Thailand’s Monarch Seeks a Return to the Kingdom of Siam

Thailand’s Monarch Seeks a Return to the Kingdom of SiamThailand, once known as the Land of Smiles, is a country today seemingly trapped in a perpetual nightmare, headed by a half-mad king determined to return the country to the era before Pradjadhipok, or Rama VII, the seventh king of the House of Chakri and the last absolute monarch of the country after the military…

Thai Critic Faces Death Threat

Thai Critic Faces Death ThreatPavin Chachavalpongpun has become one of the most implacable critics of the country’s ruling king, Maha Vajiralongkorn, and the junta that took over the country in a coup in 2014. Now that may have put his life in danger from the country’s erratic and violence-prone king. Recently the military decreed that anybody who even read…

Thai Military Erases Important History

Thai Military Erases Important HistoryIn a small but highly symbolic gesture, the Thai military regime has arranged the removal of a plaque marking the start of the 1932 revolution which ended royal absolutism and led to the first of many versions of a constitutional monarchy. The brass plaque on the road surface in the Royal Plaza bore the inscription:…

The New Thai King’s Reign of Fear

The New Thai King’s Reign of FearThe overwhelming success of the reign of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, who died on Oct. 13, 2016, has evidently become an entrapment for his son Maha Vajiralongkorn, who has failed to follow in the footsteps of his much-revered father but instead is a mirror image. Some analysts have expected Vajiralongkorn to be…

Sea Change Awaits Trump in Thailand

Sea Change Awaits Trump in ThailandThree months after his election, a month after inauguration, Donald Trump has not publicly mentioned Thailand.  Yet in a looming foreign policy crisis over the South China Sea, the seeds of which the president partly inherited and has partly sowed, the kingdom is poised to play an outsized and oppositional role.  China has territorial disputes…

Asia in 2016: Thailand

Asia in 2016: ThailandThailand, under military rule since 2014, made little progress towards democracy during 2016. In August, a clear majority of voters – more than 60 percent supported a military-backed draft constitution in a national referendum. Turnout was estimated at no more than 55 percent, although authorities did not issue an official figure. An army-appointed committee wrote…

Thailand’s New King: Who is he Really?

Thailand’s New King: Who is he Really?The mystery is over. After decades of question marks over the Thai royal succession, former Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn is now Rama X of the Chakri dynasty. After a period of suspense after his father’s death, the son and heir has been invited to become king, and has accepted. Yet much mystery remains about how the…

Deep Questions Surround Thai Succession

Deep Questions Surround Thai SuccessionMilitary-ruled Thailand is now a monarchy in search of a monarch as the powers that be – the military junta headed by Prayuth Chan-ocha and Privy Council president and now Regent Prem Tinsulanonda – have not been able to provide certainty despite having had half a decade to prepare for the death of King Bhumibol…

Thai Media Magnate Pays the Price for Backing Wrong Royalist Faction

Thai Media Magnate Pays the Price for Backing Wrong Royalist FactionThe jailing for 20 years of media magnate and one-time Royalist Yellow Shirt leader Sondhi Limthongkul   says less about his offense – creating a fraudulent report to support a loan transaction on a linked company – than it does on Thailand’s legal system. Sondhi, once a fervent supporter of the royalist faction aligned with the…

Thailand’s Notorious ‘Da Torpedo’ Goes Free

Thailand’s Notorious ‘Da Torpedo’ Goes FreeThe freeing of political prisoner Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul, better known as Da Torpedo, and two other lese majeste prisoners in Thailand over the weekend from prolonged sentences to Thai prisons masks the fact that hundreds of prisoners have been pushed through military courts with almost no rights since the 2014 coup that brought the National Council…
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