989 on the Bangkok Post, Bangkok World (now ceased evening paper) and Sawasdee (in-flight magazine of Thai Airways). The author made her debut as a novelist in 1961 under the pseudonym Narawadee and has since achieved popularity among Thais.
Her essays reveal curious aspects of Thai culture in anthropological and sociological perspectives. Essays include; The Choosing of Thai Names, Cock Fighting in Thailand, A Thai Theater--Sala Chalerm Thai.
The author is a member of the Royal Academy and the Govt. Historical Research Commission. As his position binds him to the axiom Only say good things about the King, the book contains hardly any controversial discussion. It is, however, abundant in primary historical documents, like original English letters by King Mongkut addressed to Queen Victoria of England. It also depicts in detail the first Thai embassy to London in 1857, which was composed of 28 members.
The book contains some materials concerning the Second King of Siam--a brother of King Mongkut--whose life hasn't had much attention in historical literature.
This book provides substantial information on Cambodian history in regards to its relationship with Thailand, as well as with Vietnam and France. Out of its 226 pages, 50 pages are allotted to pre-Ratanakosin period, 150 pages to pre-World War I period, with remaining 26 pages running through the rest of the twentieth century up to 1987 when this book was published. It provides comprehensive historical background of the 1893 Gunboat incident. The territorial conflict over Khao Phra Wihaan in the 1960's is also detailed.
The author is a long-standing bureaucratic officer in the Thai government, working for the Ministry of Education as early as 1939. Although his Thai nationalistic devotion can be felt sporadically in his description of Thailand's international conflicts, especially against the French, his assertion is well-equipped with primary historical documents, thereby giving his claims certain amount of credibility. The author's view, in summary, is to the effect that Thailand has long acted as a paternalistic protector of Cambodia, France was a rude and aggressive colonialist in the Indochina, and Cambodia was forced by France to leave Thai protectorate to suffer under French rule.
This is sort of an autobiography. The author was born in 1910 into a relatively well-off family along the Silom road. His father was a junior government official in the Ministry of Public Health. His mother was a practitioner of traditional Thai medicine.
In 1931, he was enrolled in the Royal Guard Regiment, later witnessing the 1932 coup firsthand. After being discharged, he went into the printing business. Although he entered Thammasat University to continue his education, his bustling business and, later, a seat in the Municipal Council prevented him from achieving graduation.
During the World War II, he had an active role in the Free Thai movement. In 1946, he was invited to be a co-founder of the Bangkok Post. In 1949, he played a key role in the abortive coup to bring back Pridi, but, after being cracked down by the police, he was imprisoned in the Bang Kwang Prison where he stayed for nine years. In 1957, he was released on a pardon commemorating the Buddhism Year 2500, along with other political prisoners. He, then, went back to the Bangkok Post to resume his pursuit of business.
The author provides curious accounts for Bangkok under the absolute monarchy, the 1932 coup, the Free Thai movement, the 1949 coup and the early days of the Bangkok Post.
This is a collection of essays on aspects of Thai culture in the eyes of a farang, which have been separately published in newspapers and magazines in and around Thailand. Although the author claims "not everything that is true and important about the country can be written down and published--not at least by those wishing to go on living here," his essays are punchy enough to strip off the courtesies and get down to the core of the matter where Thai taboos are concerned.
This is an amazing little volume. With a mere hundred pages divided into ten chapters, the author intends it to be an introduction for Thai history, economy and politics, but his approach to each topic is well organized with curious details that even a well-read history student would find it surprisingly informative.
Chapters include; The People, The Economic Perspective, The Military and Administration, Kings and Heroes, Religion, Monasteries, Education, Internal Politics, Foreign Relations, and The Search for a Thai Identity.
This is a story of Fak. Although, as a novice at a Buddhist monastery, his genius promises him a successful career in the Sangha, he chooses to disrobe in order to take care of his old father.
His father dies, leaving behind his young mistress Somsong who is somewhat retarded and seductive. It is out of Fak's sense of obligation to look after this mother in-common-law that he keeps living with Somsong, but villagers don't see it that way. Having had missed the chance to learn the worldly behavior during his upbringing, he just can't get the grip on the society when it slips out of his hand.
