1. Lleij Samuel Schwartz says:

    I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss it, Peter. Like Zipf’s Law, the more you dig into it, the more fascinating it becomes.

    Some more examples for the list: Dr. Patrick Ho Chi-ping, former Secretary for Home Affairs for Hong Kong; Dr. Friedrich Akel, Head of State of Estonia; Dr. Emilio Álvarez Montalván, Nicaraguan Foreign Minister; Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Singaporean Minister of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Nila Moeloek, former Indonesian Minister of Health, and Dr. Ċensu Tabone, former President of Malta.

  2. Tony Simons says:

    Another important factor is the large number of temporary migrants living in Singapore. Mainly Indonesian and Filipino they are at the bottom of the heap

  3. Falang says:

    How many times have we heard Prayut complain ‘ are you Thai ‘ ?

    Being unique is the foundation of their fable .

    Reality is Chinese in the North and Malaya in the South .

  4. John Overstreet says:

    In sum, eye doctors have become politicians before, and having read this headline, one might have thought that, counterintuitively, that profession perhaps left a common set of traits on its political practitioners.

    Then, stuff about Thailand strung together with stuff about Rand Paul– who is courageous when agreeing with the author’s political preferences but “goose-stepping” when not–and something about Rizal and Assad.

    Why, New Mandala?

  5. Le-Fey says:

    This revelation is only surprising when you compare it to the behaviour expected from police and law enforcement agencies in the first world.

    Everyone else recognises this is fairly typical behaviour from Thais, disappointing though it is. Thais do not understand why the world does not accept their superiority. This is one of the reasons.

    But then after 60-odd years of being ripped off and propagandised, it’s reasonable to ask what else one could expect. The delusions of budgies that think they’re eagles are safe enough while they stay in their cage.

  6. Margaret Taylor says:

    It makes me ashamed to be Australian. Yet again!

  7. Falang says:

    The Thai police have intimidated the family of the wife of a former Bangkok-based British journalist wanted for lèse majesté.

    At 3 pm on 18 January 2017, Ruedeewan Lahthip, the mother-in-law of Andrew MacGregor Marshall, a British journalist accused of lèse majesté, told BBC Thai that two policewomen in plainclothes visited her house to look for her daughter, Noppawan “Ploy” Bunluesilp, 39.

    As Noppawan was not at home, the policewoman told Ruedeewan that their superior would like Marshall not to post information deemed defamatory to the Thai Monarchy online again.

    “They were polite and said “please tell Andrew that [if he likes or does not like certain things] he should keep this to himself and not post [certain] images, so his child can come back to Thailand with no worries,” Ruedeewan told the BBC Thai.

  8. Donald Persons says:

    Dear Olivier,

    Your article is very timely. I have developed an interdisciplinary research team preparing now a proposal on Eugenics and Intellectual Disability in Japan and Thailand involving PhD and post – doc students from Mahidol U. (disabilities studies) and Shumei University (Eugenics historians). Would love to be in touch with you over this.

  9. PlanB says:

    Buddhism is not Islam. Religious police is Oxymoron in Buddha teaching.

    Sharia is indeed a race to the bottom for ALL none believers.

  10. Shane Tarr says:

    Sure literacy rates are not everything….ever person interested in knowledge/s (plural rather than singular) should know this. However, I am really not quite sure the Vietnamese education system is a great deal better although perhaps Vietnamese students are more diligent, are seemingly more thirsty for knowledge and are “bored” with the Marxism-Leninism (some university students even pay lecturers to skip such classes that take up to 40% of their study program). But Vietnam has a very different history and culture to Thailand and the only reverential figure who has to be respected is Ho Chi Minh (or Bac Ho). However, you can be critical of Bac Ho as indeed some people are but it is not against the law in Vietnam to criticize him. In making that point I think in terms of civil society Thailand is considerably freer than Vietnam. I know quite a lot about Vietnam because I have been working there since the mid-1980s. As for Malaysia I am not too sure so will not offer. The point of comparison with those countries is that literacy rates are low although improving but less quickly for females than males. And just to repeat: I am not an apologist for regimes of any complexion.

  11. Krisna Murti says:

    I think the writer is confusing what Indonesian values are and what feminism is. Basic Indonesian values include: no intercourse before marriage, uphold a marriage (no extra marital affairs, never even entertain such notion), and LGBT are bad for you. Looking at it from this perspective, obviously feminism in Indonesia doesn’t adhere to the idea of “my body, my rules” other nation feminist adhere to. But that doesn’t made them any less feminist, they just follow different values.

