Journal of Political Sciences & Public Affairs

Journal of Political Sciences & Public Affairs
Open Access

ISSN: 2332-0761

+44 1300 500008


Democracy and Village Politics in Thailand and Singapore: Making Analytical Comparisons in Late Modernity

Antonio L Rappa

What is the best way to maximize democratic participation without violent consequences? Democratic theory emphasizes grassroots participation in politics as part of the democratic evolution and transition. Democratic participation is not always peaceful, and indeed has proven itself to be volatile and violent in the history of modern Thailand. Thai scholars like Chaloemtiarana, Bunbongkarn, Boonpraset, Winichakul, Ponsidurak and others have underscored various interstitial issues of violence in Thailand from Phibun and Sarit’s regimes, the role of the military, university student uprisings, mass protests and civil disobedience. Thailand and Singapore share a similar political history despite the differences in size. Both states have experiences periods of authoritarian rule with different policy outcomes and political consequences. Since the end of the Cold War, the governments of both states have emphasized the importance of a democratic ethos and how such a belief leads to a better life for citizens. Yet democracy in Singapore is peaceful by comparison to its larger neighbour. This paper examines how Southern Thai Village people can maximize their participation in village affairs by applying Singapore’s ethnic management strategy of political cohesion. This paper is organized into the following sections: the problem of villages in the Southern provinces of Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani; Political Assimilation; the Singapore Model; and Village Affairs.