We know we are very late posting on The Dictator’s speech to a captive audience of young “Thais who were raised abroad,” reported at Khaosod about a week ago, yet we think his comments provide further evidence of the banal and insular perspective of the military dictatorship.
Someone had the propaganda idea of having General Prayuth Chan-ocha, accused of ordering the murder protesters in 2010, unusually wealthy, and guilty of overthrowing a constitution and apointing himself prime minister at the head of a vicious and repressive regime, speak with “37 children and teenagers who were raised in America and invited by the government to visit Thailand and learn about its culture.”
The Dictator decided that the most important thing these kids needed to know was not that Thailand is unique in being the world’s only military dictatorship, but that the monarchy is “unique.”
Of course, a constitutional monarchy is not unique at all, but Prayuth probably felt the need to tells the kids that Thailand’s version has existed with military backing and, together, they have repeatedly intervened to throw out elected governments while the monarchy has become the wealthiest in the world.
Well, maybe not. In fact, he decided to fabricate a “history” for the kids – a trait of the military dictatorship:
I want you, young people, to think about the monarchy of Thailand, which has provided spiritual guidance for the entire nation for a long time, unlike any other nation. In the past, everything was initiated by the monarchs, be it railways, waterworks, or other things. And then, a government was set up to continue the works. But an important thing that many groups try to do is to compare our monarchy with other nations. This cannot be done, because our [monarchy] has a long, ancient history. They [Thai monarchs] are like deities. Our King is not involved with anyone. He is above all disputes.
He also babbled about was the royalist claim of the need for “the special protection of the Kingdom’s lese majeste law … which punishes criticism of the royal family with up to 15 years in prison.” He continued the royalist fabrications:
When someone violates him, we need to use Section 112 of the Criminal Codes, which is like a libel law, because whenever someone insults us, we can sue them, but if it’s the monarchy, [the royal family] cannot sue them. This is because His Majesty is not involved with anyone, and he is under the constitution, and under every law that the government has created to protect him.
This is a well-known royalist whine that continued with the father analogy, which originated in the palace:
Let me ask you: if someone insults your father, would you give in? We wouldn’t. But if it happens to our parents, they can sue. But since His Majesty the King is not involved, he cannot sue, and who would take care of him? Thai people have to.
He went on to claim that anyone who has a different view is not Thai, probably as a warning to the kids that they should not have different thoughts or views.
Whoever doesn’t understand this is not a Thai. They are awful. This is a sensitive matter. I would like to ask the audience to explain that the monarchy of Thailand is not like the monarchy in any other country.
In the style of this highly personalized military dictatorship, Prayuth confused himself and others by saying that the monarchy and the monstrous apparatus that guards it is a step towards democracy. In fact, the opposite is true.
As is his way, The Dictator rambled on in strange ways, saying odd things about democracy and the history of other places, of which he knows nothing. We suspect the kids knew more of these things than this oaf.
What is unique about Thailand is that it has somehow managed to produce a vicious regime of ignorant, foolish and royalist oafs.