Bits and pieces from the press on the monarchy and politics

28 12 2009

The Nation (23 December 2009) had this headline: “King is well.” It added: “The Royal Household Bureau issued its 35th announcement saying HIS MAJESTY THE KING is now well. The bureau said His Majesty is recuperating as he undergoes physical therapy at Siriraj Hospital.” That’s well into his 3rd month of recuperating and being well. Nobody believes that there isn’t something else going on, but no one is brave enough to do say so in public.

While on the king, in its print edition, the Nation (25 December 2009) has a headline above its banner saying “At the end of a turbulent year, the king returns hope to our country.” As there seems no other discussion of this, we assume the plans to make the king “Person of the Year,” which they announce on Monday. They’d have to make it the king because they have Abhisit Vejjajiva at No. 2, and to make anyone else No. 1 would be an act of treason and lese majeste.

The Bangkok Post (26 December 2009: “B1bn allocated to 14 creative projects”) reports that these projects under the Commerce Ministry include “Creative King, which aims to promote creative projects initiated by His Majesty the King…”. So more largesse for the already wealthy and adding to the huge budget already allocated to the monarchy from taxpayer funds.

The Nation had a special section called Green Report a couple of days ago. Really nothing more than an advertising supplement to allow companies to promote their ideas about corporate social responsibility, it also includes a story on the Abhisit government’s plans to extend the king’s “self-sufficiency programme” to 80,000 communities. As there were 74,944 administrative villages in Thailand we can assume that this means every community in Thailand is going to have a program. We wonder, though, if there hasn’t been a communist takeover in the Sufficiency Economy Office? In an interview with its director, Sumit Champrasit it is revealed that the aim is a “grassroots movement” that will “free people from debt and exploitation by corrupt corporations and banks…”. The CPT lives! It’s the nasty West that has led Thailand astray, when all that “farmers need to do is work on one rai of land.” One of the pictures in the supplement shows men training women in how to go back to “old milling equipment” that saves money. There’s no comment on how back-braking labor impacts women.

Finally, in this wrap-up, we point out that the ever manic Thanong Khanthong has declared almost-victory against the evil one (The Nation, 25 December 2009). Like others, he poo-poos the idea that there was ever going to be a chance of Privy Councilor Surayud Chulanont speaking with Thaksin. That story can only have come from a reporter who actually went out and asked a question. Far better to stay in the office and be told what to write or just make it up. But maybe it was a trick to lure out Thaksin and then to crush him. Thanong explains that Thaksin is on the verge of being broke, so when the Supreme Court takes the 76 million baht, he’ll be dead. Or, as Thanong says, “That’s how a tiger is strangled.”


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