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Prime minister’s most complicated, treacherous and unenviable task

Tough as they were, the jobs of Prayut Chan-o-cha, Yingluck Shinawatra, Abhisit Vejjajiva appeared straightforward. And it would have been the same for Pita Limjaroenrat if he had been named…

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Brief history of two frenemies

How fast the situation is changing. A few months ago, the Pheu Thai-Move Forward bond looked unbreakable, and just a few days ago, their smiling leaders were still posing together…

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New Thaksin chapter about to begin

The last time Thaksin Shinawatra was in Thailand, Pita Limjaroenrat was still a high-flying student cementing international recognition and was never heard of by his own political fans of today…

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Hollywood strike probably just subplot in big change

For decades, movies very effectively influence thinking, imposing sometimes controversial values, defying religious concepts, occasionally blurring the lines between rights and wrongs and confusing the world as to who heroes…

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Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of Move Forward Party, shakes hands with Puea Thai Party leader Cholnan Srikaew after holding a meeting with the eight-party coalition in Bangkok on July 17, 2023. (Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha / AFP)

Fireball in Pheu Thai’s court

If the tightrope stretching before the second biggest political party had been very narrow before, it’s also fragile now. A clear picture of what lies ahead has two main features:…

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Every scenario is nightmarish

The “catastrophe loading” has been completed, so to speak, after Parliament on Thursday rejected the nomination of Pita Limjaroenrat as the new prime minister. The objective of every player now is…

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No government is safe in any way, shape or form

Politically, modern Thai history is on nobody’s side, but neither is the future. Therefore, a pretend and celebratory phone call to a late revolutionary reformist to say “We have made…

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More cross into “delusional” side of the fence

July 31, 2023: If Thaksin Shinawatra returns to Thailand on August 10 as announced by his daughter Paetongtarn, he will be able to laugh in the faces of those who…

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The good old days

Pheu Thai’s leverage may be getting stronger

Amid post-election shocks and Move Forward’s euphoria, the Pheu Thai Party looked all but dead and buried immediately after the May 14 election. It was a peculiar political mishap, though,…

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Why Pheu Thai’s thinking is democratically wrong

Coming from a man considered to be one of the top political thinkers, the idea that the second biggest party in a multiple-party system is traditionally required to fight with…

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From Thaksin to Pita, iTV has some history

When it was conceived around three decades ago, iTV represented a big hope, with the public wanting it to counter misinformation, distortions and manipulations. At that time, Thailand was in…

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Worrisome “media shares” rulings in recent past

While Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat has taken certain actions regarding the iTV share controversy, history is not on his side. Some media reports have dug up similar cases that…

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What Move Forward needs to do from now

Even in an extremely-unlikely scenario that it ends up in the opposition bloc again, the Move Forward Party will still have to tussle with political gravity. And future tests will…

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Pheu Thai’s dilemma(s)

Hours after Move Forward’s shocking election victory, Voice TV presenter Nattakorn Devakula said something that is politically sensible but democratically questionable. Pheu Thai, he suggested, should go ahead and be…

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Key things to watch after historic Thai election

After every big earthquake, major aftershocks ensue. A Pheu Thai landslide would have made headlines, but unpredictability would not have been as prevalent. Move Forward’s wham-bam victory means a lot…

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Why the idealistic boy won, and why he has to keep his feet on the ground

A combination of the Thaksin factor, appeal of a youthful image and repellence of old-style politics has contributed to one of the biggest surprises in modern Thai political history. Signs…

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Thailand’s long and winding road

When Thais go to the polls on Sunday, the challenge is how to help lay the groundwork for a system that can prevent the next election from being held under…

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Tangled up

It could be a Hail Mary pass in an increasingly unpredictable playing field. The scenario of imminent Thaksin Shinawatra homecoming, amplified by the man himself, can help Pheu Thai, but…

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Some familiar faces may never be looked at the same way again

Sararat Rangsiwuttaporn, the suspect in what looks certain to become one of the world’s most talked-about criminal cases, is entitled to full-scale legal defense. But there is no stopping of…

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Srettha’s got some serious explaining to do

To different people, Bt10,000 is worth differently. In other words, one rural man can use it to buy a food stockpile that may last a year or even longer, while…

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It’s called “Water Festival” just because April is hot

Songkran is an elephant and everyone can be one of the blind men fumbling around for its shape. Road accidents make it a nightmare festival for related authorities or rescue…

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Antihero who can even put mega villains to shame

The thin line between being a whistleblower and shrewd schemer is thinner in Thailand, which boasts one of the world’s biggest numbers of squealers, who exist largely in the political sphere….

