“I Am not Here for Fun”: The Satirical Facebook Group Royalists Marketplace, Queer TikToking, and the New Democracy Movement in Thailand
An Interview With Pavin Chachavalpongpun
Pavin Chachavalpongpun is an associate professor at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Kyoto University. He has published extensively on Thailand and Southeast Asian politics. He is also politically active and does not shy away from discussing and criticizing the monarchy, which for a long time was taboo – in academia as well as in political campaigns. In April 2020, Prof. Pavin Chachavalpongpun founded the Facebook group Royalists Marketplace (รอยัลลิสต์มาร์เก็ตเพลส). The name alludes to other Facebook groups, like the Chulalongkorn Marketplace or Thammasat Marketplace, which were set up by former students of those universities as platforms for selling and purchasing items, and socializing in times of the COVID-19 lockdown. Pavin’s group, however, is a persiflage of these initiatives. He developed a unique style of political communication, with a distinct mixture of memes, TikTok and Youtube videos, together with serious academic debates, which made his Facebook group the leading platform for criticism of the monarchy. This interview took place via Zoom between Kyoto and Cologne at the end of August 2020. Information on the dynamic developments that have unfolded since then has been added.
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