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The beginning of the end for the Thai monarchy?

endure

GCM
They'd have been better off with the Princess who is much admired.
 

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GCM
thail.jpg
 

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GCM
khaosod.JPG
 

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GCM
This is a 5 lane highway in the middle of Bangkok an hour ago...


pahon.jpg
 

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GCM

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GCM
 

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GCM
Got to get your priorities right...

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GCM
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All it takes is the unpopularity of a single generation of a dynastic line to bring it to its knees.

I think that our Queen is only too aware of that. I have my doubts whether her potential heirs are quite so conscious of it.
 

endure

GCM

Bardeyai

Old-Salt
There’s another underlying tension: the previous Redshirt/Yellowshirt split.

People in Thailand started to wear yellow T shirts when they found out it was the old king’s favourite colour. There’s a cultural explanation for this but that’s a subject for another dit.

Starting nearly 20 years ago, there was a rise in popularity of a Thai nationalist party led by a charismatic businessman with no prior government experience (think Trump but more effective).

His party was called ‘Thai Rak Thai’* and his name was Thaksin Shinawatra.

Whilst he was in power he cemented popularity in his ‘base’. The rural poor. He did this by a series of ‘gizzits’ such as gifts of bags of rice etc. His actions were very unpopular with the middle class who were paying for this. Thailand has a very narrow tax base.

He was ousted. His base rose up and started to wear red shirts in support of him. There were dark mutterings that he had tried to compete with the old king who was revered by the population, including the rural poor.

However a rebranded version of his party, under his sister, took power again. More demonstrations. The anti Thaksin movement- the middle classes - hit on the idea of wearing yellow shirts to make the point that they were loyalists. This became like the pro life movement. Who could be ‘anti king’.

She’s out of power now, because of the coup, he’s in exile, the Army is in power.**

But...‘ they haven’t gone away you know’.

There’s (at least) two more threads to the story.

The old king and the queen were - allegedly - effectively estranged. She championed the succession of her son (the new king) in a country where succession is not automatic. There was support for the selection of his sister who is also revered but past child bearing age. The young king was also ‘groomed’ from a very young age by the military who gave him lots of shiny toys to play with.

What’s darker is that there is an ethnic divide in Thailand. Historically the Thai middle class are ethnic Chinese. That’s very common in Bangkok and Thai Chinese tend to be recognisable by lighter skin. Yep, that’s very much the Yellow Shirts. They’ll celebrate Chinese New Year, for example.

People in the villages tend to have darker skin (not just because of working in the sun). They are from the ‘indo’ part of indochina. There’s the same ethnic split in Laos and Cambodia.


* Literally ‘Thais love Thais’.

** the old king had form for quelling rebellions and moderating the effect of coups. It’s felt he was too frail to deal with the last one.
That’s not bad. Thaksin was minister of telecommunications under the Chuan Leekpai Gov’t in the late ‘90’s so not an outsider in that sense. He was a billionaire by that time.
the word “Thai” means pure. As in not Chinese. I wouldn’t call a Thai person Chinese to their face, they’d get upset .
The Crown Princess is affectionately known as Chubby and used to drive a mini round the Empty (for her) streets of Bangkok. But she is loved.

There was a military coup in the 90’s where HM The old King called in the head of the army leading the coup. The General arrived to find the PM he’d jailed Sitting below the King... and the tv camera’s present. Polite bollocking from HM = troops back in palace and PM back in office.
 
That’s not bad. Thaksin was minister of telecommunications under the Chuan Leekpai Gov’t in the late ‘90’s so not an outsider in that sense. He was a billionaire by that time.
the word “Thai” means pure. As in not Chinese. I wouldn’t call a Thai person Chinese to their face, they’d get upset .
The Crown Princess is affectionately known as Chubby and used to drive a mini round the Empty (for her) streets of Bangkok. But she is loved.

There was a military coup in the 90’s where HM The old King called in the head of the army leading the coup. The General arrived to find the PM he’d jailed Sitting below the King... and the tv camera’s present. Polite bollocking from HM = troops back in palace and PM back in office.

When I first set up an office in Bangkok in 2000 I used the services of a local estate agent. Having already worked two years in Cambodia I remarked on all the traditional Chinese paraphernalia on view. Dragons, red lanterns etc.

She explained to me that she herself was Thai-Chinese. But she only spoke Thai. She was about 35.

Her mother spoke both Thai and Chinese.

Her Grandmother only spoke Chinese (Hokkien IIRC).

So this woman couldn’t speak to her own grandmother.

Why? In the mid 60s the Thai government made a pronouncement. Basically it said ‘you’re either Thai or Chinese. Make up your mind’. At the same time all the Chinese language schools were closed.

Something similar (though far more bloody) happened in Indonesia at the same time. A Swiss friend of mine is married to an Indonesian Chinese of that generation.

Bear in mind that this was at the same as the Cultural Revolution and the Chinese insurgency in Malaya was a recent memory.

The Chinese merchant class in SE Asia have historically filled the same economic niche as the Jews in Europe. And been about as popular (for very much the same economic reasons). Hence the vast majority of the ‘Vietnamese’ boat people being ethnic Chinese, and Pol Pot killing off both the ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese in Cambodia, where even now many people in Phnom Penh identify as ethnic Chinese.

Chinese schools have recently been re-opened in Thailand. I doubt if many actual people from Krung Tep would object to being called Thai Chinese; bar girls from Issan might though.

I’ve also heard several different translations for ‘Thai’ including ‘golden’ and ‘free’.
 

Bardeyai

Old-Salt
When I first set up an office in Bangkok in 2000 I used the services of a local estate agent. Having already worked two years in Cambodia I remarked on all the traditional Chinese paraphernalia on view. Dragons, red lanterns etc.

