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More Websites Offending Thai Monarchy Blocked 220

Posted by timothy
from the really-could-skip-the-whole-prison-thing-altogether dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Thailand is ramping up their media wide censorship of anything that remotely offends Thai royalty. In the last three weeks, another 2,300 websites have been blocked. Another ~4,000 are soon expected. And not just websites, but books as well as the Economist have been blocked. And anyone caught publishing such material, including foreigners, will get 3 to 15 years in a Thai prison. You don't want to be in a Thai prison!"
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More Websites Offending Thai Monarchy Blocked

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  • Awesome! (Score:5, Funny)

    by zappepcs (820751) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:04AM (#26662701) Journal

    Finally, we'll get the answer to that burning question: how many pages are there on the Internet?

    The King of Thailand will be honored for finding out before anyone else.

  • by XanC (644172) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:04AM (#26662703)

    Joey, have you ever been to a Turkish prison?

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:07AM (#26662713) Homepage
    CNN has censored itself on reporting on Thailand so as to not offend the government: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/01/19/thai.jail/index.html [cnn.com] . This is the real problem with censorship in the internet age: It is very easy to say that the internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it. But in practice in many cases the ease of access leads to more censorship rather than less. This means that it is all the more important that we resist censorship in all its forms.
    • by DeadPixels (1391907) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:14AM (#26662737)
      What I wonder is why no one seems too concerned with the fact that the media is self-censoring. If CNN had refused to report on Iraq or any other such nation, they would be harshly criticized. It seems that the fact that there isn't a negative public opinion of Thailand has led to this being an overlooked occurrence - but a potentially very dangerous one.
    • by spasm (79260) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:29AM (#26662793) Homepage

      CNN != the internet.

      This is one of the main reasons I find `traditional' news media less and less relevant: a) they won't cover something discovered by another news agency unless that discovery creates additional news (eg an expose produces a resignation), which limits the propagation of often genuinely interesting news; and b) they self-censor in order to retain `access'. Neither of these are true about news via pure internet: a) internet news is all about repeating stuff someone else found first; and b) discussing the fact that the King of Thailand is raping ladyboys on a regular basis (or whatever) gives you your 15 minutes of fame on the intertubes, and since you never had `access' in the first place, this is gold gold gold.

      Re (b), I expect that as politicians increasingly treat bloggers and other pure internet news sources as regular journalists, we'll being to see more self-censorship on the web. Alas.

      • by Spasemunki (63473) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:00AM (#26662941) Homepage

        a) internet news is all about repeating stuff someone else found first;

        This is exactly why the internet journalism is still a long way away from being able to fill the role of the traditional media. Real journalism has nothing to do with link farming or writing editorials about issues that have already been reported. Very little breaking of actual news- the work of establishing what the facts on the ground are when an event is underway, or following leads over a long period to discover a story- is done by internet media. What do you repeat when there's no one to repeat?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BarlowBrad (940854)
          But there still has to be someone that finds it first and reports it. This cannot come from traditional media sites if they self-censor, but instead must come from true internet journalists.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Atario (673917)

          I hate to break it to you, but the traditional media is also filled to the brim with repetitions of news written by others.

        • by houghi (78078)

          Have you ever looked how the traditional media get their news? They buy it. They just tell you what was fed to them through whatever source they get it from. If you read some newspapers online, you see that many messages are almost identical from one mewsitem to the other. With larger news items they will rewrite more. It becomes obvious with the smaller items. Almost identical word by word.

          And not only in one country, this can be noticed cross border and cross language.

          Sure, "real" journalism would not do

    • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:38AM (#26662857) Journal

      But with the internet we can route around CNN.

