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But not only that, the need to consider the politics of historicity of the nation was necessary


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Historicizing Thai Femininity From 1960s-1990s

Porranee Singpliam July 10, 2018

A doctoral dissertation submitted to

the Graduate School of International Culture and Communication Studies Waseda University

in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy



First and foremost, I would like to thank my parents who are my uttermost constant guardians, supporters, and listeners throughout my path to finishing this dissertation. I would like to very much give thanks to my advisor, Professor Takashi Aso, for continuously giving me advice and suggestions not pertaining to my academic route alone, but career guidance as well. My deputy director, Professor Greg Dvorak, who encouraged me to queer my thoughts, challenge the societal norms, and to consider the application of theoretical adaptations of which I am very grateful for. I also thank Professor David Karashima for urging me to be more considerate about my choices of preliminary sources, the periodicals, in particular. Other professors whom I met and had knowledgeable conversations with during my three years of doctoral courses and at conferences have enlightened my knowledge onphetin Thai society. But not only that, the need to consider the politics of historicity of the nation was necessary. And for this, I would like to thank Ajarn Janit Feangfu, Ajarn Sukrittaya Jukping, Ajarn Sirisira Chokthawikit and Ajarn Somboon Pojprasat for encouraging me and engaging in delightful conversations with me on Thai studies, Thai historicity, and gender relations in the first place.

I also have to thank my wonderful and supportive friends who not only provided me with moral support, but physically went so far as to help me in acquire some preliminary texts in Bangkok. I thank Kachaporn Pirunrak, Pornchanok Arayakulchai, Appipar Norapoompipat, and Tulaya Daroon. I also need to give special thanks to Adrienne Wu, my admirable friend and my proofreader who worked long hours to edit this dissertation. For funding and monetary support, I am grateful for the Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho) Scholarship for funding the tuition fee and monthly stipend that facilitated my education in Japan and as well as my wellbeing.



Acronyms / i

Glossary of Thai Terms / ii Introduction / 1

1The Theorization and the Historicity of the Distinct Sex, Gender, and Body / 23 2Reversed Realities: National Pride and Visual Coding / 71

3Imagined Spectacle: Role Reversal inSuratnari/ 99

4 Disintegrated Participation: Hierarchy and Gender Relations Re-Examined in Khru Somsri/ 126

5En-Routeto Economic Revival:Rootedin Female Bodies / 154 Conclusion / 183

Appendix / 204 Bibliography / 205



CPT Communist Party of Thailand

FCCT Foreign Correspondence Club of Thailand GDP Gross Domestic Product

LGBTQ+ Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and every gender identity that exists in Thai society. In effect, the term highlights the diversity of sex/gender identities and the endemic identity politics that exist in Thai society where LGBT, LGBTI, or LGBTQI may or may not genuinely be the identity choice some non-normative Thais choose to identify themselves with.

NCWT National Council of Women of Thailand

NESDB Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board NESDP National Economic and Social Development Plan

NIC Newly Industrializing Country NPKC National Peace Keeping Council NSCT National Student Center of Thailand

TAT Tourism Authority of Thailand (Name changed in 1979 from TOT) TOT Tourist Organization of Thailand

VCAA Vajiravudh College Alumnae Association


Glossary of Thai Terms

attalak thaang phet Generally understood as a synthesis between sex, gender, and sexuality. It can mean both sexual identity and gender identity. In Cultural Pluralism, Duangwises and Jackson argue that it is a western derived terminology that characterizes how one defines oneself through sexual orientation. It is a powerful tool that publicly separates heteronormative persons away from homosexual persons and has become a linguistic mechanism utilized by the modern state to manage the Thai subjects. Both attlak thaang phet and phet are prevalent in legal, academic, and media domains.

dika A petition.

farang A noun and an adjective that is used to refer to westerners. The term can connote a disrespectful attitude.

kalathesa Conditions throughout time and space.

kanphatthana Development.

kathoey The term is ever changing. It can mean these things:

hermaphrodites, transgenders, and crossdressers, for a start.

khon khaam phet People who transcend and cross over the dominant discourse ofphet in Thai society. I use this word to try to elucidate the way gendered identities in Thai society are impossible to count and categorize.

Khon khaam phet also refers to those who do not conform to the hegemonic sexual orientations, sexual preferences, sexed bodies, and the gendered attributes that society expects from them.

khwampenthai Thainess.


kunlasatri Thai A Thai lady. It is a noun and a Thai cultural concept that includes traditional roles, gender expectations, and even restriting sexuality of a Thai woman.

oprom To cultivate.

phet The term is generally used in Thai society’s master discourse to refer to biological sex, the conditions of one’s gender–binary masculine or feminine–and the sexuality (sexual matters, sexual relations, for example). Since the early 21st century, the term has become more diverse and now connotes a variety of phet–rather than the constructed binary system of the sexes.

rathaniyom Cultural mandates (originated in Field Marshal Phibun’s regime) siwilai The Thai notion of civilized.



“some seven decades of women’s movements and its line of thinking, major legal and political decisions still reflect the centrality of male dominance and the image of women in the media still reflects patriarchal values” (Satha-anand 18).

Re-conceptualizing the archetypal “good” Thai woman is a task that requires an insight into the internal systematic structuralization and the cultural perceptions towards women.1These perceptions have a stronghold in Thai culture and through socio-economic transformations and globalized repercussions, they are materialized and become pervasive among visitors. Initially, the image of “good” Thai women such as obedient, well- mannered, and caring stems from the cultural roles and expectations attached to female Thais. “Good” Thai women are expected to be devoted daughters, wives, and mothers throughout various stages of their lives. In this dissertation, I aim to re-conceptualize that archetypal notion attached to women in our culture. Homogenizing “good” woman is pernicious because it disregards the temporal changes, impacts of globalization, and the mobility of women’s labor–all factors that alter when the national policy shifts towards economic orientation. These internal as well as international variables need to be re- considered alongside the epitome of “good” Thai women we see in official public representation today, for instance in advertisements, print media, and governmental

1It is my intention to use “good” within quotation marks because the indicator is ambivalent and conditioned upon the society that has always subordinated women. Only by subordinating their embodied gendered acts, conducts, and desires, for instance, can they become “good”.


campaigns. Those who do not conform to this set of standards are either dismissed by the society or become objects of criticism depending on their social status. The former, the non-conforming Thai women, are well known in the tourism and sex industry, specifically catering to Thai and foreign customers.2Societal nonchalance, too, is fatal because not only is nothing done to spread awareness of why non-conforming Thai women choose to enter the sex industry, but also the nonchalance rooted in the cultural attitudes towards women only accepts the cliché “good” Thai women and while alienating non-conforming women. The nonchalance is tacit and banal. It is a lethal tool that renders Thai women as either “good” or views them as sex objects.

