Pathetic royalist “university” V

11 09 2017

Having panicked several times, the people administering Chulalongkorn University seem to be spooked again. The problem is that it is their own actions, and the reactions to them, that cause the panic and spooking.

Worried about the reaction to events over a lecturer putting a student in a headlock and the university’s royalist reaction – blaming students – the administration released a statement for the international media. The statement essentially told that media to butt out of an “internal” affair, accusing foreigners of failing to understand “Thai culture.”

According to a report in Khaosod, these same duffers administering the royalist kindergarten have decided to “revise” their statement, toning it down.

Saying the statement hadn’t been properly vetted, officials said stronger language about the “shameful” actions of Ruengwit Bunjongrat, a professor and administrator, was removed after it was originally published.

“We published it on the website without careful deliberation,” Supawan Pipitsombat, a university spokeswoman said by phone. “It was the fault of our team.”

Getting its story straight seems to be rather too challenging for the dullards “administering” the university.





Updated: Pathetic royalist “university” IV

6 09 2017

Chulalongkorn University seems to be panicked, having realized that its international reputation is being self-trashed by its administration’s reaction to kerfuffle over its concocted royalist initiation ceremony for first-year students that descended into chaos a royalist botany assistant professor assaulted a student who was walking out.

Blaming the head of the Student Council, Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal and barely concealing its ’s desire to be rid of the student activist, the administration kicked him and his colleagues off the elected Student Council. It was an administration coup.

Perhaps the administration has noted that Chulalongkorn’s international ranking in a recent list has it languishing in the 600-800 level, which is probably being generous and where its been languishing for the past three years. Given that reputation matters, its recent royalist ritual suicide is not helping that ranking.

At its royalist website, hidden away under an “archive,” the administration has several announcements, all trying to repair “damage” but actually revealing how puerile it is.

We won’t reproduce it all, but highlight a couple of points. It begins:

This statement is written in response to many news reports, articles and commentaries that appeared in the international press in relation to the recent ruling at Chulalongkorn University on a group of students for their disciplinary misconduct associated with their disruptive behavior at a university’s function in early August.  While we appreciate that members of the international press see our internal matter as newsworthy, there are a few clarifications that may deserve your consideration.

The implication is that Thais don’t need a “response,” that there was “disruptive behavior” and that the foreign media should butt out of  an “internal matter.”

None of this is true. Thai university administrators should not have impunity when they do stupid and costly things, even if it is in the name of royalist exaltation, and the international media will report such events that illustrate Thailand’s descent into feudalism. Watching the video of the event, the only disruption seems to be by university staff like the botanist.

At least the administration admits that “university is obliged to get its story straight…”. It might help if that story wasn’t a concoction. It claims to not have revealed student names; it has done so from the beginning. (Not that the students seem concerned by this, releasing documents and suchlike themselves.)

The administrators then claim that its ruling against the students “followed all routine procedures of the university’s disciplinary protocols.” It claims “[i]ndependent facts-finding and deliberation” which hardly seems likely. A bit like the rest of Thailand’s “independent” agencies.

It then tries to argue that “paying obeisance (thawai bangkhom)” is different from prostration. Readers can decide if this is fudging the issue.

Most remarkably, the administrators then seek to manipulate the role of the thug-professor, saying,

… an investigation and disciplinary procedure are underway for the lecturer who lost his temper and restrained [they mean assaulted] one of the students during the incident on 3 August.  While what happened was a shameful episode for the university, it is an act of one person and bears no relevance to the university’s policy.  This lecturer resigned from his position as assistant to the president (student affairs) since 7 August 2017, a few days after the unfortunate incident.

Of course, the same leniency cannot be given to the students and the administration seeks to separate the then assistant to the president (student affairs) from the university.

They then grumble that (foreign) journalists have not been “accurate, unbiased, and fair to our situation.”  And they again claim that this is a “purely an internal affairs that should not be linked with divisive politics and suppression of dissent which seem to be the dominant discourse or news frame presented in western and local English-language media.”

The impression is that the administrators think that “divisive politics and suppression of dissent” is an invention of foreign reporters.

