May 23, 2016

The politics of the General Will in Thailand

Excerpts from
Michael K. Connors
International Journal of Cultural Policy        2016.

Available at:

From cultural enforcer to networker: the Cultural Surveillance Centre (Ministry of Culture)

Despite its seemingly Orwellian appellation, the CSC’s activities are not unlike those practised by other nationally-based cultural guardians – either state or societal – who doubt the moral and political competencies of their respective cultural charges. Given the work of the CSC to constantly remind people of Thainess through its newsletters, public exhibitions, workshops, media appearances, a case may be made that the CSC is merely an add-on to the cultural infrastructure that functions to banally remind people, as Billig (1995)) describes, to be self-conscious of the nation-root of identity, of which subjectivity should be an expression. Such a view places the CSC in a stream of hegemonic politics whereby the coupling of self-nation identification has historically served a broader hegemony of the dominant power bloc of senior bureaucracy, palace and business (Thongchai 2008;Reynolds 2002); this hegemonic bloc emerged through the twentieth Century, although events since the coup of September 2006 have led to a fracturing of that hegemony and splits in its conceptualisation (Glassman 2011).

Viewing the CSC as a persistent ‘identity reminder’ also entails recognising that its cultural surveillance work seeks to generate real-life manifestations of embedded ‘modest’ and ‘decent’ social norms among Thai citizens in market capitalism. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the agency is attempting to nurture and embed national identity as a public good, embodied in officially endorsed notions of culture as a way of life (which agencies seek to shape). As a public good, national identity acts as a normative institution that tempers the possessive individualism of capitalism. This understanding of culture – as a public good/general will – consciously derives, in part, from UNESCO’s instrumental elevation of culture as a prime resource that drives sustainable development, an understanding that has demonstrably shaped MOC policies (Connors 2005;        Surapan, Chareonsap. 2011 ;UNESCO 1998) As Miller and Yudice (2002, pp. 12–15) have pointed out, cultural policy is in part an iterance of the foundational position of all educational projects: that the subject is ethically incomplete and requires reform; and taken in a national context that reform serves simultaneously the nurturing of a civilised individual and nation.

The CSC aims to extend the legislative capacity of ‘the people’ to rule themselves through the principle of the general will – which can only ever be understood as a decision about what is the right way to live together. It is evident that to the iterative Legislator (any usurping governmental agency tasked with constituting the people-body), an enabling capacity for making that decision means engagement in the bio-politics of Thainess, or varied governmental intervention. Thainess works to authorise legislation without an electoral democratic mandate, for it is the enabling condition of the assumed social contract between the Thai state and its subjects, at least among conservatives. Here then we find at its rawest the mentality of many in the moral reform agencies of the Thai state. Its logic in the cultural realm is mirrored in the political realm. In the absence of a capacity to form a general will, in the presence of fractious politics of interest and ideology, limited forms of democracy are viewed as necessary so that the people can be led towards the general will. If one were seeking to find the general tenor of politics informing the justification for suspending Thailand’s electoral democracy, it may be found in embryonic form in the CSC and other pedagogical agencies of state and society. Its surveillance activities form one channel through which a general will may appear and citizens ‘forced’ to be free. That Thailand has, since 1932, never succeeded in embedding any constitutional form (in 2015 and 2016 it deliberated its 20th constitution) means that the figure of the iterative legislator (military coup, government agency, monarchy, etc.) is constant in the modern period.

In the voice of Locke and Mussolini? ‘new politics’ for Thailand?

In the voice of Locke and Mussolini? ‘new politics’ for Thailand?

On August 26, thousands of demonstrators from the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) seized government house in a bid to thwart proposed constitutional amendments and to oust the government. Other sections of the organisation momentarily seized the national broadcaster, and in the following days thousands of protestors occupied two international airports in the south of Thailand. The ‘general uprising’, more a campaign of militant civil disobedience, had begun. Warrants for the arrest of PAD leaders on charge of treason were issued, but they remained at large. The government's inability to deal with PAD became clearer after it declared a state of emergency in Bangkok, which shifted responsibility from the police to the military for the removal of PAD from government house. At the time of writing, two weeks after the ‘uprising’ the military had still failed to act, leading thousands of government house staff to set up office in Bangkok's old international airport.
PAD had been the main force against the Thaksin government in 2006, mobilising a highly opportunist royalist politics mixed with political liberalism and nationalism, broadly consistent with ‘royal liberalism’ and its fear of electoral majorities (Connors, 2008a10. Connors , M.K. 2008a. ‘Article of faith: the failure of royal liberalism in Thailand’. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 38(1): 143–65)

