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In Buddha's CompanyThai Soldiers in the Vietnam War$
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Richard A. Ruth

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834197

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834197.001.0001

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Firing Up the Thai Public Sphere

Firing Up the Thai Public Sphere

Funerals, Cremations, and Other Celebrations

(p.53) 2 Firing Up the Thai Public Sphere
In Buddha's Company

Richard A. Ruth

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter discusses images of the Queen's Cobra Regiment presented to the Thai public. Before they had even fired a shot, the Thai press had painted these volunteers as national heroes, but not until the mangled and lifeless bodies of the first casualties came home did the Queen's Cobras discover how truly heroic they were in the eyes of their nation's most revered institutions. State-sponsored funeral ceremonies provided an opportune stage from which Thailand's leadership could acknowledge its entire volunteer force, while hospital visits focused official attention on the sacrifices of individual Thais wounded while defending the nation. Unlike the funeral rites, which lasted only a few days, the wounded men stayed in the hospital for weeks and months. Their presence was a focal point for those who wished to express their support for the government's policies.

Keywords:   Thailand, Queen's Cobra Regiment, South Vietnam, Vietnam War, public funerals, hospital visits

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