by Ann Norman, first posted on Facebook, July 20, 2017
This is what tyranny looks like. The new King of Thailand, loathsome Vajiralongkorn, just grabbed control over the 40-60 Billion dollars that he inherited from his father. You will recall that his father the late King Bhumipol was beloved by a majority of Thais in large part because he seemed to care for his subjects, including the poor. So the argument that the King didn’t really OWN $40-60 billion worth of royal assets, but only managed them on behalf of Thailand, was remotely plausible. Now this fiction has been removed. The junta-appointed legislature just passed a law (published July 2) allowing Vajiralongkorn to appoint all the managers of the assets, and the law explicitly “prohibits any effort to take away any part of the royal assets without the king’s approval.”
Where are the protesters in the streets, demanding to know what this supposed “constitutional monarch” is doing with the assets Bhumipol was supposedly managing on their behalf? This story is getting very little coverage in Thailand due to the draconian lese majesty law.
Knowing that Pai Daodin is in jail for just sharing a mainstream news article about the king’s life, and was just charged again for “discussing the constitution,” imagine what will happen to someone who stands up and says:
“Hey, why does this horrible king keep changing our constitutional monarchy? It looks like he’s trying to be an absolute monarch.”
Besides the public is distracted with other nonsense, and this is completely deliberate. The very same week that junta hands the new King his royal fortune, the junta also announces a “social contract” they have written, allegedly with public input. Once everyone signs on, there will be reconciliation in Thailand. Read it and marvel at the junta’s audacity, as they lecture Thais that they should learn about democracy, accept the results of elections, participate in politics, and accept differences of opinion.
But what is perhaps most audacious is that King Bhumbol’s philosophy of “Sufficiency Economy,” gleaned from his various speeches, features so prominently in this “social contract.” It is Point 2 out of 10 of the contract (here called “The King’s Science.”) For the uninitiated, Sufficiency Economy is a mostly harmless set of platitudes about everyone living within their means: People are encouraged to “consume only what they really need, choose products carefully, and consider their impact on others and the planet.”
That’s nice . . . except that King Vajiralongkorn is apparently totally exempt from this (or any) social contract. He travels constantly, with a huge entourage, and to relax, flies his jets in circles just to log miles to keep up his pilot’s license. King Bhumibol may have wasted billions too, but he wasn’t so conspicuous about it. “Sufficiency Economy” is harmless advice were it not for the fact that everyone needs to pretend it is brilliant because it comes from a King. And so this jumbled and unenforceable philosophy is included in every junta-written document, including the most recent Constitution, like some sort of sanctifying prayer.
The junta chants “Sufficiency Economy” to try to lull the population into passive silence as their money is stolen. YET AGAIN!!