This is a 1982 SEA Write Award winner.
Following the Korean War (1950 - 1953), the United States took an initiative to establish a military alliance in Southeast Asia to counter Russia and China. The Manila Conference in 1954 resulted in the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, signed by Australia, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The inclusion of Hong Kong and Taiwan would reduce the future hope of getting Burma, India and Indonesia to join SEATO. Japan was excluded because some Southeast Asian countries still distrusted her. South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia were ready to join, but they were pressured off by China’s diplomacy.
Having been published in 1973 based on the author’s MA thesis, this book provides ample information on Thailand's domestic and international politics during 1950’s and 1960’s.
This is quite a challenging attempt to examine the course of political events in Thailand, from the onset of the second World War to the resignation of General Suchinda in 1992. Apart from describing the internal affairs, the author supplies abundant international circumstances which both overtly and covertly lead Thailand to succession of dictatorial governments; namely, Britain, America, China, Taiwan, Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. As the trafficking of narcotics has been an essential factor in the kinetics of political powers in and around Thailand, the author strenuously analyzes the complicated antagonism of competing forces.
This is sort of an official historiography of the Thai-American relationship. Although its account concentrates on the positive side of the relationship and far from being critical in assessing its historical nature, it handily portrays chronological interactions between the two countries. It also encompasses historic documents and curious photographs.
As is now widely recognized, American influence in the post-war Thailand has been crucial in determining the course of its political events. This book suggests that Americans had continued to play influential roles in the pre-war Thai government as well, especially during the reigns of Rama V and Rama VI. After the resignation of Rolin Jacquemins, a Belgian, from the General Advisor to the Government in 1902, this post was successively occupied by Americans until 1940. A Thai ambassador in Paris is quoted as saying, “When he was in our service, Chao Phraya Apairaja (Rolin Jacquemins) saw all too clearly the unjust treatment we received, but hard though he tried to raise his voice on our behalf, he failed to win sympathy for us. This was because it is in Belgium’s interest not to risk offending Britain and France, whom she regards with awe, and furthermore our plight was something very insignificant to Belgium. I believe that had Chao Phraya Apairaja been American, the people of that country would have been on our side and taken up the cudgels for us.”
The first American advisor Edward Henry Strobel, apart from tackling the diplomatic deadlock between Siam and France over territorial disputes, also served on civil administrative reforms under King Rama V. He energetically drafted a number of laws, among which was outlawing gambling and abolition of debt slavery.
Wichit Wathakan (1898-1962) played a crucial role in formulating Thailand's state-nationalism during the post-1932 era. Although he first established himself as a royalist historian, teaching part-time at Chulalongkorn University under the reign of Rama VII, he managed to cope with the new regime. Soon he assumed an indispensable role in it as a supplier of ideology and propaganda for nationalism, which the revolutionary regime badly needed to legitimize its political standing against various internal dissent.
The author describes the first half of his political career up until 1941. His incisive comments on the historical background is thrilling and informative.
In this collection of short stories, the author depicts the woe and wrath of the people of Esarn. Having been politically suppressed and economically exploited by the well-to-do in Bangkok for so many years, many of them have no choice but to desert their villages to migrate to Bangkok for slave wages, while a lot of women and children are practically sold for forced labor or prostitution. The author's criticism against social injustice is piercing.
The author entered into the military service in 1938 upon graduating from Chulachomklao Royal Military Cadet School. In 1966, he participated in the establishment of the CSOC--Communist Suppression Operations Command--and stayed there until his retirement in 1983.
This is a collection of his speeches and lectures concerning counter insurgency over the period. Although his view of communism inevitably reflects that of the Thai government and the CIA, largely ascribing it to agitation by foreign agents, he frequently expresses criticism on government's misadministration, corruption and injustice, which caused rural villagers to lose faith in the government. He repeatedly asserts the necessity to deal with rural poverty and social injustice, rather than military suppression, and theorizes the CPM (Civilian-Police-Military) approach.