    • by Bieeanda (961632)
      I think there's a qualitative difference between 'we don't want to offend the government' and 'we don't want to risk our correspondents being tossed in a Thai prison'. The former might make it hard to get through customs, or not get ticketed on a variety of technicalities. The latter might make it hard to do much of anything. The article you've linked makes it clear that someone in the Thai government has a long memory and a vindictive streak.
      • by LingNoi (1066278)

        Not really it's all the douchebags around the government. The main one being the minster of IT who is the one banning the websites.

        He's an old robotics engineer, that some how makes him qualified to be minister of IT..

        I'd also like to point out that Jonathan Head, the bbc correspondent is a self proclaimed enemy of the monarchy and has got himself into hot water before. That wouldn't particularly matter that much however he's a very corrupt man and his news reports leave out facts which make them extremely

    • by jandersen (462034)

      Let it be said first that I don't agree with censorship - people in the public spotlight should develop thicker skin, IMO. But it is not all that important what I, or any of us think - the people of Thailand are very fond of their king and almost fully support the strictness of this legislation. And to be quite honest, I can't see that anybody loses much by not insulting the king Thailand; no-one says this means that you have to not express important political or religious viewpoints. Even if one might have

      • by Spasemunki (63473)

        The real problem is not that people can't write 'screw the king' on their cars. It's that the lese majesty laws inhibit open discussion of the role of the monarchy in Thai politics (hint: the government would prefer you to think there isn't one), and shields groups that are close to the monarchy from criticism. The law doesn't just say that you can't insult the king; it says that you can't criticize not only the king, but anyone in the royal family. A Western author was arrested for repeating what is a c

        • by LingNoi (1066278)

          The last thing Thailand needs is more discussion on politics.

          What Thailand needs is to shut up while a government actually gets to run it's full term without a coup happening every year.

          We've been through, what.. 3 Prime ministers in less then 2 years.

  • by syousef (465911) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:13AM (#26662735) Journal

    If a country wants to enact oppressive laws that censor citizens and foreigners alike that's their perogative. Just another reason to boycott travel to such a country. It's not the only country I'd choose to forgo unless I had to travel.

    Meanwhile their Royal Family becomes less and less atuned to the sentiment of their populace. In other places and at other times similar action has usually led to poor leadership, the Royal Family becoming less relevant, and eventually the deposition of that family, often in a bloody revolution. It's the Royal Family that should be asking for this crackdown to end, if they know their history.

    I've been very careful but does the above paragraph mean it's no longer safe for me to travel to Thailand?

    • by zappepcs (820751) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:21AM (#26662755) Journal

      Only if you signed your passport with syousef as your name.

      Good thing you didn't check the box, I'm absolutely certain that Anonymous Coward is banned from traveling to many if not all countries by now.

    • by FishWithAHammer (957772) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:28AM (#26662787)

      From what I remember, the Thai monarchy takes a dim view of the whole "oppress people for offending the monarchy" idea. I seem to remember reading something about their king taking it all in good stride, but the monarchy is a figurehead and the military likes using "offending the monarchy" as a good way to crack down.

      • by The MAZZTer (911996) <.megazzt. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:57AM (#26662919) Homepage

        I seem to remember reading something about their king taking it all in good stride

        You read that on CNN, didn't you?

      • by Paradise Pete (33184) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:57AM (#26662923) Journal

        the monarchy is a figurehead and the military likes using "offending the monarchy" as a good way to crack down.

        The king is actually very well liked, and the people take it quite seriously when someone offends him. For instance, I was playing golf there and on the 18th green I had a putt to win a bet. My opponent took out the amount of the bet and placed it just behind the hole. Well, the money has the king's picture on it, and the caddies were horrified that his image had been placed on the ground.

      • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:36AM (#26663107) Journal

        From what I remember, the Thai king often pardoned people for that. If so, good move -- harder to say bad things about someone who just saved you from 15 years in a Thai prison.

        Also, I seem to remember hearing how much the Thai love their king.

        If these are true, I wouldn't say they're less attuned to the "sentiment of their populace", but to the rest of the world, and to the realities of an information age.

        That "rising tide" of anti-monarchy sentiment would be, at least at first, no more and no less sentiment than was already there.

      • by Asic Eng (193332)
        The king apparently plays a very important role in Thai politics, unfortunately. My impression is, it's not so much the military using him as a figurehead, but him pulling the strings without officially admitting to being involved. He seems to use the military regularly to overthrow the government whenever he doesn't like the guys who were elected.

        Him pardoning people who "offend the monarchy" very much fits into that pattern. He doesn't actually do anything to get the law of the books, just pretends it's

    • by mjwx (966435) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:34AM (#26662829)
      Or the Thai monarch, its a problem with the Thai elected government. Well minus the elected part, they took power in what pretty much amounted to a coup.

      The current government is in a precarious position and are attempting to use the Thai peoples reverence of the king to increase their own popularity. The current government will not be re-elected if general elections are called as they are favoured by the Thai upper and middle classes and disliked by the lower classes which make up the majority of the Thai people.

      Despite outward appearances to us Farang tourists (Farang: Thai-white skinned foreigner) Thai people are quiet conservative but their religion (Bhuddism) teaches them to be open and accepting of others even when they do something rude.

      Meanwhile their Royal Family becomes less and less atuned to the sentiment of their populace.

      As I said before, its not the Thai monarch, they have no real power, the king is king in name only (a rich land owner that holds no real political power much like the queen of England). It's Thailand unstable democracy that keeps producing these laws, not its monarch, they chose to pick emotional subject like the king to rally around to gain popularity. The king is very popular amongst Thai's, he was responsible for implementing education amongst even the poorest Thais and is respected for this. The Thai royal family holds as much political power these days as the house of Windsor (England's royal family).

      It's pretty hard to be convicted of Leste Majesty in Thailand and that law is only ever used for political gain. The Thai king himself has tried to get the law struck down on several occasions but he is a constitutional monarch and failed. The King has pardoned almost everyone charged with leste majesty in recent years (since Thailand returned to democratic elections in the 80's).

      I've been very careful but does the above paragraph mean it's no longer safe for me to travel to Thailand?

      Do my posts critical of the Bush administration make it dangerous for me to travel to the US? Thailand is a great holiday destination and is not dangerous to go to so long as you have half a brain. Insulting the king is like insulting the founding fathers, everyone knows whilst you're in the US you just don't do it. The most dangerous things in Thailand are the wild life, corrupt cops and falling in love with a Thai girl and for the first two, you can just avoid them.

      • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:57AM (#26662921)

        Insulting the king is like insulting the founding fathers, everyone knows whilst you're in the US you just don't do it.

        Hate to say this, but noone here really cares if you insult America's Founding Fathers. It's not like we don't do it ourselves a fair amount.

        Hell, we insult sitting Presidents, so why shouldn't we insult dead ones?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mjwx (966435)

          Hate to say this, but no-one here really cares if you insult America's Founding Fathers

          Something tells me that if I marched into LAX with my Australian passport and shouted "George Washington was a Fag" someone would object. Not that I'd do that, I have common sense enough to be polite to the nation of which I am a guest. I have the good decency to only slag off other nations when I'm at home.

          • by rob1980 (941751)
            Something tells me that if I marched into LAX with my Australian passport and shouted "George Washington was a Fag" someone would object.

            Somebody would certainly object, but they wouldn't be able to do much more than call you an idiot for making that kind of declaration. Saying you have a bomb strapped to your chest on the other hand, now that'll get you a real objection..
            • by mjwx (966435)
              It was originally just an example of how to be an arsehole, as I said, I'd never actually do it.