 PAD is an amalgam of anti-Thaksin forces from the business, security, union, and civic sectors. Although PAD is widely described as composed of the ‘Bangkokian middle class’ its protest base is much broader both in class and spatial terms. Although campaigning in the name of democracy, PAD's internal structure is undemocratic, with decision making confined to its core leaders. Its protests are sustained by significant financial support from a variety of sectors, and income from protest merchandise. It is, perhaps the first, protest movement to have a dedicated satellite television station. Many commentators see PAD as the instrument of a third hand (the security and palace complexes) because it has won support from elite sectors of society including the aristocracy and elements in the military. However, its key leader Sondhi Limthongkul – a former Thaksin supporter and media mogul – has argued that the elite establishment stood at a distance from the PAD until they realised its ability to mobilise tens of thousands against Thaksin. Speaking of elite supporters in 2006, Sondhi says:

I fought Thaksin and I was able to pull up the mass, and they [elites] were excited because [the elites] never thought in their minds-and later on they admitted it-that so many people would come out… So, all the elites were pulling all their forces behind me (cited in Crispin 2007)

Although Sondhi is vague on details, it is widely believed that PAD was backed by some powerful elite figures, including ex-security chief Prasong Sunsiri, associates of General Prem, and numerous business and banking families. In 2008 PAD was more openly associated with elite and military figures, including officers who were implicated in some of the alleged human rights abuses that PAD had highlighted in 2006. And while PAD leaders refused positions offered by the Junta, with the exception of Major General (rtd.) Chamlong Srimuang who joined the NLA, by mid-2007 PAD leaders were calling on the junta to take a harder stance against Thaksin supporters.
PAD was inactive when the Samak government took office. With the imminent return of Thaksin from exile in late February it issued a statement announcing its regrouping (People's Alliance for Democracy 2008a)
 The statement criticised the close relationship between Thaksin Shinawatra and the Samak government, criticised the ECT for being pro-Thaksin and allowing cases of electoral fraud against PPP to stall, and expressed concern about interference in the judicial system that favoured Thaksin. PAD stage-2 had begun.

In the face of the government's declared intention to amend the constitution, on May 25 PAD commenced what would become a continuous demonstration, leading eventually to the seizure of government house in the ‘general uprising’ of August 26. In its battle against Samak, PAD mobilised ultra-nationalist sentiment over the joint Thai-Cambodian agreement that it claimed forfeited sovereignty over contested territory to Cambodia, leading to the Constitutional Court's annulment of the agreement. PAD's political rhetoric became less and less liberal and the already strong royal-nationalist features of its discourse became absolute.