Women are the raison d’être a majority of visitors travel to Thailand.3Not once have I witnessed a conversation or discussion among my peers, in formal conference Q&A sessions where Thai women are not already commercialized and sexually objectified by foreigners. In their mindset, thedémodécolonial thoughts that conquer women still persist.

Literature reviews show that this orientalization of female subjects is served and fulfilled by Thai women themselves.4First, I aim to question how this outdated colonialist thought has remained until today. What made women choose to play a part in constructing the factual reality of a sex paradise that is Thailand? More importantly, I think it is significant that we broaden the concepts which Thai society is structured upon, and its ideas regarding gender relations, including the way in which the delegation of labor helps shape the knowledge about women’s situation in Thailand. Clearly, there are other women who do not conform to the normative, yet ambiguous category of “good” Thai women. The factors that compliment non-conforming subjects are gendered and class based. The process of

2See Chia, “Privileged Lie”.

3As of 2017, the Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) by US Department of State cautious Thailand and its position on the second tier watch list on human trafficking which also includes the concern for prostitution.

4Several other studies highlight female sexuality. See Peach, “Sex or Sangha?,” 306-91; Cook 350-96; Falk 225-46; Phongpaichit,Peasant Girls; Mills,Thai Women.


gendering the Thais, too, is a process of intersectionality, contingent upon various dependents and asymmetrical in its power to represent, sanction, or reprimand. I then question how the subordination of women endures temporal changes. Why do women choose to manipulate themselves to serve the colonial fantasy? Self-manipulation, not being victimized by men, is what I endorse.5The maneuver of their sexed bodies will show the materialized imperatives that are ambivalent to the idealized “good” Thai women. Thai women thus play a significant role in the society’s transformation, and their homogeneous categorization, seen in the official discourse–needs reconceptualization.

My initial research focused on how to deconstruct the homogeneous notion attached to Thai women (read: well-mannered, subservient, docile, and sexually commodified). I was determined to argue against the banality attached to the way Thai women are perceived elsewhere and, more crucially, how they are subjugated within the Thai society. The internal subjugation in Thai culture–in the homes, in the workplace, and in the media–attracts myattention as much as the perceptions foreigners have towards Thai women do. This is because the subjugation prevails through the years and reveals the power within and emanating from the representations of women, how and why they are represented the way they are. As a cultural studies student, I am interested in literary works, media, popular culture and how these portray women diversely. To deconstruct or demythify the gendered notions is a difficult task because of the intersectionality that embeds deep within the structure of the society, a structured and institutionalized knowledge regarding the sexes, genders, and the bodies that become the citation for the process of gendering Thai subjects. Representation is not mere portrayal. Representation is a mechanism of power, of historicity of the nation, of liberalism, of patriarchal modes of thought, and–as I will show in later chapters–of means used to counteract the gendering of

5See also Bishop and Robinson, Bell, “Economic Miracle,” and “Contradiction,” Peach, “Female Sex,” 233- 52.


Thais and of the nation. Conducting this research and deciding on the preliminary research objects then becomes a task that needs to serve the purpose of deviating from the normative way we internalize the institutionalized knowledge on sexed and gendered subjectivities.

Women have always been the emblem ofkhwampenthai, or Thainess. The society’s systematic disposition of roles, attributes, acts expected out of Thais elongate the status quo, support the capitalist economy, and eventually widen the disparity among the society’s inherent classes. Altering the cultural perception towards Thai women as “good”

and representable for the nation means that “women [as] icons of nationhood … would be fraught with fears about the fragmentation of ‘national identity’” (Roces and Edwards 4).

This is precisely why the represented narratives about Thai women shown on the national level represent them as archetypal “good” Thai woman, an image that is not inclusive and needs immediate reconsideration alongside other paradigms of thoughts be they economic transformation, governing regimes, or transnational global knowledge.

Nevertheless, the objectification and commodification of women still persist. The homogeneous notion attached to Thai women still occupies foreigner’s thoughts. So much so that when Thai women are mentioned in transnational settings, the majority of the conversations go along this line: “To be a Thai female always means to be already prostituted” (Haritaworn 141). In Chapters 1 to 5, I will argue that it is insufficient to merely reconsider the conundrum that tarnishes women of Thailand both internally and internationally, a kind of conception that categorizes them as one and the same under an idealized gender norm. Rather, I assert that we need to grasp the foundational conceptualization of sex, gender, body, and sexuality in the endemic to the Thai setting, as well as the contingent variants namely the Thai state’s traditional authority, economic transformation, and male dominated epistemology. In fact, “women’s ‘relatively high status’” (“Civil Society” 4) is not all-inclusive and results from vexing relations between


the state, its strategic modern face, palatial practices, history, and the legal process.6Seen in this light, the Other’s mindset that objectifies women largely stems from the ancient regime’s management of the sexes.

Literary works, popular media, and everyday news will manifest the way the colonialist fantasy is exacerbated in these domains. By conducting a text analysis will show that Thai women’s archetypes are products of the Thai institutions. Following the theoretical concept by a feminist and queer scholar, Judith Butler, to go over the binary system, I find the functionality in: the theorization of sex and how bodies come to matter (cf. Bodies); the critique on Foucault’s notion of the body as a medium that awaits inscription (“Foucault”; “Bodies”); and the vicissitude of the performativity of gender that can shift one’s gendered subjectivity therefore making gender identity illusive (“Performative Acts”). Moreover, performativity as citationality that impedes the non- normative acts will point out the power that embeds in the way sexes predetermine genders and at the same time the way sexes are vulnerable indicators facing resistances in all areas of Thai culture.

However, I also acknowledge that there is a counterargument regarding the extent to which Eurocentric theorization can be applied to the study of area studies, specifically that of Thai gender studies. I am aware that western theories are often “translated without being assimilated” (Seditious127). Thus, in the methodical way I conduct this dissertation, I attempt to theorize how dominant understanding towards the synthetic Thai term, sex/gender identity (attalak thaang phet) conceals and confines the sex, gender, body,and sexuality altogether under the binary system of normative feminine woman and normative

6I was astonished that this perception that Thai women nowadays already have an “equal” status and a rather

“high” position in comparison to men still exists. I witnessed this interaction at the conference in Kyoto, Japan 2017 where a question was directed to a female professor from a well known private university in Bangkok who affirmed that women have an equal relations with men in the society. This train of thought is held by women in middle and upper class.


masculine man. Eurocentric theory attacks the norm that stems from the binary duality between and limited to male and female. The binary between the sexes, however, is taken as the norm in Thai society even today when sexes, genders, and sexual orientations are, in fact, impossible to number. To understand the notions on the bodies as mediums and the regime of heterosexual sexuality prevalent in all domains in our culture, I find that the assimilation of western theories on feminist approach, queer, and gender enlightening.

