Chulalongkorn University authorities are attempting to victimise the anti-military junta academic, Associate Professor Giles Ji Ungpakorn.

Earlier this year Chulalongkorn University authorities ordered the university bookshop to refuse to sell Professor Ungpakorn’s book “A Coup for the Rich”. The book, by the Political Science Professor, criticised the military coup and the destruction of democracy in Thailand. Professor Ungpakorn made repeated attempts to obtain an explanation from the university authorities about why they banned the sale of this book. Up to this day the university has never provided Professor Ungpakorn with any written explanation. The book is, however, on sale at Thammasart University bookshop.

This act of censorship, lead to Professor Ungpakorn’s complaint to the National Human Rights Commission that Chulalongkorn authorities had stifled academic freedom. The Commision is currently looking into the case. It should be noted that many of the Chulalongkorn university’s officials, including the Rector and various Faculty Deans and academics are collaborating with the junta and supporting the coup. Academics have been appointed to junta bodies, including the unelected parliament.

Therefore the recent attempt by Vice Rector Professor Kua Wongbunsin to lodge a complaint against Professor Ungpakorn for confronting him in order to gain an explanation about the refusal to sell his book, can be seen as a crude political move to attempt to discipline the anti-coup academic. Professor Kua is directly responsible for overseeing the university bookshop. Yet he has never taken responsibilty for censoring “A Coup for the Rich”. He has never offered an official explanation to the author. He accused the author of having a “hidden agenda” in trying to get the university bookshop to sell the book and he has belittled the National Human Rights Commission.

A Kangaroo Court was set up by the Dean of the Faculty of Political Science, Dr Jarus Suwannamala on the 8th May in order to “investigate” Professor Ungpakorn’s behaviour towards Professor Kua Wongbunsin. The setting up of this investigation was kept secret and Professor Ungpakorn was totally unaware of any charges against him or of any investigation until he was asked to meet with retired Professor Prasit  Sawasdyart on 21st June. No reason was given for the meeting in advance and Professor Ungpakorn was not given the chance to prepare his defence until confronted with the charges by Professor Prasit Sawasdyart. No documents detailing the charges have been given to Professor Ungpakorn. The methods used by this so-called investigation committee do not conform with basic standards of justice and transparency. Clearly this is a case of crude political victimisation.

This serious attack against academic freedom should also be seen in the light of attempts by the university authorities, in collaboration with the junta, to introduce free-market corporatisation into the university system. Professor Ungpakorn is a strong opponent of such corporatisation. Vice Rector Kua Wongbunsin is an ardent advocate of corporatisation.

All those who are concerned about freedom and democracy in Thailand should send letters of protest to the Rector of Chulalongkorn University and to the Dean of the Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University.

23 responses »

  1. monsterball says:

    Thailand has a track record of coup d’etat over and over again. Only Thaksin seems to stayed longer….yet he was oust out same way.
    Now they military who is most corrupted is trying to prove Thaksin is cheating the people. ….pot calling kettle black stuffs.
    Are you surprise a professor being victimized…or maybe a devil catching another devil…we will see.If so…Thailand is even more blessed.
    Very sad….Thailand was actually on the rise economically and socially….but politically…seems always unstable.
    The strength of Thailand is the great respect for their powerful King.
    He will not interfere…until violence and deaths occurs.
    Thus somehow….Thailand is a peaceful country to live in…all through the centuries.
    Their distinctive culture is always intact…even tough people are being influence by western cultures speaks of their strong minds.
    Susan should becareful and should be very safe doing this brave task on human rights.

  2. 2legit2quit says:

    Hi Susan, s

    So u are in Chula huh? Studied there for awhile. Did you mean that bookstore near the post office beside the co-op. I sure miss the pasar malam on Fridays. Got lots of goodies to eat. Stayed near Mah Boon Krong (MBK). Missed Bangkok like hell. Have been posting articles on Altantunya while you were gone.

    Do browse everybody at:

    http://2legit2quit.wordpress.com

    Cheers

  3. 2legit2quit says:

    Hi Monsterball,

    When I was in Bangkok last year, I spoke to a number of Thais and they really have no beef with Thaksin. The taxi drivers at the the new airport loved Takhsin because he was responsible for the building of the airport and great roads, although for some defects. He did introduce a health system similar to ours where the poor only have to pay 30 baht. Just look at the ultra modern Skytrain and MRT System. (Cant say much for our STAR and PUTRA lines) And the SIAM centre area is a wonderful place to hangout.

