Thailand rang in 2020 with an effort to tackle the plastic crisis filling the country‘s waste sites and choking its waterways.
There has been a public backlash to the plastic waste crisis in Thailand after several animals were found dead with inordinate amounts of plastic stuck in their digestive tracts, including land and sea mammals like deer and dugongs, as The Hill reported.
The epidemic of man-made litter killing Thailand‘s wildlife led to some soul-searching from government and business leaders in Thailand.
“Thailand was ranked sixth among the world’s top countries that dumps waste into the sea,” said Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Varawut Silpa-Archa to reporters on New Year’s Day after handing out reusable bags to the public, as Reuters reported.
The government has launched a public awareness campaign to make plastic bags taboo.
It has run television ads that pixelate plastic bags with other cultural taboos like nudity, smoking cigarettes, alcohol use and violent crime, as France 24 reported.
The ministry of Natural Resources and Environment said that Thailand reduced the use of plastic bags by 2 billion, or about 5,765 tons last year, in its campaign to get consumers to refuse plastic bags from stores, as Reuters reported.
Those areas make up about 40 percent of plastic bag use in Thailand, according to Reuters.
While Thailand seeks to make plastic use taboo, environmental activists see much larger action needed to solve the plastic crisis.
“We should stop the ‘throw-away’ culture in Thailand,” said Pichmol Rugrod, of Greenpeace, as France 24 reported.
Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn also known as Rama X has isolated himself in a luxury hotel in the Alpine resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen with a harem of 20 women amid the new coronavirus outbreak.
Although criticism of the monarchy is taboo in the country, the public anger boomed with a “Why do we need a king?” hashtag which appeared 1.2 million times on Twitter within 24 hours after an activist stated that the king was traveling on holiday in Germany while COVID-19 was spreading across Thailand.
Activist Somsak Jeamteerasakul who is a vocal critic of Thailand’s monarchy shared a series of posts that showed how Vajiralongkorn was traveling from Switzerland to various places in Germany since early March.
Thailand announced on Saturday 109 new cases in the country, bringing the total number of infections to 1,245.
When they return home during the Songkran break the coronavirus situation in Thailand could worsen, he said.
The first cluster infection detected in Thailand.
Dr Thiravat said the number of cases in Thailand was “on the rise”, with more more still to come.
There are 70 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Thailand, with the latest being the cluster infection.
The department says it is also trying to prevent Thailand entering the third phase of the outbreak.
In Thai, it is said that they are “dismantling the precedent taboo,” while confronting “you-know-who and you-know-what” issues without flinching.
The numerous harassments and forced disappearance of dissidents are a stark contrast to the culture of the impunity for the powerful in Thailand, the Red Bull scandal became the most visible case of this and a subject of much symbolic mockery during the protests.
In defiance of how young people are expected and indeed often forced to behave in Thailand, they blur the once-vivid lines that govern the power of elders over youth, creating hashtags like #ขอบคุณนะคะที่กล้าจะสอนหนู .
Nowadays there are faint echoes of the last mass movement in Thailand, that of the pro-democracy Red Shirt movement of 2010-11.
ON THE EVE of the pandemic, Thailand’s Constitutional Court dissolved the liberal Future Forward Party , banning its executives from politics for ten years.
Soon we will see “Harry Potter” protest, which with its familiar phrase, “You know who” , fits perfectly well with the political climate in Thailand.
What is happening in Thailand is worth watching not only as a local upheaval, but as a sign of pandemic-era global political unrest.
BANGKOK – Over two days of video calls earlier this month, about a dozen students from Thailand’s Kasetsart and Mahanakorn universities debated whether to break a taboo that could land them in jail: openly challenging the country’s powerful monarchy, according to two people on the calls.
Anon Nampa, one of the leaders of recent anti-government protests speaks during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Thailand‘s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha in Chiang Mai, Thailand, August 9, 2020.
Neither Anon nor any of the protesters have been charged with breaking Thailand’s ‘lese majeste’ law, which punishes criticism of the monarchy by up to 15 years in prison.
Anon’s open call for reform underscored the scale and speed of change in Thailand as some members of a new generation take on an establishment tied to the close relationship between the palace and the army.
The latest series of protests have grown from a handful of peaceful, online-organized flash mobs, mostly on university campuses, to dozens of street demonstrations across Thailand and millions of people following hashtags online such as #FreeYouth.
Even though King Vajiralongkorn spends much of his time in Germany, his image is pervasive in Thailand.
The military strongly supports the palace’s position as Thailand’s highest moral authority, with its head taking an unprecedented public oath last year to only support a government that backs the monarchy.