The author divides the history of counter insurgency into five periods.
|1965 - 1967||The CSOS carried out successful strategies according to its CPM approach. The number of communists dwindled.|
|1968 - 1970||It so happened that the army was ordered to take over operational responsibility for counter insurgency from the CSOS. The emphasis shifted towards military operations of the Vietnam type, which included indiscriminate use of bombs and napalm in suspected villages. The number of communists increased.|
|1971 - 1973||The army learned a lesson from its futile strategy over the previous three years, and changed its course to follow the CPM approach.|
|1973 - 1976||Under the democratic government, the CSOS endured attacks from leftist forces inside and outside the parliament. In order to adapt to the prevailing mood, the name CSOS was changed to ISOS--Internal Security Operations Command. The Communist Party of Thailand prospered.|
|1976 -||After the military takeover of the government, strong anti-communist policy was adopted. Although the CPM approach still counted, occasional "search and destroy" raids prevailed.|
When King Rama I ascended the throne in 1782, he faced the task of restoring the kingdom. Partly in order to persuade powerful local princes of the legitimacy of his enthronement, he took pains to revive and imitate every detail of the Ayutthaya dynasty; namely, royal ceremonies, governmental administration and codification of the law. Externally, he solicited the Emperor of China to sanction his succession to the throne by dispatching a legation with tributes. As the head of the state, he was left with the task of fighting the Burmese, as well as re-subjugating Laos, Cambodia and Malayan states.
This is a curious book that reveals life and politics of King Rama I, along with other contemporary figures like King Taksin and his own brother Maha Uparat.
Obviously, the author is angry. This is the sort of anger inflicted upon witnessing bullies, liars and hypocrites - in short, social injustice.
The author challenges the superficiality of the propagation that Thailand is a land of smiles, that its people are faithful Buddhists, that it cherishes values and traditions of good-old days. His incisive analysis of the Making of Thai Images relentlessly reveals who imposes what images for whose own benefit.
He scrutinizes social studies textbooks in Thailand, through grade school to university, thereby revealing the arbitrary molding of students' mentality to be obedient members of this one big family state called Thailand. There is no doubt that his intention is in pointing out social fallacies for the benefit of future generations in Thailand, but his satire is at times so provocative and sarcastic that, I'm afraid, even progressive reformers would back away at his words.
This is an offprint from SIAM IN TRANSITION: A Brief Survey of Cultural Trends in the Five Years since the Revolution of 1932. This booklet consists of the original National Economic Policy and first drafts of Social Insurance Act and Economic Administration Act, at which one can observe the seemingly radical experiment of economic democracy that Pridi thought inevitable to accompany the political democracy. It also includes the minutes of a meeting of a Committee to Consider a National Economic Policy in March, 1933, and the report of the Commission on the Alleged Communism of Pridi in February, 1934.
Although the author is today a well-known social critique, he once used to be a firm conservative. Having been born to a well-to-do family in 1933, he readily absorbed his family's nostalgia for absolute monarchy. He detested democracy which brought nothing but social confusion and bureaucratic corruption. If anything, he even preferred the dictatorial regime of Phibun to the troublesome democracy of Pridi. After all, Pridi was labeled as a communist and, in 1946, he was further incriminated in the death of King Rama VIII which compelled him to flee the country.
In 1964, Sulak posted a review of The Devil's Discus in his Social Science Review, "speaking on behalf of the majority in my generation, we do not want Pridi back... That such a book is even written and published perhaps suggests that someone has secretly funded the murder of history."
During the following years, Sulak gradually started to see the fallacy of military dictatorship, and softened his opinion about Pridi, though he was still skeptical about the regicide issue. As an act of gratitude, I suggested Pridi be allowed to return to the kingdom, be granted the luxury of spending his last breaths in his own country. Then however my tone began to shift; I began throwing a number of irritant punches at Pridi. I insisted that Pridi had paid for his mistakes and sins while living in exile. Perhaps he had repented a bit. But if readmitted into the country, he should not be allowed to play politics.
Aggravated by Sulak's persistent mistreatment, Pridi published a book in 1972 On the Origins of the People's Party and Thai Democracy, in which he devoted seven pages to denounce Sulak as a hated debris of the corrupt aristocracy, a social parasite, and an arrogant, selfish scavenger.
