Born September 10, 1996, Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal is now a third-year Political Science student at Chulalongkorn University. A former President of the University’s Student Council, he probably is the most notorious student to ever hold that position attracting the attention of none other than the Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha who expressed his concern as to how it was that Netiwit had risen to assume this position.
He was the first sophomore to hold the position of leading the student body and one whose term was the most short-lived — a mere two months-- as a result of how he and seven other students staged a walkout from the University’s oath-taking ceremony to express their disagreement with the existence of such a ritual. As a result, he was punished by having his behavioral scores permanently cut and could never hold any other position in the University again. This sparked a public protest and outcry from as many as eight former recipients of the Nobel Prize (such as Jerome Friedman and Roald Hoffmann) well-recognized academics (such as Noam Chomsky, Johan Galtung, Gloria Steinam and Lawrence Krauss) from around the world
On a personal level Netiwit has written books reflecting on his personal experiences with more than five books focusing on Thai education and the university. He has also translated works that contribute towards democratic activities such as Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, Isaiah Berlin’s essays, On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder as well as essays by Chinese writer and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo. Netiwit has many more translation projects in mind of writers and thinkers who have inspired him personally and whose ideas could contribute to the Thai democratic cause.be it Vaclav Havel, Thomas Paine, Rebecca Solnit, Tony Judt and many others.
In 2018 he was invited to address the Oslo Freedom Forum. The title of his talk was on the topic of “The Student vs.the Military.” He believes democracy isn’t something that can come easily but should be a product of education and gatherings of members of society as well as the international community. His aim is to establish an organization that opposes military conscription and violence within military camps that could lead to the abolition of mandatory conscription and military reform. Prior to entering university Netiwit had already earned a name for himself as a youth on a mission of reforming Thai education. He called for reforms in regulations on students’ haircuts (resembling military crew cuts), authoritarianism in the school and an inefficient system of education. He started the Thai Education Revolution Alliance as well as the Education for Liberation of Siam group (the sole independent student group to continue to advocate education reforms in Thailand.
Excerpt from The Author and His Book in
The Terrible Student in an Excellent Educational System, 2018
by Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal