A Thai Symbol of National Humiliation
The Thai-Cambodian dispute over the Preah Vihear temple illustrates how National Humiliation narratives have misinformed Thais regarding their history of boundary formation. Thai protests over the temple’s status reflected their belief that ‘Preah Vihear has always been part of Thailand.’ In fact, the heritage site was unknown to the Thai public until the Phibun government publicized its ‘redemption’ from French Indochina in 1941. Its ‘loss’ to Thailand in 1962 was met with public protests patterned after the original irredentist demonstrations of 1940. Today, Preah Vihear has become synonymous with the idea of lost territories; it is a symbol of Thailand’s National Humiliation.
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