Thai Cosmic Politics: Locating Power in a Diverse Kingdom

The cosmos is political. Galileo Galilei learned this at his own expense. The Italian polymath, famous for redesigning the telescope, upset the order of the cosmos by upholding heliocentrism – the theory, proposed by Copernicus, that the world rotates around the sun, and not vice versa. As the removal of the earth from the center of the cosmos was thought to challenge some creationist myths contained in the Bible, Galileo was tried by the Catholic Inquisition, and sentenced to indefinite [...]



Land and Lordship: Royal Devotion, Spirit Cults and the Geo-body

Over grilled pork, on the bank of the Mekong River, Kai and I were talking about nagas [phaya nak – mythical water dragons] and other guardian spirits. As some of our dinner companions got up to refill their plates with meat, Kai leaned over to me across the smoking barbeque grill. “There is one province that the [Thai] king [Bhumibol Adulyadej] has never visited. Can you guess where it is? [...]


“Raya Kita”: Malay Muslims of Southern Thailand and the King

In 2011, a Children’s Day Fair was held in La Mengschool in the Raman district of Yala province. The fair consisted of a variety of activities including games, shows, gift drawing lots, eateries and goodies giveaways, and an award granting ceremony. In addition to a “mountain of gifts” from several state agencies and the military, what was special about that year’s fair was a schoolchildren’s [...]


A Christmas Mourning: Catholicism in Post-Bhumibol Thailand

At the Holy Mercy parish in Bangkok downtown, last Christmas was unlike any other Thai Catholics had celebrated. Instead of the plethora of Christmas decorations that used to pop up everywhere, the church was covered with sober, black-and-white mourning bunting. The Christmas tree normally exposed at the front entrance of the church as a sparkling symbol of joy was moved into a hidden corner within the courtyard, not [...]

Matthew Phillips

Good, Clean Mourning in Thailand’s Cosmopolitan Cosmos

Between 22-26 September 2016, an exhibition was held in the small plot of commercial space that lies between Paragon department store and Discovery Centre in downtown Bangkok. The display featured products from the Royal Projects – development initiatives promoted by King Bhumibol over the course of his seventy-year reign. Inside the large white tent, cooled by portable air conditioners, bag-laden [...]

The Blooming Years

  • Message from the Editor This collection of articles from the Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia (KRSEA) is published with the financial support of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), Kyoto University. We have compiled [...]
YAV | Joseph N. Goh

Gender, Sexuality and ‘Songsang’: Freedom of Expression for LGBT Malaysians?

“As a democratic country, we have the right to voice things out.”  Azmi Sharom, 2014.  During one of my lectures at Monash University Malaysia, my Malaysian and non-Malaysian students and I looked at challenges in educating the masses on issues of gender and sexual marginalisation. We contemplated the difficulties that researchers have encountered, and will continue to face in lifting up the voices of people who are relegated to the periphery of society. We noted media reports on the ferocity [...]

REVIEW— Elite: An Anthology

Book Reviews

Title: Elite: An Anthology Edited by: Caroline S. Hau, Katrina Tuvera, Isabelita O. Reyes Mandaluyong City: Anvil Publishing, 2016 Elite: An Anthology brings together a kaleidoscope of caricatures of the Filipino elite in a collection […]

Film Review— Chalat Kem Kong (Bad Genius)

Issue 22

Film Title: Chalat Kem Kong (ฉลาดเกมส์โกง; Bad Genius) Director: Nattawut Poonpiriya (นัฐวุฒิ พูนพิริยะ) The Moral Dilemma The Thai movie industry has been in crisis over the past few years in terms of revenue, quality and […]

REVIEW— Lu Yay Chon (The good person)

Issue 22

Drama series title: Lu Yay Chon (The Good Person) Director: Ko Thaung Scriptwriters: Myat Phone Mo, Nyi Aung Nyi, Aung Nay Ko Ko, Hein Zaw Oo, Kyaw Yazar Ko 60 episodes (April 2016- July 2016) […]

REVIEW— Lạc Giới (Paradise in Heart)

Issue 22

Film Title: Lạc Giới (Paradise in Heart) Director: Phi Tiến Sơn Lạc Giới is the outstanding winner in Vietnam Film Festival 2015 with the Golden Kite Award for Best Feature Film (director: Phi Tiến Sơn), […]