Another king sighting

6 05 2015

AP reports on another excursion by the ailing and aging king, this time moving beyond the hospital where he has been spending his time. It is stated that the king took part in a celebration of his own coronation 65 years ago. Recall that he came to throne in 1946 amidst murky circumstances following the gunshot death of his brother Ananda Mahidol.

What amazed us about this report is that AP continues to repeat old-fashioned nonsense about the king. Yes, the report does contain a warning about reports from Thailand on the monarchy: “Open discussion of the monarchy is constrained by a strict lese majeste law that makes criticism punishable by up to 15 years in prison.”

Even so, the report details a bunch of what were, several years ago, demanded platitudes.

Does every report need to say that the king is “revered”? Do “Thais hold great affection for Bhumibol”?

The monarchy has, in fact, become divisive. The fact that police have closed more than 25,000 websites claimed to be disseminating lese majeste content might suggest considerable opposition to the monarchy. So might the 239 lese majeste cases the police claim to have closed in the past six months.

And what of politics? AP says: “While he is constitutional monarch with no formal political role, Bhumibol is widely revered and regarded as the country’s sole unifying figure. Many regard his as a father figure…”. Again there’s the revered stuff, and no mention of divisiveness over the monarchy, just supposed unity. The statement about a “formal” role may be just slightly better than the previous “above politics” that was once de rigueur, but this epithet is grossly misleading of the king’s political roles over many decades, mostly supporting corrupt military regimes.


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7 05 2015
Handley on Coronation Day 1996 | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] We posted on the sighting of the king at his 65th Coronation Day. A reader sent us this PDF of Paul Handley’s assessment of the monarchy from July 96, long before The King Never Smiles. We felt readers might be interested in his commentary back then, including on succession. […]

7 05 2015
Handley on Coronation Day 1996 | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] We posted on the sighting of the king at his 65th Coronation Day. A reader sent us this PDF of Paul Handley’s assessment of the monarchy from July 96, long before The King Never Smiles. We felt readers might be interested in his commentary back then, including on succession. […]

9 05 2015
Monarchy and military mutuality | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] regime’s continuance was not in the palace’s best political interests. Despite this, as PPT has complained recently, the media continues absurdly in portraying the monarchy as apolitical and as creating some kind of […]

9 05 2015
Monarchy and military mutuality | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] regime’s continuance was not in the palace’s best political interests. Despite this, as PPT has complained recently, the media continues absurdly in portraying the monarchy as apolitical and as creating some kind of […]




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