Monarchy, Buddhist bosses and prison labor

19 02 2011

In The Nation there is one of those regular stories about some kind of “donation” to celebrate the king or the monarchy. This kind of stuff is commonplace, especially as the amart promotes its version of royalism as an essential element of its politically-repressive ideology. This brief report says:

The Supreme Patriarch will provide full backing for the construction of an ubosot or ordination hall to mark the auspicious occasion of His Majesty’s 84th birthday this year.

The project’s adviser Phra Rat Rattana Mongkhon said yesterday that the ubosot would be built at Wat Pa Phuttha Nimit Sathit Simaram in Huai Yang village of Sakon Nakhon province’s Khok Sri Suphan district.

The monk said the hall would be 7 metres wide and 15 metres long, large enough to house 50 monks. The construction of the ubosot is expected to cost Bt1 million. Two earthen dwelling units would also be built at the cost of Bt100,000 each.

Phra Rat Rattana Mongkhon said the Secretariat to the Supreme Patriarch would bring soil from holy Buddhist sites in Nepal, India and Pakistan to be mixed in with the materials used to build the ubosot.

This is all pretty much standard in a country where royal posterior polishing has become the norm. Sakhon Nakol is kind of significant, in the heartland of red shirt activism, but also the site of a rarely-used royal palace that was symbolic of the fight against the CPT in the Northeast.

So why is PPT highlighting this story? It is for the next line in the report:

Prisoners will do the construction work. He added that the Supreme Patriarch would provide a jade statue of the Buddha brought from India to be placed inside the ubosot.

Prisoners working, 1900

Has any reader heard of this before? The idea of using prison labor for celebrating the monarchy is really sounding like a throwback to 1912 and slavery.

We know that prisoners were used well into the 20th century on some public works, but hadn’t heard of this before. We also know that several countries, including some states in the U.S. put prisoners to work. Comments are welcome.


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20 02 2011
World Spinner

Monarchy, Buddhist bosses and prison labor | Political Prisoners ……

Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……




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