Today, 16 June 2007, marks the first anniversary of the launch of New Mandala. In our second year we have many exciting plans to create an even better resource for the study and discussion of mainland Southeast Asian affairs.

It was one year ago that Andrew made the first post to New Mandala – “Some thoughts on the political crisis in Thailand“. Back then the argument was that:

Election boycotts, calls for Royal intervention in the form of a whisper or a shout, sly flirting with the military or even the casting of potent spells by having women place Thaksin’s photo beneath their genitals have no role to play in a modern democracy. Elections are not everything, but the tendency of the so-called pro-democracy movement to dismiss rural voters as gullible, easily bought and incapable of rational political decision-making reflects the shallowness of democratic sentiment among many of Thailand’s current opinion leaders.

Nicholas followed a few days later with his discussion of “Yellow Fever“:

It has been a week since the main celebrations of the 60th anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol’s coronation and the streets of Bangkok remain dominated by the yellow t-shirts of a grateful and loyal citizenry…A sea of yellow is the common image of these celebrations…

…We are not even half way through this momentous and testing year. The crowds, the passion, the T-shirts, the rhetoric. The politics of 2006, of Thaksin and his opponents, will not be fought in the spirit of harmony demonstrated in this most remarkable Royal anniversary.

How little has changed.

Since these first, tentative posts we have attempted to meet New Mandala‘s mission of providing anecdote, analysis and new perspectives on mainland Southeast Asia. Of course, we have much to be thankful for and would like to extend a special thank you to the many readers, commentators and assistants who have helped us to improve the site. We hope that the second year of New Mandala continues the worldwide collaborations and debates that we are here to foster.

Thanks for reading and best wishes to all!