PPT knows that most astute readers do not take Pornpimol Kanchanalak’s columns in the Nation seriously, not least for her previous record (Google her on this). Her columns usually follow a formula of royalism, homespun advice and a couple of quotes from historical sources, often emanating from the U.S. However, we do want to highlight her most recent contribution (12 November 2009: “A house divided against itself”) where, like the premier and the king, she calls for the unity of Thais.
She says that it is “obvious that our country is at a crossroads, and not all the available options are winning ones. Some Western analysts describe Thailand as being a ‘political tinderbox’.” She believes that some Thais – are “putting a wager on our political collapse” – must be the “traitors”like Thaksin Shinawatra, whom she interprets as follows: “it was clear from what Thaksin said and did not say that the endgame is near, and it will pave the way to a new era. Just exactly what this entails was left unspoken but clearly understood. Unavoidably, this era may only come about after a major payback.”
She then adds: “Our former prime minister, in the same interview, put the responsibility for unity and reconciliation squarely on the shoulders of His Majesty the King. This is an irresponsible, unfair and myopic statement. To put the record straight, His Majesty, over the years, has been trying to get it into our DNA that the nation’s unity is the most important thing for our future survival and prosperity. But we never heed his words. Contrary to what was implied repeatedly by certain factions, His Majesty would never be bothered by a prime minister whose political party won 19 million ballots and 377 seats in Parliament. His Majesty has walked every inch of this land and touched the lives of his people in so many ways, big and small. He entertains no hidden agenda, only love and compassion for the people. He does not have to give them cash in return for love and respect; he just gives them his best. There is nothing to compare between the 19 million votes for the Thai Rak Thai Party – which were in no way negative votes against the monarchy – and the much larger number of people who hold His Majesty in the highest regard. He has never been a jealous party, as alluded by some self-serving individuals. He did not cause the vicious conflict in which the country is embroiled. It is not fair to demand that he clean up the mess we ourselves have created.”
Readers might think that the monarchy had some role in all of this. What about all those interfering privy councilors? But, no. “It started with a group of people who were disturbed at the widespread corruption and abuse of power by politicians in power and the hubris they demonstrated. This turned into a political showdown, resulting in a coup that was poorly planned and executed by the military, which was far from unified.”
He’s innocent of everything apart from goodness, says Pornpimol, “So, everyone, please stop dragging His Majesty into this dirty fray. It is a clever ploy, but it is unfair and unjustified.”
It seems late for such pleas, but as the war against Thaksin and other dissidents expand, stating and restating the royalist mythology is important for bringing the rightist forces together. Unity? Only if you are with the right-wing royalists and nationalists and their mythical stories of the good and great.