              With Thailand, unless you did it in front of a cop, making a disparaging remark about the king wouldn't even get a reaction (getting angry is a major loss of face in Thai/Buddhist society). A local cop would just throw you into the local lock-up for a few hours and then until you coughed up a few thousand baht (B1000 is roughly AU$45).
          • by Spasemunki (63473) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:28AM (#26663065) Homepage

            Yelling 'free hugs' in an airport would probably get you in trouble. On the other hand you can- and in fact someone has- publish a book suggesting that Lincoln was secretly gay without getting in any meaningful trouble. Do the same thing in Thailand with a member of the royal family, and you're in a lot of trouble.

            More importantly, despite the official legal story about the Thai king being 'powerless' according to the law, there have been suggestions that the monarchy exerts a great deal of influence over Thai politics through indirect channels. At least one author has suggested that this interference is one reason why democratic governments tend to be so fragile in Thailand, and why there have been so many coups and revisions to the constitution. This kind of discussion about the interests and actors who influence government affairs is vitally necessary to the functioning of a democracy, but the lese majesty laws guarantee that this won't happen in an open and honest way in Thailand.

            Interestingly, everyone always talks about how the king is 'universally beloved'. The Economist was almost certainly banned for an article published recently where they pointed out that the recent government crisis has started to put some dents in this image. They interviewed rural Thais (anonymously, of course) who felt betrayed that the monarchy was quietly supporting a political movement that seems intent on disenfranchising rural and ethnic minority Thais. The monarchy has been able to preserve its prestige by depicting itself as the protector of all Thais- as rescuing the country when things go badly out of kilter. During the most recent crisis, their support for a vocal minority over a very popular elected government who has catered to people outside of the Bangkok elite has damaged that perception.

            • by mjwx (966435) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:43AM (#26663131)
              In the recent troubles, the royal consort (Queen) was seen at the funeral of a PAD (Peoples Alliance for Democracy, the anti-elected government faction). The Rural Thais would not act against the king. The Economist was attempting to draw conclusions without a sufficient understanding of the people (Thai culture is far more complex then western culture). The king was attempting not to take sides this was exacerbated by his health issues.

              The king has a great deal of influence with the people but he cant dictate policy directly or indirectly and stays out of politics for the most part. The King is the only part of political stability the nation has and I'd hate to think what will happen when he dies. Thailand has had as many coups as the US has had democratic elections since 1932 (when the monarch gave up absolute power) 20 to be exact, make no mistake, this act was in no way ordered by the king as unlike the semi-elected government has no need to silence critics.

              The king has pardoned almost anyone convicted of Leste Majesty in recent years, Thai and Farang alike. With how tolerant the Thai people are you have to deliberately insult the king to get them to act on it. Being rude is easy, for example pointing at a picture of the king with your forefinger is rude (you are meant to use your palm) but if you do it the vast majority of Thais will say nothing.

              It's bash censorship week on slashdot, same as every week but Thailand is not the worst censor and censorship is not the act we should chastise Thailand about, their treatment of Burmese refugee's is appalling, but this is done by the military, a political force in their own right (19 coups and not all of them bloodless).
              • by Spasemunki (63473) on Friday January 30, 2009 @02:15AM (#26663267) Homepage

                In the recent troubles, the royal consort (Queen) was seen at the funeral of a PAD (Peoples Alliance for Democracy, the anti-elected government faction). The Rural Thais would not act against the king. The Economist was attempting to draw conclusions without a sufficient understanding of the people (Thai culture is far more complex then western culture). The king was attempting not to take sides this was exacerbated by his health issues.

                The notion that Tha culture is 'more complex' and therefore somehow incomprehensible to Westerners is just an old orientalist canard. Rural Thais might not act against the king directly, but if they continue to feel that their interests are being denigrated in favor of the interests of the Bangkok elite, it will have significant consequences for future governments, and for whoever takes the throne after the current king.


                The king has a great deal of influence with the people but he cant dictate policy directly or indirectly and stays out of politics for the most part. The King is the only part of political stability the nation has and I'd hate to think what will happen when he dies.