It became a personal conundrum for me to come to understand how Thailand is perceived as the mythical land of sex paradise and how Thai women are seen as subservient. Especially, governmental representations often try to manage the sexualized and gendered bodies of Thais that are to be seen in the public discourse. In practice, the representation of Thai women is always desexualized, demure, and virtuous. All of these are evident in the advertisements for the national airlines, tourism campaigns, beauty queens, promotional photos for Thai festivals, for instance.7Have no groups called for changes to this infamous and passive reputation that actually leads to tangible social issues and condemnation on Thai women’s part?

To address this, I would first like to consider feminist groups and organized associations by women. It appears that among Thai feminist scholars, there is no agreement onwhen a feminist movement emerged in Thailand. Some assert that Thailand has never had anorganized feminist movement at all.8Others claim that the English word,9 feminism is not illustrious in Thai societyand at times, translated into Thai using a Thai spelling for the English term as เฟมินิสต์.10A diachronic study on feminist thought and shows that in Thailand the movement did not arise particularly from the nationalist

7See FCCT’s panel on “Sex as Entertainment”.

8Personal communication at the 13thInternational Conference on Thai Studies, 15-18 July, 2017, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

9See Van Esterik,Materializing, 57-60.

10Duangwises 31, Van Esterik,Materializing, 59, and polfem.org.


struggle against the colonial powers. This is because at the height of the colonialism in the nineteenth century, the kingdom of Siam remained a sovereign state and the monarchs’

reigns persisted. Since the country’s westward orientation began after the signing of the Bowring Treaty (1855), Siam has always been a semi-colonial–or crypto-colonial–country whose modernization conceptualization and practices were to at once follow the lead of the west and at the same time try to be on par with its Other.11The Thai feminist mode of thought and organized groups that demanded changes and equality between men and women in the society emerged because of the inequity in the bureaucratic and male-centric development social contract, Thailand’s agreement to the membership of international organizations, not specially by falling into the colonialist conquest.12

Consequently, this means that the women’s movement and assembled organizations in Thailand were initiated because of the fundamental discontentment with the internal system of subjugation and development discourse. This is problematic and astounding because due to the internal inequality between the sexes in Thai society, the Thais have to find ways to liberate their oppressive situation in all areas such as income, social status and upward mobility, or relocation. Furthermore, the society’s unawareness, the systematic laissez faireattitude answers partly my previous question as towhythese degraded notions towards Thai women exist until today. Especially at the time of my writing, women’s empowerment is an eminent discourse around the world. However, Thai women’s participation is scattered within the rhetoric of empowerment.13 Or should I say, Thai

11See the anthologies inThe Ambiguous Allure of the West.

12See Van Esterik, “Ideologies,” 599.

13At the time of writing, December 2017, sexual harassment and rape are the current issues in which women and men particularly in the United States gather to publicly condemn the offenders.KhaosodEnglish, Thai newspapers written in English, presented an opposing story to the same issue happening endemically in Thai society. Thai women often times do not reproach the offenderpublicly. And at times this is the direct result of the systematic hindrance on gender relations in the society. InKhaosodEnglish’s words, it is due to “social mores and a lack of leadership on the issue” (KhaosodEnglish). See these articles “Few Thai Women” and


women are “restricted” to the act of simply publicly protesting and stigmatizing the sex offenders.14The restrictions come in all forms such as intrinsic in the cultural perception that demeans female sexed subjects (and, as I will write later on, demeaning attitudes also extend to Thais who deviate from the normative sexed and gendered roles.15

This is precisely why the textual analysis method I employ does not confine my perspectives to exploring the counterhegemonic or non-normative meanings for gendered beings. Instead, the method queers my thought process by broadening my perspectives to not only focus on gendered representations, but also on the way these representations show an intertwining relation with the economy of the sexualities, political situation, and economic direction of different epochs. One unchanging aspect I find is the asymmetrical relations between sexes and genders in the society. Thai society that strongly believes in the obsolete binary system or in Chonwilai and Boonmongkon’s words “a system of two genders,” regardless of the changes of the governing regimes, economic influxes, or prominent visibility of fluid gender persons. Even if upward mobility becomes an easier path in the latter days Thailand, it is finite among women with certain means and of certain classes. I will not reject the fact that as I decided the research texts and moved forward to critically analyze them, I found myself immersed in the histories, a plural form, of the nation and how historians periodically forgo gender relations and women’s problems.16 Thai historicity is gendered and its historical portrayals and statist representations frequently de-sexualize its women in the official narrative. This point on de-sexualization

“9-in-10”. An emerging empowering rhetoric towards rape can be seen in polfem.org

14The restrictions on non-normative feminine women, particularly lesbians, lead them to become the forefront participants in the LGBT movements. Jackson summarizes Sinnott and Sanders’ works in

“Capitalism,” that “the cultural restrictions imposed on all Thai women, have made the politicized public space of rights and citizenship much more their domain of action” (197). See “Capitalism,” 195-204.

15See Voice TV, “In Her View,” article on female social activists who were threatened by the state for their activist activities in “Human Rights”.

16See Reynolds,Seditious, 122.


will present a contrast opposition to the tacit sex economy permitted by the state personnel.

Thus, it would be inconsequent to not restate the history of the nation along with the chosen cultural texts I analyze in this dissertation.

This brings me to state the purpose and my argument of the dissertation, which is twofold. I will first show that throughout the changing regimes starting from the American Era in the sixties, women have always taken part in the politics of representation, the reorganization, and the direction of the nation’s economy. Gradually, resisting writing by women oraboutwomen emerged in the decades that followed and, astonishingly from my research objects, was even resisted by the elite members themselves. Second, there is an alteration in the confining rhetoric of a “good” Thai woman as ladylike, well brought up, and chaste. Put simply, there exists non-normative feminine women and non-normative masculine men. The binary genders or the sexes that are taken as sites and references for where normative viable subjects emerge (cf.Bodies) in the orthodox sense do not actually explain the lived practices of the Thais. The alteration in gender conception of feminine Thai women, in particular, will show that Thai women’s identities are always in flux and so are the signifieds. They exist diversely in non-normative modalities of femininities, masculinities, or the amalgam between the two and the in-between. I will also pinpoint that similar to the way gender modalities are performative, the national identity, the conceptual

“thing” that is referred to askhwampenthaialso is a performative act. More precisely, it is a performative statist discourse that is conjured, constructed, and put into social circulation when needed. Illusive in its class-based construction and imagined collectiveness, it creates uniformity predominantly when the other is present. Additionally, as I will argue later, this thing that iskhwampenthaiis oftentimes inserted into the way the nation and the Thais are gendered as feminine especially for the purpose of promotion, cordial reputation, and economic gains. Women are not mere dormant subjects who are to represent an idealized mode of revered Thai women for the world to see. The ultimate objectives of my


dissertation are: to inform the perspectives of the visitors or misogynist Thais that a homogenous rhetoric governing Thai women is illusive; and to propose that the fundamental understanding ofphet in Thai culture can be taught especially when put as a pedagogy and officiated in the institution. Sexual identity and gender identity change just as the society changes. To harken back to the traditional past is to blindly prolong the imagined trope of male domination and, at times, misogynist mythical imagination.

