BANGKOK — Once a symbol of democracy and later disappeared in mysterious circumstances, a small plaque at the center of Thailand’s modern history is now edging into the purview of popular culture.
The 1932 Revolution Plaque, which marked the spot where the overthrow of the absolute monarchy took place 88 years ago, is remembered by an Instagram filter, T shirts, and even cookies and pancakes. An activist said the Plaque is, ironically, more widely known than ever.
“When it’s removed, yeah, it’s gone, but now it’s on Tshirts. Now it’s on cookies. Now it’s on game cards,” campaigner Nuttaa Mahattana said at a panel at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand on Wednesday.
She continued, “Removing it is a political act, and maybe makes it even more impactful now, because the thing that has been forgotten is now remembered and talked about very loud and very clear. So maybe we have to thank the person who’s removing all these items.”
Despite its place in Thailand’s long roads of democracy, the revolution of 1932 is almost never taught about in school textbooks or mainstream history, even more so in the arts and popular culture.
The plaque commemorating the coup also mysteriously disappeared in 2017, as well as other monuments relating to those in the People’s Party. But thanks to the advent of social media and a growing interest among young people, the revolt and its iconic plaque have made a comeback.
Napat Vatanakuljaras, owner of kanom tokyo shop Tokyo Hot, made a one-day limited edition of pancakes decorated like the plaque in order to raise funds for an art event, proceeds of which will go to the Mirror Foundation, a charity helping children in need.
“I felt like I wanted to commemorate the plaque with a pancake for fun. It’s a piece of history that can be embedded into food,” Napat said. “This year, we saw more interest than years before. Someone paid us 247.5 baht for a pancake.” In the Buddhist calendar, 2475 is the same year as 1932.
The shop also encouraged people to make plaque-themed food, and user Thowasana K’Shayne posted a photo of his plaque-themed salmon katsu salad.
User @Groupw66 made cookies in the shape of the plaque and the Democracy monument.
Ever wanted to compare your horoscope to someone in the People’s Party? Political science students at Chulalongkorn University posted a Facebook album shared more than 5,000 times since Wednesday where Aries will find that they “care about the collective good” like Pridi Banomyong, and so on.
The same university’s Faculty of Arts published a commemorative poem in both Thai and English for the revolt as well, titled “Wind of Change.”
Meanwhile on Twitter, former Future Forward party Pannika Wanich posed in a photo of herself dressed like Poonsuk Banomyong, and a side-by-side comparison tweeted by @Sirinikaxx was retweeted more than 19,000 times.
Twitter user @P_artit_ drew some 24 June-themed postcards in a set titled “Thank You 2475.”
There’s also a 1932 revolt card game. The Revolutionary Things card game, which premiered at an exhibition about the revolution on the 84th anniversary, will be on sale at the Bangkok City City Gallery for 500 baht a pack starting Wednesday.
It plays like a Heads Up with a theme related to the revolution. Hold a card (without looking at it) to your left breast while friends try to make you guess what’s pictured there. The rules call for a time limit of two minutes and four seconds in tribute to the People Party’s numerical obsession.
“Art will keep progressing. Maybe soon we’ll be hearing songs about the People’s Party plaque,” Nuttaa said. “Some people do it to educate, to commemorate, to make money, or to release their opinions.”