On Monday 23 February 2009 Associate Professor Giles Ji Ungpakorn gave his speech on lese majeste at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. I have received a quick note from a member of the audience that I thought worth sharing with readers. Fresh from London it covers the key details:
…it was filmed and will be put up on the Internet…But the really important thing was that it actually happened.
About 100 Thai people, and a few farang, went along to listen to someone criticise Thailand’s monarchy and system of government and they listened politely and there were no angry people shouting out or insults…even those who disagreed with Giles were polite. They thanked him for coming and talking about the topic and maybe they disagreed but in a very polite way and they asked questions and they thought about what was said and many probably agreed with him…I bet there were a lot of people who maybe felt uncomfortable as if they knew what they were hearing was meant to be wrong but they couldn’t help but feel that they maybe agreed with a lot of what he said.
This evening Thai history was made and Thailand made a step forward just for the fact that it happened.
In what must be a speed record for a New Mandala post this one has already been translated and is available over at Prachatai.