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

Thailand’s Monarch Seeks to 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…

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…

Thailand Faces Uncertain Future Under Erratic Pretender

Thailand Faces Uncertain Future Under Erratic PretenderWith the Oct. 13 death of Thailand’s 88-year-old monarch Bhumibol Adulyadej, the country enters unknown territory, with his heir, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, widely recognized as an erratic and out of control womanizer. And given the growing use of social media, the Thai public largely knows the sordid tales despite the overwhelming efforts of the…

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, 1927-2016

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, 1927-2016Former Far Eastern Economic Review Correspondent Paul Handley, the author of "The King Never Smiles," by far the most authoritative book ever written on the Thai monarch, wrote this assessment of his reign exclusively for Asia Sentinel Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died on Oct. 13 at 88, was Asia's most venerable head of state…

Scandal at Thai Wind Concern Threatens US$2 billion IPO

Scandal at Thai Wind Concern Threatens US$2 billion IPOAsama Thanyaphan, the 40-year-old corporate accounts manager at Thai renewable energy firm Wind Energy Holdings, posted her resignation letter to bosses on a quiet Friday afternoon in Bangkok, on the eve of this year's long Labor Day weekend. By the time offices reopened and the company’s human relations department received her note, Asama was on the run in Laos, fearing for her…

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…
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