It wasn't until 1980 that Sulak was finally disillusioned of the frame-up of the regicide which was systematically carried out by overt and covert right-wing forces. After reading New Rulings on the Death of King Rama VIII, he wrote an apologetic letter to Pridi which was promptly accepted.Regrettably, I have to admit that in both thoughts and words I have inconsiderately mutilated your integrity... Although I never firmly believed that you hideously and deliberately murdered the king, I placed too much faith in the country's judiciary system and was easily led astray by some rumors that depicted you in a monstrous light... I have subsequently researched quite extensively on the king's mysterious death, reading piles of primary and secondary materials and interviewing scores of individuals. I believe I have gained a clearer picture of what had happened... This along with other new evidence point to the arbitrariness and unreliability of the Thai judiciary system...
This is rather a systemic history of the Chakri dynasty. Although the author is not an academic historian, and he largely depends on secondary materials for his assertion, thereby lacking in originality, his choice of anecdotes unfailingly demonstrates historic curiosities and controversies that are often tacitly ignored or carefully avoided in recent publications; namely, the demise of King Taksin, the asceticism of King Rama VI, and the death of King Rama VIII.
The Village Scout was inaugurated in 1971 by General Somkhuan Harikul of the Border Patrol Police in an effort to counter communist insurgency in north and northeast of Thailand. Having been trained in guerrilla warfare, military intelligence and psychological warfare, he was well aware of the importance of befriending rural villagers.
During the period of civilian government of 1973 - 1976, the Village Scout was turned into one of the main forces of the right wing, others being the Nawaphon and the Red Gaurs. The climax came on October 6, 1976 when thousands of Village Scouts swarmed into the campus of Chulalongkorn University, participating in the massacre of students.
This book provides a comprehensive study of the Village Scout movement in the historical context, detailing in the internal and international politics, the army and the police, royal support and intervention, and a full report of the five-day initiation ceremony of the Village Scout. As the author boldly notes on touchy topics including the royal family, it is a bit of a surprise that this book hasn't been banned in Thailand, where a lot of excellent works have been outlawed on charges of lese majeste and national security.
Katya was born in 1888, in Lutz, Ukraine. She was working as a nurse in 1905 when she met Prince Chakrabongse, a favorite son of Rama V and a brother of future Rama VI, who had been sent to Russia to receive military training. Evidently, Prince Chakrabongse had been struck with a Cupid's arrow.
Chakrabongse, at a loss for romantic words in which to frame a proposal, suddenly blurted out: 'Do you dislike electric fans?' Katya, who had never heard of them, but did not wish to seem ignorant, answered that she liked them immensely.
They secretly married in 1906 at a Christian church in Greece. Soon thereafter, the Prince went back to Siam, but, not knowing how to break the news, he kept Katya in Singapore for many weeks until, one day, King Chulalongkorn came to be aware of the rumor of his son's secret marriage.
The Monarch was his usual genial self as he chatted to his son, and while still smiling amiably though watching him closely, said jestingly: 'Lek, I hear you have a European wife - is it true?' Torn between consternation and relief that the dreaded moment had inescapably come to pass, Chakrabongse turned pale, and at a similar loss for words as when he had proposed to Katya, muttered hoarsely and ineptly: 'Very possibly'. A terrible silence fell. Then with a look like forked lightning, Chulalongkorn turned on his heel and left, terminating the audience and his hitherto complete confidence in his beloved son.
Nevertheless, Katya was called to Siam and started her life with Prince Chakrabongse in newly built Paruskavan Palace. King Chulalongkorn tacitly refused to show his approval, but Queen Saowabha and Crown Prince Vajiravudh gradually came to approve and even support the marriage.
In 1908, she bore a son, Prince Chula. In 1910, King Chulalongkorn died and Prince Vajravudh ascended the throne. In 1919, Katya divorced the Prince and left Siam. There was another woman.
