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The beginning of the end for the Thai monarchy?

When I first went to KL, in 1995, an old sweat took me to one side and explained to me - over several tigers, naturally- that Dr M’s love hate relationship with the UK went back to a kicking he had received from some squaddies in Singapore whilst a young man. So it’s all the military’s fault.
In between trips to Thai Airways, I also did quite a lot of work with Malaysian Airlines. Talking to their guys, the anti-British rhetoric and attitudes shocked me. Bumipatra (Malaysia for the Malays) was starting to come in big at the time and there was an arrogance among them that I did not much care for - particularly as they were bigging themselves up as the new 'Asian Tiger'. I did remind them that a lot of their infrastructure had been set up by the British and that if the Chinese and Indians hadn't done all the donkey work, they would still be out in the boondoks tending their farms. As the rubber trees were planted initially by the British, I offered the services of the RAF to drop defoliants on the plantations so they could truly start from scratch.

Whilst bad attitudes come from the top, it was all the more surprising when Dr M went to Britain and came away having tied the Malay Armed Forces into British defence equipment for the next 20-30 years. This time, though, we did it properly, treating him as an honoured guest rather than just another 3rd World leader. First Class on BA with a Malay born stewardess and VIP treatment all the way. Say what you like about Maggie, but she had him eating out of her hand.
 

Bardeyai

Old-Salt
In between trips to Thai Airways, I also did quite a lot of work with Malaysian Airlines. Talking to their guys, the anti-British rhetoric and attitudes shocked me. Bumipatra (Malaysia for the Malays) was starting to come in big at the time and there was an arrogance among them that I did not much care for - particularly as they were bigging themselves up as the new 'Asian Tiger'. I did remind them that a lot of their infrastructure had been set up by the British and that if the Chinese and Indians hadn't done all the donkey work, they would still be out in the boondoks tending their farms. As the rubber trees were planted initially by the British, I offered the services of the RAF to drop defoliants on the plantations so they could truly start from scratch.

Whilst bad attitudes come from the top, it was all the more surprising when Dr M went to Britain and came away having tied the Malay Armed Forces into British defence equipment for the next 20-30 years. This time, though, we did it properly, treating him as an honoured guest rather than just another 3rd World leader. First Class on BA with a Malay born stewardess and VIP treatment all the way. Say what you like about Maggie, but she had him eating out of her hand.
From the tallest flagpole in the world to the tallest buildings. From Project 88 (the arms deal you refer to) to buy British last campaigns 2 years after the contracts were signed. Dr M sure was mercurial.
 
Whilst working with Bangladesh Formed Police Unit Contingent on deployment to deepest, darkest I was assured that their "Tanker, Water-Cannon/disabling-agent distribution" were empty ... that they were unable to drive up the An-124 ramp to load raised my suspicions, a bit. Upon discussing the lack of mobility with the Contingent Commander he assured me that if they weren't empty now, they soon would be ... and the operators/crews would now demonstrate the efficacy of the system for crowd control ... the purple dye also added to the visibility factor for later identification of the 'ad-hoc rioters-to-be-quelled' voluntold from the mob who assured me that all the configurations were as I instructed, ie Empty. After the tankers were emptied they were more easily loaded, and some 10tonnes lighter ... to the amusement of the aircrew [task already load-planned, sums all finalised so an extra 20tonnes of lightness = better fuel usage = more profit!]. ***just edited to remove Luddite-computer skill inserted "strikethru" effect**
PICT0035.JPG
 
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endure

GCM
Yes, it always pays to keep a low profile when the forces of the state are lining up in their thousands to kick some serious arse.


I think things might be different this time. The Thai PM declared a state of emergency last week and revoked it yesterday.

Using water cannons last week made things worse because it pissed the protesters off big time and the goverment can't wheel the King out to calm things down as it's the King that's the problem.
 
I think things might be different this time. The Thai PM declared a state of emergency last week and revoked it yesterday.