While existed works on gender relations, sex/gender diversity, and plurality of desires focus on the lived experiences, I strongly urge that a re-conceptualization of the way the Thais are selectively represented by the state that is as significant. Statist representations will show how faltering and unstable it is in the Thais’ everydayness, but at the same time showing its control and power to regulate, reprimand, and appropriate the notions of body, sexuality, and genders. I think it is of extreme importance that we reconsider the public sphere dominated by the statist discourse because as the news reports, the international concerns, and particularly the media show, women and men can evade social reprimands and even unjust treatment if they behave and perform accordingly to their biological given sexed bodies. These news and articles prevalent in our culture are not mere reflections, that prompt us to expand the thoughts, as fundamental as the theories of body, of sexes, of genders, and of sexualities, they are the very proof that the societal sanctions exacerbate the gendered situations of actual gender fluidity. The state still deems the body, thealreadysexed body as natural and the Principal body where gender relations are based on and the management of the sexes emerges.17I then focus on the critique of the distinctive cultural texts ranging from the 14th Miss Universe of 1965, Abhasra Hongsakul, literary work titled Suratnari, film titled Khru Somsri, and the tourism campaign (1998-1999) in the booklet Amazing Thailand In Brief. In the process, I will

17See Duangwises 53.


show that the “good” Thai woman and the esteemed femininity expected out of her as a Thai woman, is at once imagined and problematized when other women show counterhegemonic modes of femininity, which in effect, oscillate and rattle the conceptual

“thing” that is calledkhwampenthaichampioned by the status quo.

Structure of the Dissertation

Historicity of the Thai state is a gendered and class-based construction. Specifically when opportunities present themselves, the statist authority rush in to manage the Thai identity through the management of sex/gender identity. It is in historical narratives that we find the roots to asymmetrical relations between men, women, and the socio-cultural disparagement towards those exist outside the binary sexes. Historical events legitimize the Thai understanding of a synthetic notion, sex/gender identity or attalak thaang phet (อัตลักษณ์ทางเพศ).18 The collapse of gender as a cultural notion that distinguishes the differences and likeness of men and women “as they are lived and interacted” (Errington 8) into sex asphetwill be both the site and citation where regulatory norms, the governing, and managing of sexes emerge. Gender, seen in this notion, becomes more than constructed corporeality for men and women, but it is a site of power as well.

In Chapter 1, I will first explain the concepts of sex, gender, and body endemic in Thai society. By endemic I do not in any way desert Thai conception away from the Others. Rather, the concept that is local can be explained by the so-called Eurocentric or western theorization. In Thailand, the orthodox binary between the sexes is still upheld by the statist authority. Existing literature on gender studies often times asserts the significance of the lived experiences, the diversity of multiple sexualities and the way

18See also the notion ofphetin English by Jackson, “Queer Bangkok,” 3.


Thais embody their gendered selves. I urge that we need also to question the dominant discourse that governs the sex/gender identity, one that is constructed by the elites, the statist authority, and disseminated within the institutions be they education, workplace, and the media.

Drawing from Judith Butler’s works: on the body; genders; and the theorization of the constructed sexes, I argue that the western body of knowledge can facilitate the understanding of the sex, gender, and body’s concept especially in its heteronormative enforcement. Not only is Butler’s theory and later her attack on sexual norms, ispartially applicable to understanding thephet conception and its repercussions, but both also point out the instability of the sex norms that has perpetually been the Thai state’s means of control.19 The section “Performativity as Citationality” affirms at once the sexes’

compelling force is asserted by the state and at the same time showing its vulnerability.20I propose that we need to conceptualize the sex/gender identity in Thai society on two levels: the state and the lived experiences; and as a separate entity, which are sexual identity and gender identity.21

19In Thai scholarly texts, prominent scholars argue that the Eurocentric works are inapplicable to Thai system of sex and genders, particularly Foucault’s work on the binary sexes and homosexuality. Duangwises, citing Jackson’s work that this is because Thai society has never had an actual punishment for homosexual persons. Further, homosexuality in Thailand is not victimized per se. The lack of usage of sexual identity (in Thai,แนวคิด “อัตลักษณ์ทางเพศ” ไม่เคยมีอยู่ในวัฒนธรรมทางเพศในสังคมไทยมาก่อน) and gender identity in Thai society in addition to the diversity of the lived experiences of the Thais, Duangwises cautions, that academia must be considerate before adapting social constructionist view to the Thai setting. See Duangwises 42-43.

See also Jackson’s work “Performative Genders” that criticizes Foucault’s History of Sexuality Vol. 1 and how the werstern regime that governs sexuality has never been operated similarly in Siamese/Thai setting. In it, he disputes the immensity of western based theorization of the sexuality and argues that the Thai state favors gender as a symbolic appearance of “modern Thai identities” (“Performative Genders”) more than its scrutiny on eroticism or sexuality.


21I refer to sexual identity as the sexual organs the Thais are born with (male, female, hermaphrodite) that later “shape” and “construct” the Thai beings–their sexual “identity” and gendered self conflated into the


The sex/gender relations in Thai society are legitimized by the historical narratives, civic religion, and laws. I proceed to explain the kind Siamese/Thai society was in Chapter 1. We need to understand the strategic way the Siamese elites exercised and appropriated the discourse of modernization while keeping the hierarchical status quo. In the sub- sections: Modernization: Pre-Modern Law, Patriarchal Proclamation, and Ambiguous Modern Image; and Post Absolutism–Cum–Militarist Rule, I will outline the diachronic events and distinctive examples that justify the elites’ maneuvering the Siamese/Thai women’s status and position for the purpose of appearing modern and civilized amid the height of colonialism era and the emergence of the nation-state in the war periods.

The seemingly high status of Thai women is simply a tactic used by the authorities to achieve conditional modernity and more importantly, the high status pertained to a certain class. Understanding sexual identity and gender identity separately is of significance in today’s time because not only does it show the perpetual way the majority of Thai women are being subordinated and limited in their appropriate realm predetermined by their female sex, but also when needed, the appropriateness attached to feminine Thai woman is called upon. This serves the political purpose of the state.

