[first posted April 15, 2017]
This year Pai Doadin will be missing out on the fun of Thailand’s best holiday: Songkran, the national water splashing festival, which is also the Thai New Year. He will not be wearing a Hawaiian shirt, throwing buckets of water at friends and strangers, or wandering the streets with a Super Soaker. He will not be at home with his family performing a water blessing for his parents. (This is because he has been in jail since Christmas awaiting trial for the crime of sharing a BBC news article about the new King on facebook.
Pai Daodin has been in jail since a few days before Christmas. He has been in jail 10 + 31 + 28 + 31 + 15 = 115 days awaiting trial for lese majesty, which is insulting the King—even though he didn’t even say anything, he merely shared a BBC Thai news article that almost 3,000 other Thais also shared. In fact the BBC revealed last week that the Thai article that Pai shared was their MOST-READ article EVER. It was 10 times more popular than their next most popular news article. And if Pai had wanted to say something about the King, his right to do so should have been respected.
Meanwhile, the King was out this week in a loud yellow party shirt having fun, playing carnival games at a Songkran festival, with servants carrying umbrellas to shield him from the sun. Continue reading