18 August 2021

ในดินแดนวิปลาส

Democracy Monument
ในดินแดนวิปลาส: บันทึกบาดแผลสามัญชนบนโลกคู่ขนาน (‘in the land of madness: recording the wounds of ordinary people in parallel worlds’) was written by a female journalist who has covered the legal persecution of anti-coup activists, including various high-profile lèse-majesté cases. Like ห้องเช่าหมายเลข 112 (‘room number 112’), her book tells the human stories behind the headlines. The author is credited pseudonymously as รัช, a contranym meaning both ‘king’ and ‘dust’ (a subversive reference to ‘dust under the feet’, a Thai phrase emphasising the subservient position of subjects in relation to their monarch).

The cover illustration (also credited to a pseudonym, La Orng) shows a chess piece (the king) and Democracy Monument on opposite sides of the scales of justice, with the scales tipped in favour of the king. The journal Read (อ่าน) made the same point with infographics in its January-March 2013 issue. On the ในดินแดนวิปลาส cover, Democracy Monument is splattered with blood, and today Thalu Fah protesters draped body bags with fake blood over it, symbolising the unvaccinated victims of the coronavirus pandemic (as photographed by Voice TV).

Images of Democracy Monument have been used to make similar political statements on other book covers. Wad Rawee’s การเมืองโมเบียส (‘Möbius politics’) depicts it as a military complex in a dystopian future, Jakkapan Kangwan’s Altai Villa (อัลไตวิลล่า) shows it under construction—as does the June 2012 issue of Sarakadee (สำรคดี) magazine—and on the cover of Sulak Sivaraksa’s หกทศวรรษประชาธิปไตย (‘six decades of democracy’), it is represented as a jigsaw with one piece (containing the constitution) missing.