Appearing modern from the nineteenth century until the first regime of the military rule inserts the state’s nationalistic yearning to be part of the international and civilized nations through women’s body. Under the metanarratives such as the quest to modernization and nation building, women’s progress and status are insubstantial and conditioned upon the elites and at times coerced and embodied by women themselves.

general Thai understanding of sex/gender identity. Throughout the dissertation, I will point out that even my usage of “identity” is polemic in that identity is contextual and constructed. Thus, disavowing the rigid and bounded characteristics of sexual identity that is predetermined by what we are born with. In spite of this claim and growing understanding of the separation between sex and gender, I assert that sexual identity (female/male) is a dominant discourse embeds with power relations and the ability to police Thai subjects predominantly in the public discourse be they medical, religious, or regulations.


The concept of femininity is idealized and epitomized in the era during which the country promoted itself on the world stage as one and the same with the feminization of the country. Continuing from Chapter 1 where the extrinsic appearance of women as civilized was attended to or coerced by the elites, the same superficial appearance of being modern and traditional was revered through the 14th Miss Universe, Abhasra Hongsakul.

An analysis of the periodicals in Chapter 2 will show that femininity as an abstract conception conveniently finds its repertoire through the Miss Universe’s body–a representative of Thai woman and Thailand. In effect, the concept is mapped on to her body as a concrete product. Following Thongchai Winichakul’s Siam Mapped as a guideline, I will show that the boundedness of something that is conceptual, gendered, and an elitist production is solidified and materialized to confine this beauty pageant’s sexed and gendered body and her performing a certain mode of femininity. Contrary to the claim that it is pernicious to appropriate western theories to analyze the Thai locality, I will write that “performativity” is adaptable to analyzing Abhasra’s concession to acting out the gendered scripts. The discordant between Abhasra as a visual code, an emblem for modern Thai, and a representative for all Thai women in opposition to her own wishes will reiterate the functionality and more important, the force of the state’s regulation of the sex norms. Performativity on the level of the promotion of the country suppresses Abhasra’s desires and her embodied gender conducts. Performativity in the sixties reiterates the solidification of the sex norms, a process of cementation of femininity for the purpose of national reputation.

In the American Era (Anderson 10; Anderson and Mendiones 29), the politics of representation problematized the performance of one’s embodied genders. Despite Butler’s renowned disavowal of the gender “identity” through the lenses of her theorization, she also elaborates the point in which performative acts of gender must be performed to be believed, accepted, sanctioned by the audience and the society. In this chapter, I will show


that performativity does not support the lived experiences of women, but rather, performativity during an era of politics focused on promoting the country means an iteration of the discourse of sex norms through the news’ redundant usage of kunlasatri Thai that effectively became transcendental. Only when Abhasra met the conditioned

“performative accomplishment” (520) was she revered the pride of Thai women.

Why does performativity matter in the sixties’ era of promotion? First, Jackson claims that Thai state clings on to the performed appearance, which disregards what is really going on internally and privately among its citizens, as he cites Mulder that the Thais’ “outside appearance is taken to be the essence of social life. It is the manipulation of form as content, or the equation of these two” (qtd. in “Regime” 189-90). Additionally, performing idealized femininity in this era manifests a full engagement between beauty politics, politics of the Cold War, and the political stance of the Thai state in the new military regime led by Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat and his successor, Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn. Abhasra’s female body became not just any female body, but an emblem, a token of Thai nation. The political situation and bureaucratic red tape of that time led the state to gender the nation with the aim of increasing the country’s political postion and global recognition through Miss Universe’s embodiment of Thainess.

Femininity and the feminization of the country as amiable and pliable for the eyes of the Americans circumscribed the female body and encrypted her with the materialization of the sex norms.

The military clique and the patronage system continued well into the next decade, the seventies. The people’s discontent escalated due to the widening disparity between the elites and the commoners. The ideological divide and the importunity for a democratic atmosphere described the decade’s political situation. The upheavals in the years 1973 and 1976 affected, shaped, and resonated in cultural texts and most importantly, non-dominant texts. I begin Chapter 3 by outlining the contingency in politics and ideological divide


between that of the left versus the right, or the liberalist versus the nationalist (traditionalist), to crudely put them into factions.

The selected literature Suratnari (1972) written by M.L. Boonlua Debyasuvarn problematizes the status quo and the underrepresented gender relations in the Thai society.

The repressive social milieu in the early seventies prompted me to question what was considered the normative genders in the culture. Parallel to the international occurrences such that of the UN endorsement of the International Decade of Women, the student movement, or the feminist social activists, I argue that M.L. Boonlua’s work reveals her dissatisfaction with Thai society by questioning the “naturalized social construction”

(Bourdieu 23). Too advanced for her time, the characters’ discussion and conversation in Suratnari confuses the majority of the readers.22Their confusion arises from the unusual language used in the text, the queering of gender relations or the complete opposite of what is considered status quo and gender hierarchy in the textvis à vis reality. Suratnari deserves a reread in the feminist and queer perspectives because M.L. Boonlua went to great length to criticize what is uniqueness in the national identity, and to question who exactly were the Thais.

Suratnarirepresents a non-dominant outlook to the chaotic Thai society by an elite woman. I have explained earlier that the elites enjoy far more chances to and have the means to foster certain discourse within the society–be they normative gendered subjects, nation building, or the modern face of society. The trend for those who have the means to express and criticize the state, however, differs and frankly manifests as a plurality among the Thais. “Socialist realism” (Anderson and Mendiones 38) was the way the cultural texts portray the authors’ agitation, disgruntlement in the military dominated American Era. Not only does Suratnari undermine the dominant understanding of the materialization of the

22See Kepner, “Dropping,” 159-79.


sex norms, but M.L. Boonlua also emphasizes the process of queering gender norms.

Materiality of the sex norms (Table 1, Chapter 1) has no hold over the Thai Surat’s subjects. Rather, like many Thai gender scholars, she inculcates the cultivation process endemic to one’s culture and its social milieu; the same cultivation process that constructs and shapes the gendered subjects. In effect, her work disturbs the male-dominated epistemology especially in the time of its release, the political upheaval of the 1970s.

Apart from the reversal of gender relations portrayed in the imagined land of Surat, issues on liberalism, modern-led capitalism, and power relations are also depicted in the novel. Most significantly, M.L. Boonlua criticizes the male-led, bureaucratic development plan and the materialization of the country that would inevitably create social disparity.

She goes on to problematize the economical ties between Thai Surat and the west, the Americans, through the female protagonist, Vishu. Still relevant in today’s time, I assert that M.L. Boonlua’s perspective on the society led by focused, ardent, and headstrong female forerunners might be the solution to the paternalistic, militaristic, and patriarchal social reality that is perpetual in Thailand.

