Monday, August 22, 2011

The King

No, this is not a post about Elvis Presley...

I had a short trip to Bangkok with my parents in August.

One night, I was walking by King Rama I Road. I wanted to cross the road to get to Siam Discovery Center. But as I was approaching the pedestrian overpass, I was stopped by a police. I knew what was going to happen, as I had similar experience before…

As I had expected, a limousine carrying royal family members sped by shortly. You got the idea: we lowly people can’t be above the monarch in any way.

But I wonder why Buddhist monks do not enjoy the same level of privilege…

If you have been to Thailand, I am sure you notice that portraits of the royal family are ubiquitous in the Land of Smile. You see them at road junctions, on the wall of buildings, and in calenders. The state propaganda machine constantly reminds the people how King Bhumibol has sacrificed for his subjects, therefore all Thais must love his majesty.

The ‘Yellow Shirts’ certainly love the royal family. They ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whom they believed had shown disrespect to the King. (Thaksin denied this accusation.)

Well, I can’t write too much here. You know, I am wary of Thailand’s notorious lèse majesté law…


  1. well, i am not surprised because the monarch always have special privilege.. unless you are in a communist country~~ :p

  2. My worst experience in Thailand was at the National Palace. I mean, lovely place, but the guards treated tourists like shit, they even called some girls bad name (w..., s...) because they were wearing sleaveless tops and thus lacking some respect to the king.

    I'm all for respecting local customs but give me a break. In China and in Singapore, I visited hundreds of temples and as long as you cover your shoulders, you are fine. These guards were just plain rude.

  3. Even the BTS sky train will stop when the Royal motorcade is passing below. I lost count on the number of times I had to kneel and crawl in front of my Thai grandfather who is not even a royalty. It is their customs to adhere.

  4. Same scenario in Malaysia... Do you get the whistler by the police and ask you to go to the side or stop immediately... followed by the loud notice from the back... what happened ? The car behind hit you.

    Anyway, Thailand only have one royal family but how many Malaysia has?

  5. Because Buddhist monks are not considered Holy enough. :p

  6. tekkaus
    In Thailand, even the King must bow to monks.

  7. Do small planes or helicopter got to stop or divert when the Royal motorcade pass by below?

  8. I think it's worse in Malaysia. We have to make way not just for the royal families, but also ministers and PM. The police also so rude knocking on your car telling you to make way or else...

  9. even the southern muslims love their king. once this video about the king was being played in our university in conjunction with the thai cultural week, the thai muslim students went teary...

  10. The ‘Yellow Shirts’ certainly love the royal family. They ousted former Prime Minister compre da china Thaksin Shinawatra, whom they believed had shown disrespect to the King