Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University is interviewed by ABC (Australia) and states in relation to the postponing of HM the King’s annual birthday speech (as blogged about here):
…that he has been hospitalized for almost two months now is a deep concern to the Thai people. And this news is going to be treated with a lot of trepidation and concern for the future. At the same time this sort of news from the Royal household bureau will not be widely discussed in Thailand because of the lese majeste law, because of the recent arrest of individuals who have been deemed to have offended the institution of the monarchy. We are in a bit of a pent-up situation where the future needs to be discussed but discussing the future has been deemed a crime and a bad omen for the present, and this is something that Thailand has not been able to find a way out of.
On lese majeste law and recent arrests under the Computer Crimes Act:
So it has an intimidating coercive effect in suppressing dissent, suppressing even fair-minded views. It adds to the pent-up boiler situation in Thailand where on the top of it you have the legal feeling, the legal suppression from lese majeste, from Computer Crimes Act; at the bottom of it pushing up you have this official indoctrination through the media, through education, through government propaganda, and it’s not healthy for Thailand. I think that most people know that we are seeing the end of Thailand as we know it, but the shape and form of the new Thailand that is emerging is being contested. But because we cannot discuss the shape and form of the emerging Thailand it makes it for a very volatile situation ahead.
BP: Thitinan has talked and written previously on this subject before – his excellent journal article piece in Journal of Democracy (as blogged about here and which is available from a free download) being just one example.
In essence, this is why Thailand’s political crisis won’t end quickly. This ongoing “battle” for the future of Thailand is being fought by the red shirts, yellow shirts, the main political parties, and by many other actors behind the scenes. A constitutional amendment, a dissolution, jailing of a person or group won’t end the crisis.
h/t New Mandala