Giles Ji Ungpakorn
The behaviour of King Wachiralongkorn resembles the antics of a spoiled brat rather than that of some powerful ruler or head of state.
Wachiralongkorn has a long history of dumping and mistreating his women after he has grown tired of them. His behaviour has not changed.
In the months since he became king, the adulterous Wachiralongkorn has appointed his wife and also his mistress to ridiculous positions in the military and the elite hierarchy. These position have little to do with the limited abilities of these women. A couple of weeks ago he sacked his mistress and stripped her of all her ranks. He also sacked two male guards from the “bedroom section” of the royal household for “adultery”.
This ridiculous soap opera shows that Wachiralongkorn is just a spoiled brat, prone to tantrums, rather than anything approaching a statesman or national leader.
Since becoming king Wachiralongkorn has also demanded that he can personally control all the funds associated with the monarchy and demanded that sections of the military act as his personal royal guards.
Anyone following this palace nonsense would be reminded of an infant screaming for more toys and then throwing a tantrum when things don’t go all his way.
This behaviour has nothing to do with any so-called power. Real power lies in the hands of the military and the capitalists.
What explains Wachiralongkorn’s outrageous behaviour is that since his youth he has been badly spoiled, mainly by the military, but also by his father Pumipon, his mother Sirikit and various member of the capitalist class. These people have not spoiled him and allowed him to behave in any way he wants because they are or were afraid of him. He has been spoiled mainly because the military needs to use the institution of the monarchy to provide itself with legitimacy.
Most Thai citizens value democracy, social justice and modernity. But because the military lack all credibility in democratic terms, because they are not associated with promoting social equality or modernisation and because they never played a role in national liberation, unlike in some neighbouring countries, the military have come to rely on the monarchy to justify military coups and military intervention in politics.
The military promoted and glorified former King Pumipon so that they could then use him to legitimise themselves. This also involved spoiling other members of the royal family, especially Wachiralongkorn, in order to keep them happy and on board with their project. They fed Wachiralongkorn with things that he greedily wished for and in return could use him. But they are unlucky because Wachiralongkorn has no idea how to behave in civilised society and he risks turning the Thai monarchy into a laughing stock with all his scandals.
Meanwhile the generals who are running the present “parliamentary dictatorship” are demanding that Thai citizens grovel to this nasty infantile king. The Monarchy is rotten to the core and many, many, Thais know this.
The result is that the political system is dysfunctional, the democratic space has been reduced, parliament is a sham and Thai society has been locked in a backward era from the past with no hope of modernisation and development into a progressive democracy.
Unless a progressive mass social movement outside parliament and a political party of the working class are built, there is little likelihood that things will significantly change.