Panicked on the monarchy

23 06 2012

There’s a long and interesting report at Bloomberg Businessweek by Daniel Ten Kate worthy of attention. For those who want to see political change in Thailand, it will be demoralizing to learn that:

Only about three of 500 House of Representatives members support a bill that reduces jail terms for people convicted of royal insults, according to Jarupan Kuldiloke, one of the members backing the effort. The ruling party has declined to endorse it.

Well we all knew that the Puea Thai Party under the non-leadership of Yingluck Shinawatra has an “aversion” to doing the right thing on lese majeste. Kate cites academic Michael Connors in asserting that this aversion “may bolster its [the government's] monarchist credentials…” and avert its ouster. This is a myth. As PPT has highlighted since the day the Puea Thai government was elected, no Shinawatra is ever going to be allowed back into the royalist elite. This government is already on the way out via judicial coup.

That all but three MPs are deluded and spineless is a sad reflection on a parliament that has existed, on and off  for almost 80 years. After all, the bill doesn’t abolish the law, it just makes it less draconian.

It seems that the bill on lese majeste mentioned is the result of the Campaign Committee for the Amendment of Article 112 “petition with about 30,000 signatures from members of the public, triple the amount required by the constitution for lawmakers to consider legislative initiatives.”

If the Puea Thai Party are spineless and neglecting their political base, the royalist Democrat Party is playing to its ultra-royalist political ballast, with its loudmouthed spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut asserting that hsi anti-democratic party is “not supporting the people who use this to attack the royal family…. The royal family needs protection.” Yes, the party of royalists has long supported the country’s richest “institution.”

That’s why the number of lese majeste cases surged while the Democrat Party served as government following a judicial coup in 2008 and with the support of the military and palace.

Kate then quotes Komsan Phokong, said to be “a law lecturer at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University.” In fact, Komsan is a member of the ultra-royalist and neo-fascist Sayam Prachapiwat group, and rants on foreigners and lese majeste:

Foreigners shouldn’t interfere with our issue because they don’t understand us…. The status of our king and other kings in western countries are totally different. Our king is the center of people’s hearts. They can’t use their standards to judge our case.

Quoting political fruit loops like Komsan is easy journalistic pickings.

Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom

More significant is the observation by Charnvit Kasetsiri, “a former rector of Thammasat University who helped present the bill to parliament”:

Even if rejected, the proposals are useful for educating people about the need to change Article 112 before challenges escalate as the succession to King Bhumibol approaches, according to

“On the surface Thailand looks like a land of smiles,” Charnvit said. “But deep down in cyberspace, with the coming of the new world, it’s rather messy.”

In the context of this notion of adult education, readers may wish to read this piece on Overcoming Fear of Monarchy.

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