Loyalty or blindness?

5 12 2010

What the regime expects (art by Aung Myint at http://yavuzfineart.com/past_exhibitions/citizen_of_the_world.html)

It is that day again. The day when all of the significant powers in Thailand call for undivided loyalty. Loyalty to the nation and loyalty to the king as the symbol of the nation, where “nation” and “loyalty” are defined by a blind adherence to hagiography and blindness to the combined repressive power of the palace, big business and the military.

This time the call for loyalty comes when the monarchy and its civilian-military state faces a greater skepticism than has existed for decades. The propaganda has again been exposed and the capacity for the ruling class to use violence to maintain its rule (again and again) has been clearly demonstrated.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva called “on Thai people to show loyalty to His Majesty the King on the occasion of His Majesty’s 83rd birthday on Sunday,” according to the Bangkok Post. Abhisit apparently stated in his weekly broadcast that “people should adhere to the King’s sufficiency economy philosophy.”What has happened with that corrupt Office for Sufficiency Economy Community Projects (see here also) that Abhisit promoted for a moment? Abhisit has genuflected to sufficiency economy previously.

He then reportedly said: “Many of His Majesty the King’s royally initiated projects have benefitted the people of the country…. Many of the projects have solved social and economic problems…”. Did he choose his words carefully enough? Has he been translated correctly? We guess Abhisit must have meant “all projects” because to say “many” means that some have not benefited the people and not solved problems. That might be a correct assessment (perhaps even “many” have failed), but blind loyalty would suggest that Abhisit must have meant “all.”

The king made a speech that will now be sifted for meaning/s. In fact, as reported in the Bangkok Post, it seems to stress duty, loyalty and national unity, which has been one of his themes for decades.

The Nation has this from the king: “Our country has been prospering and peaceful for a long time because we adhere to our nation and we join hands to perform our duty by giving the utmost priority to public interests.” PPT imagines that he’s ignoring the past decade…. He’s made the same point plenty of times in the past. He is reported to have added: “All of you who are gathering here and all Thais from all sectors should seek clear understanding of your duty and perform your duty to the best with caution and awareness…. Being careless and imprudent can lead to mistakes and damages in one’s responsibility. When one becomes senseless and unreasonable, one can become forgetful and afraid and can abuse his or her authority. This is very dangerous. This kind of practice can lead to downfall to oneself and the country…. As a result, I would like to ask all of you to be prudent and keep your determination to perform your duty in line with your reasons for the sake of peace and security and sustainable happiness of our people…”. There will be interpretations of this that the military will find comforting.

A Suan Dusit Poll reported that, as must be expected, “Thais were impressed with HM the King’s work – particularly his visits to rural areas (41 per cent), his water-management, irrigation for agriculture, royal rain-making, the water-retaining ‘monkey cheeks’ project (22 per cent), and projects to rehabilitate natural resources, reforestation, mangrove forest conservation projects (20 per cent). On his birthday, the wish most expressed for the King was for a long life (43.5 per cent), followed by wishes for his good health and a speedy recovery (35 per cent) and for him being Thais’ ‘beloved forever’ (sic) (12 per cent).  Some 34 per cent of respondents said they were inspired to live their lives by the King’s work for his subjects, while his love and concern for his subjects also won support (25 per cent), as did his self-sufficiency economy philosophy (23 per cent), it said.”

We wonder what else would be expected in a “poll” when it is required by law (such as the lese majeste law) and by brutal force that Thais be loyal and say nothing critical of the monarch.

PPT is confident that this royal birthday has been one of the most muted for years as people reflect on the monarchy false steps and fall in recent years, the succession issue and alternatives to the current royalist regime and blind royalism.

More commentary will follow shortly.



2 responses

5 12 2010
Tweets that mention Loyalty or blindness? | Political Prisoners in Thailand -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by NEWSpace, อิสระภาพ แห่งข่าวสาร. อิสระภาพ แห่งข่าวสาร said: Loyalty or blindness?: What the regime expects (art by Aung Myint at http://yavuzfineart.com/past_exhibitions/cihttp://bit.ly/f5tGiE […]

5 12 2010
Commentary on the king’s birthday | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Skip to content HomeAbout usPending casesConvictionsCommentaryTake Action ← Loyalty or blindness? December 5, 2010 · 3:45 […]

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