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“Pragmatism” will clash with “idealism” in Thai elections

Four starving men trudge across a vast desert with just one piece of bread left. Sharing it and nobody will die first or immediately, but most likely they all will…

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Image released by A24 Films shows Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan in a scene from, “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” (Allyson Riggs/A24 Films via AP)

Smart, silly, epic, bizarre, peaceful and chaotic all at once

Multiverse teases, taunts, gives hope, darkens mood, sells books and inspires new-age movies. Cue quantum physics and screenplay writers can do just about anything, since the very fundamental concept of…

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Learning from our feminists

The marking of Women’s Day on March 8 in Thailand is considerably “political”. But it’s political “constructively”. Demands for free tampons at workplaces, extended pregnancy leave or legalised prostitution, whether…

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Political prospects may get harder to read

Prawit Wongsuwan, Jatuporn Prompan and the unbendable Move Forward Party have all expressed sound reasons lately when it comes to the future course of Thai politics. The greatest influencer, though,…

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Bad week for world peace

More resounding than explosions in Ukraine are words uttered over the past few days by top politicians of the rival superpowers. The statements did not quite offer anything new that…

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Fleeting glimpses of hope

For a change, heavy equipment and machinery are being mobilised from all parts of the world to one destination to save lives, not destroy them; religious and political differences were…

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Move Forward at crossroads already

The latest statement by hardline politician Piyabutr Saengkanokkul provides the clearest evidence that one of Thailand’s newest political parties, which thrives on unorthodoxy and drastic reforms that border on extremism,…

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Ancient loose cannon that can go dud or else

The Pheu Thai Party has decided to spar with Jatuporn Prompan only, but did it really have the choice of going toe to toe with him in full scale? The…

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History won’t be made, unless …

The much-taunted and extremely unlikely post-election scenario of Pheu Thai joining hands with Palang Pracharath to form a government would be historic if it happened. Anything shorter than that will…

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Only Prayut, Prawit and Paetongtarn can realistically gun for PM post

The old “three Ps” were united. The new “three Ps” are anything but, yet there are scenarios where two would join hands and leave the other out cold. After the…

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Numbers, not words, will shape post-election landscape

This week’s virtual pledge of loyalty to allies by the Pheu Thai Party cannot entirely soothe them, because they know all too well that in politics, even cutthroat one like…

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Further return to normal not necessarily good

Bruised, defiant but clueless, humans entered 2022. At that time, COVID-19 was the main plot, but, as 2023 approaches, the bruise has largely gone and defiance has probably morphed into…

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Why so many supported Argentina in World Cup final

“This is my first time backing Argentina in a football match,” declared a Thai football fan. Coming from a Brazil supporter, who loves France’s Thierry Henry and Olivier Giroud to…

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Frenemy politics to be more crucial than ever before

What Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat said the other day may not be as significant as why he said it. While Pheu Thai may not like his statement in its…

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Midterm elections: America’s “Path to chaos”

US democracy’s biggest irony is that, in order to survive, it must demonise itself. One of the most glaring evidence of that has come just hours ago, when President Joe…

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Udom and Srisuwan simply elementary tests

Democracy is easy when everyone is agreeable. How conflicts are dealt with, peacefully and justly, is what truly separates it from authoritarianism or anarchy. Minor conflicts producing the kind of…

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It takes some courage

If he was wrong about Buddhism and detachment before, Prairie Praiwan has to be right this time, getting out of the closet to become someone he always has been wishing…

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And the fight continues …

One chapter has just been closed. Prayut Chan-o-cha’s nail-biting survival act is in the middle of the book at most, with Thailand’s political turmoil only entering a new phase, where…

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FOREX-3D: Culmination of monetary absurdities

People drawn into a Ponzi scheme disguised as foreign exchange “investment” is ridiculous, but that is possible only because the world had either “normalized” or come to condone the senselessness…

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The Queen and Liz Truss

What had Queen Elizabeth II done in the 1990s that she didn’t over the last two decades? Nobody knows the exact answer. Most likely though, she kept doing what she…

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What’s Bitkub’s problem? Born too soon or existing too controversially?

If Jirayut Srupsrisopa is a true blockchain enthusiast, he must be uncorking the champagne when that massively-lucrative deal with the Siam Commercial Bank collapsed a few days ago. In an…

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Weeks of tension, tightropes and looking over shoulders

A major political suspense is materializing following Wednesday’s Constitutional Court decision to suspend Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha from duty. But it will also a period when everyone is restless, has…

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Photo from FB page พรรคเพื่อไทย

Now, is Pheu Thai landslide possible?

The answer depends primarily on two factors. The first one is quite ironic considering the Palang Pracharath “conspiracy theory”, which is doing the rounds and not for the first time….

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Hug her like you mean it

Here’s a little tip if you don’t want to buy a basket of chicken essence or bird’s nest soup, or go to a crowded sukiyaki restaurant: Ask your mother to…

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This handout taken and released by Taiwan’s Presidential Office on August 3, 2022 shows US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking in the Presidential Office in Taipei.

Will Pelosi launch thousands of war drones?

There is too much at stake in today’s world for China and the United States to lock horns militarily. However, Xi Jinping telling his US counterpart Joe Biden not to…

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It could be “so near yet so far” again for birthday boy

A Pheu Thai “landslide” is very likely, no matter how the party-list calculation fights end. In fact, despite the Thai Raksa Chart setback and failure to win a single party-list…

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Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha attends a no-confidence debate at the Parliament in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, July 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Beauty and travesty of censure

Here’s a simple question: Who was the last Cabinet member to be ousted in a no-confidence vote? The answer is “Don’t torture your brain” because everyone has survived no-confidence voting…

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Fond farewell to young men in red, jeers for organizer

Early bird gets the worm, we all have been taught. But nobody has said anything about the fact that the worm can get jaw–droppingly expensive. Many Thai fans of Liverpool…

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Expensive “loyalty” dents world’s most popular sport

When Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard visited Thailand many years ago for a friendly game with the Thai national team, he said two things that probably can combine to form the…

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Multiple governments have legalized the planting and sale of cannabis for recreational use, but such action requires good preparation including mandated and widespread warnings. (Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha / AFP)

Cannabis, not COVID-19, to feature at upcoming censure

Two months ago, the coronavirus would have still been a “sexy” topic at the no-confidence debate. But the relevant numbers are going down, and economic suffering has been too related…

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How to avoid derailing renewed cannabis debate

When the “freedom” to own guns was constitutionally embraced in America a long time ago, critics must have given the same warning as their Thai counterparts up in arms against…

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In defense of Thai males’ parallel universe

Thai men have deservedly received a fair share of “male chauvinism” criticism. But that cannot be the only reason why domestic abuse cases featuring them as victims have never made…

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Deeper look into City Assembly votes

The Pheu Thai Party has a strong cause for celebration. Move Forward, if it wants to celebrate as well, must do so cautiously. The Democrats still have their work cut…

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Staggering victory that requires careful reading

Chadchart Sittipunt’s stunning landslide may have hidden scrambled messages voters in the capital delivered on Sunday in the Bangkok gubernatorial election, but arguably the real nightmare for the shaken powers-that-be…

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Avoid creating big bomb out of monk’s case

The Luangpoo Saeng controversy contains two dangerous substances that shall never be mixed. The first one is monks not doing their jobs properly while the second is reporters gravely mistaking…

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File Philippine election campaign photo(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

The Bongbong paradox

Some call it “Beauty of democracy”. Under authoritarian regimes, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, or Bongbong, wouldn’t stand a chance. For the son of someone who had been dislodged from power to…

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Bangkok race: How pollsters got it all wrong in 2013

Some nine years ago, both popularity and exit polls pointed towards one outcome. The Pheu Thai Party’s city gubernatorial candidate, Pongsapat Pongcharoen, would win comfortably, if not by a landslide,…

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Thailand grapples with old trouble presenting itself in new era

Reporters being tumultuously curious about Jurin Laksanavisit’s and the Democrat Party’s future tells a lot about where the country is heading when sexual harassment and domestic violence are concerned. The…

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Foreign tourists and locals take part in water fights to celebrate Thai New Year, locally known as Songkran, at Khao San Road in Bangkok on April 13, 2022. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)

Songkran: Profound Bangkok-countryside link that withstands test of time

Thailand’s most-celebrated and globally-renowned festival has had its fair share of politicization, with people being urged a few years ago to throw water using bowls of a specific color a…

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Bangkok race’s biggest challenge

It normally begins with a “public forum” debate on pedestrians’ and ordinary citizens’ problems, but the city gubernatorial election usually ends up producing the outcome of a national political game….

