Police officers in Yala yesterday seized a fun board game called Patani Colonial Territory from a coffee shop after a government official claimed that it could cause insurgency throughout the kingdom. For conspiracy theorists, this is up there with Elvis still lives.
Officers in the southern Thailand province confiscated the offending game at the Life Coffee Slow Bar in the district under national security reasons, adding those involved in producing the game could be prosecuted pending an investigation.
The game is related to the history of the Patani Kingdom.
The Patani Kingdom was a prosperous, historical region some 400 years ago. The kingdom covered the Kelantan state of Malaysia and the southern provinces of Thailand, including Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat.
Some parts of the kingdom were later occupied by Thailand during the early Rattanakosin period and today some of those areas eventually became a province in the southern part of Thailand.
A group of locals in the southern provinces, named Chachiluk, got together with a publisher, KOPI, and the non-profit organisation from the Progressive Movement, named Common School, to create the board game, Patani Colonial Territory.
The objective of the game is to learn about the history of the Patani Kingdom, and Siam, in a fun way. It is particularly aimed at the younger generation of Thailand who probably no little about their kingdom’s former glory, history and culture.
But there is always one killjoy. In this case, the party pooper appears to be the Spokesperson of the Thai Pakdee Party, Sooksan Saengsri, who submitted a letter to the Defense Ministry yesterday, November 28, urging them to investigate the board game.
Sourpuss Sooksan believes the board game could lead to social division, cause mutiny, and revolution, and encourage secessionists.
Sooksan also urged the government to investigate the Common School and Progressive Movement to see if their investment in the board game’s production was illegal in any way.
Chachiluk’s official Facebook page invited followers to take part in some activities with the chance to win the Patani Colonial Territory board game for free. One of the 60 lucky winners was the Life Coffee Slow Bar.
The coffee shop was raided at 5pm yesterday by police who seized the board game.
The shop’s owner, Furgon Mali, told the media that officers from the Bannang Star Police Station burst into his shop without a search warrant. The officers informed him that each card and picture included in the board game could be illegal, and they needed to seize them.
Furgon refused to hand over the game so he was arrested and taken to a police station. The coffee shop owner said he had no idea why the game could be illegal but had to hand it over to the police despite three hours of talks.
The unofficial Member of Parliament for Pattani, Arifin Soh, posted on Facebook that Banban Star Police officers claimed the board game might be somehow illegal.
Board game lovers will be waiting in anticipation to wait for the outcome. Is the board game an agent of subordination, insurgency, and revolt, or just another half-baked conspiracy theory by a political zealot looking to promote himself?