                The idea that the king 'stays out of politics' is a common aphorism, but it's hard to say how true it really is. It's very hard for writers in Thailand to say anything about the role of the king in politics. The Economist and other Western journalists have written about how the king has likely taken an active hand in several of the coups- essentially overturning the democratic system when it's felt by members of the aristocracy that a democratic movement has gotten out of hand and needs to be reigned in. Publishing these kind of works basically guarantees that they will lose the ability to report from inside Thailand.

                It's true that respect for the king has been a stabilizing factor in many cases, but the thesis put forward by some of the critics is that overall his interventions in politics have prevented the development of a more robust and stable democracy in Thailand- rather than coping with short-term crises through democratic means, royal and military intervention have been used. It means that after the king passes away, Thailand will be in much worse shape than it would be if they had been force to deal with these sorts of issues directly. Of course, these sorts of counter-factuals are easy for historians to make, but hard to prove.

                With how tolerant the Thai people are you have to deliberately insult the king to get them to act on it.

                To me, the insults or criticism is less significant than the fact that it's not possible to write honestly about politics in Thailand. Looking critically at the role the monarchy plays is simply not possible from inside Thailand, or in the Thai press. This also prevents criticism of other political groups that have ties to the monarchy. It's certainly true that the king isn't responsible for the lese majesty laws, and that he has pardoned those who have run afoul of them; on the other hand, there was talk at one point that Thaksin would be charged with lese majesty (before the coup and the trial in absentia). I have little faith that he would have been pardoned if it had happened.

                • I'm fresh out of mod points, but as a frequent extended visitor working in Thailand I'd just like to say that this is easily the most informative and insightful post on the page.
              • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday January 30, 2009 @02:48AM (#26663439) Journal

                censorship is not the act we should chastise Thailand about

                Why not? It's bad in China, it's bad in the US, it's bad in Europe, and it's bad in Thailand.

          • by MBGMorden (803437)

            As others have mentioned, yelling it in an airport would invoke alarm, but if you stood on some random street corner holding a sign or whatnot, then people would only care if you got in their way on on their nerves. I know of no one who really gives a damn about George Washington one way or another.

          • Something tells me that if I marched into LAX with my Australian passport and shouted "George Washington was a Fag" someone would object.

            You might get convicted of hatethink for using the F-bomb, but no one would really care that it was directed at Washington.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          Hell, we insult sitting Presidents, so why shouldn't we insult dead ones?

          Because it's just not nearly as much fun. Try it yourself and see -- "Grover Cleveland was a fucking pussy." "Andrew Jackson was a racist prick."

          Hey, I think I was wrong; this actually does have its appeal. Millard Fillmore was so fat....

        • by Dunbal (464142)

          Hell, we insult sitting Presidents,

                Nah, it's no fun now that Bush is gone...

      • Insulting the king is like insulting the founding fathers, everyone knows whilst you're in the US you just don't do it.

        People pick on the Founding Father's all the time, most notably Jefferson's jungle fever with his slave women.

      • As I said before, its not the Thai monarch, they have no real power, the king is king in name only (a rich land owner that holds no real political power much like the queen of England). It's Thailand unstable democracy that keeps producing these laws, not its monarch...

        Many reputable sources, including 'The Economist', (which is probably why it's been banned too), would beg to differ. See:
        http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displayStory.cfm?story_id=12724800&source=hptextfeature [economist.com]

        An extract: 'Many Thais will squirm at what follows, and will prefer the fairy-tale version of the king's story. But the king's past actions are root causes of a conflict dividing the country, and need to be examined.'

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I've been very careful but does the above paragraph mean it's no longer safe for me to travel to Thailand?

      No, it means it was never safe to go to Thailand.

      My lady and I need to have a grip of mercury-based fillings removed, and I need to have two impacted wisdom teeth extracted (ow.) We were considering getting this done in Thailand. Now, we're getting it done in Mexico (Nogales.) I don't get to vacation in Thailand, but I do get to skip a 22 hour flight in an asian airplane seat.

