With 4 updates: Death watch I

12 10 2016

Those interested in the king’s health should watch the newspapers. Khaosod reports that royal events have been canceled. Prachatai reports that General Prayuth Chan-ocha has abruptly returned to Bangkok. An announcement by  him is due soon.

Update 1: Thai shares down sharply in afternoon trading. Down some 5-6%.

Update 2: The world’s media is onto the death watch story and speculates on the king nearing death and the upcoming succession. One report worth reading is by AFP.

Yet there is also a tendency for a repetition of previous palace propaganda – the “stabilizing influence” and similar mistaken perspectives. There is also the potential for considerable factual error. This creeps in when journalists play catch-up on things royal and Thailand. One example is a radio report from Australia which interviews Andrew MacGregor Marshall. The errors are by the reporter, who even fails to get the prince’s name right.

It is worth reading Marshall’s notes on succession, which includes his interpretations and a link to the Thai version of the 1924 law.

Update 3: An interesting question to ponder is how deep are the preparations for the announcement of the king’s passing. We know that the prince has returned and that several royal events have been cancelled. We know Prayuth rushed back to Bangkok to “possibly” meet the prince. There are questions too, some from social media: Does the jailing of a red shirt leader have something to do with the kings death and succession? Do the junta dolts fear a red shirt uprising and hence decided to quarantine a major UDD leader? What about the bomb scare and vastly increased security? Were these ways of preparing for any rumblings at the time the death is announced? We don’t know the answers, but speculation is rife.

Update 4: There was much social media expectation of an “announcement” about the king. Last night there was an announcement, from the Royal Household Bureau, and at the Bangkok Post, confirmed the king’s grave condition. It stated the “general condition of … the [k]ing has not been stablised and royal doctors are prescribing medication…”. In its “38th statement, the bureau said that [the king’s]… blood pressure dropped while his pulse and the levels of acid in the blood increased.” He also had an “inflamed liver.” In addition to antibiotics, “doctors also used drugs to control his blood pressure, employed a ventilator and performed continuous renal replacement therapy…”. The report at the Post states that: “Present at the hospital in Bangkok from Wednesday afternoon were HRH Princess Chulabhorn and her daughters HRH Princess Siribha Chudhabhorn and HRH Princess Adityadornkitikhun.” It added: “Later Princess Ubolratana arrived at the hospital, followed by HRH the Crown Prince who had just returned from abroad, and HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.”