The Dictator, king, floods

3 08 2017

The Nation reports on the floods in the northeast as if the dead king was still around. It is the king who is ordering, instructing and advising. Admittedly, the new king has “instructed the government to follow his late father’s flood-prevention initiatives to ease flooding in the country given the recent disaster.”

To be honest, we don’t know of any “initiatives” for the northeast, apart from a penchant for dam building, but we might have missed some of the dead king’s many pronouncements. Some of his “flood mitigation” measures arguably increase the floods for some – usually the poor – to “save” other areas.

In the northeast and at Sakol Nakhon, The Dictator declared that: “King [Vajiralongkorn] has been monitoring the flood situation,” as General Prayuth Chan-ocha finally made a visit to the stricken province.

There are a dozen northeastern provinces experiencing floods but it is Sakol Nakhon that has seen most attention.

The Dictator added that the king “had urged authorities to improve the flood situation fast and introduce sustainable solutions.” He was also said to have “sent relief items to flood victims in Sakon Nakhon, and also had a kitchen erected in the province to hand out free food to affected people… [and] recommended that the government inspect reservoirs to ensure they were well maintained.”

The king seems to be doing all of this from Germany. The last we heard was that he was still there.

Meanwhile, at the Bangkok Post, the reporting of The Dictator’s belated visit sounds more like he’s competing with the king and even campaigning.

In this report, it is The Dictator who has “instructed authorities … to focus on the flood-plagued province of Sakon Nakhon and ensure most of the excess water is released into the Mekong River within a week.” He said rehabilitation will begin once the water is cleared.

General Prayuth has been at pains to ensure that the flood isn’t “politicized.” Clearly he recalls how the 2011 floods were used by the anti-democrats and the military to undermine Yingluck Shinawatra’s government as soon as it came to office.

He also sort to direct the media n how it should report the floods.

An absent king and a dictatorial regime belatedly acting to mitigate flooding while attacking political opponents seems defining of the regime.