The King Never Smiles: Book Excerpt

Handley reported from Bangkok for many years for the Far Eastern Economic Review. The chapter below describes the bloody 1992 attempts to suppress dissent and the king’s largely unwritten role, which was both different and more ominous than what the public perceived. Asia Sentinel is grateful to Yale University Press for permission to publish this…

Revival, Renewal and Reinvention: The Complex Life of Thailand’s Monarch

Paul M. Handley, The King Never Smiles: A Biography of Thailand’s Bhumibol Adulyadej. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2006. 498pp.   Related Links:  Royal Maneuvers The King Never Smiles: Book Excerpt   Paul Handley, a former Far Eastern Economic Review journalist, approaches his task in much the same way that biographies are written…

Royal Maneuvers

  Related Links:  The King Never Smiles: Book Excerpt  Revival, Renewal and Reinvention: The Complex Life of Thailand’s Monarch When I started out on my biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, I understood that whatever I wrote would not be received well by a palace used to unqualified adulation and the absolute power to shape its…

Bangkok’s Best Crabs

The first time I tried to visit the Rut & Lek Seafood Restaurant, I failed. I went to the correct street intersection, but it was 4 pm. At that time of day there isn’t even a hint of a restaurant. If memory serves, there is a locksmith on that corner. The second time, I got…

Stop the Press

Related Coverage: Thaksin in the Dock  The last time Thai publisher Sondhi Limthongkul was forced to close one of his prestige English-language publications, the Asia Times, was after the Asian Financial Crisis erupted in 1997, bankrupting companies all across the region. This time, Sondhi’s troubles are all his own. The Asia Sentinel has learned that…

Going for the Girls?

Slouched in a black armchair at a rancorous Bangkok press briefing, John Mark Karr looks feeble and spineless. The 41-year-old American wears pleated belt-less khakis pulled up nearly to his rib cage and a tucked-in Aqua-blue golf shirt. Though reporters are shouting questions from a few feet away, he says little. He wants to talk…

Thaksin in the Dock

Who is running Thailand? Even Thais wonder. Billionaire Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra easily won April's boycotted election, tearfully stepped aside a few days later, and then returned as caretaker leader after King Bhumibol Adulyadej gave a speech that led the courts to scrap the election results. Now a new election is scheduled for October 15.…

Thai End Game?

Publisher, businessman and born-again democracy crusader Sondhi Limthongkul likes to think of himself as a martyr-in-waiting. The sworn enemy of embattled Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra, Sondhi routinely tells his weekly talk show audience that he is willing to die in his effort to see his nemesis banished from politics; he claims men with assault rifles…

And Now For Something Completely Heavy

Zanotti 21/1 1st Floor, Saladaeng Colonnade Condominium Silom Road, Bangkok Tel: 02 636 0002, 02 636 0266 Residents of Bangkok can feed countless times a day on what is arguably Asia’s lightest, most flavorful, intriguing, spicy and satisfying cuisine. We know our good fortune: one wonders if one could ever leave this food behind? And…

Bangkok’s Very Cool Sushi

Koi 26 Sukhumvit Soi 20, Bangkok Tel: 02 663 4990/1 Celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa is opening a branch of his chi chi chain of restaurants in Hong Kong later this year, but don’t expect Thais to jump on a plane. They already have Koi, It’s expensive, stunningly stylish - cool, California-Zen-like minimalism and a cozy,…