Duncan McCargo, Visiting Professor of Political Science at Columbia University and Professor of Political Science at the University of Leeds, wrote a December 14, 2018 article in the Asia Times titled “Lights Out on a Parliamentary Era in Thailand.”
In his piece, Prof. McCargo retraces the history of Thailand’s National Assembly building, the “site of many political tempests,” ahead of its slated demolition at the end of the year.
“Thailand’s National Assembly belonged to a genre of 1970s tropical-authoritarian parliamentary brutalism: an unprepossessing exterior coupled with a spectacular meeting chamber that echoed the forms of representational politics, but was largely empty of democratic substance,” Prof. McCargo wrote.
Reflecting on the awe-inspiring golden ceiling of that amphitheater-style meeting room: “This writer can’t help wondering whether the Assembly’s lead architect, Public Works Department veteran Pol Chulaswake, didn’t leave a secret message of hope encoded in that splendid chamber: Thais deserved better than the dismal, long-since-discredited generals who commissioned the building, and much finer leaders than most of the civilian politicians who have since sat beneath his spectacular ceiling.”
Read the full article here.