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An ISIS Public Forum on “Managing the Mekong Mainland: Energy Security and Environmental Imperative”

Date :  15/10/2015 - 15/10/2015
An ISIS Public Forum on “Managing the Mekong Mainland: Energy Security and Environmental Imperative” at 10.00 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. Thursday, 15th October 2015. 
  Articles View All>> 

Thai luck runs out with attack on shrine 

For a country that has done so well for so long in navigating the treacherous waters of international life, Thailand's luck may have run out with the bomb attack on the Erawan shrine in central Bangkok on Aug 17. 

Shrine saga throws up bluster, but few facts 

The fog of Thai crisis management can be thick and heavy. Almost a fortnight after a powerful bomb explosion rocked the landmark Erawan shrine area in central Bangkok and claimed 20 lives with scores of injuries, Thai authorities have made just about zero progress. 

Global disarray as institutions falter 

The international system as we know it is unravelling. Rules and institutions that were set up seven decades ago no longer hold the same weight and authority as they used to. As we grapple with an exacerbating global disorder, established powers and players and old rules and institutions need to be revamped and reinvented to accommodate new realities. Otherwise global tensions will mount, most probably accompanied by confrontation and conflict. 

Language is way forward in deep South 

In multi-ethnic and multi-cultural societies, language is about more than communication. It is about recognition and accommodation, power and power-sharing. When society fosters power-sharing and forges compromise and consensus to underpin societal cohesion and achieve relative peace at home, the role of official and national languages can be powerful and paramount. 

How not to organise our education timetable 

A new discussion by the Council of University Presidents of Thailand to revert academic schedules back to the old system is instructive on three levels that expose the fundamental weaknesses of Thai education, the sobering reality of the Asean Economic Community, and the top-down, patronising attitude of government over the governed. If Thailand watchers want to know what's wrong with the country's politics and education, they can conveniently take this contested education timetable as a case in point. 

Mitigating intractable 'boat people' crisis 

Beyond a few obvious facts, working out what to do with the many thousands of "boat people" who have been stuck in the vast sea straddling South and Southeast Asia in pursuit of jobs and better livelihoods is difficult to come by. (This article was previously published in The Bangkok Post.) 

Thailand caught in indefinite transition trap 

Milestones and anniversaries are for marking. But few should overdo the focus on Thailand one year after its 12th successful coup in 83 years under constitutional rule. The past year is merely a large blip on a long political continuum that dates back a decade or even a century in which Thai society has been grappling with the form and content of a political order that is being contested between the forces of tradition and modernity. (This article was previously published in The Bangkok Post.) 

Thailand’s Stunted Transition 

BANGKOK – One year after Thailand’s 12th military coup in its 83 years under constitutional rule, and as the controversial trial for criminal negligence of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra gets under way, the country’s future is perilously uncertain. (This article was previously published in The Project Syndicate.) 

Thitinan Pongsudhirak: Global partners balance interests, values post-coup 

Few countries pose as daunting an international conundrum as Thailand. After the coup d'etat of May 22, 2014 -- the military's 12th successful putsch in 83 years of constitutional rule -- cracks have emerged in the international response to the junta, particularly among the big democracies. (This article was previously published in The Nikkei Asian Review.) 

Real integration action in mainland SE Asia 

Those caught up in the hype over the Asean Community (AC) and its three pillars of political-security (APSC), economic (AEC) and socio-cultural (ASCC) by end 2015 are fixated on the wrong places. Integration from connectivity, where borders are proving increasingly irrelevant, is happening less on paper and more on the ground in mainland of Southeast Asia. Beyond the agreements and scorecards of the AC, mainland Southeast Asia is where real integration will take place. (This article was previously published in The Bangkok Post.)