Ungpakorn argues in his new book, "A Coup for the Rich," that the king shouldn't be beyond reproach. The book's been banned from stores in Thailand. GU says the lionization of the Thai monarchy is reaching manic proportions. Case in point: everyone wearing yellow once a week. On Monday everyone wears the king's color and they're asked to do this or even ordered by their employers. The king's sister recently died and everyone was ordered to wear black for 100 days. (Did you?) No, I didn't. even at my own father's funeral I didn't wear black and that's a personal choice. I hope that people in the US will understand this, the US was found on the principals of freedom and not being told what to do by monarchies. The situation in Thailand is almost like setting back to the era of absolute monarchy but I suspect it isn't quite like that because the people enforcing this are not in the palace but are people who are surrounding the palace. (so the military is enforcing the law and the military keeps people in line?) That's right. But it's more than that because even the elected government and opposition politicians want to use the monarchy as a way of stopping any criticism of them. (Do people disappear for having criticized the monarchy?) Fortunately that hasn't really happened in Thailand, but people are afraid to criticize because they're afraid they'll go to prison. We need to get rid of that fear and talk about things openly. (Could you say these things to your colleagues at the university, say in the cafeteria?) Yes they wouldn't be surprised, I say it to my students. Of course if I say it in the media, they wouldn't broadcast it. (Do you put yourself in trouble by saying it?) I put myself in trouble by, we can never expand the democratic state in any society unless we take risks. These risks are nothing compared to others', the risks when Thai activists take when they face the military. I feel I need to play my part.
Be a superhero and help keep The World spinning! Our coverage wouldn’t be possible without the incredible individuals working behind the scenes. Learn more about our superhero staff at The World. Donate today to support the work of these superheroes and help keep our coverage free and open to all.