Bangkok Post columnist
Thana Boonlert is a writer for the Life section and a Bangkok Post columnist.
In the late 18th century, British philosopher Jeremy Bentham visited his younger brother, Samuel, in Russia, who arranged unskilled factory workers in a circle so that he could supervise them. Inspired by this principle, Bentham developed "the panopticon", an inspection tower surrounded by cells. Its uniqueness was that it enabled a watchman to monitor prisoners without them knowing they were being watched.
Only two weeks after decriminalising cannabis, Thailand is experiencing a green rush. Since June 9, when the legalisation of marijuana for home and commercial use took effect, almost 1 million people registered to grow it with food and drug officials, while more than 40 million have checked out the registration platform. There's a growing public interest in the cash crop -- though some farmers remain doubtful -- and it is paving the way for "cannabis journalism".
On May Day last week, hundreds of demonstrators marched from Ratchaprasong intersection to the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre (BACC) to push for improvements to labour rights. People from all walks of life took part in the rally, held by the Workers' Union. Among them were delivery riders with their precarious employment status.
Harvard University Professor Joseph Nye coined the term "soft power", or the ability to obtain preferred outcomes by attraction, rather than coercion or payment, in his book Bound To Lead in 1990. However, he has since seen his brainchild, scribbled out on his kitchen table, grow in scope of application and distance.
The cabinet early this week finally shot down a draft of the marriage equality bill that was proposed by the Move Forward Party (MFP). The doomed destiny of this progressive pro-gender equality draft bill is not surprising under the current ultra-conservative government.
'If I were to come across him, I would ask whether he knows what I'm going through," said a woman in her 30s. How hard is it to carry a sense of helplessness for years? How difficult is it to build a new relationship after your trust has been broken? Can the attacker understand such feelings? I know the victim would rather not ask these questions than let her struggle out.
In the future, the family frontier will be expanded. The declining population is posing a challenge to the country in the midst of a brain drain due to political conflict. Given the demographic crisis, public health officials are seeking an amendment to allow commercial surrogacy. However, the slow progress of the marriage law for same-sex couples can put their desire for parenthood on hold.
Have you ever imagined how you might die in old age? I remember once telling a close friend that I would use a "sleeping pod" -- if euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide were legal. But in Thailand, it is only terminally ill patients who have the right to forgo treatment in such a way that allows them to die "naturally". Under Section 12 of the Public Health Act, they can make a will denying the use of public health services that would prolong the end stage of their illness.