She explained to me that she herself was Thai-Chinese. But she only spoke Thai. She was about 35.

Her mother spoke both Thai and Chinese.

Her Grandmother only spoke Chinese (Hokkien IIRC).

So this woman couldn’t speak to her own grandmother.

Why? In the mid 60s the Thai government made a pronouncement. Basically it said ‘you’re either Thai or Chinese. Make up your mind’. At the same time all the Chinese language schools were closed.

Something similar (though far more bloody) happened in Indonesia at the same time. A Swiss friend of mine is married to an Indonesian Chinese of that generation.

Bear in mind that this was at the same as the Cultural Revolution and the Chinese insurgency in Malaya was a recent memory.

The Chinese merchant class in SE Asia have historically filled the same economic niche as the Jews in Europe. And been about as popular (for very much the same economic reasons). Hence the vast majority of the ‘Vietnamese’ boat people being ethnic Chinese, and Pol Pot killing off both the ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese in Cambodia, where even now many people in Phnom Penh identify as ethnic Chinese.

Chinese schools have recently been re-opened in Thailand. I doubt if many actual people from Krung Tep would object to being called Thai Chinese; bar girls from Issan might though.

I’ve also heard several different translations for ‘Thai’ including ‘golden’ and ‘free’.
You’ve got that right about the ethnic Chinese merchants. You’ll be well aware then that the Bahasa word “Amok” as in “to run amok” is Indonesian for describing the occasional pogroms on ethnic Chinese . Bad business all round and, naturally, the military response to clamp down to stop it it would be reported as “Tanks on the streets!” * in the UK.
* Tanks on the streets being UK supplied water cannon, as a non lethal alternative to ordering troops to open fire. Sometimes you can’t win.
 
You’ve got that right about the ethnic Chinese merchants. You’ll be well aware then that the Bahasa word “Amok” as in “to run amok” is Indonesian for describing the occasional pogroms on ethnic Chinese . Bad business all round and, naturally, the military response to clamp down to stop it it would be reported as “Tanks on the streets!” * in the UK.
* Tanks on the streets being UK supplied water cannon, as a non lethal alternative to ordering troops to open fire. Sometimes you can’t win.

I used to know the people who built the Aardvark mine flail.

They were approached by a SE Asian military to see if they could buy them as a riot control device.

:)

ETA I didn’t know that about ‘amok’. In Khmer it’s a sort of fish curry.
 
The new one sounds like a Prince Andrew walt.

The new one is a scandal-ridden sleazebag. He has a concubine in Germany, FFS. The German government are starting to take notice of his going-ons.

On and off, I've lived in Thailand for the last 20+ years.

The former King (Rama9) was revered, but it has been clear for over 10 years prior to the death of the former King, there were going to be issues.

The present King (Rama 10) is closely linked with Thaksin Shinawatra, the scandal-ridden and corrupt now exiled former PM.

This is well-known about in Thailand.

The fact due to Covid-19, a lot of people are out of work, the tourism industry is dead, and that the military is taking delivery of enough VIP aircraft and helicopters to do Britain, France, Germany and Italy combined proud has also gone down like a lead balloon.

The Thai press is being heavily censored at the present time.

The way things are going, there will not be a Rama 11.

The present military government has lived long past it's sell-by date, and this is another factor in the current crisis.

Also massive corruption is a way of life in Thailand, and this needs to change for the country to progress.

Interesting times...
 
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When I first set up an office in Bangkok in 2000 I used the services of a local estate agent. Having already worked two years in Cambodia I remarked on all the traditional Chinese paraphernalia on view. Dragons, red lanterns etc.

She explained to me that she herself was Thai-Chinese. But she only spoke Thai. She was about 35.

Her mother spoke both Thai and Chinese.

Her Grandmother only spoke Chinese (Hokkien IIRC).

So this woman couldn’t speak to her own grandmother.

Why? In the mid 60s the Thai government made a pronouncement. Basically it said ‘you’re either Thai or Chinese. Make up your mind’. At the same time all the Chinese language schools were closed.

Something similar (though far more bloody) happened in Indonesia at the same time. A Swiss friend of mine is married to an Indonesian Chinese of that generation.

Bear in mind that this was at the same as the Cultural Revolution and the Chinese insurgency in Malaya was a recent memory.

The Chinese merchant class in SE Asia have historically filled the same economic niche as the Jews in Europe. And been about as popular (for very much the same economic reasons). Hence the vast majority of the ‘Vietnamese’ boat people being ethnic Chinese, and Pol Pot killing off both the ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese in Cambodia, where even now many people in Phnom Penh identify as ethnic Chinese.

Chinese schools have recently been re-opened in Thailand. I doubt if many actual people from Krung Tep would object to being called Thai Chinese; bar girls from Issan might though.

I’ve also heard several different translations for ‘Thai’ including ‘golden’ and ‘free’.

It's only in recent years that Chinese holidays have been recognised or celebrated in Indonesia.
 

Bardeyai

Old-Salt
I used to know the people who built the Aardvark mine flail.

They were approached by a SE Asian military to see if they could buy them as a riot control device.

:)

ETA I didn’t know that about ‘amok’. In Khmer it’s a sort of fish curry.
The application for an in-country demo for a mine flail, for use in public order demonstrations, would have been fun to write - and even more fun to read.

I was involved when MOD made off with someone’s (maybe Saudi) order for Aardvarks for our own use in GW1. Memory says I was very surprised when I- somehow- was sent photos of them in theatre, still painted Civvy white. You Sappers, eh!
 

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