Using water cannons last week made things worse because it pissed the protesters off big time and the goverment can't wheel the King out to calm things down as it's the King that's the problem.
How do you see it developing from here? I mean as I said at the start protests in BKK have kinda been a dime a dozen for the past 10 years or more, but do you think this might be different or will it just fizzle out like all the rest? And slightly more importantly, let's say it does lead to changes at the top, and by that I mean the monarchy, what replaces it?

I don't expect you to give a definitive answer, just a rough idea of how this might pan out and who are the main actors we should be watching, in your opinion.
 
How do you see it developing from here? I mean as I said at the start protests in BKK have kinda been a dime a dozen for the past 10 years or more, but do you think this might be different or will it just fizzle out like all the rest? And slightly more importantly, let's say it does lead to changes at the top, and by that I mean the monarchy, what replaces it?

I don't expect you to give a definitive answer, just a rough idea of how this might pan out and who are the main actors we should be watching, in your opinion.

The difference is the new king and his close relationship to the military. With the old king there was a restraining hand on the military.

I don’t think it’s the king they’re really annoyed about, it’s the de facto military dictatorship that he supports. If a new government was in place (or even Yingluck’s old one, with all its faults) people wouldn’t be fussed about the king. He’d be like Prince Charles taking over after Brenda, too long in the tooth to develop his own reputation as king. People would be looking to his son to make their emotional connections.

But I’ve been away for a couple of years now, so might not have the very latest nuances.
 

endure

GCM
How do you see it developing from here? I mean as I said at the start protests in BKK have kinda been a dime a dozen for the past 10 years or more, but do you think this might be different or will it just fizzle out like all the rest? And slightly more importantly, let's say it does lead to changes at the top, and by that I mean the monarchy, what replaces it?

I don't expect you to give a definitive answer, just a rough idea of how this might pan out and who are the main actors we should be watching, in your opinion.


I don't really have any idea. Nothing like this has ever happened before.

It's striking that, unlike the Thaksin red/yellow protests, there are very few yellowshirts out on the street which I think has got Prayut a bit rattled as it demonstrates the relative lack of support for the King.

Nobody there wants to replace the monarchy. They just want someone who acts like a King rather than a playboy. They want someone who they can respect - somebody like his dad.

E2A the current protests are not like the previous recent protests which were about politics - Thaksin vs the Establishment etc.

The current protests seem to be about something much more fundamental in that they are asking for real democracy rather than the usual military/police hegemony.
 
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Bardeyai

Old-Salt
How do you see it developing from here? I mean as I said at the start protests in BKK have kinda been a dime a dozen for the past 10 years or more, but do you think this might be different or will it just fizzle out like all the rest? And slightly more importantly, let's say it does lead to changes at the top, and by that I mean the monarchy, what replaces it?

I don't expect you to give a definitive answer, just a rough idea of how this might pan out and who are the main actors we should be watching, in your opinion.
A personal view: There are long-standing fault lines all across Thai society- old elites vs new technocrats; A huge generational divide between young vs old; metropolitan BKK vs the rest of the country. It’s been a pressure cooker for a generation and what has stopped it blowing up in the recent past is the military being told that the old King wanted them to step in. If anyone doubts the efficacy of that remember the violence before the 2015 coup with the bomb at a shrine on Sukhumvit. Deeply shocking. When the military stepped in violence ended immediately, because the people were told that was the wish of HM King Bhumipol. He’s gone now and those fissures in society are coming to the fore again.
That’s the simple version. The more complex version includes the central role of the privy council in interpreting the King’s will in the last 15 years.
 
A personal view: There are long-standing fault lines all across Thai society- old elites vs new technocrats; A huge generational divide between young vs old; metropolitan BKK vs the rest of the country. It’s been a pressure cooker for a generation and what has stopped it blowing up in the recent past is the military being told that the old King wanted them to step in. If anyone doubts the efficacy of that remember the violence before the 2015 coup with the bomb at a shrine on Sukhumvit. Deeply shocking. When the military stepped in violence ended immediately, because the people were told that was the wish of HM King Bhumipol. He’s gone now and those fissures in society are coming to the fore again.
That’s the simple version. The more complex version includes the central role of the privy council in interpreting the King’s will in the last 15 years.

