Finding refuge: life of locals on the battleground of Ubon’s Holy Man Rebellion

When Siamese soldiers crushed the Holy Man Rebellion and scoured the area for escaped rebels, terrified locals sought refuge in temples while others turned to local spirits for protection. A local chief who became an executioner of rebels bore a ring of black which returned to black even when scratched. Had the ring absorbed the malice of its bearer and the dark crimes he committed? Was he the “Sauron of Isaan”? Guest contributor Janista Aphasaengphet investigates, with photos by The Isaan Record intern, Tatiya Trachu.

PART II: The Holy Men Rise and Fall Across Borders

In Part I of our special three-part series, “The Holy Man Rebellions from both sides of the Mekong,” Ian G. Baird described how the political dynamics between the French, the House of Champassak, and the Siamese all played a role in sparking sporadic millenarian movements in both the newly established French colony of Laos and the Bangkok-colonized Northeast of Siam. In this segment, Baird explains how the “holy men” of the period moved back and forth across the Mekong River, making it a significant cross-border set of events.

PART I: The Holy Men Revolt: A Tale of Two Countries

In this first installment Baird takes us to the “Lao” side of the Mekong, at a time when once-fluid frontiers had just solidified into national borders.

Remembering Prince Sapphasitthiprasong: the modernizer of Ubon or its pacifier?

Prince Sapphasitthiprasong was the one who brought urban planning to Ubon Ratchathani. He might be called the father of modern Ubon. But he was also the one who launched the campaign against the Holy Man Rebellion in Trakan Phuet Phon District. The rebels were hopelessly outgunned and the crackdown led to the death of more than 300. A local historian and restaurant owner weighs in on how the people of Ubon Ratchathani remember this Bangkok-appointed governor.

First-ever religious ceremony held following the suppression of Ubon’s Holy Man rebels 121 years ago.

The first-ever religious ceremony dedicated to the Holy Man Rebellion of 121 years ago received a throng of attendees in Ubon Ratchathani last week. Community leaders discussed building a monument to commemorate the event as a way to make Saphue’s local history more widespread.

Isaan Holy Man Rebellion — Understanding the unwilling subjects of Siam’s internal colonialism

In response to popular demand (on the Thai-language side), we are bringing our readers a new set of items on the Holy Man Rebellion, part of an effort to rediscover Isaan’s lost history. This time we explore the causes behind the uprising of Isaan people 121 years ago. Although the lives of 300 rebels were lost in Ban Saphue, Ubon Ratchathani, there’s no memorial, no museum, no sign that the community has once seen so many die all at once. The Isaan Record presents the Season 2 of “The Isaan Holy Man Rebellion” to commemorate the 121st anniversary of the brutal crackdown.

An event with Director Apichatpong in London held to raise funds to raise awareness of Isaan’s “Holy Man Rebellion”

The Isaan Record and the Thai Democracy Advocates group arranged a screening of the movie “Cemetery of Splendour” in London to raise funds to recover the lost history of the “Holy Man Rebellion” in Isaan. When asked about the political situation in Thailand, the noted Thai independent direct Apichatpong Weerasethakul said he maintained the hope of seeing the new generation continued to push for reform of the Thai military and the monarchy.

Folk ballads, prophecies, and ideologies: The arms of the Holy Man’s Rebellion in war with Bangkok

The Thai-language side of The Isaan Record has been publishing a series on the “Holy Man Rebellion” of 1901-02. We are sharing select pieces to our English-language readers. In this article, Weerawat Somnoek looks at the most powerful weapon used in the “Isaan Phi Bun Rebellion” against the dominance of Bangkok. It was not their swords or spears, but their ballads that helped spread and strengthen a certain ideology among the oppressed that inspired them to stand up against authority.

Remembering rebellion

Isaan’s former communists resist fading into oblivion and continue organizing annual commemoration events.

From rice fields to rebellion: Untold stories of Northeastern Thailand’s armed struggle (PART III)

After their push for a revolution failed, Isaan’s communist rebels moved on to other battles . This is the third part in a special series on Northeasteners’ experience of fighting for the communist movement.

From rice fields to rebellion: Untold stories of Northeastern Thailand’s armed struggle (PART II)

In the 1960s, thousands of farmers in the Northeast joined an armed rebellion against the state. This is the second part in a special series of articles on their experience of fighting for the communist movement.

From rice fields to rebellion: Untold stories of Northeastern Thailand’s armed struggle

On August 7, fifty million Thais are called to cast their votes…

From rice fields to rebellion: Untold stories of Northeastern Thailand’s armed struggle (PART I)

On August 7, Thais across the country will vote in a referendum on a military-backed constitution. On the same day in 1965, thousands of farmers took up arms against the military-ruled state that had promised a new constitution for years.