I read this a couple of weeks ago in an article from the Bangkok Post:
"The Education Ministry has scrapped a plan to make English the country's second language, saying it could lead to misunderstandings that Thailand had been colonized in the past.
The ministry will make English the main foreign language instead of the second official language, Education Minister Chinnaworn Boonyakiat said yesterday. . . Other countries that have declared English a second official language were normally viewed as former colonies, he said. Thai is the only official language of Thailand.”
Most reasonable people who follow current events in Thailand would think that Abhisit’s illegitimate government should have more important things to work on right now but then again it is known as “Amazing Thailand.”
Honestly, I really couldn’t care any less if Thailand makes English as the country’s secondary language or not. What is “amazing” to me is the government’s great concern about Thailand’s appearance as to have never been colonized before. The Thai government evidently doesn’t mind their appearance as being a bunch of corrupt and authoritarian thugs suppressing freedom of speech, civic, and human rights.
But let’s get back to the appearance of colonization issue. Thailand, of course, is the only nation in Indochina that did not fall to one of the colonial powers and the Thai people should rightly be proud of that fact. However, a European colonial legacy might be inferred by some famous landmarks around Bangkok to those ignorant of Thai history. Here’s a brief list:
1.) The Bangkok Central Train Station. Obviously a Dutch style building which could imply that Thailand was once a Dutch colony.
2.) The King Rama V Equestrian Monument. Obviously a British style monument which could imply that Thailand was once a British colony.
3.) The Democracy Monument. Obviously a French style monument which could imply that Thailand was once a French colony.
4.) Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall (old Parliament House). Obviously an Italian style building which could imply that Thailand was once an Italian colony.
5.) Abhisit Vejjavija. Obviously a Nazi Germany style leader which could imply that Thailand was once a Nazi colony.
Well, it wouldn’t be feasible to get rid of landmarks 1 – 4, but removing #5 would certainly be a great boost to Thailand’s reputation.