One lane monarchy

14 01 2020

In recent months there’s been unusual online criticism of Thailand’s pampered, obscenely wealthy, tone deaf and protected (by law and censorship) royals. Essentially, average Thais have been complaining about the way shopping malls, islands, beaches and roads are closed for the pleasure and convenience of members of the royal family.

In October, the hashtag “#RoyalMotorcade became a top trending Twitter hashtag as netizens piled on criticism over road and shopping center closures for royals who seemed oblivious to the extent of their privilege and the trouble their privilege causes for hundreds of thousands of ordinary people. The video clip is from 2012:

This criticism appears to have brought a palace response. (Un)naturally enough, Khaosod publishes and lists the “new” rules but has absolutely no commentary, not even hinting why the “new” rules have appeared. For that (brief) background, an international report is necessary. In censored Thailand, all Khaosod seems willing/able to say is:

The new set of rules, 10 points in total, was compiled by the police after His Majesty the King called for a revamp in security measures that would cause minimal impact to motorists….

The more complete report states:

The process of adjusting the protection pattern during the royal motorcades of the King and his royal family by the Royal Thai Police is intended to provide security to … the King and royal family at the highest standard to be dignified and in accordance with the wishes of … the King.

In fact, these are not particularly new. Back in 2012, the last time the muffled criticism of the royal family’s motorcades became public, a new set of rules were issued. It didn’t take long for the royals and their minions to regress. We suppose 2020 will see the same backsliding into pampered privilege.


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