Tuesday 10 September 2002
Versace whispers: Venerable Phra Sripariyatimolee, deputy dean of Mahachulalongkorn Rajavitayalai, a Buddhist university, whispers to a protest organizer in Versace. Later, the monk says, "Many people do not understand why monks want there to be a Ministry of Buddhism. They think we are stuck on semantics. But in this age of globalization, we need a specific body to host us and give us a separate identity [distinct from other religions]. Otherwise, Buddhism will gradually dissolve away from the Thai identity. There has been a continuous attempt to restrict Buddhism like a potted bonzai plant. If 200 senators can't find the courage [to stand up for the majority religion as the official state religion], then there is no more hope for us Buddhists.