Facing the reality of an electorally popular government, PAD began to turn its disquiet about the quality of governments thrown up by electoral democracy into a vague program for ‘New Politics’. PAD had long expressed doubts about electoral democracy's viability in a society where electoral weight was predominantly with the rural poor and farming classes, who were seen to be caught in a patronage culture of vote-buying. Sondhi gave this politics an ethnic dimension. He clearly viewed the Sino-Thai middle class in Bangkok and in the urban areas of the provinces as PAD's constituency. While PAD leadership is made up of various currents, as do the people who attended PAD rallies, Sondhi professes to speak for this grouping. He has argued that this class was being quashed by ‘evil’ monopolistic capitalism (led also by the Sino-Thai) and by the rural masses dependent on populist policies (Nation sutsapda 2008)). By mid-year key PAD leaders, and others, were beginning to express an interest in moving beyond electoral democracy, claiming that it merely returned corrupt governments to power. Even veteran educator of liberal democracy Chai-Anan endorsed a return to the ‘semi democracy’ of the 1980s, in which power was shared between the military, the bureaucracy and the parliament (Chai-Anan 2008)
In a series of statements beginning in June and extending into July, PAD expressed support for a system of democracy which extended representative channels to occupational groups, with suggestions that 70% be appointed. Although the discussion was laced with talk of extending active citizenship through public hearings and citizen referendums (Scandinavian countries were cited as examples), ‘New Politics’ was decidedly corporatist in conception (Suriyasai 2008)  Sondhi went so far as to speak of ‘functional democracy,’ suggesting a family resemblance with Mussolini's Italy and Suharto's Indonesia. (Nation sutsapda 2008;‘Phim kiew kan muang mai’ [Green Paper: New Politics] July 11 .)
The idea was also reminiscent of a strand of Thai military thinking from the 1980s that argued elections resulted in parliamentary dictatorship and proposed a form of corporate representation to realise the ‘general will’ of the people under military leadership. In keeping with that line, Sondhi argued that the military, in new politics, could intervene in politics when, among other things, the government was corrupt and when a government failed to act on cases of lèse-majesté. He proposed that the military come under the control of the Crown, not an elected government (Connors 2008e)
 Several PAD leaders have rejected the idea that Sondhi's version of ‘New Politics’ is official PAD policy (interview with author, Bangkok, August 5 and August 7, 2008). They have also criticised Sondhi's proposal for defined conditions enabling military intervention. But they did not do so publicly for fear of creating disunity in PAD during what they claimed were conditions of ‘war’.
Nevertheless, ‘New Politics’ came to fore after PAD's occupation of government house. It substituted for a clear objective beyond destroying the ‘Thaksin system’. The elitist nature of ‘New Politics’ led to severe criticism of PAD for anti-democratic posturing. In response, PAD issued a statement recounting its objections to Thaksin and the Samak government, explained its concern for checks and balances and for the rule of law, and explained that its proposal of selected/occupational representatives was merely a proposal for discussion and subject to majority support – it was not something it wanted to impose on Thailand. PAD re-affirmed that it would remain in the bounds of ‘democracy with the king as head of state’ (People's Alliance for Democracy, 2008b)
Whatever, the status of the ‘New Politics’ idea, it is important to note that the idea of restrictive systems of representative democracy in which one person does not equal one vote is not a feature only of corporatist semi-fascist origin. England's most famous liberal J.S. Mill, the author of On Liberty, argued that to restrict the impact of the ‘ignorant’ on electoral outcomes the educated might (and by extension the propertied) be granted a plurality of votes (Mill 1862) PAD's elitism has a liberal rationale too.

In the current circumstances of Thailand, Sondhi's call, however vague and undeveloped, is indicative of a liberal-conservatism that springs from the common cause between conservatives connected to the palace, military and bureaucracy, and elitist liberals against the politics of new capital and its articulation with the democratic mass. In battling that enemy, PAD seemed willingly oblivious to the authoritarian disposition of its chosen allies.

Characterised mistakenly by some as simply fascist, PAD ideologues continue to fashion a hybrid civic, liberal-conservative and corporatist rhetoric that reflects the contradictory nature of its constituency. A day before the seizure of government house, PAD ideologue Pramoj Nakornthap (2008) explained the rationale of the ‘general uprising’ in very Lockean terms:

.. the monopoly of power in the hands of the police and the military is power granted by the people to the government on a temporary basis, as a guarantee of happiness and safety of the people. Sometimes a government abuses its authority and turns on the people. In cases such as this while a general uprising may meet with momentary misfortune, a people's movement that has goodness and patriotism [on its side] will have enough energy to re-emerge stronger than before, until its final victory …

August 26, 2014

Rival camps on deadly collision course  Bangkok Post May 15th, 2014
This is a pre-edited version of the piece that appeared in Bangkok Post May 15th - reposted because Bangkok Post takes material off after 60 days). If the PDRC has now been swept aside, the victory, politically, has been theirs in many ways, with the new military dictatorship bent on "eradication" of the Thaksin network and criminalizing political expression, especially of red-shirted elements and dissidents on 112.
For a Constituent Assembly - my title.

For the last few days I’ve visited the protest sites of the rival camps in Thailand’s ongoing crisis. At both, protestors have told me they are willing to die for their cause. On Sunday, at the United Front for Democracy Against Democracy (UDD) site in the Phuttamonthon district some 30 kilometres from central Bangkok, Bu (not her real name) cautiously switches from Thai to English to tell me that the protest sought royal protection through the Crown Prince [following a long tradition of decorating protests with royal imagery as a form of protection]. Indeed, the red-shirt rally is positioned close to the Crown Prince’s palace.  Bu is one of many farmers from the Northeast of the country – the heartland of the current care-taker government – who have joined the protest to protect the pro-Thaksin care-taker government, after Yingluck Shinawatra was removed from office last week by the Constitutional Court, along with a third of her Cabinet.  