    However it is amazing how the king and royal family are revered as demi gods.

    Chulalongkorn is also a cool place to study. Quite advance except still cant get over Thai lecturers speaking English with deep Siamese accent.

    http://2legit2quit.wordpress.com

    Cheers

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  5. monsterball says:

    2legit2quit….Yes Thaksin is loved basically by the poor….the majority of the people and voters. The royal family have basically fought wars against neighbouring countries and proven to be sincere and fair to the people generations upon generations..thus always loved and cared by all people….no change…..and this king…the longest ruling king in the world has done so much for his country for past 60 years….especially on agriculture.
    I love Thai’s culture….food and cheap good massages.

  6. kittykat46 says:

    Hi Monty,
    Are you sure that’s all you like about Thailand ?….ah…I forgot…you are Pak Lah’s age. A bit difficult isn’t it ?….LOL…

  7. monsterball says:

    I like all the sexy girls too….provided they are nice and respectful to me….otherwise….get turned off…even if she is the Miss Thailand.

  8. monsterball says:

    kittykat…a bit difficult you say? Try me…..hahahahahahaha
    Choosy lah.

  9. rodsjournal says:

    Well, for starters, Suvarnabhumi airport isn’t that great – built on marshy, sinking land and I’ve heard nothing but bad things about its cold, pseudo-postmodern interior with really bad layout and lack of facilities, like a sufficient no. of toilets. And those opinions include mine, by the way.

    I should know. I worked in Bangkok for over 3 years.

    Some of you may remember or know of the news about the cracks in the runway(s) that Thaksin’s administration (and maybe the man himself) tried to explain away. Nothing like giving the job to cronies to do sub-standard work and spread the profits around, eh?

    As for the 30 Baht health scheme, sure, it’s easy for the peasants – sorry – poor to pay only so much. Because in the end they also got sub-standard medicines.

  10. monsterball says:

    rodsjournal…..In every leader…there are bound to be mistakes made…but Thaksin have been credited to bring the Thai Baht up…..bring the standard of living up….build more than that cracked airport….build better roads…cheap houses and his biggest contributions are giving back billions profits to the poor and needy. He is dubbed the Robin Hood of Thailand.
    But what do I know…..I just pay regular visits to Thailand….talked to all walks of lives….and not one say he is a bad person. Maybe dis not talk to people opposing him.
    I anycase….we have our own big big problems to solve…..why be so concern about Thailand…which have a much better track record in nation building than ours right now.

  11. rodsjournal says:

    Did Thaksin do certain ‘good’ things for the poor? Certainly.

    But that does not excuse his mixing of family-business-government enterprises, and attacks on civil society. And I won’t even go into the ShinCorp-Temasek deal debacle.

    My point was that populist measures do not necessary work out for the long term. For example, we have yet to see what the 30 baht healthcare scheme would result in terms of the medical consequences for the people.

    (By the way, in case anyone’s wondering, neither did I support the coup that toppled him. Just ask Susan about my stand on this if no one realises it by now.)

    It’s not enough to just get a sort of straw poll to see if the average person likes Thaksin, or if he was a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ person.

    Sorry if I sound condescending to Thai people, but the fact of the matter is that Thailand has always been, and still is, a feudal society based on patronage. This is reflected in the way that Thaksin caters to the people (or rather, selected segements of Thai society), and in the way the people receive him.

  12. monsterball says:

    rodsjournal….You seem to know much more tan anyone here on the Thailand politics and Thaksin.
    Lets hope the military give up milltary rule and give the people to choose freely again. That’s the bottom like…is it not?

