Ultra-royalists in Phuket

28 05 2012

A short time ago PPT posted (here and here) on some of the disputes in the south regarding red shirt activities and the reaction to them. In Phuket, ultra-royalists were mobilized against the red shirts. The Phuket News helpfully profiles the leader of the ultra-royalists/People’s Alliance for Democracy there.

The leader is said to be Saroj Dulyakon, “rarely seen without his bandanna, sunglasses and denim jacket, complete with three flags attached to the back; the flag of the King, the flag of the Queen and the flag of Thailand.” As the photo shows, this is not flags sown to a jacket; this guy seemingly wanders about with mini-flags flying from mini-flagpoles attached to his back.

A Phuket News photo

Saroj is a self-proclaimed yellow shirt leader who, on 13 May, mobilized his lot to oppose red shirts who wanted to declare a red village in Phuket.

He managed to round-up less than a hundred supporters – he said he was surprised so few showed up – and occupied the area.

The red shirts apparently withdrew quickly. Interestingly, the red shirts seemed to be acting without leadership.

Saroj is sure the red shirts in Phuket will try again, and Saroj says his group is ready, promising to “discipline” them.

Like so many ultra-royalists, Saroj is unable to comprehend different political positions. He talks of “disrespectful behaviour” and asks: “How can they behave like this when HM the King is sick?”, declaring that the king “is my father.”

Naturally, Saroj claims red villages are a challenge to the monarchy, with Thaksin Shinawatra replacing the king as a revered figure: “All they see is red, red, red. Only one colour. [But] we have only one flag – which has three colours [red, white and blue], not just one.”

Saroj evidences considerable insecurity and hostility regarding differing political views, repeatedly resorting to paternalistic and patriarchal themes while supporting the Army’s murderous crackdown on red shirts: “They had to shoot. How could they not? They had to stop them … They had to stop it.”

Saroj may be a local tough, but his views are little different from those circulated in ultra-royalist networks, media and especially social media, where intolerance runs rampant.


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