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FILE - Taylor Swift arrives at the 66th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 4, 2024, in Los Angeles. Photo: Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP File

Opinion: Taylor Swift, Singapore, Thailand, and ASEAN Neighbors: A Case Study on “Incentives”

Thanks to PM Srettha Thavisin who said last month that the Singaporean government paid two to three million dollars per show to American songstress Taylor Swift to ensure that she performs exclusively in Singapore while in Southeast Asia, the disclosure has led to lessons and debate among the neighbors of Singapore.
People in Nakhon Ratchasima province gather at Thao Suranari (Ya Mo) Monument to show their support for HRH Princess Sirindhorn in an event led by the province's governor Siam Sirimongkol on Feb. 16, 2024.

Opinion: An Educated Guess on How Many Thais Are Royalists

Over the past two weeks, we have seen royalists and ultra-royalists wearing purple shirt and dress, changed their social media account’s background color to purple, which is the birth color of HRH Princess Sirindhorn, to express their love and solidarity towards the Princess whose royal motorcade was recently honked at by monarchy-reform activist Tawan Tuatulanond.
Monarchy reform activist Tawan Tuatulanond speaks to reporters after she files a complaint at Pathum Wan Police Station over the clash with a group of ultra-royalists at BTS Siam Station earlier the day on Feb. 10, 2024.

Opinion: Shut From Parliament, Monarchy Reform Issue Reopened on the Streets

Barely a week has passed since the Constitutional Court’s January-31 ruling that the Move Forward Party’s pledge to amend the controversial royal defamation law was unconstitutional when the issue of monarchy reform is back on the media front pages.
Former leader of Move Forward Party Pita Limjaroenrat arrives to listen to the live verdict at parliament in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024. Photo: Sakchai Lalit / AP

Opinion: The Middle Path Towards Thai Monarchy Reform Is Being Shutdown

The door to have reform of the monarchy done through the parliament was shut when the Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday that the pledge by Move Forward Party to amend the law was unconstitutional and tantamount to an attempt to subvert the political system with the King as Head of State.
Former leader of Move Forward Party Pita Limjaroenrat, center, waves to his supporters as he leaves Constitutional Court in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024. The court ruled Wednesday that popular politician Pita, who was blocked from becoming prime minister even though his party placed first in last year’s election, did not violate the election law and can retain his seat in Parliament. Photo: Sakchai Lalit / AP

Opinion: Move Forward Party is Prepared for Its “Day Zero:” What About Its Supporters...

It is not unthinkable that the most popular political party in Thailand could be dissolved on Wednesday.
A sign posted at Sanam Luang in Bangkok prohibiting sunbathing on the lawn taken on Jan. 18, 2024.

Opinion: Why We Should Care About “No Sunbathing” Sign at Bangkok’ Sanam Luang

The local authority in Bangkok finally puts up a “no sunbathing” and no wearing of bikinis sign at Sanam Luang on Thursday, a few days after some Thai netizens were outraged at the photos of two scantily clad Caucasian female tourists sunbathing at the lawn in bliss, but oblivious to the backdrop of the Emerald Buddha Temple and the Grand Palace behind.
Health minister Cholanan Srikaew and public health officials pose with children at an event to boost the birth rate on Nov. 15, 2023.

Opinion: The Government Wants More Thais to Have Children. Good Luck with That!

The government is pushing for a new national agenda: trying to convince and incentivize more Thais to procreate. In the words of Health Department Director General Atchara Nitiapinyasakul warns on Saturday Thais need to have more babies or there will be a shortage of workers and taxpayers six decades from now.
The last sunset of 2023 at Wat Arun Ratchawararam (Temple of Dawn) in Bangkok on Dec. 31, 2023.

Opinion: What to Watch Out for in Thailand in 2024

Since time is a continuum, there are issues from 2023 that will continue to be relevant to Thailand in 2024.
Images of Nong Nice meditating as published on his social media. Note: Images are blurred to comply with media regulations on underage individuals.

Opinion: ‘Phenomenal’ Eight-Year-Old Boy ‘Spiritual Leader’ A Damning Verdict on Thai Education System

Thailand’s hottest “spiritual” phenomena over the past months, or basically of the year 2023, is not led by a Buddhist monk, but an eight-year-old boy known as “Nong Nice” (Little Brother Nice).
Bangkok skyline shrouded in dust on Dec. 12, 2023.

Opinion: Thais Are Losing Faith in the Government’s Ability to Tackle PM2.5

A Bangkok school, Pramochwithaya Ramintra School, putting up a banner urging drivers to drive slowly around the site earlier this week in hope of having less PM2.5 kicking back up into the air from the road was indeed a desperate act of individuals handling the hazardous air pollution that both the local and national government have failed to eliminate over the years.

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