As Thailand descends further into a dark political space, apparently due to the military junta’s fears and its responses to this that invokes hyper-royalism. Both military regime and monarchy are deemed above criticism and “protection involves widespread oppression, censorship and the gleeful use of lese majeste, defamation and other laws used to repress.
Even a royal dog is significant: Like the king and his family, the favorite royal dog is great, a gem and highly talented. In fact, the pooch is to be venerated. According to Wikipedia, Thong Daeng has an exact birth date, which seems odd given the legend of the king finding a stray. But truth doesn’t matter when concocting palace propaganda.
The royal woofers are apparently very significant in a society that enforces ultra-royalism. For more commentary on doggy nonsense and ultra-royalism, see this post from 2009. This indicates that the madness associated with royal dogs has been afflicting royal posterior polishers for a considerable time. And, don’t forget the bizarre Woody incident with another royal tail wagger. There was even a report that Thong Daeng has been implicated in a lese majeste case!
Thong Daeng is being promoted because the king, unseen for a considerable time, can’t be. The latest use of the flea trap is an “animated film based on the Thai King’s favourite dog, a potent symbol used by the monarch through stories to dispense advice to the nation…”. As expected in politically-divided Thailand, fearful of the military and of succession, the film “shot to number two at the box office.” Potential for lese majeste there, for the film should surely have been number one.
Titled “Khun Tongdaeng: The Inspiration,” the film emphasizes the features required by the miltiary dictatorship and the monarchy: “The behaviour of Khun Tongdaeng has been widely recognised and renowned for her incredible loyalty, gratefulness and bravery…”.
In any sane society such royal ridiculousness would be treated with the scorn it deserves and the participants would rightly be considered strange, a bit deranged or laughably loony.
More Bike for Dad ridiculousness: The Bike for Dad event is seen by many as an inauspicious propaganda exercise. Said to be organized by the unpopular Prince Vajiralongkorn, who received a posterior polish from The Dictator at the event, it has been mired in corruption and assassination plot allegations. In addition, several advisers to the prince have been jailed and two have died in custody.
Perhaps this is why reports state that “[i]n Bangkok alone, 99,999 people had registered on the official ‘Bike for Dad’ website…”. Such an auspicious number is obviously concocted in order to provide a little good luck for the ridiculous event. The media rushes to add that “the actual number of riders was higher, including those who could register.” Watching the event on television, the numbers looked very low. Those who did participate and who were interviewed parroted glib phrases about loving the king and the monarchy.
More political arrests: Prachatai reports that the military junta has “detained a 21-year-old activist briefly in relation to his earlier visit to Rajabhakti Park with other activists and forced him to sign an agreement not the engage in any political activity.” Chatmongkon Wanli was threatened by a high ranking officer. He was forced to “sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promise that he would not participate in any political activity. He is also facing a charge for failing to take part in the military draft. We imagine that if he is drafted he will be brutalized and perhaps killed, which is not unusual in the military.
Defamation to silence dissent: Lese majeste is used to silence critics and so are the defamation and computer crime laws. In a bizarre case, Prachatai has been accused by “Boonyarak Boonyatikarn, Head of the Remand Facility at the 11th Military Circle Base” of “criminal defamation and violations the 2007 Computer Crime Act for reporting mistaken facts about a lèse majesté and sedition suspect [Thanakorn Siripaiboon] arrested for posting infographics about Rajabhakti Park.”
Prachatai reported that Thanakorn “was detained at the Remand Facility at the 11th Military Circle Base on Tuesday night before he was transferred to detention at an unknown location.” Boonyarak does not seem to deny that the suspect was held at the military base, but says “he has never told any lawyer or media that the suspect was detained at the remand facility under his care.” How the report damages Boonyarak, who says he heads a facility where at least two suspects have died in mysterious circumstances while in custody, is unclear. Presumably murder and/or negligence is okay, but not Prachatai’s report.
Defamation to protect the corrupt bastards: In yet another bizarre report, Khaosod tells the world that murderous officials and other “dark influences” have more power than any law in Thailand. Police are in a spin after Police Major-General Paween Pongsirin, who led the investigation into the trafficking and murder of Rohingya migrants, sought political asylum in Australia. He says – and he should know – that “influential figures in the government, military and police want him dead…”. They want him dead because he is threatening their corrupt networks that have made admirals, generals and their wives fabulously wealthy. Because of this the police are “considering suing a former officer investigating human trafficking for defamation over comments he made implicating senior officials in the trade.” Protecting the wealthy, corrupt and royal is all that seems to matter. Law is way down the list in the military’s royalist Thailand.
We realize that we have been using words like “mad” and “insane” quite frequently of late. But what else is it that is infecting the regime and royalists if not mass insanity.
Update: Conversion with a royalist. Sent by a reader:
She starts off by mentioning that Thailand’s 30 Baht health care is helping the people. I say, “Wasn’t that started up by Thaksin?” – knowing full well it would trigger autoimmune reflexes.
“No!” She said. “It was a doctor, a Thai doctor, who came up with the idea.”
“Oh,” I say, “And who was it?”
“I don’t know his name, but he was the one.”
“But didn’t Thaksin put the idea into effect through the 30 Baht health care program?”
“Yes, but it wasn’t his idea.”
Next, again at my slight push in the ‘wrong direction’, we began talking about people going to jail for long terms by saying or writing things that have no impact whatsoever on national security.
“They are trying to destroy the monarchy.”
“Isn’t that something that you have been told or read, and that in fact you as an individual don’t really know anything about it?”
“No!!..they are really trying. I hope the army tracks them all down and eliminates them.”
“Even though you don’t know who those people are?”
“Good. Then can you give me one name…just one?”
“I know them and who they are, in any event!”
“Fine, then just give me one name. I’d like to know.”
“They are trying to destroy the monarchy. This is Thailand. We are not the west. The west is interfering trying to control us.”…saying this knowing I am an American.
“Isn’t all this hatred just what you have been conditioned with all your life and you are not using your own mind to make a reasonable judgment? Isn’t it a fact that almost all of the so-called people who are alleged by you to be trying to bring down the monarchy…isn’t it true that these ideas have been put into your head?”
“They are trying to destroy the monarchy. The ambassador even criticized…”
I was able to terminate the ‘conversation’ by dropping this Yellow Shirt, pro PDRC, pro-“find ’em and wipe ’em out!” patriot wannabee. Scary, stupid, only one way to get this termite out of the woodwork.