Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://doi.org/10.1355/SJ21-2B
Title: Little bear sells CDs and Ai Theng drinks coke: Sacred clowning and the politics of regionalism in south Thailand
Authors: Johnson, I. 
Keywords: Capitalism and power
Clowns (tua talok)
Politics of regionalism
Sacred clowning
South Thailand
Southern Thai shadow play (nang talung)
Issue Date: Oct-2006
Source: Johnson, I. (2006-10). Little bear sells CDs and Ai Theng drinks coke: Sacred clowning and the politics of regionalism in south Thailand. Sojourn 21 (2) : 148-177. ScholarBank@NUS Repository. https://doi.org/10.1355/SJ21-2B
Abstract: Images of stock clowns from the traditional Thai shadow play (nang talung) are found throughout the villages and towns of the Thai Buddhist majority provinces of southern Thailand. These extremely popular funny men appear not only in shadow play performances but also in commercials, story books, logos, and billboards. Clowns also appear as tourist souvenirs, sacred amulets, crafted into statues, and the like as indigenous reflections of southern Thai identity. In this article, I discuss the complex and often ambiguous relationship between the clown's traditional sacred power and his forays into southern Thailand's political and economic landscape. By so doing, I focus my attention on the clown as being both a subversive and conservative agent. On the one hand, he represents a Tumerian-like anti-structure, which allows him to test the limits of social and political acceptability and on which his ritual personality as a sacred being rests. On the other hand however, shadow play clowns are celebrated by puppeteers, local audiences and state officials as being embodiments of modernity and Thailand's national quest for regional distinctiveness. © 2006 ISEAS.
Source Title: Sojourn
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/132451
ISSN: 02179520
DOI: 10.1355/SJ21-2B
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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