Further updated: Biking with the king

10 12 2018

With all the hoopla associated with the king’s latest self-promoting bike ride yesterday, we have been trying to find the usual grossly inflated figures for the number involved. As has been the case for several decades, big turnouts are important for demonstrating “popularity.”

Sadly, the reports we have seen mention “thousands” but not much else. There are also loads of photos and videos of the king in Lycra and helmet but showing relatively small numbers of other cyclists. The Nation reports “thousands of participants and spectators.” We did notice spectators along the route, but again the numbers seemed low and there was obviously a rent-a-crowd or, more accurately, order-a-crowd.

Some social media accounts say there were almost 700,000 nationwide, but that sounds more  like a Ministry of Interior fudge as it doesn’t match the vision or images.

NHK reported that “[a]bout 3,500 people joined” the ride in Bangkok. We assume tens of thousands of extra parking spots were empty.

At Andrew MacGregor Marshal’s Facebook page, he’s spent considerable effort linking to social media posts complaining about delays, road closures, river closures and more. He also writes that the king showed up several hours late. We haven’t seen that reported elsewhere, but then Thailand’s media isn’t about to discuss such matters for fear of the dire consequences.

The king appeared with daughters and concubines. We didn’t notice the usual junta limpets involved.

We guess that, despite the seemingly small crows, the regime, palace and dutiful media will crow about a rousing success.

Update 1: There’s been a death among participants in the king’s bikeathon. Sitthichai Banjerdsuk reportedly dies of a heart attack. The king is sponsoring the funeral. Without trying to be too macabre, it needs to be pointed out that his is not the first death associated with this kind of palace propaganda event (see here and here). Their “auspiciousness” is greatly reduced by such deaths.

Update 2: It turns out that there are now two reported deaths from the latest biking event.


Actions

Information

4 responses

12 12 2018
Did something happen before the bike event? | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Recently we posted a comment about Andrew MacGregor Marshal’s Facebook page, where he’d spent considerable effort linking to social media posts complaining about delays, road closures, river closures and more associated with the king’s recent cycle around Bangkok. He also wrote that the king showed up several hours late. We said we hadn’t seen that material reported elsewhere, but understood that Thailand’s media fears dire consequences if they do. […]

12 12 2018
Did something happen before the bike event? | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Recently we posted a comment about Andrew MacGregor Marshal’s Facebook page, where he’d spent considerable effort linking to social media posts complaining about delays, road closures, river closures and more associated with the king’s recent cycle around Bangkok. He also wrote that the king showed up several hours late. We said we hadn’t seen that material reported elsewhere, but understood that Thailand’s media fears dire consequences if they do. […]

19 12 2018
Monarchy, bikes and dressing up | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] will recall that the much-hyped royal bikeathon saw complaints, rumors, casualties, although not the politicized “deaths in custody” associated with the earlier iteration […]

19 12 2018
Monarchy, bikes and dressing up | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] will recall that the much-hyped royal bikeathon saw complaints, rumors, casualties, although not the politicized “deaths in custody” associated with the earlier iteration […]