Nicely put.

Also, it seemed pretty obvious that by 2015 the old King was barely alive and not really in a place to gainsay the Army that time.

Or indeed the efforts by his wife to ensure her son succeeded to the throne.
 

Bardeyai

Old-Salt
Nicely put.

Also, it seemed pretty obvious that by 2015 the old King was barely alive and not really in a place to gainsay the Army that time.

Or indeed the efforts by his wife to ensure her son succeeded to the throne.
I doubt he would have approved of the 2006 coup.
Rumour has it there Were those of the old guard who saw a bigger role for HM the Queen instead of her son. Unfortunately she went ga-ga Long before her husband’s final illness and that was the end of that cunning plan.
 
I doubt he would have approved of the 2006 coup.
Rumour has it there Were those of the old guard who saw a bigger role for HM the Queen instead of her son. Unfortunately she went ga-ga Long before her husband’s final illness and that was the end of that cunning plan.

The most sensible one was the new king’s ex. But she seems to have disappeared.
 

endure

GCM

endure

GCM
The Bangkok Post are laying into Prayut too

 

Bardeyai

Old-Salt
Good article by a Thai journo in the Graun

Compare it to the astonishing BKK post article you also posted (for which my thanks). That one is electrifying; does the guardian article sound like an authentic Thai voice? Sounds to me like a voice in the wilderness. Like a youth who has been to school and university here in the west but is Somehow estranged from his own culture .
 

endure

GCM
Compare it to the astonishing BKK post article you also posted (for which my thanks). That one is electrifying; does the guardian article sound like an authentic Thai voice? Sounds to me like a voice in the wilderness. Like a youth who has been to school and university here in the west but is Somehow estranged from his own culture .

The Guardian article was written by a man who was forced out of his job at the Nation and who has been detained twice and charged with sedition by the current government.

E2A Pravit is the grey haired guy who is presenting the live Khaosod twitter videos at much risk to himself.

 
I don't really have any idea. Nothing like this has ever happened before.

It's striking that, unlike the Thaksin red/yellow protests, there are very few yellowshirts out on the street which I think has got Prayut a bit rattled as it demonstrates the relative lack of support for the King.

Nobody there wants to replace the monarchy. They just want someone who acts like a King rather than a playboy. They want someone who they can respect - somebody like his dad.

E2A the current protests are not like the previous recent protests which were about politics - Thaksin vs the Establishment etc.

The current protests seem to be about something much more fundamental in that they are asking for real democracy rather than the usual military/police hegemony.

The situation is less predictable than hitherto, due to the loss of the tourist industry (around 16% of the Thai GDP). A lot of people out of work with no income, when at the same time the king has taken personal control of the military around Bangkok, and the royal finances are now under his personal control. This is causing deep resentment, especially with students who have seen their comfortable futures disappear.

There have been mutterings that this could be the last Thai king.

Edit, I hope the Baht doesn't take a hit, as I've got a couple of grand GBP in my account in the SCB.
 
The situation is less predictable than hitherto, due to the loss of the tourist industry (around 16% of the Thai GDP). A lot of people out of work with no income, when at the same time the king has taken personal control of the military around Bangkok, and the royal finances are now under his personal control. This is causing deep resentment, especially with students who have seen their comfortable futures disappear.

There have been mutterings that this could be the last Thai king.

Edit, I hope the Baht doesn't take a hit, as I've got a couple of grand GBP in my account in the SCB.
Pardon me if I disagree!
 
The situation is less predictable than hitherto, due to the loss of the tourist industry (around 16% of the Thai GDP). A lot of people out of work with no income, when at the same time the king has taken personal control of the military around Bangkok, and the royal finances are now under his personal control. This is causing deep resentment, especially with students who have seen their comfortable futures disappear.

There have been mutterings that this could be the last Thai king.

Edit, I hope the Baht doesn't take a hit, as I've got a couple of grand GBP in my account in the SCB.

I very much hope the Baht does take a hit. Its been a terrible exchange rate for years now.

Back to the glory days of 90 odd Baht to the pound would be nice!
 

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