BANGKOK – Citing the need to promote harmony in society, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has instructed Thailand’s leading bookstores to remove 10 potentially incendiary titles from their shelves.
According to an anonymous source at Kinokuniya’s flagship at Siam Paragon, staff were forced to come to the store at 6am Tuesday morning, only hours after martial law was declared, to remove Common Sense by Thomas Paine, The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities of Our Time by Jeffrey Sachs, Should I Share My Ice Cream? (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems, Beautiful Skin of Color: A Comprehensive Guide to Asian, Olive and Dark Skin by Jeanine Downie, Uprising: Vampire Federation by Sean McCabe, The Palace of Illusions: A Novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire Book) by George R.R. Martin, My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk, The Flash: Rogues Revolution by Francis Manapul and Hyundai Coupes and Sedans, 1994-1998 (Chitlon’s Total Car Care Repair Manuals).
Covering a wide variety of materials, from a comic book to a Nobel Prize-winning author’s prize-winning tale about miniaturists in the Ottoman Empire, the list appears to have been carefully considered by the NCPO for themes and topics that might threaten their new order.
“We were surprised by some of the titles on the list,” admitted the Kinokuniya staffer. “A few of the books are already remaindered and were simply sitting in the warehouse anyway. Uprising: Vampire Federation? We sold 12 copies last year. ”
Game of Thrones, a fantasy tale about competing claims to the so-called Iron Throne, on the other hand, is an international bestseller. Writing on his blog, political analyst “Bangkok Pundit” speculated “There are many aspects of Game of Thrones that the NPOMC may have found incompatible with their intended model for Thailand, such as the lowborn proving more virtuous than the highborn, incest in the royal family, Daenarys freeing the slaves of Yunkai and Meereen, and King Joffrey deservedly choking on his own vomit.”
Regarding the banning of Should I Share My Ice Cream? (An Elephant and Piggie Book), the anonymous blogger suggested that Elephant’s eventual realization that ice cream was something that tasted better when half was given to Piggie directly contradicted the mindset of both the army and its PDRC allies.
“Ice cream is clearly not for the prai,” he said. “That’s the world we live in now.”
Critics of the coup and the NPOC, however, have been largely quiet about the book banning, a move that harkens to anti-communist crackdowns of Thailand’s 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. As David Streckfuss, whose seminal tome Truth on Trial In Thailand: Defamation, Treason and Lese-Majeste, remains on sale in all stores, noted, “Does anyone read or buy books anymore? Clearly not mine.”