EDUCATION, NOT RE-EDUCATION
Re: “Reforms need broadening of the agenda”, (Opinion, Sept 25).
It is quite striking that Prof Thitinan Pongsudhirak feels the need to remind us that communism is a bad idea. It has been in this region, and everywhere else. This does not seem to be taught at Thammasat University, apparently. However, I think he is mistaken when he asserts that the Thai population has been successfully brainwashed by state propaganda.
Thai mediologists have shown that there is a strong element of class contempt in this opinion: Thais, in general, as in other countries with state propaganda, are aware of this propaganda and are skilled at trying to interpret or discard its messages.
Where Prof Thitinan seems to veer completely off course is when he states: “Re-education about what constitutes Thainess and a rethink about the force-fed symbols of Thai identity are taking place but it will take more time than the young protest leaders seem willing to give.”
In short, he is a Gramscian. A democrat would not talk about “re-education” (propaganda under another name; Mao’s China springs to mind), but of “education”, so that citizens have the capacity to discern and opt among different versions of Thainess (including Thitinan’s) competing in an open political arena.
Education, yes! Re-education, no!