Crop-tops, mistresses and flying poodles: Meet the next King of Thailand Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkor will take the throne following the death … Every day at Vox, we aim to answer your most important questions and provide you, and our audience around the world, with information that empowers you through understanding. If there were people hoping somehow that, being a Western-educated, cosmopolitan person living mostly in the West, he would encourage a move back in the direction of liberal values and practices, they have by now been disappointed. Thaksin put into place several programs, like low-cost universal health care, aimed at alleviating rural poverty and appealing to his base. Create a commenting name to join the debate, There are no Independent Premium comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts, There are no comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts. The king’s crop tops. By Matthew Atteberry, Rush Hour Daily. Thailand's royal family, compared to the constantly spotlighted British monarchy, is extremely secretive. As different as day and night, New York Post has reported that the new King of Thailand was questioned for his strange behaviours and was pictured wearing a white crop top exposing his midriff and other parts of his upper body. Yet none of them are functioning as democracies. “I thought that Vajiralongkorn would be so lacking in moral authority that he wouldn’t get the support of the various sectors of society that he needs. Russian President Vladimir Putin appreciates spy agency after US hack controversy There is no such regent anymore in Thailand. This has included closing areas that were once open to the public, including the Bangkok Zoo and one of Bangkok’s two horse-racing tracks. Neither can be as strong as it is without the other.”, “He’s not the kind of person to voluntarily relinquish any of his power,” Pavin said. She was also pictured in the cockpit of a fighter jet and wearing a gray camouflage pattern crop-top at the controls of a light aircraft. Two years later, huge Yellow Shirt demonstrations took place. That’s the way they make people give up.”. Crop tops, tattoos and marrying his bodyguard - new Thai king's coronation sets the seal on years of eccentricity And whether he really did that or not, he cultivated an image of Buddhist kindness and compassion, sponsoring programs in the countryside, going to villages and meeting with ordinary people. Some of Thailand’s highest profile protest leaders dressed in crop tops and paraded at a Bangkok shopping mall on Sunday in a jibe against King Maha Vajiralongkorn to … Want an ad-free experience?Subscribe to Independent Premium. Two died while in custody while another reportedly fled to Myanmar. But in 2017, Thai authorities demanded that Facebook remove embarrassing footage of the king in a shopping centre, wearing a crop top and sporting fake tattoos. Are you sure you want to delete this comment? Vajiralongkorn is clearly a product of Thai culture, but his evident authoritarianism also seems to fit a larger regional and even global pattern, the disillusionment with traditional liberal elites and the turn to strongman rule. With the Southeast Asian … Jorge Silva/Reuters. In 2014, a senior policeman accused of insulting the monarchy mysteriously fell from a hospital window. She holds the rank of general in the Thai military and is believed to be the head of the King's official bodyguard unit. It wasn’t lost on many Thais that the king himself had five children with a now-dismissed mistress while he was still married to his second wife (that mistress and four of the five children have since been disowned and are now living in the United States; the youngest child and only daughter lives in Thailand as a royal). Public criticism of the king or his family is illegal under Thailand's strict lese majeste laws, with insults to the monarchy punishable by up to 15 years in prison. In the largest of them, in 2010, the Red Shirts occupied the commercial center of Bangkok for nearly three months before they were crushed by the army, with some 80 Red Shirts killed and more than 2,000 injured. How do people feel about him becoming king? Soldiers patrol the sidewalks alongside. Video of the king was reportedly shot at a mall in Munich last year in July, and has been widely shared on the social … BANGKOK — A few years ago, a Facebook video went viral and revealed to the world why many people in Thailand were anxious over the prospect of Maha Vajiralongkorn, then the country’s crown prince, becoming king. “It can only be successful if there are no popular protests against it, and the easiest way to achieve this is to deal with strongmen in each country.”, Another Thai, a young political activist in the country’s Democratic Party who ran unsuccessfully for a seat in parliament in the elections last March, told me, “The fact that there’s a new superpower that’s less keen on human rights in other countries reduces the American influence. They wrote: “We were ordered by our father not to return home to Thailand ... We were afraid to risk even demonstrating the slightest inference of disrespect toward the Royal Family.”. He’s taken control of an estimated $43 billion in royal assets that have for decades been entrusted to a Crown Property Bureau that, at least theoretically, managed the money for the benefit of the Thai people. But things have decidedly not worked out that way. “Yes,” he replied. sions among the country’s elite as to who should succeed King Bhumibol. Still, whenever new elections were held, Thaksin’s party won them handily, and when those governments were ousted, Thaksin’s ardent supporters, known as the Red Shirts, mounted huge counter-demonstrations. Experts believe this could deepen a period of instability in Thailand that has included two coups, anti-government protests and a bloody fight for secession by Muslim separatists in the country’s southern provinces. The crop top is a reference to pictures showing the king dressed in one which have appeared in European tabloids in recent years. The man once infamous for his mistresses, crop