The Destruction of a Shrine to Brahma in Bangkok and the Fall of Thaksin Shinawatra: The Occult and the Thai Coup in Thailand of September 2006

30 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2008  

Charles Keyes

University of Washington

Date Written: December 1, 2006

Abstract

On the night of March 21st, 2006, a 27 year-old man, Thanakorn Pakdeepol, took a hammer and smashed the image of the Hindu deity Brahma - whom the Thai call Thao Maha Phrom - near the Erawan hotel in Bangkok. The destruction took place just before the political crisis centering on Thaksin Shinawatra, the prime minister, reached a climax with the subsequently-discredited election of 2 April 2006. Because the shrine had long been the most significant non-Buddhist shrine in Bangkok, its destruction immediately led both anti- and pro-Thaksin supporters to interpret the act as an omen. In this paper I use the story of the destruction of the Erawan shrine, which I believe can be seen as a watershed event in the crisis surrounding Thaksin. It is also part of the story of the role of the occult in Thaksin's loss of power in the coup of 19 September 2006.

Keywords: Thailand, September 2006 Coup, Thaksin Shinawatra, Erawan Shrine, Astrology, Thai politics

Suggested Citation

Keyes, Charles, The Destruction of a Shrine to Brahma in Bangkok and the Fall of Thaksin Shinawatra: The Occult and the Thai Coup in Thailand of September 2006 (December 1, 2006). Asia Research Institute Working Paper No. 80. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1317155 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1317155

Charles Keyes (Contact Author)

University of Washington ( email )

Seattle, WA 98195
United States

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