For decades people in Bangkok and, to a lesser extent, upcountry, have had to put up with huge traffic jams thanks to the closing of roads so that royal motorcades can roar past unimpeded by the hoi polloi.
The groans about a sadej/เสด็จ are all too common. The number of royal cars charging through the police-emptied streets appear to have become even more annoying as, for example, younger princesses get the full treatment even when they go clubbing.
One website has this:
So you’re in Bangkok, and you’ve become accustomed to the fact that the roads are ALWAYS busy, 24/7. Then one day you find yourself walking alongside a major road, and you get a strange feeling. A twinkling realisation. Not quite sure what it is, but you know something’s not right. Then you glance over to the road, and realise it’s COMPLETELY EMPTY. There are NO cars to speak of, and apparently NONE on their way. You glance up and down the street, and all you see is police, at every major intersection.
As it turned out, this particular one was not for anyone that important, apparently. One of the busiest, major arterial roads in Bangkok was closed down for what appeared really to be one of the Royal “Hangers on”.
After all these decades of privilege, traffic jams, wasted fuel and additional pollution, there has been a change! All the newspapers, from the The Nation to Matichon to the Bangkok Post have stories on the really big changes about to be rolled out!
The Bangkok Post states that it is the king who has asked for the changes. We wonder why it has taken this long? Has it been realized that the sadej/เสด็จ even annoys royalists? At long last has he heard the complaints about all the royal children and grandchildren using state resources for their private trips to the ritzy shops and restaurants?
The idea that the king simply wishes “to help alleviate traffic congestion” seems very lame as the congestion created by royal processing has been horrendous for years and years.
We should have known that the “Royal Thai Police” would have a Police Major General and Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, in charge of “special affairs.”
This general has had a whole committee at work devising guidelines for traffic police to follow after getting the word from on high after the “King last year instructed the Office of the Principal Private Secretary to work with state agencies” on the “traffic problems caused by the royal motorcades.”
Most of the changes being implemented are commonsense or should be, but this involves royals, so commonsense goes out the window of the Maybach.
It seems that 25,000 handbooks are being “distributed to traffic police so they understand the proper procedures for directing traffic when motorcades pass areas under their jurisdictions.” According to the general,
junior policemen at Bangkok-based police precincts had often been over-anxious about following the new guidelines and ordered blanket closures in long periods during royal travels in the city.
That sort of sums it up.
We wonder if the king is now going to get around to demanding changes on lese majeste? After all, royalists always say that he is a “critic” of the law. If so, we’d expect changes.