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Sharp thoughts.

Thais, Passports and Struggles at Immigration

Imagine the scene. An overweight and intimidating-looking LAX officer painfully scrutinizes the papers handed over by the tiny Asian lady. Glancing up, he matches the face to the passport. Looking down, he checks his screen’s blacklist.
Clockwise from top left, Abhisit Vejjajiva, Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck Shinawatra and Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Cheat, Murderer, Idiot and Thug

All political leaders have lovers who support them come what may and haters who deride them no matter what they do. Here we shall focus on what the haters say. Why? Because it’s more fun that way.

Yingluck’s Gone But the Masks Follow

Once you put on a mask, like those of classical Thai khon dramas, they can become difficult to remove. You then may end up having...

The Making of a Cult of Personality

Public mourning has become a competitive sport for some who, intentionally or not, have made it more difficult to impress.

Sometimes, I Wish Thailand Could Be Simpler …

Sometimes, I wish that understanding and describing a society like Thailand could be simpler, without complexity, tension and contradictions. Like a coin with just one side.

Mourning the King With Respect to Our Diversity

Millions are mourning the passing of His Majesty the King, Bhumibol Adulyadej. As we transition into a new era, let’s recall mourning is about love and empathy as much as it is grief. It should not be about intolerance, coercion and excess.

Will Bangkok Prove Greater Than Those Who Would Remake it?

Walking through Thonglor in the heat of the day is a dreary experience, one few people have to endure as they drive by in cars, taxis or on motorcycle taxis.

Voranai: My Brother’s Keeper

Raise your hand if you have used, know someone who has or are familiar with the following negotiation tactic: “There’s nothing we can’t work...
Vorayuth 'Boss' Yoovidhya, who has evaded justice for years in the death of a Thonglor police officer, spotted in 2013 at the British Formula 1 Grand Prix in Silverstone, England, in a photo provided by XPB Images. Photo: XPB Images / Associated Press

Voranai: Do You Know Who My Daddy Is?

We have spent the past 80-plus years bouncing like a ping-pong ball between quasi-democracy and military dictatorship.

Bangkok Street Food Ban a Banal Assault on Way of Life

The irony of the debate on banning Bangkok’s street food was that it took foreigners – mostly Western media – to point out how unique and vibrant street food here was before the military regime backpedaled a tad.

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