  12. justroy says:

    Sure, a great idea until patron starts to get greedy, and the client begins to assume a status and wield power presumably with the protection of the patron. ‘Tea money’ or the ‘brown envelope’ then becomes standard practice, and the contents of the brown envelopes, or the value of the ‘gifts’ are expected to rise, and almost become an auction. This is the typical ‘mafia’ model, and is unfortunately extensively applied in many countries, particularly in Asia. The billionaire families club in Thailand is a good example of the patronage system, which extends into the legal system where police are paid off to turn a blind eye to the crimes of members of these families, and their wealth increases at the expense of the peasant classes. Sorry, corruption is corruption wherever and however it is called, and the so-called patron-client model is just another name for this culturally embedded practice.

  13. Krisna Murti says:

    Obviously it could, but it is an exception, and not a rule. As the word itself suggest: patronage implied a take and give relationship between patron and client. How many patron would be willingly sacrifice their asset to advance society? Less than 1% I think.

    It is much more profitable for the patron to use their asset to elect puppet leader and use that puppet to increase their asset and wealth.

  14. Obukowsky says:

    Also, less than 2% of the population self declared as Chinese Indonesians in the last population census in 2010.

    How many out of this 2% “…have denied people opportunity and equity.”? And how did they do this?

  15. Obukowsky says:

    It only became incendiary after certain parties make it so. Even the people who were present didn’t get offended. Do you think they are all too stupid to get offended if Ahok had said anything that was genuinely offensive?

    It’s only after certain people officially throw in their hats into the ring for the Jakarta governorship that the whole thing become controversial.

    If it was not this blasphemy thing they would have invented another equally ridiculous issue to attack Ahok with.

    They tried with Sumber Waras. It failed.
    They tried with reclamation project. It was kind of working, but then that Sanusi guy stupidly got caught red handed receiving bribes from the developer of the same project, while publicly being opposed to it.
    They tried with the evictions. It’s somewhat more successful, but they also realize that Ahok is popular with the majority of Jakartans because he reduces the floodings exactly through clearing out the slums and restoring the rivers.

    So they had to resort to this blasphemy thing. They know it’s easy to get a lot of people in Indonesia riled up using fear, prejudice, and victimhood. They were right.

  16. Obukowsky says:

    What’s hardly surprising is that it’s quite easy to manipulate (or mobilize, if you will) people through fear, prejudice, and victimhood.

    If the Drumpf could do it with Americans then it’s not surprising that FPI leader Rizieq, with support from Jokowi’s opponents, could also do it in Indonesia.

    Holding a demonstration peacefully is not some super achievement. It’s merely the right thing to do.

    Should people be praised for not mowing down pedestrians when they drive to work in the morning?

  17. Obukowsky says:

    I won’t hold my breath waiting for that mass organization law to be ratified by the parliament.

  18. Peter Cohen says:

    There is no correlation between ophthalmology and politics, except those like Dr Bashar al-Assad, can’t see when they are butchering their people.

  19. Lleij Samuel Schwartz says:

    There really is something to this correlation between ophthalmology and politics. Add to the list the example of Dr. Salvador Nava Martínez, running as an independent candidate against the socialist Institutional Revolutionary Party at a time when Mexico was a de facto one-party state, he was arrested and subjected to torture by the Mexican military after he led a protest against electoral fraud. It took Dr. Martínez 15 years before he returned to Mexican politics under the banner of the socially conservative National Action Party. After again losing an election due to blatant voter fraud, he led a mass of supporters on a 265 mile march, by foot, to Mexico City in protest to the corruption of the IRP. At this time he was 77 years old. He would die of complications from gallbladder cancer a year later.

    Despite never having been elected to office, his protest movement was a first step towards the end of the political monopoly of the IRP’s corrupt rule.

  20. Alla Beesey says:

    Maybe not as grim as portrayed, true, but grim nonetheless. The article should be more nuanced, agreed, but it was short and tired to get the message across. Are you seriously saying that the Thai education system should not be streets ahead in literacy rates of Lao PDR or Cambodia or in countries such as Bangladesh, India or Pakistan? Why compare Thailand to Laos? Finally, literacy rates are not everything. The style of teaching and content should be streets ahead, say of Laos and Cambodia, I am not sure it is. Why not compare to Vietnam? Malaysia?