Monday 14th July 1919. In the evening I signed the divorce agreement between myself and Katya. This has been a matter of great difficulty for a long time... The causes go back many years and stem from Katya's dissatisfaction with a multitude of matters. If she is dissatisfied with anything it is always my fault. It is very difficult to make her happy because one has to judge it absolutely right... My house is no longer somewhere where I can relax and unwind. I am someone who has a fair amount of work and commitments. I need support and a restful atmosphere at home... I also became closer to Chavalit. Both of us have become increasingly fond of each other. However, I had no intention of divorcing my wife and taking a new one, feeling that that would not be a proper course of action. I thought that possibly when Katya came back she might take Chavalit under her wing as part of the household, so that I could have some one at least who gives me some pleasure and makes me feel calm and relaxed... However, the only thing that would satisfy Katya would be if I were to break with Chavalit completely and were never to see her again. If I were to do this, I feel it would be unfair to Chavalit and also it would mean I would never be able to hold my head high again.
This is a well-written biography of Katya whose life witnessed the Russo-Japanese war, the Russian Revolution and the 1932 coup d'etat in Siam. It is also a source of intriguing information of the private lives of royalties, which, inevitably, had direct effects on Siamese history.
When Prince Vajiravudh ascended the throne on October 23, 1910, the Siamese monarchy was at its peak. Due to successful political strategies of King Chulalongkorn, the royal grip on administration was firm and the royal revenue enjoyed vast surplus. When, fifteen years later, King Vajiravudh died on November 25, 1925, the royal rule had become shaky and the finance was chaotic with huge debts.
The author looks into the fifteen years of King Vajiravudh's reign, analyzing causes and effects of his seemingly idiosyncratic rule that failed to cope with increasing demands for constitution and democracy among western-educated bureaucrats.
This is a history of Presbyterian missionaries to spread its gospel in the northern Thailand.
Chiang Mai was still under the rule of a local prince when, in the late 1860's, two missionaries of the Presbyterian Church from the United States settled there. The prince was hostile to Christianity, unlike King Chulalongkorn of Siam at that time, and he ordered the deaths of two of the early Christian converts. A commissioner was sent from Bangkok to protect the missionaries, but the prince declared that he would kill anyone else who became a Christian. However, when the British government made a complaint to the Siamese government in Bangkok that the prince was engaged with Burmese loggers, thereby undermining British trade revenue in that region, the prince was summoned to Bangkok. He died during his journey back home, and the new prince in succession willingly supported the missionaries.
One major difficulty in propagation of Christianity arose from different views of sin between missionaries and local Buddhist inhabitants. Although the locals admitted that they were full of sins, they had a strong belief that their sins could be counterbalanced with occasional merit-making, which was contrary to the Christian dogma of salvation. Another difficulty was that Christianity forbade its converts to attend Buddhist ceremonies altogether, which was indeed a spiritual as well as practical breakage of bonds with their friends and relatives.
It was at times of epidemics that the missionaries were successful in acquiring converts in large numbers. The modern medicine displayed by them brought awe and respect for the Christian God. The irony was that, although the Christian missionaries accused locals for their indulgence in animism, they perceived Christianity as yet another form of animism. When the medical practice of the missionaries showed that Christian God was far more powerful than any other local spirits, it was easier for locals to accept the supremacy of Christianity.
This is a concise yet essential history of the expansion and diminution of Siamese territory and its struggle in diplomacy. Although the author's emphasis is laid on the colonial period from 1855 to 1909, his analysis goes back to the pre-Sukhothai era when China was a predominant empire that chased Siamese away southward. The author also gives clear view of the twentieth century international politics, as well as domestic forces in Siam, which led to the frequent re-drawing of the Siamese border.
Together with maps of various ages and original texts of international treaties provided, this book allows clear perception of Siamese course of events in the context of the world history.
It also carries a lot of anecdotes which are rarely touched upon in other publications, an example of which concerns the aftermath of the World War II. "However, the British who took the Thai declaration of war more seriously than the Americans began to make their demands. Under the American pressure, the British had to drop some of their stronger demands, such as, abolition of the Thai armed forces as in the case of Germany and Japan." When one consider the decisive effects of military rule in the post-war Thailand, one is tempted to muse over the if of history, had the Siamese army been abolished upon British demand as in Japan.