The affinity the protestors have for the Crown Prince is hardly a secret, with T’shirts proclaiming “we love the Crown Prince” “or we love 904” a reference to the Crown Prince’s radio signature.  Bu and others have joined the protest on rotation, expecting to stay for a week – to be replaced by others she knows who are already on standby from her province. During the hot long days before big-name speakers take to the stage at night, refuge is sought under a bridge and in makeshift tents that dot the protest site.  Hundreds of stalls selling or distributing  t’shirts, rice-cookers, satellite disks and newspapers provide some shade and reminders of past battles fought. CDs of fiery speeches and red-shirt confrontations with security forces are on sale or constantly replayed on old televisions. They await the evening crowds who will fill the long empty Aksa Road that has been closed to traffic by red-shirt guards at either end.  

On Monday evening from the protest stage a former lecturer from Chulalongkorn university, said to have lost her job due to her political activities, reads a poem by recently assassinated  ‘people’s poet’  “Nai Neung”.  An advocate of reform of Section 112 of the Criminal Code, which severely punishes lese majeste, his death was rumoured to be at the hands of an underground movement to wipe out those disloyal to the “Institution” as the monarchy is colloquially  known. He was said to be the first victim of the ominously named Organization to Remove Rubbish, which announced a witchhunt against those disloyal to the monarchy.  Then rumours swirled that it was not so simple. That the poet was part of an underground armed element of the redshirts and his death was “more complicated”. The death sums up the difficulty of being certain about anything in this crisis.

The protest will stay put as long as the care-taker government faces the threat of forced removal. Should a challenger interim government emerge out of initiatives by informal meetings of the Senate that commenced on Monday, it can be expected that the protestors ranks will swell into the hundreds of thousands and move en-masse into central Bangkok to protect the care-taker government. Should this occur Thailand will possess two governments claiming  legitimacy and demanding loyalty from state agencies.  

At the People’s Democratic Reform Committee and related group protest sites I came across a sentiment that I can only describe as smug expectation that victory will be theirs.  On Sunday the protest leader Suthep Thaungsuban, former Secretary General of  the Democrat Party which boycotted the February election, was allowed to set up office in government house, being politely flanked by soldiers. The ease of occupation bloated an already swelling smugness. On stage he declared – “all are welcome to come and see me, I am ready now. I said I wouldn’t talk to you, but I am ready now. Come!”, to admiring cheers and whistles of the crowd. On Monday evening Suthep met with Acting Senate President in a polite exchange  and expressed his desire for remaining legitimate agencies of the state to appoint an interim government. Far away, at the red-shirt rally the cry is to stop Suthep’s rebellion and push forward to a new election.

As the various anti-Thaksin forces gather to pressure for the removal of yet another pro-Thaksin government), the language on the PDRC stage is both demagogic and technical. Suthep appears tired on stage, constantly wiping his forehead and swaying gently from side to side. He speaks of himself as the “medium” of the people (emulating Thaksin’s egotism), but at times his stage presence reminds of a lawyer explaining the various mitigations of a transgression. His constant reference to Article-this and Article-that of the 2007 constitution on why an appointed government is constitutional are breathtakingly ingenious. It is constitutional white-noise meant to cover a brazen attempt to fell the current care-taker government by any means possible. The crowd is lured to quiet with such legalities, stirred only by talk of the “evil family”,  eradicating corruption and the Thaksin regime, and folksy idioms I cannot fully grasp.

The 2007 constitution which is used by both sides to argue their respective cases, is one birthed by the anti-Thaksin 2006 coup. Despite this, it has not been able to stop the electoral preference of a majority expressing support for the side the coup was meant to eradicate. The constitutional upper hand is with the anti-Thaksin side, for the coup enabled strong anti-Thaksin elements to occupy key offices in the so-called independent agencies of the state and in the appointed parts of the Senate. Despite the PDRC’s reactionary rantings, the anti-Thaksin side is not a marginal minority waiting for history-as-justice to sweep it aside (even if the PDRC may be). It is a substantial force that must also be accommodated in any settlement to this conflict. But it needs to compromise too, and it must recognise the mandate given to successive pro-Thaksin governments since the 2006 coup d’etat (2007, 2011 and probably 2014 had the poll proceeded properly).

Thailand now faces an enormous challenge of political transition. It can push through with either side prevailing – and it is not clear which side would prevail just now - but at enormous cost to peace and life. Or it can be a transition that recognizes the validity of some elements of each camp’s claim. To do that would raise the possibility of a peaceful resolution and to begin the hard work of democratizing the conflict into a new social contract.

Both sides have a responsibility to seek a resolution that does not cause further loss of life to their respective rank and files – it is they who have paid the highest cost already  -  as rival elites go for broke.

