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Entering the realm of unknown consequences: Either it adapts, or ceases to exist. Expires

November 11, 2011

Earlier today we saw dozens of people marching their Fearlessness Walk from Victory Monument to Ratchaprasong. The longer I observe Thai politics from afar, the simpler it all seems to me. Being a commentator of especially weird and incongruous variety,  I am not growing more exasperated in any way. Nonetheless, I rather painfully realize that with every passing day I come closer and closer to committing some kind of lese majeste offence myself. And yet, the longer I stay in London, the more it evolves into something clearly defined and embarrassingly explicit.  Stating here and elsewhere that lese majeste laws are, along with its shadowy Royal Thai Army, the biggest hindrance to Thailand’s progress among really well mannered, cultured and truly civilized countries, has become a matter of perhaps surprising urgency for me.

Thailand is entering a critical stage, and it will all get worse before it gets better. Thais have clearly been fighting a very odd civil war with themselves. For many of them the possibility of amending or abolishing its strict lese majeste laws remains sacrilegious, un-Thai, alien and thoroughly wrong.

It is perhaps foolish, and some would even say self serving and culturally supremacist to say there are lese majeste laws much more realistic, humane and fair in any of European monarchies than in the Kingdom of Thailand. Although I am aware of differences between more or less stable monarchies of The Old World and their volatile Siamese strain, the situation’s clearly unsustainable. Not being able to discuss the virtues of the Bhumibol Adulyadej‘s children in press, among other important issues (non-payment of taxes etc) is not healthy at all. And that is before even mentioning anything Andrew MacGregor Marshall has had to say so far.
The Monarchy in itself is not detrimental to Thailand’s future development, but it has to change. As I mentioned earlier and elsewhere: …the monarchy can’t exist on its own. Either it adapts, or ceases to exist. Expires.

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