  13. rodsjournal says:

    My dear uncle monty, you are partially correct. In fact that is just one of several ‘bottom lines’, I think. The rest is too complex to explain even to myself, and might just blow my mind🙂

  14. monsterball says:

    Meanwhile back home…the trial of 84 year old Ong Boon Hwa we all know as Chin Peng in on. His is simple. He is a Malaysian and wants to return home.
    Lets hope the judge is sensible and allow him back. What can a 84 year old do harm to Malaysia….that is IF we still believe he was doing harm at all. He fought against the Japanese to free our country and was decorated by the British. He fought against the British from the jungle for not keeping their promises.
    Let bygones be bygones and hope the judge will be compassionate and let him come home to die in his motherland he so love.
    rodsjournal….Right now…huge demonstrations are forcing the military to keep their promise to give up rule and have an election in Thailand. Is that not sensible and correct too? Why is the military so interested to protect the country…from what? Thaksin have said he is not interested in politics…which I doubt is true…but his party is defunct…and he seems interested to be a world player on English football by buying Manchester City. This place him smart and real cunning…but not two qualities that can hurt being a PM of Thailand…instead it shows he has guts and very much alive in wanting challenges in life.
    However since he said he worships TDM as his master….I tend to agree with you that Thaskin is simply too smart and can fool the people….so let him be as he deserves and pray Thailand can have a free election again. After all….the military seems to do a good job…now should keep their promises to allow a free election again…and perform their good job again….if needed to in the future.

  15. monsterball says:

    rodsjournal…I can sense all those unexplainable things in your mind about Thailand. No need to think too much. Look at the broader picture.
    Are people suffering? Are the poor getting poorer? Is the Baht controlled by USA to do as the like?
    Is USA trying to divide and rule Thailand?
    Will China allow it?
    If none of those are happening…except the poor getting poorer…Thais are like Chinese…very hard working and can pick themselves up again …once someone…like the future PM after election.
    Then there is the so many bombings in Thailand ….WHY?
    It signals…the muslims are feeling Thai are not sincere to them….again why?
    It is a serious matter for the King and future PM to make peace with these so call sucide bombers. no one want to sacrifice to die,…if there is no great reasons to do so. It is so natural reactions.
    Buddhisms is very understanding and tolerant religion….yet Thailand is targeted with so many bombings….now blaming Malaysia as one of the supporter. They should stop all these blames….as by nature we are very strict towards terrorism. They got to sit with us and stop all these….by firstly listening to the minorities….the muslims that suffer most in Thailand. Why so hard?
    rodsjournal….If ever Thailand depends on USA help…the are asking for serious trouble…that is another bottom line to think about.

  16. kittykat46 says:

    Having worked in Thailand for a number of years, I agree with rodsjournal’s observations. Thailand is very much still a traditional feudalistic society. Much of the visible modernity in Bangkok and other major cities is superficial – for the benefit of its massive tourism industry and the middle class.
    Scratch a bit deeper , and you find yourself back in the 18th Century….of course that’s also part of Thailand’s charm and it helps the society’s cohesion.
    In my opinion, Thaksin was one of the smartest and most competent leaders Thailand has had in modern history.
    However, he came with a heavy baggage when he became PM – he was already a very wealthy man, with extensive business interests. He also lacked close links to the military.
    So along the way, many of his actions were aimed at protecting and extending his business empire and also his cronies’. And all the time trying to outmaneuver the military. In the end the whole thing collapsed.

  17. monsterball says:

    Can anyone explain why terrorists choose Thailand….such a kind and loving country to be bombed so many times?
    Are these done out of jealousies to scare away tourists…..certainly not…then what.
    I think part of Thaksin’s failures are due to his stubbornness and showing not too concern about the bombings and the muslim/buddhists conflicts which….when it happens…he chosed to attend a UN meeting in New York. That did anger the King and gave his opponents the chance to do what they planned to do.This shows he is also arrogant and not really his people as he projected but buy their hearts and minds through schemish methods.
    Indirectly….living like the same as 18th Century….like what kittykat said…will save Thailand from outside interferences or help.
    Again bottom line is…Thailand is just too beautiful original country to get spoilt through dirty politics,.

  18. kittykat46 says:

    For the Thai establishment, the insurgency in the South is the result of a failure of the imagination, and too little, too late.
    With the exception of the southern provinces on the Malaysia border, Thailand is a very homogenous society. The majority of its people are literate in one language only – Thai – and most are Buddhist. Their schools use Thai 100%. English is a very low priority in schools.

