“National” day

26 02 2013

At The Washington Post’s blog, Max Fisher comments on the celebration of national days. In it, Thailand is considered and “outlier.” Fisher says:

In Thailand, one of the very few countries outside of Europe that was never formally colonized, the king’s birthday is celebrated (don’t insult him or you might go to jail, per the lese majeste laws).

This raises the interesting question about how Thailand’s national day came to be recognized as the present king’s birthday. Of course, it turns out that this was a part of the effort by disgruntled princes, palace and Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat to make the monarchy great again after its demise following the inglorious years after the 1932 revolution. This is Paul Handley’s short account, from page 194 of The King Never Smiles, with words in brackets added by PPT:

Having seen the princes undermine Phibun, at first Sarit was reluctant to cede the palace much ground….

Over time, Sarit gave more leeway. After two years he allowed the palace to reclaim control over the national ceremonies and holidays. Since 1932, many important holidays had been separated from the palace, essentially secularized, like National Day on June 24, the date of the 1932 revolution. In 1960, Sarit had National Day moved to December 5, Bhumibol’s birthday. [Royalist propagandist] Kukrit Pramoj wrote in Siam Rath that this was most appropriate, as the founding date of the country could be debated. The royalists were expunging the 1932 revolution from collective memory.


Actions

Information

2 responses

28 02 2013
Lese majeste in the south | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] It is now reported that the “Pattani Provincial Court is proceeding with an in camera lèse majesté trial against a Malayu Muslim man, who is accused of putting up banners about the country’s conflict with a picture of Her Majesty the Queen in 2009.” This is alleged to have involved a number of banners being put up in public areas such as pedestrian bridges in the province on 12 August 2009, the queen’s birthday and “Mother’s Day.” […]

28 02 2013
Lese majeste in the south «Political Prisoners of Thailand Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] It is now reported that the “Pattani Provincial Court is proceeding with an in camera lèse majesté trial against a Malayu Muslim man, who is accused of putting up banners about the country’s conflict with a picture of Her Majesty the Queen in 2009.” This is alleged to have involved a number of banners being put up in public areas such as pedestrian bridges in the province on 12 August 2009, the queen’s birthday and “Mother’s Day.” […]




%d bloggers like this: