Students vs. the feudal regime III

7 11 2021

Jirapreeya Saeboo is a third year Political Science student majoring International Relations at Chulalongkorn University and writes at New Bloom about the controversy over the Chulalongkorn-Thammasat football match procession and the executive committee of Chulalongkorn University’s Student Union’s canceling the Phra Kieo parade.

Of course, that brought a predictable royalist backlash.

Jirapreeya points out the huge (electoral) support the current Student Council has and how its statement was supported by student groups:

The statement issued by the student union framed the event as the symbol of feudalistic culture and reinforcing social inequality. Likewise, it asserted that because the parade was just 30-year-old, it was an invented tradition. It also raised skepticism regarding the selection of the privileged male and female students seated on the palanquin, carried by roughly 50 male students, who were forced to participate in exchange for eligibility to stay in the university’s dormitory. The statement ended by closing with the phrase, “For the equality of man.”

In the article there’s more about the royalist backlash. For example:

Chaiyabhak Chanwilai, the head of the so-called “Chulalongkorn University Dignity Conservation,” claimed on Facebook that the cancellation of the parade is a grave abomination towards the monarchy. He pressured the university’s administration to punish the members of the student union and affirmed that if no action of punishment is taken, the university’s administration should just be fired.

Soon after, the “university administration issued a statement saying that the student union’s resolution was an attack on … worshipped figures…” and promising punishment for the students and the university demanded that it be able to censor all Student Council statements and publications.

Jirapreeya writes that:

This is a serious menace to freedom of expression in the academic field, drawing parallels with the authoritarian military government Thais have been subordinated to for decades. For our part, we are fighting and resisting authoritarian acts in our university. We gained a number of supports not only from Thai civil society but also from the international arena. But our university is going to hold us back and punish us for trying to make changes. This is why we need more international attention, and actions towards them.

And there’s a call for help:

We are proposing to the United Nations to recognize October 6th as the “International Day for the Protection of Students’ Freedom of Expression.” This matters because Thai student activists and youth protesters are being captured and incarcerated for demanding equality and freedom. The repressive regime silenced and killed untold family members and friends. This is why we need to resist.

If you are media, press, news reports, please do publicize, and write about this incident to your platform. The University is afraid of losing its international credit which is going to affect its rankings.

If you are a student organization, student union, committee, you can publish a statement in solidarity with us. You can do that by:

    • Support the Student Union’s stances.
    • Condemn the authoritarian acts of Chulalongkorn University’s administration.
    • Demand Chulalongkorn University to terminate all further trials on the Student Union and other associated students.
    • Ask your university, if they are associated with Chulalongkorn University in some ways, to consider the withdrawal of the partnership agreement.

It is time that students stand by each other and aim for the fight for justice and equality.

If you were to write to the university, publish it on your platform and please send the statement or letter pressure to these emails:

    • Associate Professor Natcha Thawesaengskulthai, Ph.D. , Vice President for Strategic Planning, Innovation and Global Engagement, Chulalongkorn University
    • Assistant Professor Chaiyaporn Puprasert, Ph.D., Vice President for Student Affairs, Chulalongkorn University



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