    For generations, Thailand pursued a policy of assimilation, assuming everyone must conform to the common Thai identity. The South is where assimilation collided with the realities of Malay cultural identity, Islamic based way of life, and more recently, extreme interpretations of Islam.

    The Thai establishment has very little experience dealing with cultural and religous diversity and unfortunately reacted with an iron fist.

    In this respect Malaysia’s political make-up is definitely superior. We have many faults – there’s plenty exposed daily in blogs – but we have for the most part learned to compromise around each other’s conflicting interests and religous beliefs.

    Thailand has not learned how to do that yet.

  19. monsterball says:

    kittykat…..In short …Thais are sensitive and proud people to the extend…..that they are also lost in reality of outside world affairs?
    Is that fair conclusion?
    I don’t think so.
    It boils down to lack of insincere or capable ministers to work hard and serious about te conflict. It appears they like thought the muslims will toe the line and shut up..and how loud they are speaking back with bombs…don’t they see that as signs of great sufferings for the people and the economy of the country….depending on tourists to come?
    They forget totally how Hadyai was prosperous.
    Why ban Malaysian going there if their police and secret services are that good…like S’pore and Malaysia co-operating so well on terrorism for both countries.
    S’pore had few bombs…..now all stopped. Why must now be more in Thailand?
    I am writing all these….as I love Thailand very much and sad to see such a kind and loving Nation goes to the rocks because politicians are blind and corrupted.

  20. rodsjournal says:

    monsterball,
    Frankly, you have a tendency to make inferences where there were none (or none intended), as well as taking the topic a bit too far.

    I’ve been sticking to areas regarding Thaksin, Thai society, and human rights and development in the Thai context. There wasn’t a need to bring in the USA, China, etc. Whether any of that is a bottom line, I’m not in a position to say right now – and I also suspect, neither are you actually.

    With regards to kittykat’s comments, he never said or implied that “Thais are sensitive and proud people to the extend…..that they are also lost in reality of outside world affairs” – this was your conclusion, not his. So of course it wasn’t a “fair conclusion” – perhaps because you misundersood it in the first place?

    Let me try to summarise it as I understand it:
    Kittykat wrote about the paradoxes of Thai feudal society existing with an outer layer of modernity. In fact, he wrote that “that’s also part of Thailand’s charm and it helps the society’s cohesion.” I think that’s actually a compliment.

    He also wrote about the political (and other) ramifications of Thaksin bringing in wealth as a new political player (my addition: Thaksin is ‘new money’ in contrast to the monarchy and the older Bangkok-based elites who are ‘old money’).

    Related to the insurgency – the Thai establishment (e.g. state/government/monarchy/military/business and political elites) had failed to understand (re: ‘imagination’) that not everyone should or would conform to the idea of a common ‘Thai identity’, so they pursued/supported policies at trying to assimilate everyone and perpertuate their vision of a homogeneous society/culture. The establishment have been doing this for generations, and through feudal habits or simply societal inertia (ie. ‘cannot move’) or whatever, they cannot seem to understand or imagine something different, like pluralism – ie. there is no one single Thai ‘culture’ or ‘identity’ in Thailand.

    Ooh, by the way, I think I’m making some inferences I should be careful about in that last sentence above, after the first comma🙂

    (And Thai racial/ethnic/cultural identity is a vast and complex subject by itself, and I do not wish to go off on a tangent by writing more about it.
    Please, don’t anybody ask me ‘deep’ stuff about the social-political-cultural-anthropological history regarding assimilation & homogeneity in Thailand from the earliest kings to the southern insurgency. I’m not an expert.)

    Kittykat, did I do a fair representation or summary of your comments?

  21. kittykat46 says:

    Hi rodsjournal,
    More or less what I meant. I really made an effort to get into the Thai scene in the years I worked there – learnt to speak the language fairly well, learnt their history and culture, went with Thai friends to parts of the country off the tourist track. But I didn’t marry a Thai wife…heheheh..

  22. monsterball says:

    I am like Dan Brown…..rodsjournal?

  23. opospa says:

    Thaksin has his good and bad. He developed the Thai Economy however he betrayed the country. But I don’t bother that because i a loyal to my King. Bhumibhol Adulyadej. Rao Rak Nai Luang!!!
    Kon Thai Rak Thai!!!!

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