A few days ago PPT posted on institutional and constitutional measures being put in place to replace the king. Yesterday, we posted on the Bike for Mum palace-military propaganda event. Little did we realize how significant this event would be in flagging the future.
We did mention that The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, declared the event a display of loyalty and that other prized royalist commodity, unity.
Today’s reports, however, speak to something bigger than this.
The Nation reports that there were “[v]ast number[s] of cyclists … in Bangkok and round the country…”. They write of “hundreds of thousands … in a record show of loyalty led by HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.” Figures are quoted: “Almost 295,000 people registered in advance for the ‘Bike For Mom’ event, consisting of 40,000 in Bangkok and 254,863 in the provinces, but the actual number of participants nationwide was higher, estimated at between 300,000 and 400,000.” Of course, the riders were headed up by royals, The Dictator and the the puppets, reminding us of dinosaurs on bikes and trikes.
The Bangkok Post came up with exactly the same official number: 294,863 riders. It turns out that this is the number of people who allegedly registered to participate. That newspaper’s video of the Bangkok event seems not to indicate the 40,000. Pictures at The Nation suggest more of a crowd showed up. An earlier estimate was that there would be 80,000 in Bangkok.
The Nation cites several participants: the Village Scouts director, an 82-year-old Ruenkham Saen-in woman, a grandmother, an American, an Air Force officer and an Army officer.” In the Bangkok Post, one person descroibed the event as one that allowed the “world to see that Thais chose to ride bicycles as their way of expressing their love for the monarchy.”
More than this, the event became a show of loyalty to the crown prince, with the newspapers expressing this in whole articles of a tone that is usually reserved for the prince’s birthday splash propaganda.
Describing the prince as a “keen long-distance cyclist,” the Bangkok Post said that he “rallied the entire country Sunday behind a campaign to mark … the Queen’s birthday…”. It goes on to babble about his “passion” for flying and using his “aviation skills in fund-raising events, having piloted special flights to raise money for charity,” and scouting about for “events.” It mentioned charity flights in 2007, 2010 and 2012.
All of this sounds very much like the creation of kingly mythology, with little to work with. We are sure the dinosaurs consider such exercises to be useful for them and the regime.