Somehow Thailand has to retreat from the brink. This would entail a recognition of the electoral mandate of the current care-taker government. Under its administration with an agreement on extraordinary powers,   a constituent assembly could be formed that accommodates a range of interests and political persuasions to establish new rules that, being fairly agreed upon, all must be subject to, and which then are ruthlessly applied without prejudice. The 2007 Constitution lacks this founding legitimacy and resolving the conflict under its auspices will lead to further violence and protest or a repressive military coup.

Michael Connors.

August 9, 2014

Of Rights Lost and Democracy to Come.

Of Rights Lost and Democracy to Come.

In early May of this year the Thai Constitutional Court dismissed Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for a single transfer of office that allowed Thaksin Shinawatra’s former brother in law to become the nation’s top cop. Since the 2006 coup that ousted Thaksin from office, Yingluck’s dismissal was the third time courts had removed from office  pro-Thaksin prime ministers. Two weeks later the self-proclaimed National Council for Peace and Order seized power, claiming that rival political camps were on the brink of political violence and it was time to restore national happiness.

Then followed the “Big Shift” as the junta purged officials and moved their people into place. From those outraged at Thaksin and Yingluck’s political nepotism no sound was heard against the military’s self-regarding and non-transparent  appointments.

The junta cemented its power by a series of extra-ordinary decrees including those enabling the forcible detention (for the purposes of attitude adjustment) of hundreds of politicians, activists, academics and potential dissidents. And from those who had taken to the streets citing the liberal rights of the minority (the protestors) in the face of the tyranny of the majority (the Yingluck government) no opposition was raised against arbitrary detention.  

The silence is symptomatic of authoritarian liberals’ belief that Thailand is now in abnormal times and requires drastic measures. And so it still remains, as each day brings new abnormalities under coup law and the country drifts towards an unimaginable future.  

Inevitably, whispers of physical  human rights abuse leaked from some detainees, but none so spectacularly as that of red shirt activist Kritsuda Khunasem, who endured three weeks of detention and emerged “more happy than I can say”, only to seek refuge in Europe  with claims of torture.  More of such reports can be expected, for a coup licenses such abuse. Until the rule of law is established, the onus should be on the alleged guilty party in such cases to prove that it did not engage in torture, since that party acts without  due process and transparency.

More allegations of coercion, harm and torture are likely to emerge, despite the conditional release of some detainees with statements that they were well-treated and would work with the military for reconciliation.  Images in the Thai press of forced meetings between yellow and red-shirt activists underline the grim-faced submission to the coup. That the military believed its Return Happiness and reconciliation campaigns would work is not farcical, it is terrifying.  We cannot know what else the military dictatorship believes it can get away with, or what it will do to stay in power.   

Indeed, what are we to make of the Thai coup makers' dispiriting use of martial law and censorship, and its growing political ambition evidenced by appointing an effective military majority to the just established
National Legislative Assembly?  This is a level of khaki ambition unseen since the Cold War 1970s. And it finds diplomatic support in Chinese and Burmese quarters. On display is a gritted-tooth spit in the face of history-as-freedom as the junta tries to convince itself of its legitimacy, as much as others, by double speak - hence the arrest of those  at  downtown Paragon Mall caught reading Orwell's 1984. This is not so much a case of an emperor with no clothes as commoners with mirrors.

While conspiracy theorists view the military return to power as a plot, the
decision to assume sovereign power by might, lies not in some original sin of the will to power, but in political circumstances surrounding the failure of competing political leaderships from 2005 onwards to settle the terms of their elite contest amidst emergent mass movements. When given a conditional constitutional terrain on which to contest their respective ideologies they each, at different times, failed to submit to a general constitutional law, providing the emotional, political or legal fuel to sustain a deadlocked politics .

For the latest crisis, responsibility at its gravest lies with the reactionary anti –Thaksin People’s Democratic Reform Committee that led months’ long protests before the coup,  and the opposition Democrat Party from which the committee was spawned. From late 2013, Thailand’s political opposition transformed itself into an outfit set on vandalizing Thailand’s relatively open electoral system by unashamedly courting partisan legal agencies and paving the way for military intervention. As egregious as Yingluck’s Pheu Thai party may have been to its opponents, smart oppositional strategy may have eroded the substantial electoral power that has delivered Thaksin-sponsored parties to power in 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2011.