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A ‘No War’ sign stuck on a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the window of a children’s library in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, March 29, 2022. (AP Photo)

Realities of war threaten to overwhelm rhetoric

Ask Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky what he wants more now, worldwide expression of sympathy or what he deems a fraction of western tanks, warplanes and anti-warship systems that he suggests…

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Treacherous path of Paetongtarn

A Facebook post by an anti-government activist may have gone largely unnoticed but it asks a highly-relevant question: What does the political rise of Thaksin Shinawatra’s youngest daughter say about…

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Ukrainian soldiers and firefighters search in a destroyed building after a bombing attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)

Only paranoid world survives

After German troops invaded Poland in 1939, triggering an armed conflict that was to spread to virtually every part of the world, human beings made the most of their fledging…

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Ukraine lessons for everyone but Russia

To Vladimir Putin, the serious economic sanctions and major diplomatic embarrassment were not something to learn from. He had expected it, which leaves a question of what the current war…

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Nida Patcharaveerapong (Tangmo)

What lies beneath

When “Tangmo” is concerned, there is no shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. In other words, the TV star, who has died tragically in her prime, must have…

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File Photo by Jack TAYLOR / AFP

Political melting pot just gets hotter

Thaksin Shinawatra is trying to get back on stage, whereas Move Forward is struggling to stay on it. Will Prayut Chan-o-cha dissolve the House of Representatives and/or join a new…

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Fifty shades of “Salim”

When future historians deal with political “colors” in Thailand, the first thing they will probably need to do is acquaint themselves with words like “Burgundy”, or “Carmine”, or “Amaranth”, or…

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Constituency 9 voters: Don’t count on us to be “accountable”

It was a peculiar electoral outcome that “winners” may celebrate cautiously and some “losers” can find encouraging. Ballots cast in Bangkok’s Laksi and Chatuchak districts on Sunday show that races…

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(Photo by Andrew Harnik)

Alarm, not reflection, greets Capitol “Riot” anniversary

The point is not about Joe Biden’s approval rating has hit a new low. It’s about the eventuality and unavoidability of it. No matter how hard he has possibly tried,…

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By-elections underline growing “frenemy” politics

Thailand’s political situation used to be straightforward in the recent past. The Democrats being up against the Shinawatra camp made elections easy to contest and predict. The former were guaranteed…

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Welcome to “Newer Normal”

“New Normal” was an adapted way of life that prevailed when people thought they could perish if infected by the coronavirus. That adaptation is partly old now because, while the virus…

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Tid Sompong during one of his Facebook live sessions.

Tid Sompong couldn’t stand heat, and made wise choice

Religions adapt, as there were no social media or stock markets in the ancient days and the concepts of human rights and humility were different during the times of Jesus…

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2022 is arriving with most, if not all, of questions remaining unanswered. (Photo by Isabela Kronemberger)

Bruised, defiant but clueless still, humans enter 2022

Headlines all over the world in 2021 do not give the coronavirus the credit it deserves. Expression of awe and show of panic is seasonal at best, meaning that whenever infection…

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File photo : Loong Phol when he was arrested more than a year after the death of his wife’s niece.

Loong Phol and double-edged social media

Only two possibilities exist when Loong Phol is concerned: Either he is innocent or he is guilty, and both scenarios are scary. That’s what renowned sci-fi writer Arthur C. Clake,…

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A mural depicting a man in protective suit spraying disinfectant on a coronavirus at the Tijuca neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Mauro Pimentel / AFP)

Is Omicron one of coronavirus’ greatest tricks?

Delta scares. There is no question about that. Harder to say is what Omicron is doing. Is it frightening, or lulling, or confusing, or performing a mixture of everything? What…

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US President Joe Biden meets with China’s President Xi Jinping during a virtual summit from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, November 15, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

Cold War in greyer world

It used to be a black and white situation, or so it seemed, when the United States and the then Soviet Union boycotted each other’s key events for fun, when…

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A Buddhist monk lights candles to commemorate Visakha Bucha Day or Vesak Day. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)

How come many Buddhist monks do what Lord Buddha renounced?

One possible answer to that question is that the founder of Buddhism had been “there” before his enlightenment, enjoying wealth, power, status, and all kinds of other worldly pleasures including…

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Two-ballot system will certainly give Pheu Thai a major electoral advantage, most likely at the expense of other major parties like Palang Pracharath and Move Forward. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)

Electoral changes to test opposition bloc’s unity

Polite words sometimes could not paper over big conflicts in politics, so Pheu Thai and Move Forward speaking nicely to each other or referring to each other amicably regarding the…

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File photo

Bipartisan Constitution actually possible and even easy

This week’s demise of a charter amendment bill sold as “of the people” is not a surprise, but what is bewildering is why people who matter continue to keep away…

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(Photo courtesy of Jurin Laksanawisit Facebook)

Can Democrats crawl their way back?

