Revisiting history through memorabilia

(Photo: Thana Boonlert)

'The winner writes history, but don't forget that we create it," said Anon Chawalawan, in his most comprehensive offline exhibition titled "Collectible Show: Museum Of Popular History" at Kinjai Contemporary, to mark the 90th anniversary of the Siamese Revolution in 1932.

On view until March 20 is a wide range of more than 300 items, from an amulet offered to those who quelled the royalist revolt, the Boworadet Rebellion, in 1933 to a blood-smeared statement read by student activist Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul who cut herself in an anti-112 campaign on Oct 31 last year. Every piece shows the development of Thai politics. "Someone sent me a parcel included that a whistle and a personal letter. The donor got it while the People's Democratic Reform Committee was holding a mass rally," he said.

Anon is working for the Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw), but he wears a collector's hat during his free time.

He is the founder of the Museum of Popular History on Facebook, with over 9,000 followers. He started collecting protest memorabilia after the coup by the now-defunct National Council for Peace and Order in 2014.

"I joined the campaign of those who marched from Bangkok to Khon Kaen in 2018. When they arrived at Democracy Monument, they walked on white fabric in colour-soaked feet. I wished I had asked for it. Disposable items can make an impact because they become unofficial history," he said.

"These objects reflect the zeitgeist. I got a placard from a university student that read if politics is good, my mom would already have a dishwasher. Given the youth-led movement, we can see a change in mindset. Politics is in our daily life. If it sucks, we will never have a good life."

A session on the lese-majeste law is scheduled for 6pm tomorrow. It will be joined by Assoc Prof Puangthong Pawakapan and iLaw manager Yingcheep Atchanon. Visitors can sign in support of the abolition of 112 and the student's right.


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