Instead, the opposition effectively cheered for a military coup knowing that it would not be a “soft coup” like 2006.  It now supinely allows the military to stamp its full authority on post-coup institutions , underlining the desperation  of those wanting to eliminate the “Thaksin regime”, of which the Yingluck government was considered a proxy. That regime was considered by royalist liberals and conservatives a threat to monarchy, democracy, clean government and liberty. The only thing now supposedly secured by the coup is the monarchy. Democracy and liberty are being redefined along conservative guardianship lines, echoing military dogma from the 1960s. As for clean government, elements in the military are just as corrupt as some politicians evidenced by a number of procurement scandals.   

Some in the military believe in the justice of redesigning democracy, and as far as they can see most Thai citizens are smiling in agreement, as required by coup-law. They will do well to remember the events of 1973 and 1992 when hundreds of thousands of democracy protestors forced dictators to exit in shame. Hubris always has an expiry date. 
Piece written last week but was unable to place it.

June 4, 2014

Letter opposing the coup from academics outside of Thailand

23 May 2014

General Prayuth Chan-ocha
Commander-in-Chief, Royal Thai Army

Dear General Prayuth:

As scholars of Thailand based outside the country, we are writing to express our grave concern at the coup launched on 22 May 2014 by the National Order Maintenance Council. This is the twelfth coup successfully carried out in Thailand since the end of the absolute monarchy on 24 June 1932. In every instance, it failed to achieve its objectives while it has damaged the development of the rule of law, democracy, and human rights.  Citizens, particularly those with dissident views, have been placed in danger and political freedom has been curtailed.  

In the National Order Maintenance Council’s first statement, you requested that citizens “carry out their lives and occupation as usual,” but nothing could be normal about the political and social conditions put in place by the coup. The coup cannot be a measure for peace because the coup itself is the use of violence. During the two days from 20 to 22 May 2014 in which martial law was in force, there was curtailment of human rights, particularly with respect to freedom of expression and political freedom. The situation has been worse since the coup, with extensive fear and unknown safety of many leaders and supporters of all political camps. The rapid speed and severity with which these restrictions were put in place makes Thailand notorious worldwide for the unjust actions by the coup group. The international community cannot tolerate such actions. 

We urge the National Order Maintenance Council to immediately return to constitutional rule by a civilian government.  In the absence of such an action, we call on the Council to provide a concrete timeline for return to constitutional rule, which should be done as rapidly as possible. We further call on the National Order Maintenance Council to assure that no further violence or suppression in any form will be used against the people. Constitutional rule by a civilian government, including both elections and the full participation of all citizens in rule, is the only path forward for the continued development of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Thailand.


1.      Dr. Andrew Brown, Lecturer, University of New England
2.      Dr. Pongphisoot Busbarat, Research Affiliate, University of Sydney
3.      Dr. Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Associate Professor, Kyoto University
4.      Dr. Nick Cheesman, Lecturer, Australian National University
5.      Dr. Michael Connors, Associate Professor, University of Nottingham, Malaysia campus
6.      Dr. Eli Elinoff, Postdoctoral Fellow, National University of Singapore
7.      Dr. Jane M, Ferguson, Research Fellow, University of Sydney
8.      Dr. Jim Glassman, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia
9.      Dr. Tyrell Haberkorn, Fellow, Australian National University
10.  Dr. Kevin Hewison, Sir Walter Murdoch Professor, Murdoch University
11.  Dr. Philip Hirsch, Professor, University of Sydney
12.  Dr. Adadol Ingawanij, Senior Research Fellow, University of Westminster
13.  Dr. Soren Ivarsson, Assistant Professor, University of Copenhagen
14.  Dr. Peter Jackson, Professor, Australian National University
15.  Dr. Andrew Johnson, Assistant Professor, Yale-NUS College
16.  Dr. Samson Lim, Singapore University of Technology and Design
17.  Dr. Tamara Loos, Associate Professor, Cornell University
18.  Dr. Mary Beth Mills, Professor, Colby College
19.  Dr. Michael Montesano, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies
20.  Dr. Claudio Sopranzetti, Postdoctoral Fellow, Oxford University
21.  Dr. Ben Tausig, Associate Professor, Stony Brook University
22.  Dr. James L. Taylor, Adjunct Associate Professor, The University of Adelaide,
23.  Dr. Tubtim Tubtim, University of Sydney
24.  Dr. Peter Vandergeest, Associate Professor, York University
25.  Dr. Andrew Walker, Professor and Deputy Dean, Australian National University
26.  Dr. Thongchai Winichakul, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison