As during his life, so it is in death. The king’s legacy is being chanted in all manner of media and all of it states that he was remarkable, even superhuman.
While sensible people don’t usually buy into such claims, such hagiographical hysteria is probably to be expected as the junta makes ideological hay even if their sun is no longer shining.
Yet one report in the Bangkok Post really demands a response. In Ayutthaya, governor Sujin Chaichumsak has presided over a ceremony marking the launch of an “operation aimed at eradicating drugs in various communities under the ‘white villages’ project in this Central province…”. He was joined by “Pol Maj Gen Suthi Puangpikul, the provincial police superintendent, and Col Ronnawut Ruangsawat, chief of the provincial office of the Internal Security Operations Command.”
It is stated that the “operation involved about 670 administrative officials, police and military officers and defence volunteers.”
In his speech, the governor “asked the operating officials to place emphasis on building a network with community members to carry out a project to create more drug-free or ‘white villlages’ as a tribute to the late [k]ing…”.
The operation rounds up suspects and has seized a few thousand methamphetamine pills.
There’s an eerie echo of the past in this. The parade of officials recalls the bloody War on Drugs under Thaksin Shinawatra’s government where some 1,300 were said to have been killed by police and military.
It also recalls the king’s role in that War on Drugs, briefly mentioned at the Wikipedia page on the king.
(We were reminded of this, and the debate over the numbers killed, by a comment at New Mandala by someone using the moniker TomV, and who promises a full article on the numbers.)