Grant Evans on the monarchy and law

16 02 2009

Anthropologist and Lao Studies scholar Grant Evans has commented twice over the past two-and-half years about Thailand’s lesè majesté law.   Shortly after the 19 September 2006 coup in the International Herald Tribune, Evans wrote about coupmakers and the monarchy in 19 October 2006, “A law that stifles talk in Thailand”.   More recently, Evans calls for reform in a Bangkok Post op-ed, 13 February 2009, “Modern Monarchy and Inviolability”

When PPT posted this we suggested: some of the criticisms made of the Bangkok Post piece  at the end of the article are interesting. Scroll down to view them. Now, however, the comments have been removed. One PPT can dig up because it was at New Mandala said: “Grant Evans must be from another side of the tracks in Australia. I am just a couple of years younger than him, and his fond memories of a “naturalness” to monarchy were not my own experience. All of the working class kids around me thought the monarchy was something that the rich foisted on us. We avoided God Save the Queen in cinemas. We hated singing it in school. It was understood as part of a structure of control and domination that teachers enforced.

I recall my graduation from university in the early 70s, when people sat down when God Save the Queen was played.

Evans seems to discount the long history of republicanism in Australia that goes back to colonial times. He discounts its class nature – what else would one expect from a lapsed communist who embraces a bunch of conservative ideologies today?

If this statement is radical or even somehow “brave” for Thailand, then it shows how limited debate is. But, then again, if the Bangkok Post prints it, it is safe and mainstream I guess.”


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