Yellow fragmentation

By Irene Stengs. Bangkok, Sunday May 5. With hundreds of others, I am queuing to enter the restricted area around the Grand Palace where the Royal Land Procession will start at 4 PM. In this seven-kilometer procession, Thailand’s new king Vajiralongkorn (Rama X), seated on the Royal Palanquin carried by sixteen royal guards, will halt at three royal temples to pay respect to the temples’ Buddha images. The procession is part of the three-days coronation ceremonies and offers ‘the people’ the opportunity to see their monarch in real life and to pay their respect. The entrances are check points: before …

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Cambodia and Thailand fight over ancient temple

In recent days the conflict between Cambodia and Thailand over the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple has escalated. As a result of clashes over the weekend at least five people have been killed and thousands have fled the region, BBC reports. Cambodia researcher Gea Wijers explained what is at stake in this conflict in a post she wrote earlier for this weblog, which we reproduce here. By Gea Wijers Cambodia must be the only country on this planet to proudly portray a ruin on its national flag. The stylized image of mythical Angkor Watt (a Cambodian temple complex) in its hay-day …

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Anthropology alumnus founds NGO for unrecognized refugee women from Burma

  By Ursula Cats When I started my fieldwork as a Master’s student last year, I had many ideals and I mainly wanted to represent the women I was researching as “agents of change”. What I actually experienced was different. As I wrote in an e-mail to my supervisor Ellen Bal towards the end of my fieldwork: “I can clearly see the restrictions these young women have. I can see that they are active agents, but their impossibilities are also becoming painfully obvious.” I have always had the motivation to support people who have fewer opportunities than I do. To …

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62 virgins to the rescue?

In this final post in the context of Peace Week 2010 and the International Day of Peace, Gea Wijers shows how Cambodia mobilizes a curious ‘invented tradition’ in a long-running conflict with Thailand around an ancient temple. Cambodia must be the only country on this planet to proudly portray a ruin on its national flag. The stylized image of mythical Angkor Watt  (a Cambodian temple complex) in its hay-day says all that needs to be said about the Cambodian government. Its tendency to opportunistically cling on to a romantic national past that may never have existed. Its tendency to defend …

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