Malls and the status quo

13 07 2022

Archinect is not in PPT’s usual reading list. But it is this week after we found “Architecture, Consumerism, and Human Rights: On ​‘Subverting the Narrative of Power Systems in Thailand’ with Shopping Malls.” The story and interview begins:

Thesis projects offer an exciting glimpse into the minds of emerging designers and their unique architectural perspectives as they navigate through their careers. This is the case for Syracuse University B.Arch graduates Pin Sangkaeo and her collaborative research partner Benson Joseph. Together they explore the practice of merit-making and how political tactics and consumerism have impacted Thailand’s social and political agendas through their thesis project, Temples of Consumerism.

According to Sangkaeo, the project “investigates the role of shopping malls as physical tools of maintaining the status quo, used by those who hold political powers in order to superimpose their ideologies on the collective citizens and perpetuate the systems.”

Reproduced from the linked article where it is placed with the permission of Pin Sangkaeo

Ensuring hierarchy

16 07 2015

A story at Khaosod reminds us – if that was necessary – that the military dictatorship is intent on reinforcing the hierarchies that dominate social, political and economic life in Thailand.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Sriwarah Rangsipramkul, the commander of the city’s police force, became very upset when volunteer traffic cops failed to recognize him and insisted on a breathalyzer test. In most parts of the world, off-duty cops are required to be breathalyzed like everyone else, but not in Thailand.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Sriwarah insisted that he was not intoxicated telling them he was sober “five times.” He went on: “Eventually, I had to tell them who I was and get out of my car and criticize them…”.

Of course, in a world of hierarchy and status, no person of senior rank should be subject to the same treatment as ordinary and lower persons.

According to the report, in order to reinforce double standards, traffic police” have been ordered to memorize the license plates and faces of their superiors” so that no senior is ever subjected to the laws, even if they are drunk and driving.

We are sure The Dictator understands all of this very well, but can he afford more bad publicity even if the hierarchies are critical for maintaining order. Then again, the police are always suspect in the eyes of Army bosses, doubting their loyalty and thus their right to the same double standards that the rulers require.

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