Giles Ji Ungpakorn
The obscene and depraved 4 day cremation ceremony for the Crown Prince’s pet dog, “Air Chief Marshall Foo Foo”, clearly shows the degeneration of the Thai monarchy.
Given that millions of Thai citizens struggle to find the funds to pay for the funerals of their loved ones, it is a slap in the face of the poor by a dysfunctional institution. In Thai culture, calling someone a “dog” is an insult. But royal dogs apparently have a higher status than ordinary citizens.
The future king was well known for allowing his pet to run up and down the high table, spreading germs at official dinners, where it licked the plates of foreign guests and lapped water from their glasses. Given the dog’s ridiculous military rank, one might be forgiven for thinking that the death of his dog was a “blow” to the Thai air force. This is no joke. Prince Wachiralongkorn is a vicious, sexist, thug and his expensive funeral for his dog shows his callous disregard for appropriate behaviour.
His father preaches the “Sufficiency Economics” ideology, pretending to be frugal, when in fact he is the richest monarch in the world. King Pumipon has never lifted a finger to defend democracy or criticise the military for killing pro-democracy citizens. This weak and cowardly king also loves his dogs more than his fellow Thais. The Queen and her daughters have supported the middle-class mobsters who helped bring about two recent military coups.
These royal parasites are treading on thin ice. As the monarchy goes into a downward spiral, those in power become more manic and oppressive in their royalism. Lèse-majesté charges against opponents of the junta have sky-rocketed. Military courts are the order of the day and an authoritarian sham democracy is being crafted in order to hold “elections” in the future. Seeking to amend any military constitution has now been defined as a “criminal act”.
Ever since the barbaric military crack-downs in the 1970s, right up to the two recent military coups, the military has continuously sought to legitimise itself by using the monarchy. In attacking democracy during the present crisis, the royalists have continually insulted the “ignorant poor”, claiming that government policies to raise people out of poverty are somehow “corrupt”.
Yet, Taksin and his fellow business elites are no different. They all promote the monarchy to serve their own interests. For all these members of the Thai ruling class, the monarchy is a symbol of the “natural order of things”, where some are born to rule and the rest are born to be exploited under capitalism.
The tension and division between those who are deeply fed up with the royals and their military allies and those who claim to adore the monarchy above their own lives, is rapidly deepening. The Thai monarchy is well past its sell-by date. Yet change is never automatic or inevitable. All of us who wish to see a free and equal society in this country must work hard to push forward to a democratic republic. This will take serious political organisation.