Patrolling boundaries III

12 07 2020

In late April, PPT posted on efforts by rightists and royalists in Nakorn Ratchasima tp protect the “honor” of the legend and monument to Thao Suranari, a statue created by an Italian sculptor and put in place in January 1934 and known as Ya Mo in Korat.

What we said then was that the statue had become a part of a royalist “protection” racket and the royalist legend has been widely consumed in the province.

So it is that officials jump into action whenever a transgression is imagined. This past week there was another paroxysm.

The Bangkok Post reports that the “Real Ghosts television programme is facing scrutiny over its controversial depiction of local historical figures in one of its episodes.” Channel 8 took the show off-air “following criticism.”

Tewan Liptapanlop, a minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, has crowed that “Channel 8 will face legal action for ‘distorting history’.”

Tewan, who “oversees the National Office of Buddhism … said the show’s depiction of Thao Suranari … and her adopted daughter was offensive.” He ordered the NOB to make a case against the program and have the “provincial administration, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission and the Fine Arts Department” investigate.

The head of the Chart Pattana Party, Tewan transformed the monument into something Buddhist. That probably has something to do with the show being about the supernatural – ghosts. Of course, no Thai Buddhist could possibly have any interest in ghosts.

Tewan claimed many were “angry.” He declared: “The authorities will take legal action against it.” He seemed to poke Korat’s people into action: “The Korat people and I want to file lawsuits against the [channel].”

More ominously, Tewan called for more patrolling of the political and ideological boundaries: “This case is a lesson for other programmes that make historical references…”. He reportedly ordered “provincial Buddhism offices across the kingdom … to take part in monitoring the production of supernatural TV shows in their respective areas in the future.”

As a bit of background, this politically and ideologically correct Tewan is the younger brother of Suwat, one of the gravel haulers and dumpers who made a fortune from military contacts back in the 1970s and 1980s, becoming locally “influential.” Suwat’s father was an associate of Gen Arthit Kamlang-ek, who “provided the Liptapanlops’ company with military construction contracts. Most of the projects were in the province of Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat), so the company and family that were responsible for building infrastructure and hospitals won considerable influence there…”.

It is somewhat ironic that the provincial influential persons are patrolling the state’s ideological boundaries.



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