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Buddhism and Politics in Thailand

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ISBN: 9782355960468 DOI: 10.4000/books.irasec.2951 Language: English
Publisher: Institut de recherche sur l’Asie du Sud-Est contemporaine
Subject: Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2019-12-06 13:15:36
License: OpenEdition Licence for Books

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Despite the often-repeated assertion that Buddhism and politics are, or at least must be, separate matters, Buddhism has been closely intertwined with politics one way or another since the Buddha’s time. In Thailand, Buddhism has been used since the end of the 19th century as a tool to legitimate state power. In the following decades, it has been progressively centralized under a national hierarchy, which is still existing today. This scheme was not altered after the change of the country’s political framework in 1932 and political tensions with the sangha came to the fore during the political troubles of the 1970s. The emergence of an increasing political divide in Thailand since the mid-2000s, around two broad groups which have been dubbed the Yellow Shirts and the Red Shirts, has engulfed the monastic community, leading to a growing activism by some Buddhist groups, some temples and some monks. Numerous monks mingled with Red Shirts demonstrators in April-May 2010, and some were on the front-line when the military gave the assault on the Red Shirts’ camp in downtown Bangkok. In the most recent years, these tensions have coalesced around the controversial Dhammakaya temple and have impacted the choice of the leader of the Thai monastic community. Although, tensions within the sangha are nothing new, they have weakened the ability of Buddhism – one of the national pillars of the Thai national ideology – to be a focal point as the country is going through a difficult transition with the end of seven-decades prestigious reign and political uncertainties clouding the horizon.

Armée du Peuple, Armée du Roi : Les militaires face à la société en Indonésie et en Thaïlande

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ISBN: 9782355960291 DOI: 10.4000/books.irasec.1306 Language: French
Publisher: Institut de recherche sur l’Asie du Sud-Est contemporaine
Subject: History
Added to DOAB on : 2019-12-06 13:15:36
License: OpenEdition Licence for Books

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À quoi doit servir l’armée dans les grands pays d’Asie du Sud-Est ? Pendant de longues années, la réponse donnée par l'Indonésie comme par la Thaïlande a été claire. Les militaires contrôlaient la vie politique, l'activité économique, et s’efforçaient d'assurer leur emprise à tous les niveaux de la société. Depuis 1992 à Bangkok et 1998 à Jakarta, les uniformes semblent de nouveau cantonnés à leur tâche traditionnelle de défense nationale. Mais ce mouvement est-il définitif et est-il même “naturel” dans des sociétés en pleine mutation ? Ce livre, qui ouvre la collection analyses en regard s’efforce d’apporter des réponses à ces questions, dessinant ainsi ce que pourrait être l’avenir des relations entre civils et militaires dans la région.

Policies of the Thai State towards the Malay Muslim South (1978-2010)

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ISBN: 9782355960048 DOI: 10.4000/books.irasec.833 Language: English
Publisher: Institut de recherche sur l’Asie du Sud-Est contemporaine
Subject: Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2019-12-06 13:15:36
License: OpenEdition Licence for Books

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It was one of these landmark special programs at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand, on the top floor of the Maneeya Centre Building, in the upscale commercial heart of Bangkok, where Major General Pichet Wisaijorn was the exclusive guest speaker on that evening of November 2009. Many of the journalists, both Thai and Foreign, were present and Khun Roong and the other staff at the bar were working non-stop, dropping pizza here and glasses of dark beer there. Expectations were high. Pichet was the Fourth Army Region commander, which includes the three “problematic provinces” of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, plus a few unruly districts in the Songkhla province. Since 2003, thousands of people, rubber tappers, insurgents, traders, school teachers, civil servants, police officers, military personnel and some foreigners had been killed in a maelstrom of violence linked to what was officially called the “separatist insurgency” by the authorities as well as linked to the mafia culture prevailing in this region. The trafficking of women, drug peddling, extortion, smuggling of palm oil and cheap electronic items from Malaysia have always been rife in the deep South. This mafia culture is prevailing in many of Thailand's 77 provinces, but the total breakdown of law and order in the South makes it worse. Many in the audience were thinking that General Pichet would deliver some answers to the most important questions which have puzzled journalists, businessmen and other residents for years: who leads the insurgency? What are their objectives? How the movement is structured, or is it even structured at all? What is the division of power between the Southern Border Provincial Administrative Committee, the armed forces, the local administration and the central government? Have there been any attempts to negotiate with the insurgents? But the presentation of Pichet was rather disappointing. What is the direction of their policy? Pichet repeated the royally endorsed recipe: khao chai, khao teung, pattana (“understand, reach out and develop”). With its supreme and unquestioned wisdom, this “magic formula” is supposed to throw the listeners in deep awe and reverence. But the mantra had long become a poor PR tool to answer the questions of journalists and diplomats on field visits in sam changwat pak tai, the three provinces of the South.

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