Bangkok Post columnist
Thana Boonlert is a writer for the Life section and a Bangkok Post columnist.
'Art is short, a case is long," read a banner. Students apparently hijacked the well-known motto "art is long, life is short" by Prof Silpa Bhirasri, the father of Thai modern art, in protest of Chiang Mai University's legal action against its own lecturers and a student who "trespassed" on the art centre to exhibit works, some of which might challenge those in power, last year. It is a case in point for stifling democracy in Thai art.
Resistance to the controversial foreign land ownership bill is giving rise to the term khai chat -- used to denounce traitors who sell the motherland -- being used in political discourse. Whether a person is a government critic or supporter, he or she believes their ancestors fought very hard to protect our land and it should not be given away to foreigners.
Win or lose, a protest is a process of trial and error. To put it simply, it is disruption, innovation, or something in between, just the way the now-defunct but shape-shifting Future Forward Party was in 2019 because it is born out of a spirit, not a person or a party. If the student-led demonstration goes down in history for demanding the boldest political reform, including the role of the monarchy, its resurrection last week proves that the pro-democracy movement is coming of age.
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.