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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Newsflash: Bangkok Post Grudgingly Acknowledges Intellectual Discussion of Monarchy

Monarchy debate defies traditional deference

Bangkok Post

A debate on the hitherto taboo subject of the role of the monarchy in Thailand starts behind closed doors Tuesday at Bangkok's Thammasat University, at a time of great political uncertainty and an outpouring of national devotion for the revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The prestigious International Conference on Thai Studies, held every three years, has included several potentially explosive seminars that plainly deal with the role and future of the palace in Thai society - a discussion that normally only takes place privately in Thailand for fear of legal and social sanction.

The boldest - in Thai terms - discussion could take place when a panel of foreign and Thai professors debate the merits of a generally hostile and highly controversial recent biography of King Bhumibol, The King Never Smiles, that is banned in Thailand.

The book views the monarchy as an anachronism. The author, a former correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review, trashes the king's life to the extent of criticising his painting and saxophone playing.

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The king is widely seen in Thailand as having played a vital restraining, correcting role for most of the time since his coronation in 1950. His son and heir, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, is said by analysts to have little of his father's popularity, experience or dedication in the eyes of ordinary Thais.

1 comment:

Siam said...

I think we're now 21st century,so..why we can't talk about the role of the Monarchy in Thailand ? It's a constitutional monarchy,ist'n it?!