[1]The situation now is in reverse of what happened in the absolute monarch era, when most poets were of royal or noble origins and consequently enjoyed far better education than commoners. Education in that period was centered around the court, and even a commoner poet such as Sunthorn Phu was close to the court, as he spent some time in his life as a court poet in the reign of Rama II. Thus poets were among the most educated members of the society. This is not the case in modern Thailand, and poets today, like Angkarn, Naowarat Pongpaiboon, Saksiri or Chang Sae Tang (the first three of whom received the SEA Write Award, an annual award given to writers of the ASEAN countries), typically are not among the educated élites of contemporary Thai society. An exception to this is Jiranan Pitrpreecha--a female poet who was also a recipient of the SEA Write, who was educated abroad.

[2]See, for example, David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989), p. 116, and Anthony Giddens, The Consequences of Modernity (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1990). Also Louis Dupré, in his "Postmodernity or Late Modernity?: Ambiguities in Richard Rorty's Thought" (Review of Metaphysics 47(December 1993): 277-295) argues that there is a continuity between the modern and the postmodern.

[3]Anthony Giddens, The Consequences of Modernity, p. 45.

[4]It was Jean-François Lyotard who showed that the postmodern period is defined by its distrust of any idea of history moving toward a rationally deliberated goal; that is, history is constituted by no `meta-narratives' which purport to make sense of the whole thing.

[5]Anthony Giddens, The Consequences of Modernity, p. 46.

[6]Jit Bhumisak, "Ongkarn Chang Nam" in Bot Wikroh Moradok Wannakadee Thai (Bangkok: Satawat Press, B.E. 2523), pp. 87-134.

[7]In his article, Jit said that the purpose of employing the monks was the same as that of employing the Brahmins; that is, religion was being used as a tool to preserve the feudal class structure. In ancient Siam there was no doubt who was the most powerful class; the Brahmins, the highest caste in Hindu mythology, served the interests of the reigning monarch. Jit relates that in the ceremony, the real purpose of the monks' chant of the Pali precept "Truth is immortal" is to reinforce the whole point of the ceremony, that of being "truthful" to the monarch. However, one sees an ironic point here where truth itself is used as a tool to preserve power. It is as if, even in premodern times, truth itself is something negotiated and infused with the political.

[8]Angkarn Kanlayanapong, Kaweenipon Khong Angkarn Kanlayanapong (Bangkok: Suksit Siam, B.E. 2507), pp. 199-200.

[9]Richard Kearney, The Wake of Imagination: Toward a Postmodern Culture (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1989), pp. 6-14.

[10]Peter Brooker, "Postmodern Postpoetry: Tom Raworth's tottering state," in Contemporary Poetry Meets Modern Theory Anthony Easthope and John O. Thompson eds. (New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991), pp. 153-165.

[11]Peter Brooker, "Postmodern Postpoetry: Tom Raworth's tottering state," pp. 156-157.

[12]Richard Kearney, The Wake of Imagination, pp. 6-14.

[13]Saksiri Meesomsueb, Tukta Roi Sai (Bangkok: Kiao Koi Press, B.E. 2526), p. v. All translations of Mr. Saksiri's pieces here are mine.

[14]Saksiri Meesomsueb, Tukta Roi Sai, p. 1.

[15]Saksiri Meesomsueb, Tukta Roi Sai, p. 87.

[16]For a stimulating account of the postmodern situation of confusing images and realities in the arts, see Richard Kearney, The Wake of Imagination.

[17]There is at present a vast literature concerning the problem of truth in philosophy. And an increasing number of philosophers as well as their allies in other fields are becoming more aware that the traditional idea of truth as correspondence with ahistorical Reality is not tenable. For an influential account of recent postmodernist or postphilosophical critiques of this central conception of epistemology, see Richard Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1979).