“I’m losing faith in the monarchy”

The Thai state has attempted to silence a critic of the monarchy through a new approach  – pronouncing them insane.

Tiwagorn Vithiton, a Thai man from Khon Kaen, a city 450 kilometres north-northeast of Bangkok, wore a T-Shirt with the message, “I’m losing faith in the monarchy”, and shared images on social media.

Already alarmed by the new surge of anti-monarchist sentiment, the Thai state was quick to respond in declaring him insane. And naturally, as a danger to society he was locked in a mental asylum.

Not surprisingly, this medieval bahaviour – psychiatric care in a specialist institution  – did little to reassure the the Thais that the authorities were acting in their best interests. Instead it further eroded the public’s respect for the king, Vajiralongkorn, who this day spends most of his time living in Germany.

The challenge for the royalist establishment now is to work out if their past strategies have strengthened the throne – or more likely presented new challenges to its entrenched traditions in these fast-changing times.

Read full article from Pavin Chachavalpongpun on NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW

Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect FORSEA’s editorial stance.

Posted by Pavin Chachavalpongpun

Pavin Chachavalpongpun is associate professor at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University. Since the coup of 2014 in Thailand, Pavin was summoned twice for his criticial views of the monarchy and the military. He rejected the summons. As a result, the Thai junta issued a warrant for his arrest and revoked his passport, forcing him to apply for a refugee with Japan.