Greg and Ed interview a fascinating and very erudite couple, Paul and Yuangrat Wedel. Paul, a native of New Jersey, met Yuangrat, a native of Nakhon Si Thammarat, in Bangkok in the late 1970s and through various twists and turns ended up both getting...
Greg and Ed interview a fascinating and very erudite couple, Paul and Yuangrat Wedel. Paul, a native of New Jersey, met Yuangrat, a native of Nakhon Si Thammarat, in Bangkok in the late 1970s and through various twists and turns ended up both getting advanced degrees in the States and carrying on a romance and eventually getting married. (Their daughter, documentary filmmaker Pailin Wedel, is a former guest of the show, as is Pailin’s husband Patrick).
After setting up their life in Thailand, with Yuangrat working as a professor at Thammasat University and Paul doing NGO work, they decided to use Yuangrat’s PhD dissertation as the basis for a book about radical politics in Thai history. Greg and Ed query Paul and Yuangrat about the fascinating story of Marxism and socialism in Thai history, something many Thais are entirely ignorant of. Yuangrat traces its origins back to the ‘sakdina’ system, a complex social hierarchy imported into Thai culture through the influence of Hinduism based on land owndership. This system created a clear separation between social classes, providing a fertile breeding ground for later far left politics that sought to free the lower working classes from the higher privileged classes.
This leads to an engrossing discussion of the rise of Chinese merchants in Thai society, the effect foreign radical thought had on a groundbreaking Thai journalist, and eventually to the movement for constitutional monarchy in Thailand.
Listen in if you are curious to hear a discussion on an often forgotten but truly interesting part of Thai history, and check back for part 2 next week.
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