In a similar vein, the selected film,Khru Somsri(1985) resonates with the remnants of the dissidents from the previous decade. The domain of media and cultural texts play a significant part in dissecting the unjust in the society, or even revealing the corrupting manners within the bureaucratic system. The film, written, produced, and directed by an elite filmmaker, M.C. Chatrichalerm Yukol discloses the diversification within the Thai society amid the economic miracle era. This diversity is shown through the portrayal of the grassroots community, Saan trok chaopho sua. In Chapter 4, I analyze the alienation and the process of Othering that occupied the globalized and capitalized Thai society in the eighties. Rather than staging the global process in opposition to the local community or vice versa, the film shows how the process of globalization embeds its flows within the locals. The film also shows how the locals respond or adapt to the accelerated capitalized


society. The lessened political turmoil in this decade, I argue, opened a channel for which wrongdoing and unjust actions can be exposed in the public domain. Both class and gender relations are depicted on screen as a societal reflection, albeit with a non-dominant narrative.

The film problematizes the economic miracle era by shifting the focus to the disadvantaged groups in the community. These groups are those who lack the means to voice their agitation or the knowledge to overcome the systematic hindrances that prevent them from mobilizing. I argue that, hidden within the dialogues between the characters, we can see the way it portrays the state’s complicit rhetoric of participation in the kanphatthanaor the development discourse. I will write further that, the economic miracle period not only increases the disparity between the classes, but also creates and solidifies the corrupt system of patronage and classwithin a class. The complicit manner in which the locals work with the state derives from their materialized desires. The eighties, like previous eras, divided society in terms of class and gender. Analysis of class and gender in this epoch is a complicated task because the two domains are polemic. As a result of the country’s participation in the global economic arena, class and gender relations become both exploitative and cunningly manipulative at the hands of the disadvantaged groups themselves. The latter is portrayed by female actors and their sexuality is heightened as a means for socio-economic mobility.

In what ways are women portrayed amid the complicit rhetoric of participation? As a repercussion of the maldevelopment plan, I argue that Khru Somsri deviates from the normative femininity that had been the epitome for the Thai nation. The materialization of the society literally gives no other choice to the deprived women than to materialize their sexed bodies for the capitalist gains. The film brilliantly depicts the multifarious ways women toil with the systematic hindrance that is class-based and male-led through the characters of khru Somsri and Anek’s sister. I have attempted to show the shift in the


modalities of femininities through different regimes and socio-economic transformation to dispute the idealized femininity, which, let us not forget, is synonymous with Thainess.

In the accelerated growth of economy, development, and the alienation of certain groups of inhabitants, this film is evidence thatkunlasatri Thai as a rhetoric is a stand in for all Thai women who cannot endure the temporal change. The film represents a counterhegemonic mode of femininity. It also disavows the Symbolic sex norms, but at the same time, the film shows that when the economic shift forbids spatial mobility, the very sexed body–especially the female body–is sexualized as a force of socio-economic contingency. Embodied femininity in the economic zenith in the late eighties is accompanied with sexuality, especially the sexuality of women. Although the film brings sexuality to the forefront, it also pinpoints that women are not victims, but that they decide their own path in accordance with capitalist imperatives and their wellbeing. Femininity as a mode of conduct, characterization, and appeal is diverse and it is vivid in the contrast between masculine and virile khru Somsri and seductive Anek’s sister. Feminine selves vary in degrees, but most significantly, gendering oneself can be employed as a means to combat systematic hurdles. To claim that there is a homogeneous feminine modality that governs Thai women seems obsolete and restrictive, especially in the face of accelerated economic growth.

Like the previous decades’ shift in politico-economical situations, women and nation aregivenan image in retrospect in the post economic crisis following the year 1997.

In Chapter 5, I analyze the tourism campaign “Amazing Thailand 1998-1999” and argue that the preoccupation of the state shifted from appearing modern to focusing on tradition and exoticization of the “unique” Thailand. I will show that in the campaign booklet, feminization of the country for economic revival is overt. Implicit in the campaign is the commodification of the conceptualization of the thing that is Thai. The ability to purchase into the “traditions,” “civilizations,” and the “orient” (Amazing Thailand) is targeted


towardsfarangvisitors while demarcating the “thing” that is Thai as rooted in certain class and gendered subjects.

The series of traditional visuals depicted in the campaign booklet solidify the characterization of the nation as modest, simple, and undisturbed. In a word, the feminine depiction of Thainess. I will show that contrary to the rhetoric of feminine nation that welcomes its guests to experience Thainess, this feminine trademark reveals a conditioned representation that the campaign wishes the Other to see. Capitalization and neo- liberalizing economic policy somehow affect the way Thainess is shown to be embodied in feminine products, feminine labor, and traditional past times. The route to economic recovery is rooted in all things traditional whether they are way of life, religion, customs, or gendered Thais. As a result, the campaign centralizes and emphasizes its tradition among those of certain class and certain gender qualities. This occludes and contrasts the important trade that parallels tourism even to this day. The outlawed sex industry still prevalent in society caters to both domestic and farang clients, with both the sexualized female workers and the trade drawing visitors into the country. This gendered issue is muffled due to the narrative of “unique” tradition. Occupations within the sex industry have prospered along with tourism promotion and have been in Thailand for a long time, but they are criminalized and met with demeaning tolerance, or worse, indifference, by the public.23This statist apathy, both because the sexualization of women has become the center of the narrative, and because it does not belong to the apt modality of feminine Thai women, is the beginning of the subjugation of women of a certain class.

In this last chapter, I will reemphasize that while the sense of tradition can be purchased into and experienced at a cost, it is the tradition that is based on a certain class within society. Thainess that we can read from the campaign booklet becomes more

23See Tantiwiramanond and Pandey, Women, 129 and FCCT, “Sex as Entertainment”. Both state that the women’s organization, EMPOWER, is perhaps the only organization that works to help and solve this issue.


inclusive–of race and ethnicity. In other words, the us versus them seems to disappear from the picture here. Contrastingly, the exclusivity of the feminine quality deemed presentable on the national level stagnates its women in the past times and neglects the lived conditions these women are affected by and grappling against in the post economic condition. The images do not necessarily signify the reality and they occlude a more toxic indifference that exacerbates the rootedness at fault with the diverse ways the gendered subjects maneuver their sexualities. The neo-liberalization of the economy that targets and follows the path of the western Other becomes the metanarrative of the decade that once again forsakes the way certain classed women materialize their sexed bodies and bring the tabooed female sexuality to the forefront on the national representation.

