A couple of days ago we mentioned “motivational speaker” Orapim Raksapol, hired by the junta earlier in the year to speak for the monarchy in the northeast.
Essentially she declared northeasterners less “loyal” to the monarchy than the junta’s anti-democrat constituency based mainly in Bangkok’s condos, townhouses and shophouses. She reckoned the northeasterners lacked sufficient “gratitude” to the monarchy’s supposedly good works in the region.
We also noted that the anti-democrats trust the northeasterners and many have racist responses when confronted by people from the region and their politics.
Khaosod has more details. But while its story concentrates on the use and power of social media, we thought there were a few other things to highlight.
One is Orapim’s “loyalty” that involves a remarkably hopeless knowledge of the monarchy that she claims to “love.”
She “implored” northeasterners “to remember the works … the King Bhumibol had done for their region.” She stated: “Isaan people, the King visits you so often, he helps you so much. The king loves you…. But isn’t it strange, that you forget the King? It is strange.”
What’s strange is that Orapim thinks the king, essentially bedridden since 2006, thinks the king has been visiting the northeast. While we don’t keep a diary of these things, it must be a couple of decades since the king went to the region. We can’t think of the last time the palace in the northeast was used by the king or queen. If she means an earlier era, then she’s talking about the period of counterinsurgency, which was hardly filled with love.
She continued, expressing a bunch of yellow shirt stereotypes and ultra-royalist fairy tales:
There was no water – he gave it. There was no forest – he grew it. Millions of trees…. Pardon me. Isaan people had no jobs, the land was arid. It was all due to the King. He gave you water. He gave you forests. He gave you jobs.
We don’t quite know what to say. This is simply buffalo manure. Yet we imagine that this is what yellow shirts have chosen to believe. It is a story that warms their hearts and allows them to write off the darker skinned northeasterners as ignorant, gauche and ungrateful for the ruling class’s charity.
The second point to note is the deeply-felt conviction among ultra-royalists and yellow shirts, along with those in Bangkok’s condos, townhouses and shophouses, that northeasterners are hopelessly radical and republican.
Yellow shirts have defended Orapim, agreeing with her claims. They say that “anti-monarchists are the ones who are creating conflict.” Yellow shirt activist Therdsak Jiamkijwattana supported Orapim as simply speaking the truth: “These people are connected to a movement to overthrow the monarchy…. The people who violate lese majeste law, they are all Redshirts!”
The civil war continues to simmer and the ultra-royalists keep the monarchy at its dangerous center.