Royal no show

5 12 2014

PPT was skeptical of the announcement that both the king and queen were to hold court with all of the usual posterior polishers for the king’s birthday. Even when the royal doctors declared the two were “healthy for their ages,” we were unconvinced.

As expected, they were no shows.

The Bangkok Post reports that its was a “royal medical team asked His Majesty the King to cancel plans for a public audience as part of the monarch’s birthday celebrations on Friday.” This came after the Royal Household Bureau had issued a schedule for ceremonies for the birthday events.

The king and queen were to “make an appearance at Amarin Winitchai Throne Hall inside the Grand Palace along with other members of the royal family.” Then the king was to give a speech to “Privy councillors, cabinet ministers, members of the judiciary, civil servants, military leaders and foreign dignitaries…”.

Neither the king nor queen are capable of such a schedule due to health incapacities. Both are frail, aged and unable to speak coherently.

The no show after the royal fanfare about it are another signal that this king’s reign is in its twilight. All now know the end.

Ji on monarchy as religion

4 12 2014

As PPT often does, we reproduce a statement by Ji Ungpakorn:

The official religion in Thailand is not Buddhism but “Monarchy”

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

As far as the Thai ruling class is concerned, the official religion of the country, which they are forever trying to ram down our throats, is not Buddhism but “Monarchy”.

For historical and philosophical reasons Buddhism has not been the main authoritarian tool of the Thai ruling class. Kings and military dictators were always wary of building up rivals if they promoted the power of the monks. Since the late 1950s the military sought to control the monks and make sure that they were mainly apolitical. This is unlike in Burma or Lao where the Buddhist monks were politicised by the nationalist movements.

Thai Buddhism is also a religion based on the actions of private individuals who try to amass merit. Thai monks do not usually give public sermons in order to control the beliefs of the population. Buddhism is also practiced in a manner which is strongly laced with animistic beliefs in spirits and ancient superstitions or it is mixed with Hinduism.

This is why the mass religion used to pacify and control the masses in Thailand is “Monarchy” and the idea that the king is god-like. This has become much more important in modern Thailand after the overthrow of the absolute monarchy in the 1932 revolution and the reinvention of the monarchy in the late 1950s during the Cold War. Manic promotion of the King took on new proportions during the 1980s. It was a buttress against the ideas of equality and democracy; a justification for the non-democratic influence and power of the military and other elites.

In reactionary Christian or Muslim societies, ruling classes have tried to justify their authoritarian positions and dictatorial decrees by quoting “the holy book”.

The “holy book” is an inanimate object, the work of many human hands, and is open to multiple interpretations. They claim the book comes from “God”. It is a tool used by reactionary rulers and powerful priests to justify their dictatorship and the subjugation of those they rule over. Yet the book also has to have parts which seem to ring true and connect with the lives of the oppressed and those who have little hope.

The Spanish Inquisition was all about ruthlessly rooting out opposition political and religious views. Fascism in the twentieth century also sought to ruthlessly root out oppositional views in the name of the fatherland by using religious-like myths about a pure race from ancient times. None of these authoritarian creeds were based on the use of reason.

The moulding and construction of the Thai monarchy in its present form is like making the “holy book”. The present day Thai monarch is an unremarkable human being, a pathetic creature, who has been built up to be a super human of many supposed talents, but also a god to which people must prostrate themselves. We are led to believe that Pumipon loves and protects his people, especially those with little hope. He is supposed to be an accomplished national leader, peace-maker, educator, economist, scientist, agriculturalist and musician. This myth is merely a huge royal cart-load of horse manure.

Pumipon’s statements are guided by others who have real power in society. His words can be easily manipulated because they are open to multiple interpretations. The region of “Monarchy” is a tool used by the military, the bureaucratic elites, the politicians and the business tycoons in order to justify the “natural pecking order of things” and to “prove” that every undemocratic thing that the powerful elites do is “correct” because it is sanctioned by the god-king.

In the past, Pumipon sat in his secluded palace, soaked in paranoia, surrounded by fawning toadies. The only real friends that he has are his dogs. His dysfunctional and parasitic family were also treated like semi-gods. Now Pumipon can barely function as a human being. Yet he is still useful to the ruling class and so will his son be when he becomes king. The real lack of abilities and social graces of these people is not important because no one should question the “holy book” or in this case the “holy god-king”.

The god-king is defended by severe violence. Today the “Thai Inquisition” is alive and kicking. Armed thugs of the murderous generals use the lèse-majesté law to root out blasphemers and throw them in jail for years without any pretence at justice. Great pressure is placed upon people to “confess” their non-existent sins and thus have their sentences halved with a promise of an early pardon. This helps to “prove” that the country is being undermined by wicked non-believers.

Not only do we need to get rid of the lèse-majesté law, but we also need to abolish the monarchy and carry out a root and branch culling of the military.

Magic and media

4 12 2014

It is a fact that many Thais are deeply influenced by astrology and other forms of magical beliefs. Most leaders in the corporate, military and government sectors seem to worry about astrology, numbers, feng shui, spirits and more. Some delve into black magic. Others have used taxpayer funding to buy the GT200, a fraudulent remote substance and bomb detector.

The generals of the military dictatorship are strongly influenced by astrology.