      To be fair, we're also considering moving out of the USA...

  • by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao@nosPAm.hotmail.com> on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:17AM (#26662743) Homepage
    King Bhumibol, I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a binturong and your father smelt of durians!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Get a grip, stormwatch - this is *not* being driven by the Thai monarchy, but by the political forces currently struggling for control of a fragile democracy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Get a grip, AC. It is not remarks about political forces that get censored, but remarks such as that made by Stormwatch about the Thai monarchy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mjwx (966435)

        this is *not* being driven by the Thai monarchy, but by the political forces currently struggling for control of a fragile democracy.

        This is 100% correct, but the GP was just making a joke by using a /. meme. Given the wording he probably knows that as well as you do, if not more.

      • by julian67 (1022593) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:47AM (#26662887)
        The Thai king is very old and very fragile. Succession is imminent. In Thailand you probably won't hear a bad word about the king but you seldom hear a good word about the crown prince. The current king has taken the royal family from penniless pawns of the military elite (ethnic Thais) and business elite (Chinese/Thai)to being phenomenally wealthy and arch manipulators of everybody and everything; politics, politicians, the army, the courts, markets, property deals and so on. He is also one of the few uniting factors in a nation horribly divided by religion, ethnicity, class and money, rural vs urban. When he dies there's a very good chance that Thailand will descend into a bloody mess. The recent more robust (than usual) prosecution of lese majeste cases probably has many causes but surely one is the stark realisation by the current self appointed government that when the monarchy ceases to be universally respected it must at least be prohibitively risky to criticise it. If the majority of Thais, who are very poor and have seen the only politician who ever gave them anything deposed and then the next government they elected dissolved in a de facto coup, one day cease to be blinded by their adoration of King Bhumibol, if they finally see how the royal family and the urban rich are ceaselessly getting richer while the poor stay poor and are also disenfranchised....maybe they won't be too happy...and there are plenty of them. Thaksin might even be able to exploit the situation by being the only person capable of quelling a serious threat akin to the communist insurgency of the 70s. The current rulers of Thailand would go to almost any lengths to keep Thaksin out and he and his supporters will be very interested in opportunities to foment a volatile and frightening climate. It would be extremely ironic if the next king found himself asking such a bitter enemy to save his skin. Thailand is a very fucked up country and I would hate to be there when the king dies. There will be a few weeks of mourning and then anarchy.
    • by BlueStrat (756137)

      3-15 years in a Thai prison for insulting the Thai royal family?

      So, would this be the first time in Slashdot history that posting a goatse link would *not* be modded "Troll" if it was labeled "King Bhumibol"?

      Just sayin'...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by volcanopele (537152)
      Good job! You just got Slashdot banned in Thailand. I hope you are proud of yourself. To Thai Authorities: Stormwatch is over there! Get him! Seriously, I agree. These regulations are ridiculous.
    • Mmmm durians.
    • by cparker15 (779546)

      King Bhumibol can bite my shiny metal ass.

  • They don't like their pictures defaced? Let's sub their pictures and show them what defacement is!

  • I dunno know abut that. Get enough rambunctious independent thinking foreigners in there and it might just be the place to be.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      I dunno know abut that. Get enough rambunctious independent thinking foreigners in there and it might just be the place to be.

      I know you're trying to be funny but the actual fact is you'll be in there with the drug dealers, murderers, pimps and child molesters. There's no such thing as a "white collar" or minimum security prison in Thailand, the petty thief goes into the same monkey house as the hardened gang member.

  • Armchair pundits (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dnwq (910646) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:35AM (#26662839)
    Cue the million and one Slashdot analysts who believe they, yes, they! alone understand Thai domestic politics, and hence they know that this is a simple instance of unreasoning tyrannical government censorship rather than, say, a careful political gambit being played by pro-monarchy upper-class forces amidst a political battle that has lasted the past two years.

