Reading becomes form of resistance in junta-ruled Thailand

Reading becomes form of resistance in junta-ruled Thailand

BANGKOK — In junta-ruled Thailand, the simple act of reading in public has become an act of resistance.


BANGKOK — In junta-ruled Thailand, the simple act of reading in public has become an act of resistance.

On Saturday evening in Bangkok, a week and a half after the army seized power in a coup, about a dozen people gathered in the middle of a busy, elevated walkway connecting several of the capital’s luxurious shopping malls.

As pedestrians trundled past, protesters sat down, pulled out books such as George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, a novel about life in a totalitarian surveillance state, and began to read.

In a country where the military has vowed to crack down on anti-coup protesters demanding elections and a return to civilian rule, and where you can be detained for simply holding something that says Peace Please in the wrong part of town, the small gathering was an act of defiance — a quiet demonstration against the army’s seizure of power on May 22 and the repression that has come with it.

“People are angry about the coup, but they can’t express it,” said a human-rights activist who asked to be identified by her nickname, Mook, for fear of being detained. “So, we were looking for an alternative way to resist that is not confrontational,” she said. “And one of these ways is reading.”

Their defiance, if you can call it that, is found in the titles they chose, which included Unarmed Insurrections and The Power of Non-Violent Means.

The junta has banned political gatherings of five people or more, but it is unclear what laws, if any, such low-key protests could be breaking.

Since taking over, the military has made clear it will not tolerate dissent and has launched a major campaign to silence critics and censor the media. The junta has warned citizens against doing anything that may incite conflict.

Financial-sector worker Kasama Na Nagara said about 20 people participated in the book readings, adding: “We have Big Brother watching us now. It has become too risky to speak out. It’s sad, but it’s safer to be silent in Thailand right now.” AP


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Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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