Recall that The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, changed the spelling of his name in English to Prayut Chan-o-cha. We believe that was due to astrological advice, telling him how to maintain his power and rule.Astrology

Now a government spokesman Major-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd says the well-known astrologer Khomsan Phanwichartkul has “been approached to join a team of government spokespeople in a bid to counter anti-coup criticism on social media.”

The report states that he is “thought to be eyed for the job because of his ties to the regime, not because of his astrological powers.”

That’s unlikely to be true. Prayuth and other senior members of the junta have a long record of consulting astrologers, including from Khomsan, and as the regime comes under pressure from demonstrators, they want in-house advice.

Khomsan, also known as Sin Sae Jo, is reportedly “a former Democrat Party councillor who represented Bang Phlat.” He is reportedly close to junta deputy General Prawit Wongsuwan.

If social media is the excuse for a taxpayer-funded astrologer, the puppet National Reform Council is seeking to censor media in other ways.

Its “committee on media and information technology reform has agreed media councils should be set up at regional and provincial levels to control the ethics of media organisations.”

In the Orwellian doublespeak of Thailand’s military dictatorship, “ethics” is a word that actually means censorship. The NRC puppets say that the “media’s freedom of expression creates conflict and hatred and councils are needed to ensure this freedom is not abused…”.

No freedom is to be allowed for the media.

Bad attitudes everywhere

3 12 2014

Police have arrested two 54 year-old men “for distributing anti-junta leaflets last week and charged them with instigating conflict and instability in the country.”

Junta mouthpiece Colonel Wintai Suwari stated that “the act of distributing anti-junta leaflets … was based on false information, distortion of facts, and personal emotions.”

The 23 November distribution of anti-coup leaflets was at the Victory Monument. The men “stated that they only wanted to raise concerns about democratic values.”

Wintai stated that their demonstration of support for democratic values had “shown bad attitudes, causes untidiness to public areas, and [was] useless.”

He’s wrong, of course. Such demonstrations keep the dim light of democracy burning under the military dictatorship.

The two men were charged under military junta Order No. 97 and with “causing disturbances and conflict in the country.”

PPT thinks the junta should be charged with the latter offenses.

5 years for lese majeste

3 12 2014

Prasit Chaisrisa, a former Puea Thai Party MP for Surin province, was convicted under the lese majeste law on Wednesday.

The Criminal Court ruled that remarks he delivered in a 7 May speech at the Imperial World Lat Phrao department store. In the speech, entitled “Stop Overthrowing Democracy,” he was considered to have insulted the monarchy.

He was sentenced to 5 years, reduced to 2.5 years in prison, reduced because after initially denying the charges, Prasit later withdrew his statement and confessed on the charges. The court refused to suspend the jail term.

Prasit was first arrested on 29 May and detained without bail. He has already been in jail for six months.

Prince’s purge widens

2 12 2014

The family-based purge of persons associated with Prince Vajiralongkorn’s estranged wife continues to widen.

The Bangkok Post reports that the “Bangkok Military Court has Tuesday issued an arrest warrant for Nopporn Suppipat, one of Thailand’s 50 wealthiest people this year, for allegedly hiring two criminal suspects connected to former Central Investigation Bureau chief Pongpat Chayapan to ‘negotiate’ down his debts.”

Forbes lists Nopporn as an early 40s new rich lister, worth US$800 million. His rise has been startling after several unsuccessful enterprises in the past. He is boss of Wind Energy Holding Co., and is “wanted on charges of defaming the monarchy by using royal influence to hire others to physically assault and threaten others…”.

He “allegedly hired Natthanan Thanawech and Chalach Phothirach to kidnap a businessman he owned money to.” The businessman is reportedly Bandit Chotwitthayakul, said to be owed 120 million baht.

Interesting to speculate why someone said to be worth 2.4 billion would engage in wheeling and dealing over a debt of 120 million baht.

At least eight persons have now been accused of lese majeste in this and other cases related to Prince Vajiralongkorn’s purge.

Lese majeste and Bowornsak

2 12 2014

Royalist and serial military constitution drafter Bowornsak Uwanno has worked hard to protect monarchy and the royalist elite. A faithful servant of this elite and the military-palace alliance, he once worked to have Paul Handley’s The King Never Smiles banned before publication (opens a page linking to a PDF).

As such, could he also fall under the lese majeste bus? It seems he could. On 21 November, he spoke at a conference and stated that woman would rule Thailand in the next reign.

Khaosod reports that the “deputy chairperson of the National Reform Council (NRC) says one of his recent speeches was distorted to imply that he insulted Thailand’s Crown Prince.” He states that the the “Voice of Siam” Facebook page distorted his speech and accused the “group of violating the Computer Crimes Act by misrepresenting a speech he gave on women’s rights…”.

He says that: “I was in fact talking about how women in general would be the rulers of our country…. But Voice of Siam edited my remarks and caused a lot of misunderstanding. It has been posted on many websites that are affiliated to a certain political side.”

The now-deleted post stated that “Borwornsak preferred a female queen to rule Thailand instead of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, who is the current designated heir to the throne.”

In the current bizarre circumstances and considering the significance successionist claims about a crisis in the palace have taken on, as Khaosod observes, “the remark has serious implications in Thailand, where criticism of the royal family can be punished by up to 10 years in prison.”

An interesting predicament in many ways.


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