Secret Siam

19 01 2021

Secret Siam is a new paid subscription blog by Andrew MacGregor Marshall. PPT readers may be interested. Here’s his blurb on the new venture:

Why should I subscribe?
Thailand has been convulsed by an unprecedented uprising against the monarchy and military by a new generation demanding democracy, equal rights and freedom of speech. It’s a 21st century struggle being fought on social media as well as the streets of Bangkok, and it reverberates far beyond the country’s borders. The kingdom has become a key battleground on the front lines of global resistance against authoritarianism.

The escalating rebellion is a new chapter of an old conflict. In 1932, a bloodless revolution ended centuries of absolute monarchy in Siam. It was heralded as the dawn of democracy in the kingdom, but royalists never accepted defeat and have been fighting ever since to restore the primacy of the palace. It’s a struggle that has defined the destiny of modern Thailand, plunging the kingdom into a cycle of coups and confrontations it has never managed to escape. It’s still being fought today.

Most analysis of Thailand barely mentions this at all, because telling the truth about Thai politics and history is illegal. The country has the most draconian lèse majesté law in the world. Expressing anything less than unquestioning adulation for the monarchy can get you jailed for years. Most journalists and academics understandably prefer to steer clear of the subject as much as possible.

This means much of what is written about Thailand is misleading or inadequate, because to explain what’s going on you need to address the role of the monarchy in the kingdom’s turbulent history and politics. So that is what I will do in this newsletter. I hope to make Secret Siam the best resource for anyone who wants to get the full uncensored story of what is happening in Thailand. I will not be ignoring the elephant in the room. This newsletter is about the elephant in the room — the monarchy and its role in the long conflict that has destabilised the country for decades.

I’ll be covering all sides of the conflict — not just the antics of the palace, the military and politicians, but also the plans and strategies of the protesters. And although I will focus mostly on current events I will also be regularly writing about past chapters in Thai history, to show how old events are still influencing the political drama today.

The newsletter will be useful for analysts, journalists, investors, academics and diplomats, but above all it is aimed at everybody who cares about Thailand and wants to stay updated with the most comprehensive and accurate information available.

What’s included in the subscription?
Although I will be sharing content free from time to time, to receive most issues of the newsletter you will have to pay for a subscription. It’s $5 a month, or $50 per year. The reason I am charging is because a lot of work goes into my journalism on Thailand, and this is the only way I can make it financially sustainable.

Subscribers will receive at least two newsletters in your e-mail inbox each week. Every Monday, I will share a comprehensive roundup and analysis of the events of the previous week, with links to recommended articles published elsewhere as well as my own commentary. Every Friday I will publish a detailed original article focusing on interesting aspects of Thai politics, history or culture.

When there are major breaking developments, I’ll aim to publish updates and analysis in real time as events unfold.

Subscribers can also access the entire archive of past articles at the Secret Siam website, and you can post comments in the discussion area.

So if you think Secret Siam sounds interesting, please consider subscribing!


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