Thursday, November 6, 2008

Abhisit Vejjajiva and Pattani-Malayu

* all photos copyright*

Military check stop in Yala in August. Language barriers are a serious problem in the South. Most residents speak Pattani-Malayu which is a dialect of Malay. The Thai civil service speaks either central Thai or, as in the case of the soldiers interviewing the women, speak the northeastern Lao dialect.

On August 27, 2008, I was given an exclusive interview with the official opposition leader and leader of the Democrat Party Abhisit Vejjajiva at his office in parliament.

This interview will appear in my forth coming documentary film about the southern insurgency. This is not the full interview transcript, of course, but an important point was raised about the southern language of Pattani-Malayu.

C: And what about the use of Pattani-Malayu? There are about two million speakers of this Malay dialect.

Abhisit : Yup, I think a commission that was set up under the Thaksin administration, ironically…

C: The National Reconciliation Commission.

Abhisit: they did make a proposal concerning the use of Malay as a local language and we think that should be encouraged. Similarly there are also cases, not criminal cases, where you could apply Sharia law, that should also be allowed.

C: In instances of family law?

Abhisit: That's right.

C: If the Democrat Party were to come to power, would Pattani-Malayu become a working language?

A: Yes, we support that proposal.

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