Monday, November 20, 2006

Worrying interference

This story from the BBC is in some ways the most worrying story I have seen about Thailand post the military coup.

A Thai composer has said that the country's military backed government has threatened to ban his opera. Apparently officials spoke to him days before the opening of Ayodhya concerned about portrayal of the death of demon-king Thotsakan on stage. The officials told him that any misfortunes which befell those in power would be blamed on the opera.

Putting aside for a moment the rights and wrongs of the military coup in the first place this action seems somewhat extreme. The military coup leaders have promised to lift many of the restrictions as soon as possible. They have promised to draft a new constitution and put it to a referendum. They have promised new elections next October. And yet they feel the need and find the time to take an interest in the minutiae of cultural matters.

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