“Our main ideology is to promote democracy,” said Jutatip Sirikhan, 21, president of the Student Union of Thailand, which has helped organise the protests and has not criticised the palace.
Then the new coronavirus halted the protests as Thailand locked down.
Thailand has seen repeated cycles of military intervention: there have been 13 successful coups since the end of absolute royal rule in 1932.
“But if they let it slide, there’s a risk the taboo will crumble.”
The three have become leading voices in the ongoing student-led protests calling for reform of the monarchy, a move seen as breaking deeply entrenched taboos in Thailand.
The role of the monarchy – a taboo topic in Thailand – was first raised at a rally early this month by Anon Nampa, a human rights lawyer and pro-democracy activist.
At an anti-government demonstration dubbed “Harry Potter versus You-Know-Who or He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”, held at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument on August 3, the activist delivered an almost unprecedented public speech on the role of Thailand’s monarchy.
“We dream of a monarchy that coexists with democracy,” Anon said to cheers from a crowd of more than 10,000 people at Democracy Monument last Sunday, Thailand’s biggest protest in years.
While Anon was the first person to publicly break the taboo, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul is responsible for driving the monarchy debate forward.
In her closing statement at a rally last week, Panusaya called for change in the role of Thailand’s royal institution.
The 21-year-old is spokesperson for the Student Union of Thailand and is studying at Thammasat’s Faculty of Sociology and Anthropology.
BANGKOK – The deafening cheer for Anon Nampa at Thailand’s biggest demonstration in years underlined the bookish human rights lawyer’s emergence at the forefront of a youth protest movement with his taboo–breaking call for reforms to the monarchy.
Anon Nampa, one of the leaders of recent anti-government protests, gestures as he walks during a rally to demand the government to resign, to dissolve the parliament and to hold new elections under a revised constitution, near the Democracy Monument in Bangkok, Thailand, August 16, 2020.
“We dream of a monarchy that coexists with democracy,” Anon said to cheers from a crowd of more than 10,000 people in Bangkok on Sunday, Thailand’s biggest protest in years.
Thailand’s Lawyers Council did not comment on Apiwat’s request to take this action.
BANGKOK – The traditional view in China that death should not be openly discussed has meant wills and formal discussions about inheritance have been something of a taboo topic.
Legal commentators have observed that in Thailand, more people should seek advice about their wills.
Many people in Thailand still don’t bother to write a will as they assume their property will automatically be inherited by their heirs.
BANGKOK – Thailand on Monday effectively revoked all foreign patent requests for the use of marijuana, after fears foreign firms would dominate a market thrown open last month when the government approved the drug for medical use and research.
The junta-appointed parliament in Thailand, a country which until the 1930s had a tradition of using marijuana to relieve pain and fatigue, voted to amend the Narcotic Act of 1979 in December in what it described as “a New Year’s gift to the Thai people“.
While countries from Colombia to Canada have legalized marijuana for medical or even recreational use, the drug remains illegal and taboo across much of Southeast Asia.
But in Thailand, the main controversy with the legalization involved patent requests by two foreign firms, British giant GW Pharmaceuticals and Japan’s Otsuka Pharmaceutical, filed before the change to the law.
Marijuana remains illegal and taboo across much of Southeast Asia, and traffickers can be subject to the death penalty in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
BANGKOK – Anutin Charnvirakul thinks he has hit on a winning issue for Thailand’s election next month – promoting cannabis farming now that the Southeast Asia nation has legalized medical marijuana.
A man drives his motorbikes near an election campaign poster in Bangkok, Thailand February 15, 2019.
Thailand in December approved marijuana for medical use and research, the first country to do so in a region with some of the world’s toughest drug laws.
The sale and distribution of pot products would be regulated similar to tobacco in Thailand, with farmers selling their harvest through a government agency, the party says.
Marijuana enthusiasts say cannabis farming will take time to develop in Thailand.
Further criminalization of cannabis in the past few decades has given the plant a taboo status in Thailand.
“In Thailand, we shy away from teaching children what to call their genitals,” 40-year-old Bishop told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on the sidelines of a conference on sex education.
Although Thailand is one of the most liberal countries in Asia, sex education focuses on basic biology and anatomy, leaving many unclear about the risks, said the United Nations Population Fund , which promotes reproductive rights.
In Thailand, about 1.5 million babies were born to teenage mothers between 2000 and 2014, with a 54% increase over this period, according to UNFPA, which lobbied for a 2016 law promising better sexual and reproductive health education.
The text of this article was generated by the Breaking The Silence system that collected 11 news articles posted on the web from January 2019 to September 2020 and clustered for the taboo subjects related to Thailand