Royals and Abhisit on floods

6 11 2010

That Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has met the king at Siriraj Hospital to talk floods – where the latter has been for coming up 16 months – is widely reported. It seems that both Abhisit and the king need some positive publicity following Abhisit’s tardy, seemingly unconcerned and incompetent response and the royal family’s apparently mean response.

Bernama reports that the king “has expressed concern over the current severe flooding in Thailand…”. That seems to have taken some time, but getting time for a chat with the premier might not be all that easy.

Abhisit told journalists that the king “suggested that a long-term solution to flooding problem in the country, including improving water drainage system and building more projects to prevent floods along the Chao Phraya River and other waterways and canals, must be made in future.” Well, maybe. These ideas have been around for decades and drainage was one of the main reasons for the original round of canal building in the late 19th century. The utility of such infrastructure isn’t high for the northeast and the south.

The king, with no formal qualifications in engineering or water resources, is essentially providing a layman’s perspective that hasn’t changed all that much during his reign despite the push he has given to water projects.

Abhisit, of course, babbled on about the “Monkey’s Cheek” water retention idea that has flooded parts of Ayudhya province in past years. But it is a king’s idea, so can’t be questioned or critically assessed.

Abhisit’s focus seems to continue to be on protecting Bangkok. Seeking more favorable press, Abhisit is doing some token presentations of funds and relief supplies.

Meanwhile, Prince Vajiralongkorn is doing his bit. It is officially reported that “Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI) has been bestowed a great honor from His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn who will graciously pilot the Buddhist Pilgrimage Flight to Bodhgaya, India, the place of enlightenment.” The journey will be on Saturday, 13 November 2010, with his consort and son joining “this auspicious flight” together with 100 “Buddhists and honored guests traveling with the Buddhist pilgrimage flight will visit the Mahabodhi Temple and pray at the revered Bodhi Tree, the site of Buddha’s enlightenment.” It was revealed that these religious devotees were to be “Government Ministers, businesspeople, government entities, and state enterprises…”.

Why now and at a time when such flamboyant and conspicuous wealth might be seen as tasteless? The main reason is to celebrate “THAI’s 50th anniversary.” For their 500,000 baht, the prince will present each “pilgrim” with “his royal insignia pin made with royal blue enamel and diamonds…”. The prince has a relationship with Thai Airways where he has been made a captain. An earlier charity flight with pictures is here.

The “entire net proceeds received from this Buddhist Pilgrimage Flight will be presented to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and will go towards His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn’s Scholarship Foundation and to His Royal Highness Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti’s Fund for Disaster Victims.” That’s right, the baby prince has a fund for disaster victims.The victims of the flood might get a few satang from the flight.




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6 11 2010
Tweets that mention Royals and Abhisit on floods « Political Prisoners in Thailand --

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