Remarkably, they then appeal to conservative and royalist notions of “Thainess,” a favorite claim by all of Thailand’s anti-democrats, fascists and ultra-nationalists, including The Dictator:

Our university has a long history and a royal lineage that are imbued in our tradition and beliefs that may be uncommon to western liberal values.  Much that we support liberalism and freedom of expression, we also have our cultural roots and harmony to balance.

Their “position,” they say, “represents difference and diversity that is much valued in the West,” except that no difference and diversity was permitted from the students involved.

Administered by dunces, it is little wonder that this royalist kindergarten rank so low among the universities of the world.

Update: For more discussion of the illiberal royalism of Chulalongkorn University, see Prachatai’s take on the university’s anti-democratic declaration.





Pathetic royalist “university” III

3 09 2017

Chulalongkorn University’s concocted royalist initiation ceremony for first-year students that descended into chaos into chaos sees the university’s royalist administrators going royalist beserk.

When a group of students staged a walk out from the ridiculous prostration ceremony, one of them was put in a headlock by botany assistant professor Ruengwit Bunjongrat. The thug “professor” hid in a hospital and the university administration defended him.

Blaming the head of the Student Council, Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal for the kerfuffle and barely concealing the administration’s desire to be rid of the student activist, it is replacing him and his colleagues with, they hope, appropriately royalist puppet Student Council.

The administration’s royalism is defended. They proudly declare that the students are not just renegades but unThai. The latter being a dangerously vicious attack on opponents usually the stuff of military thugs:

Disrespect to Thai morality, failing to maintain the university’s prestige and performing practices against Thai culture are among accusations faced by former student council president Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal and other seven students for allegedly misbehaving during Chulalongkorn University’s (CU) oath-taking ceremony.

As a result of breaking these rules, Netiwit and his colleagues have had their behaviour points deducted by 25 points. Since Netiwit and four others had served in the CU student council, they were removed from those posts.

The royalist administrators list the transgressions based on their kindergarten’s 1984 regulations on student discipline:

Article 4: “Students must always strictly follow all laws, rules, regulations, announcements or orders of the University or their faculty”;

Article 5: “Students must follow Thai good moral, ethical and cultural principles on all occasions”;

Article 6: “Students must maintain unity, orderliness and the University’s image and prestige”

Article 7: “Students must behave themselves gently and not behave in ways that may damage themselves, their parents, their guardians, or the University” and

Article 12: “Students must not perform any tradition or practice deemed inappropriate to Thai culture.”

The students are guilty of causing the royalist world to tremble ever so slightly:

Instead of sitting on the ground and paying their respects like all other students, they chose to walk away from their positions spots, and stood and bowed before statues of the late King Rama V and VI.

That show of respect was insufficient, causing the royalist administrators’ berserk reactions. As well as assaulting one student, the students are now accused of “misconduct.”





Pathetic royalist “university” II

1 09 2017

Just over two weeks ago, PPT posted on Chulalongkorn University’s terrible publicity over its concocted royalist initiation ceremony for first-year students that descended into chaos.

As a group of students staged a walk out, one of them was put in a headlock by a royalist botany assistant professor Ruengwit Bunjongrat. The thug “professor” hid in a hospital and the university administration defended him while blaming the head of the Student Council, Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal.

The university’s “leadership” wants to be rid of because he has taken positions contrary to the royalism promoted by the administration. That “leadership” said it was “investigating.” But, taking its lead from the military junta, “investigating” involves blaming victims and those it sees as “enemies.” That meant investigating Netiwit, who was accused of “violating two university regulations.”

At the time we stated: Make no mistake, like the lese majeste case against Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa, this is an attempt to frame Netiwit.

And he has been now been framed and ousted.

Netiwit has been thrown out as president of the “university’s” Student Council having had his “behaviour points were cut following the showdown at the [concocted] oath-giving ceremony for King Rama V on Aug 3.”

Four of his fellow council members, all a part of Netiwit’s activist group, “also faced the cuts and were disqualified too…”. They are “Thornthep Maneecharoen and Thatthep Ruangprapaikitseree, also from the Political Science Faculty; Supalak Bamrungkij from the Economics Faculty; and Chinnawat Ngamlamai from the Education Faculty.”

The removal of “behavior points” – who knew such a system existed! – disqualified “him from sitting in the council, according to its [the ‘university’] regulations.”

So far, no action has been taken against thug-assistant professor Ruengwit, who has gone very quiet. That’s a royalist tactic, hoping that his impunity can be maintained.

Thailand’s double standards are everywhere. Under the military dictatorship, royalist dolts and thugs are empowered to repress and order society, in all of its institutions.





Pathetic royalist “university” I

12 08 2017

Chulalongkorn University got some terrible publicity just over a week ago when a royalist initiation ceremony for first-year students descended into chaos after a group of students staged a walk out and one of them was put in a headlock by a royalist botany assistant professor Ruengwit Bunjongrat.

The assistant professor went off to a hospital and the university administration defended him, which only seemed to make the whole sad story worse. Initially it decided to “blame” the head of the Student Council, Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, who the “leadership” wants to be rid of because he has taken positions contrary to the royalism promoted by the administration.

Rather too late, the university’s “leadership” mumbled something about “investigating.” But taking its lead from the military junta, “investigating” involves blaming victims and those it sees as “enemies.”

According to Khaosod, the university’s “leadership” is now “investigating the student activist it earlier blamed for an altercation during freshman induction in which a professor put a student in a headlock.”

A week later, the administration is back to blaming and “investigating” Netiwit, accusing him of “violating two university regulations.”

Make no mistake, like the lese majeste case against Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa, this is an attempt to frame Netiwit.

He’s accused of having “intentionally performed an inappropriate act …when Netiwit and his friends walked out of the ceremony…”. Netiwit is also accused of “hosting a meeting on government property without permission…”.

The university’s vice president of student affairs reckons that Netiwit is guilty of insubordination and failing to recognize the hierarchy that requires students to grovel under the authority of the university’s staff.

No doubt the military junta is pleased with its subordinates who “administer” Thailand’s most royalist of indoctrination centers.





Updated: Ultra-royalist professors attack students

4 08 2017

The desire of royalists to see everyone kowtowing to monarchy has become a crusade for many, egged on by the royalist regimes of recent years. The ballooning use of lese majeste is only one element of this. There’s also the multitude of “little” enforcements, many aimed at students, making them acknowledge hierarchy and status.

One might have thought that by the time students got to university, such childish royalism might have been more limited. But in Thailand’s infantile world of royalists who think they need to make the “children” kowtow to the seniors/teachers/royals, there’s uniforms, royalist ceremonies (many “invented” recently and said to be “traditional”) and royalist propaganda deluging universities (not to mention military thugs and other “authorities,” in uniform and plainclothes).

One of the saddest stories we have seen coming out of Thailand under the military dictatorship is from Chulalongkorn University, a bastion of ultra-royalists and political yellow shirts.

The Bangkok Post’s story is of the “freshmen initiation ceremony at Chulalongkorn University,” itself a ridiculous effort to enforce hierarchy and to instill royalism, said to have “descended into chaos and controversy when a group of students staged a walk out and one of them was put in a chokehold by a lecturer.”

Yes, you read that right, a university-level “lecturer” attacked a student. It is Khaosod that identifies the “lecturer” as “assistant professor Ruengwit Bunjongrat.” We clipped this picture from his page at the Botany Department, where he is listed as holding a Masters degree.

Khaosod also has some video of the event, where another unnamed professor tries to stop it being filmed, cursing the student filming as an “asshole.” It says the student who was assaulted by the royalist Ruengwit was Supalak Damrongjit, who is a fourth-year student at the Faculty of Economics and also vice president of student council.

This royalist assault took place at one of the invented traditions at Chula which had students dressed in white uniforms made to sit on the ground in a very light rain and “prostrating themselves to pay respect to the monument of the university’s founder, King Rama V, and take an oath before the monument.”

Student activist and president of Chulalongkorn University’s Student Council Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, who “has campaigned against sitting on the ground and prostrating during the ceremony,” claimed “a deputy university rector promised that the university would provide an area for students who did not want to sit on the ground.”

He says “the lecturers broke these promises as all students were ordered to sit on the ground to pay their respects…”.

Netiwit walked out. That was when the assistant professor grabbed another student in a headlock and abused him.

One of the university’s deputy rectors, Associate Professor Bancha Chalapirom, babbled that “the university did not force students to sit while it was raining. He said there was a slight drizzle and students agreed to carry with the ceremony and were given raincoats.” He says no one was forced to sit or prostrate.

That seems neither here nor there as the professors tried to stop students leaving the ceremony.

Bancha “described” the events leading “up to the professor restraining the student…”. He says:

“The freshmen paid respects three times, recited their oath and sang the song. But during the ceremony, Netiwit and his friends came out to pay respects in an awkward way as the student council. This made the officials overseeing the ceremony come out and pull them aside, and though it looks like an assault, it wasn’t…”.

Bancha said royalist Ruengwit is “hospitalized for stress after the incident went public.” We have no sympathy. But Bancha went further declaring the attacker as “a person who loves students and didn’t want anything to happen, so he went to pull out the students…”. Royalist love can be tough love. Ask those who have survived murderous royalist attacks in the past.

When all Thais should be ashamed, yellow shirt social media is fulsome in its praise of the royalist thug professors.

Update: Kong Rithdee at the Bangkok Post has an insightful op-ed on this shameful royalist assault

… you just can’t manhandle your students like that, no matter how many wrestling matches you’ve watched or how detestable you find youthful activism. Physically restraining a student who might or might not have shown disrespect, by a professor of all people, and in a public gathering being observed by reporters? What can we expect next? Baptism by fire? A crucifixion?…

Like everything in Thailand these days, the Chulalongkorn incident is symptomatic of a heavily polarised nation. Every dispute, every conflict, every argument reignites the debate between tradition and progress, between the reactionary and reformist, between the headlocker and headlocked. Even the most respected institute of higher learning, supposedly the nation’s cradle of intellectualism, has become a mud-filled, gladiatorial pit where underdog fighters face the wrath of their Roman rulers. They got the thumbs-down and look what happened….

Like everything in Thailand these days, the Chulalongkorn incident is symptomatic of a heavily polarised nation. Every dispute, every conflict, every argument reignites the debate between tradition and progress, between the reactionary and reformist, between the headlocker and headlocked. Even the most respected institute of higher learning, supposedly the nation’s cradle of intellectualism, has become a mud-filled, gladiatorial pit where underdog fighters face the wrath of their Roman rulers. They got the thumbs-down and look what happened.

And that’s fine. A university should be a battleground for ideological contests. What isn’t fine is anger manifesting itself through violence. Without being alarmist, sometimes it’s good to remember that Oct 6, 1976 didn’t happen in a vacuum. One thing lead to another, and another, and then to something that could never be undone.





Unleashing barbarism

9 05 2017

Prachatai reports that “[t]wo belligerent youths have entered Chulalongkorn University to look for Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, a progressive student activist recently elected as the Student Council’s president of Chulalongkorn University.”

On 8 May 2017, two thugs “rode a motorcycle onto the university’s campus in Bangkok and visited the Political Science Faculty to look for Netiwit.” These thugs “reportedly used threatening language to ask for the whereabouts of the student activist.”

Netiwit filed a complaint with police, stating:

Please give me and the new generation opportunities to prove ourselves. If [you] think differently, it is alright, but we should talk if [you] really love Thai society. Do not let the world and other people see that our society is a barbaric one that favours violence. I am afraid of course, but I shall continue to fight….

This threat came after The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha publicly criticized and chastised Netiwit.

We have seen this unleashing of thugs before. In a post in 2012, we said

PPT doesn’t think it a coincidence that as the Army chief [General Prayuth Chan-0cha] returns to threatening behavior that the (relatively quiet) Nitirat group receives threats. At Prachatai it is reported that on 17 August, members of Nitirat “went to Chanasongkhram Police Station to file a complaint after mysterious men had been seen at their [Thammasat University] offices taking photographs of their schedules to meet students.”

Nitirat’s Worachet Pakeerut told Prachatai that “similar incidents had seemed to happen more frequently lately at the campus in Tha Phrachan.”

This followed an attack by two thugs on a motorcycle on Worachet, who was beaten up. Prayuth had led a coterie of right-wingers and royalists in criticizing and chastising Nitirat and Worachet for proposing changes to the lese majeste law.

In other words, as well as unleashing official thugs on a daily basis against political opponents, General Prayuth now has form for inciting vigilantes. That behavior is in line with political tactics used by Thailand’s military over several decades.

Thailand under military regimes is violent and barbaric.