In late August 2006 I snapped this artifact of the now defunct Thaksin government. Having not been back to Chiang Mai province since then, I am not certain that all prominent billboards associated with Thaksin’s administration have been removed by the coup-masters. I imagine that this one, right next to Tapae Gate on one of the city’s major roads, was promptly taken down.
It reads (my translation):
We must create social order so that the people can live together in happiness and our children grow up with quality.
The sign was endorsed by a provincial level law enforcement centre during the much debated “war on drugs“.
If any New Mandala readers in Thailand have pictures of street-side statements or “propaganda” from the post-coup era, please feel free to send them to me. My contact details are available from the “Reader Contributions” page. I would be delighted to post a selection, with full credit given to participating photographers. It would be great for everybody interested in regional politics to see what sorts of messages, if any, are being put on public display.
At New Mandala, we have occasionally featured signs (of various sorts). While such signs do have obvious limitations for clarifying wider social processes, I think that at the very least they often show how governments and their various initiatives are self-promoted and referenced. For these reasons alone, they are, I reckon, worth further reflection and some more probing analysis.