Thailand’s oldest political party had been there before. By that, before the catastrophic last general election, the Democrats had gone through all kinds of lows, be it devastating insurrection, disastrous…

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People hold red candles during a memorial for 15-year-old Warit Somnoi, a protester who has died two months after being shot during an anti-government rally, outside a police station in Bangkok on October 29, 2021. (Photo by Jack TAYLOR / AFP)

Phra Kiew, Paetongtarn and reconciliation

In politics, a man’s good news is another man’s bad one. However, here’s doom and gloom for all: Long-lasting national peace will remain very remote no matter what happens from…

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COVID-19 pill may revive old, bitter debate

Common sense, whether it’s humanitarian or economic, dictates that if the world has found a drug that can make the coronavirus a lot less scary, the treatment should be made…

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Iraq’s capital Baghdad on October 11, 2021. (Photo by Sabah ARAR / AFP)

Treacherous path that journalists have to take

You can be a “freedom fighter” storming a “corrupt” Parliament, or you can be a “rioter” invading the place where honorable congressmen work. You can be a “brave journalist” trying…

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Chadchart Sittipunt greets patrons in a restaurant while campaigning in Bangkok on March 15, 2019, ahead of the March 24 general election. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)

What frontrunner Chadchart has to do

The trick is that the independent Bangkok gubernatorial candidate must stay away from national politics if he wants to lead all the way to the finish line. However, that is…

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(Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)

“Silent majority” gives everyone hope _ and anxiety

To varying degrees, all key players in Thai politics can be both optimistic and apprehensive at the same time. While politicians regard themselves as second to none at keeping their…

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Complexities of Evergrande phenomenon

In a more ideologically straightforward world, Chinese “merchants” and capitalism don’t go anywhere near each other. That, however, is not the case in this world, where the financial troubles of…

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(Photo by ThaiPBS)

Can Prayut and Thammanat walk on separate tightropes?

They were skating on thin ice together like a pair, but, currently, the prime minister and arguably the most controversial man in his government coalition are drifting in opposite directions….

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(Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha / AFP)

What’s “Dirty job man” up to?

The question regarding Prayut Chan-o-cha and Thammanat Prompao is whether it’s a “mountain out of a molehill” situation or a “no smoke without fire” development. In a world where Prayut…

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(Photo by Thai PBS)

With coronavirus playing variable, Thai political war rages on

Rival Thai politicians and their supporters are gambling on how the country’s COVID-19 situation will pan out in the immediate future. If it gets worse significantly or improves remarkably, nothing…

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A US military helicopter is pictured flying above the US embassy in Kabul on August 15, 2021. (Photo by Wakil KOHSAR / AFP)

Kabul falls while US fails

Most armed conflicts in the world have “proxy” written all over them, so one of the most-ridiculed Joe Biden statements regarding America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan is actually spot-on. “They have…

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(Photo by Saeed KHAN / AFP)

What if everyone’s worst nightmare comes true?

The brightest minds in the United States and England are fearing that the world is facing a really and progressively gloomy future, but they think slightly differently, though. The US…

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(Photo by Tulip Naksompop Blauw)

Will Phuket be the last straw that breaks camel’s back?

The answer will depend primarily on the COVID-19 numbers at Thailand’s popular island resort. But how the Prayut administration will look coming out of a potential Phuket nightmare will also…

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A colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (green) heavily infected with Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 virus particles (purple), isolated from a patient sample, at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. (Photo by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

How COVID-19 takes advantage of vaccine race

Human beings having several, competing vaccines may be the last thing they need and the first thing the coronavirus wants. Instead of pooling expertise, manpower and financial resources to create…

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When loved ones can be deadly

One possible explanation for the continued, terrifying increase in COVID-19 cases in Thailand is that the country may be arriving at the most unwanted juncture. As news reports focus on “clusters”…

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Virus against humans (Part II)

Many military strategists may quietly admire the coronavirus. In the first wave, it took advantage of human beings’ unpreparedness, striking rich countries with brute force and sparing much of the…

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Cracked alliances heighten state of flux

Pheu Thai and Move Forward are reportedly not seeing eye to eye. But neither are Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Palang Pracharath, and the latter pair’s conflict can be more…

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A woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Narathiwat on March 24, 2019 during Thailand’s last general election. (Photo by Madaree TOHLALA / AFP)

COVID-19 to determine election timing, and perhaps winners

Humans make rules, dissolve parliaments, woo voters, mark ballots, and set up administrations, but the new normal of politics stipulates that they aren’t the ones actually in control. Those activities…

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Why social media should leave Loong Phol alone

The Japanese say everyone has three faces. The first is put on for the world, the one you wear while in office, at party, on public transport, at lunch with…

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