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 relatively 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 awful political fact of the Land of Smiles. a necessary primer for each visitor.” —Joe Studwell, writer of How Asia Works
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Extra resources for A Kingdom in Crisis: Royal Succession and the Struggle for Democracy in 21st Century Thailand
The oppressive influence of the elite weighs on discourse at all levels of society, silencing dissenting voices. As Andrew Turton observed in his studies of rural Thais, traditionally the poor ‘have no voice’: If they raise their voices to protest their conditions, or criticize some new official scheme which they perceive not to be to their advantage, they are not listened to, their voices have no weight… Or they feel the weight of dominant others’ authoritative discourse so heavily that they will not speak at all.
We just came here to tell the government that we will never forget’, he said. (Pravit, 2010) Towards the end of the protest, it became clear that everything had changed for Thailand’s monarchy. A slogan began to be shouted among one group of protesters and spread through the crowd until hundreds were chanting it over and over again. ’ It was a stunning moment, an event most Thais never dreamed would happen. Hundreds of people in the heart of the capital were shouting a crude insult and inflammatory accusation at an unthinkable target.
But behind the pageantry, the Father of the Nation was struggling with family problems. Bhumibol had been estranged from Queen Sirikit for two decades, and his son and heir, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, was regarded as a cruel and corrupt womanizer, reviled by most Thais. The king’s second daughter, Princess Sirindhorn, was the overwhelming favourite of the Thai people to succeed her father, even though her gender and royal tradition seemed to render this impossible. As Boyce wrote: In a shot heavy with unintentional meaning on Friday, the television broadcast showed the unpopular Crown Prince reading a message of congratulations to the King, who was seated on the royal balcony above the Prince.