By Andrew MacGregor Marshall
“An explosive research that lays naked what the Thai elite have attempted to maintain hidden for many years. A clear-eyed view of what's rather at stake in Thailand’s carrying on with turmoil.”—David Streckfuss, writer of Truth on Trial in Thailand: Defamation, Treason, and Lèse-Majesté
“A well timed and hugely readable account of the bleak political truth of the Land of Smiles. a necessary primer for each visitor.” —Joe Studwell, writer of How Asia Works
Read Online or Download A Kingdom in Crisis: Royal Succession and the Struggle for Democracy in 21st Century Thailand PDF
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Additional info for A Kingdom in Crisis: Royal Succession and the Struggle for Democracy in 21st Century Thailand
Before I used to love you … but now I hate you – go to ruin! Today Thais everywhere in the country have their eyes open’, wrote one protester. ’ (Ünaldi, 2013). The collapse in support for Thailand’s monarchy was stun ningly swift. When Bhumibol celebrated his Diamond Jubilee in June 2006, the elderly monarch was revered by most Thais and admired around the globe as a visionary leader who had fused ancient tradition and modern statecraft to forge a stable democratic nation. Five days of royal pageantry marked the occasion, amid an outpouring of adoration from Thailand’s people and an impressive 18 A KINGDOM IN CRISIS show of respect from world leaders.
Bhumibol had become a spectral figure, his authority and vitality dimming, as Thailand unravelled around him. Long before, during his sea voyage from Europe back to Thailand aboard the diesel liner Selandia for his coronation ceremony in 1950 with his fiancé Sirikit, the 22–year-old King Rama IX had received some advice from his future father-in-law Prince Nakkhatra Mangala, who was also aboard the ship. Years 26 A KINGDOM IN CRISIS later, during a conversation with his biographer William Stevenson in the 1990s, Bhumibol recalled that the prince had explained that royal ritual and tradition were immensely important.
The importance of preserving a positive image – or saving face – is widely considered a common Thai trait, and numerous cultural acclimatization guides for foreigners warn that ‘breaking the face’ of a Thai is a serious social transgression. Etiquette dictates that the country’s the Land of Smiles 39 people should remain silent about all the ways that reality falls short of the ideal, and inconvenient truths are to be politely ignored, never uttered. In a study of Thailand’s sex industry, Ryan Bishop and Lillian S.