Thailand Post-election Analysis: Crisis and Opportunity

Memo #97 – The highest voter turnout in history shows Thai voters still view elections as the most legitimate way to transfer power. 75 per cent of eligible voters participated in last week’s election. Pheu Thai took 40 per cent of the vote, gained 265 out of 500 seats, and together with five other parties will form a 300-seat coalition government – an impressive result for a party whose predecessors were ousted by a coup d’état in 2006, twice dissolved, and had their politicians banned from politics for five years. Continue reading

Thai-Cambodian Border Clashes – What is Fuelling them?

Memo #80 – Since the end of April 2011, fighting between the Thai and Cambodian armies along their disputed border killed 18 people, injured over 120, and displaced nearly 100,000 villagers. Since hostilities began in July 2008, border clashes have now left at least 28 dead and some 150 injured. The conflict is centred around three ancient temples built by Khmer kings nearly a thousand years ago. But most analysts contend that territory is not the driving concern, rather it is fuelled by domestic politics in both countries. Continue reading

Thailand’s Red-Shirts: One Year Later

Memo #60 – March 12, 2011 will mark the first anniversary of Thailand’s red-shirt protesters’ massive street campaign in Bangkok that ended in some of the worst political violence in modern Thai history. 91 people were killed and over 1,800 were injured in a military crackdown that resembled more of a civil war than a restoration of order. This was mainly due to the appearance of mysterious black-clad men on the side of the protesters who engaged the Thai army with automatic rifles and grenade launchers. Continue reading

Nelson Rand, a Canadian journalist wounded in Bangkok analyzes the Thailand conflict

Memo #14 – Nelson Rand is a Canadian journalist based in Bangkok who has been covering insurgencies and political protests in Thailand for the past 6 years. He was wounded while covering the protests earlier in the summer. He is a graduate of the Master of Arts – Asia Pacific Policy Studies (MAPPS) program at UBC. Continue reading

Threads, Robes, and Alms-Rounds: Thai Buddhist Monks in the Recent Yellow Shirt vs. Red Shirt Conflict

Memo #5 – Reports disseminated by Buddhist news aggregators suggest instances when Buddhist monks act along political “lines” while claiming political neutrality. The recent conflict in Thailand is no exception. Continue reading