Let me restate my argument; when opportunities present themselves, the statist authority and certain elite figures rush in to interpellate the Thai identity, khwampenthai, through the management of sex/gender identity of the Thais. From the discursive practice of appearing modern, of economic growth, and economic revival, women’s gender roles, responsibilities, and expectations from the society transform. Granted, the official narrative has shaped Thai women as the token of the national identity and this is pernicious especially if we were not to scrutinize the statist narration of women’s representation in return. Women are, to a large extent, confined in the practical realms of legal sanctions, workplace, political domains, religious space for instance. They must embody the masculine domination in order to achieve goals or statuses. In the realm of the cultural texts, is where we criticize, learn from, and develop our thought processes in the oppressive regime of gender relations in Thai society. Thai women, I argue, play their parts in the reorganization of the country rather than simply appearing as dormant subjects who are given the parts to play. They fight for their rights, struggle with barriers created by a male-centric system, and generate capital in the fast growing materialized Thai society.

Their participation in the transformation of the society is not credited enough, let alone


viewed as a pivot in the historical writings.

As the selected literature, cultural texts, and the media I have critically analyzed through the lens of feminist, queer, and cultural studies perspectives will show, women’s choices and opportunities alter and suffer along with these transformations. To stagnate the normative mode and to ahistoricize feminine modality as the token of the good Thai tradition is plainpassé. I contend that we need to critically accept the inability to come to the finite signified that is femininity by understanding how our system of gender relations work such as by theorizing sex, gender, and the body separately yet relatedly. Further, there is a need to accept the diversity and multiplicity in terms of choices and conducts for which the Thai subjects choose to embody their gendered selves. This is how we can move forward from the binary sexes and the norms that govern and regulate the sex/gender

“identities”. For if we are able to do so, we can appreciate the works that women have achieved in the male-dominated Thai society and accept–not be indifferent to or simply tolerate–the different modalities of femininities, masculinities, and gender fluid subjects with new gender lenses (cf. Ramitanon).



The Theorization and the Historicity of the Distinct Sex, Gender, and Body

“the West served as a model for nationalism, as well as gender roles, sexual norms, and ideals of beauty. Yet the West threatened to overwhelm Siam both culturally and politically . . . the West is both desired and feared . . . the West is loved and emulated, yet it must be rejected in order to preserve the ‘unique Thai identity’ essential to nationalism” (Fishel 165-66).

The politics of representation and the portrayals of Thai subjects have influential gravity in the eyes of the others. Particularly, representations construed by the state are deemed natural, apolitical, and considered to be signifiers of Thai identity. Reasons such as the disavowal of western imperialists’ contempt, nationalism, commercialization, and

“authentic”khwampenthaior Thainess all contribute to the ways politics of representation are rendered apolitical, ahistorical, and taken at surface values by the others.24 Often times, portrayals of Thai subjects on the world stage put Thai women front and center as cultural constructors of Thainess who embody a certain scripted tradition, genteel, and propriety the society deems apt. In effect, their embodied selves–their own gendered selves that may deviate from that gendered script–are neglected and remained politico-culturally dismissed at times. Representations, ones constructed and espoused by the state in particular, prolong the homogeneous and unified khwampenthai. Gender attributes, roles, and characteristics of Thai women as chaste, modest, and passive are put on display, which

24See Jackson, “Regime,” 181-218.


incessantly continues colonial fantasy. Worse, the imagined trope of femininity and gender attributes are overshadowed by a dominant rhetoric of the conceptualization of Thainess, which exacerbates the economy of female bodies and preserves the archetypal “good” Thai women.

The amalgam between gender attributes, characteristics of Thai women and the conception of Thainess does not do justice to the lived experiences and the way Thai women reenact and perform socio-cultural sanctioned gender norms. The statist rhetoric of representing Thai women oscillates between internally and externally influenced regimes of regulatory power and inculcated knowledge. In this chapter, I set out to explore a set of these questions: are there any changes or developments regarding the politics of representation on gendered subjects? If there are, what led to those changes?

Consequently, how do we understand the notion of Thai femininity through changing regimes such as shifting governances and economic transformations? How do we disrupt the unsettling gendered notions of Thai subjects through time? And, how do we critique the perpetual homogeneous signified related to gender identities (feminine women or masculine men)? On one hand, we can see that gendered characteristics are heightened within the discourses of uniqueness and mythical Oriental women whose distinguished values are enduringly virginal and unblemished. On the other hand, other representations show that gendered notions are always entangled with the politico-cultural constructions of the nation-state, particularly in the way the state maneuvers the materialization of the sexes by materializing the sex norms.25Femininity and masculinity’s signifieds vary over time

25Following Lacan and the conception of the Symbolic, Butler’s critical analysis of the sex norms shows that the “law of the sex” (Bodies14) endorses the heterosexual imperatives by way of materializing the norms.

See the section, “Performativity as Citationality,” 12-16. Note that the preface and the Introduction are her criticism against the way the sex norms regulate the bodies in which qualify or refute what bodies come to matter. The chapters that follow begin her objective of the book, to reformulate the conception of the body as to what bodies exactly come to matter, which is the search for the bodies outside of the “regulatory ideal”


and spatial location and they certainly inform a product of hybridity and fluidity of khwampenthai.

What I aim to do in this chapter is threefold. First, in order to understand how Thais perform, enact, and challenge the socio-cultural expectations of their gendered attributes, we need to first understand and theorize the terminologies of sex, gender, and body applicable within Thai society. Second, we need to revisit and reconsider the Thai historicity, civic religion of the state, Buddhism, and prominent ancient regulations. These will give us preliminary knowledge regarding what kind of society Thais live in. Further, history, religion, and law are sources that reveal not only the roles and expectations surmised from Thai subjects, but also show that gender relations are deeply embroiled in those institutions. In the process, we will be able to see that the Siamese/Thai nation-state has always had a peculiar preoccupation with appearing modern. In order to manifest this modern appearance, women’s progresses are the emblems of modernity and the country’s civilized status. Third, I will also elaborate on the way Siamese women’s development is dependent upon the elites’ conditions, vision, and division. Altogether, I will elaborate on the choice of the parlance, Thai femininities. This is a significant form of gender performances where Thai institutionalized knowledge disciplines the people through time, yet it never operates in its full hegemonic power. Gaps and slippages allow “alternative hegemony” to emerge in particular times and spatial locations.26

1. Understanding Sex, Gender, and Body in Thai Society

“Thai appear to be much more ‘in’ their bodies

(22) that is the normative set for the body’s sexes.

26On the analysis of Thai society through the perspectives of Gramscian view, see Girling 394.


than do Westerners, . . . the core of Thai self is strongly embodied” (“Repositioning” 283).

