The Uses of Prince Prisdang
This chapter explores the circumstances of Prisdang's afterlife, and how he continues to be harnessed to several causes—international Buddhist diplomacy, monarchism, and democracy. Conservative royalists, antiestablishment politicians, and political progressives have also appropriated him, but for divergent purposes. By refusing to explicate why he fled Siam, he invited interested parties to speculate about and to project onto that silence. The story of his life, as this chapter shows, demonstrates that it is not so easy to encapsulate Prince Prisdang and his multiple political loyalties. All the reclamation projects have it partly right—and partly wrong. And that is likely the real impetus behind Prisdang's defiant grin.
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