    Yeesh. This isn't some minor county library board going thinkofthechildren!!1! yet again. The point isn't to actually control speech - this is a power play.
  • Is Thai Prison as bad as Philippina prison? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMnk7lh9M3o [youtube.com]
  • You don't want to be in a Thai prison!

    Have you ever seen a grown man naked?

  • They love me up here at work......

  • by WittyName (615844) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:32AM (#26663079)

    read it here: http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displayStory.cfm?story_id=12724800&source=hptextfeature [economist.com]

    Quote:
    Bhumibol's tale, even if stripped of the mythology his courtiers have spent decades constructing around him, is exceptional. The American-born son of a half-Chinese commoner accidentally inherits a throne close to extinction and revives it, creating one of the world's most powerful and wealthy monarchies, and surely the only one of any significance to have gained in political power in modern times. The king's charisma, intelligence, talents (from playing the saxophone to rain-making, a science in which he holds a European patent) and deep concern for his people's welfare make him adored at home and admired around the world. His image perhaps reaches its zenith in 1992, after the army shoots dozens of pro-democracy protesters in Bangkok, when television shows both the army leader (and prime minister) Suchinda Kraprayoon and the protest leader, Chamlong Srimuang (now a PAD stalwart), kneeling in an audience with him. Shortly afterwards General Suchinda resigns, and the king is given credit for the restoration of democracy.

    I can see how this might piss of the Powers That Be..

    • by julian67 (1022593) on Friday January 30, 2009 @02:09AM (#26663239)
      They forgot to mention the part about him and/or his mother the queen shooting his older brother dead and thus guaranteeing the succession of a hard nosed and ambitious leader instead of a sickly youth. Thais just love that story, start telling it as soon as you're through immigration, or maybe even right there at the desk while the happy cop checks your passport.
  • Sigh. These guys obviously have never heard of the Streisand effect..

    What's happening now is that anyone who wants to annoy the Royals sets up a site outside Thailand and puts crap on it. It's turned into a (very questionable) sport, leaving the Thais to commit a Denial of Service on themselves.

    If they had simply ignored this rubbish as being well below them (as most other Royal houses do) the "fun" would have gone off it in a week. Actually, I don't think you can even assume a Royal will sit there telli

  • by jsse (254124) on Friday January 30, 2009 @02:03AM (#26663203) Homepage Journal
    It'd not be too bad, consider some of them put males and females in one single large cell!

    They flip side is that you'd possibly be treated as female nevertheless.
  • I wonder if that would include an unflattering review of something by composer and SF author S. P. Somtow? [wikipedia.org] It's not mentioned in his Wikipedia article, but I've met him a few times, and he's related to their king.
  • by TheMCP (121589) on Friday January 30, 2009 @02:28AM (#26663339) Homepage

    "Thailand is ramping up their media wide censorship of anything that remotely offends Thai royalty."

    Uh, no. Thailand is ramping up their media wide censorship of anything that remotely offends the kind of obnoxious people who think censorship is a great idea, are looking for something to get offended about, and don't mind using the king's good name as an excuse.

    There's a difference.

    The actual king says that people should be permitted to criticize him, and I believe he has not expressed that he's in any way offended by any of the stuff people are being jailed for.

  • See, not every country became democratic and fully 'modern' in one swoop like the USA did (well.. not that the USA actually lived up to its ideals initally, but I disgress). Other countries like Sweden and England evolved that way through gradual reform.

    In the early 19th century, Sweden had become a democracy, albeit with a monarch. There was freedom of the press insofar that anyone could start a newspaper. But one of the rights the king had retained was the ability to revoke their right to publish. Well, i

  • since thai tourism will be getting a nose dive, others can benefit. serves them right for being jackasses about freedom of speech.

  • Yul Brunner was not available for comment

  • Lately I heard lots of things about not wanting to be in an American prision. Thai might be even worse, but do you really know for sure?

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