Loved and Hated, Former Premier of Thailand Is Erased From Textbook

Loved and Hated, Former Premier of Thailand Is Erased From Textbook

Piles of new books stored in Suksapan Panit, a government stationery and bookstore, in Bangkok.  Credit Giorgio Taraschi for The New York Times

Schoolchildren will be trained to act as ambassadors of patriotic spirit, Mr. Winai said. He gave the hypothetical example of students reprimanding adults who fail to stand at attention during the national anthem, which is played on radio stations and on public broadcast systems at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily.

“The students might go and ask, ‘Why aren’t you standing straight when the national anthem is played?’ ” he said.

The junta has issued a list of 12 values for the country, including gratitude toward parents, discipline, morality and the maintaining of “physical and mental strength against greed.” Large banners bearing the list are being posted at schools nationwide.

The Education Ministry has also introduced a “merit passport,” in which students must keep a record of their behavior and attitudes.

Before the coup, schools were allowed to choose from a variety of history textbooks.

The one that is now the standard had been commissioned by the previous military junta, which seized power from Mr. Thaksin in 2006. The previous edition mentioned Mr. Thaksin at least seven times.

The new text covers the political history of Thailand’s past two decades in five pages, citing the names of many previous prime ministers and other protagonists, including Sonthi Boonyaratglin, the general who overthrew Mr. Thaksin in 2006.

Although it does not name Mr. Thaksin or his political party, it describes “a government” that used “many policies designed to gain popularity from people through huge budgets.”

Mr. Thaksin was in power from 2001 to 2006, and his political movement has won every election in the past decade and a half, including a number of landslides. His sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, was prime minister from 2011 until she was removed from office in May.

Without mentioning either sibling, the textbook does touch on the opposition to Mr. Thaksin’s rule. A subheading describes the protests that preceded his ouster as “the people’s movement against dictatorial power, corruption and embezzlement.”

Mr. Thanom, the textbook author, said that many people might dislike Mr. Thaksin but that he should not be deleted from history.

“History is fact,” he said. “Mistakes or lesson learned — we have to tell our young people. They must know about it. We shouldn’t just delete it.”


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