In order to grapple with the aim of my dissertation, to find out the development of the conception of Thai sex/gender through the three-decade time span, we need to first understand not only these terminologies including sex, gender, and body, but also how they are theorized and discursively understood in Thai society. In her work on “Three Sexes and Four Sexualities,” Rosalind Morris cites the illustrious Anna Leonowens, an English governess who was working in the royal Siamese court of King Mongkut (Rama IV, 1851- 68), on Anna’s experiencing the “history of male and female transgression” (21-22). Over a century ago, as Morris argues, Siamese already witnessed such “transgression” or the crossing between sexes and genders. What this reveals about Thai society is that the exhaustive and exclusive gender binary is not adaptable if we were to understand gender identities, societal norms, and cultural expectations that stem from the category of sex/gender.

As numerous scholarly works (as well as the media outlets) have argued, Thai society has a third gender.27 I focus on kathoey and endorse the conceptualization of kathoeyas a third sex/gender as it will be fruitful to understand the relative categories such that of sex, gender, and bodies later on.28Morris writes that in the ancient text from Lanna

27There is a difficulty in defining clearly the western derived conceptualization of sex and gender in Thai context. Morris 17; Cook and Jackson 3-4; “Queer Bangkok” 3 all use the synthesis of “sex/gender”

throughout their works to elaborate: the difficulty of translation and the complex sex, gender, and sexuality concepts intrinsic to the Thai society.

28A term referred to: first, a “male transsexual and transvestite” (Morris 16); second, “a man who appropriates female form without becoming a woman and without ceasing to be a man” (25). Furthermore, a diachronic study on the lexicon, kathoey, shows that the term itself develops and expands or limits its gendered definition on what it signifies. In Chonwilai’s study of the terminology, she writes that before the English terms “gay,” or “tom” came into Thai language,kathoeywas the only word used to describe as well as include all these sexual and gender characteristics: (1) hermaphrodites; (2) transgenders; (3) crossdressers.


(northern part of Thailand) called Pathamamulamuli, there existed three sexes “female, hermaphrodite, and male” (20) or the “sexual trinity” (20). This system of the sexes transcends and surpasses the essentialist logic of sexual identities of the binary male and female. In this ancient text, kathoey engenders a disavowal to the exhaustive binary constitution.

We can infer from the indigenous text that the reproductive organs that Thais are born with do not dictate one’s gender identities, let alone what they do with their bodies.

What Morris proposes is that by following her discovery of this sex/gender system in the indigenous Thai locality, it is clear that the body exists prior to gender identity.29Only after one realizes and comes to understand one’s self, then can one choose to perform one’s gender. In this way, to be masculine, feminine,kathoey, orkhon khaam phetfundamentally arises from the knowledge physiologically from oneself. How one embodies one’s gender within the body one is born with reiterates the factual entity on the Thai biological body that: it does not dictate one’s gender identity similar to the existence of the third sex/gender, kathoey in Morris’ analysis of the Pathamamulamuli text.30 This is why I endorse the fact that Thais’ biological bodies act as hopeful and malleable repertoires for performance and enactment.31In Thai society, well known athletes, actors, news anchors, DJs’ gender identities change throughout their lives and they are loved and aspired by their

Furthermore, in her interview with Thai informants (over the age of sixty years old), she explains that kathoeypreviously means “women who want to be men” (ξϛΖύί ϖΩι ϗϧϏτϔΣϟνϦλξϛΖάϔτ). Recently, its usage refers to those who have male anatomy, but perform and act in opposite of his own sex/gender (phet). See also 152-4.

See her other work in English inThai Sex Talk, 109-17.

29Van Esterik,Materializing, 202; “Repositioning” 277.

30Several recent studies from late twentieth century onwards on kathoey, see Jackson and Sullivan 1-27;

Chonwilai (in Thai) 151-64; (in English) 109-17. See also the anthologies inQueer Bangkok;Thai Sex Talk;

Cultural Pluralism.

31Morris writes that “the theory of gender as performance is as historically and culturally relative–and relevant–as it’s the gender system of which it speaks” (22). For the elaboration on the theorization of the performance of genders see Butler, “Performative Acts,” 519-31.


fans.32However, some may say because they reenact what is expected from their embodied selves, namely, effeminate demeanorsbecausethey arekathoeythey are then liked by their fans. Putting the kathoey archetypal characteristics aside, we can notice that at a very gratifying level, Thais accept the existence of third gender.33

It follows that in Thai society, the bodies can be the sites for possibilities to enact genders. Thais embody gender identities which they can choose to enter into and exit from throughout their lives.34 Despite the embodiment, the process that paves way for the enabled bodies, the entering into and leaving one’s gender identity, is not evermore dependent upon one’s free will. Thais try to reenact and perform their gender identities as time and space dependent. Van Esterik suggests inMaterializing Thailand that Thais have concern for the notion of kalathesa (time space dependent). At times, their choices to perform genders are coerced by the regulations specific to certain location and societal norms. However, there are certain places and times where Thais are able to travel through

“a flow of multiple gender identities. [Gender identities] slip easily over each other, . . . revealing and concealing what lies below” (“Repositioning” 278). The time and space variants are completely contingent on societal and cultural constructs and oftentimes sanctioned and regulated expectations. For example, a male friend, kathoey, of mine chooses to perform masculine demeanors and characteristics in his governmental

32Some notable names are Woody Milintachinda (TV presenter), Dr. Yingsak Jonglertjesdawong (culinary expert), Aof Pongsak Rattanapong (singer), DJ Matoom Techin Ploypetch, Dr. Seri Wongmontha (actor and political activist), and Poj Arnon (film director and producer), to name a few.

33A more in-depth analysis and a critique towards the rhetoric of acceptance is written in Jackson and Sullivan’s work in which they argue that the society rather “tolerates” and still do not entirely accept the non- normative sexed and gendered subjects. See 1-27. In the anthologies edited by Jackson,Queer Bangkok, however, he writes that the twenty-first century Thailand is showing more acceptance towards gender diversity.

34Van Esterik argues that the wavering and changeable gender identities of Thai subjects do mirror the Buddhist belief (considered as the Thai state’s religion) of “‘annata’ (non-self) and ‘anicca’

(impermanence)” (“Repositioning” 278).



I give a proof of the theorem over any separably closed field F using ℓ-adic perverse sheaves.. My proof is different from the one of Mirkovi´c

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Keywords: continuous time random walk, Brownian motion, collision time, skew Young tableaux, tandem queue.. AMS 2000 Subject Classification: Primary:

Then it follows immediately from a suitable version of “Hensel’s Lemma” [cf., e.g., the argument of [4], Lemma 2.1] that S may be obtained, as the notation suggests, as the m A

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