tops, and presumably fake tattoos now looks out sternly from portraits placed all over Thailand, dressed in kingly gold-brocaded robes or a … King Maha was spotted with … “He wants everybody to see, whether it’s taking back the land that the zoo is on or assuming direct control of military regiments. The man once infamous for his mistresses, crop tops, and presumably fake tattoos now looks out sternly from portraits placed all over Thailand, dressed in kingly gold-brocaded robes or a trim white jacket with epaulets, a yellow sash, and a sword. Indeed, it’s difficult these days to think of a single country in Southeast Asia, with its 620 million people, that is becoming more democratic rather than more authoritarian. Thailand is a country where there can be lively conversations about all sorts of topics, where some new political parties have formed to vigorously contest the national elections held in March last year. The theater closed to mourn the king. Meet Thailand’s poodle-obsessed, crop-top wearing ‘playboy prince’ who will now lead the country following his revered dad’s death “They supported the Yellow Shirts,” he said, “because they were afraid of Thaksin coming back.” We were sitting in a covered yard alongside one of his ponds, where he grows plankton for sale to nearby fish and shrimp farmers. He's fond of the crop top. THAILAND could lose all access to Facebook today after footage of its heavily-tattooed king strolling around in a crop top went viral. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkor will take the throne following the death of his father – but who is he and why are some people so unhappy about it? “Some people have gone to jail,” Sirapop Kornaroot, known as Rungsila, a dissident poet recently released after five years of detention, told me. Is Thailand threatening to sue Facebook? In a country where polygamy has been banned for 100 years, the king seemed to be saying that a kind of polygamy would be a prerogative of the monarch (and nobody else). But human rights groups say that, instead, similar prosecutions are taking place under the country’s computer crime laws. Some of Thailand’s highest-profile protest leaders dressed in crop tops and paraded at a Bangkok shopping mall yesterday in a jibe against King Maha … His removal of two crack army regiments in the Bangkok area from the usual chain of command and putting them under his own authority is among them. Please consider making a contribution to Vox today, from as little as $3. Thailand is a place where journalists, civic activists, lawyers, and others are summoned to a military base for “attitude adjustment,” as the well-known euphemism would have it. Dozens Face Criminal Complaints in Thailand, Accused of Insulting the King Most are protesters who have changed the country’s political landscape in recent months . He’s also disturbingly authoritarian. Among the photos of Major-General Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, the Thai King’s consort, are images of her wearing a camouflage-printed sports bra. … Chip in as little as $3 to help keep Vox free for all. To get a sense of that, I spent a day in November in an area of fish farms and rice paddies in Chachoengsao province southwest of Bangkok to talk to members of an environmental group opposed to a planned industrial zone called the Eastern Economic Corridor. “We’re not supposed to talk about the king,” one person whispered to me in Bangkok during a visit there in November, “but the king is what everybody talks about.”. But there is a deep and wide respect for the institution of the monarchy in Thailand that will no doubt help him, as well as the military factions that support him. The reporting on this story was done in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Please continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates. He’s using fear to solidify his position and to take command.”. A furious opposition emerged, known as the Yellow Shirts — yellow being the color of the monarchy — whose claim to legitimacy was that they, with support from the military, were the defenders of the monarchy. “He is basically running the country now, though he’s not doing that like his father did through moral authority. It’s an immense rectangle, surrounded by newly renovated walls surmounted by the yellow flag of the monarchy. And so, following the election, the former army chief who led the 2014 coup, Prayuth Chan-ocha, became the country’s prime minister. “It’s all a way of making his power formal, visible,” one person whispered to me. Thailand’s king has terrible fashion sense and likes wearing fake tattoos. The King of Thailand went on a shopping trip in a crop top, someone posted it to Facebook and the King was NOT happy. And nobody can or dares to stop him.”. Updated on May 16th, 2017. Many people in Thailand are outraged by the skimpy outfits their monarch, King Vajiralongkorn, loves to wear. When Sineenat was installed for her brief reign as noble royal consort, official photographs of the ceremony showed her lying on the floor, making hand gestures of fealty, while Vajiralongkorn sat imperiously on a gilded throne above her. Previously regarded as the playboy son of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Vajiralongkorn was once spotted roaming the streets of Munich, sporting a crop top and tattoos (believed to be fake). Here’s a regal dilemma to consider: Is it right for a king with 70 million subjects and wealth in excess of 70 billion dollars to be seen frolicking around in a crop top rather than a crown? Maha Vajiralongkorn has also been photographed cycling in a crop top in Switzerland and Germany, has a reputation as a womanizer, and reportedly gave his dog a four-day funeral. “Actually, the 2014 coup was a way for the military to assure Vajiralongkorn’s succession at a time when his father was sick and Thaksin was becoming more popular than the king,” Pavin said. In Thai society, the king is a figure of inestimable importance, a Hindu-Buddhist paragon of presumed dignity, virtue, and morality — none of which Vajiralongkorn seemed to be exhibiting on his stroll through the mall. Mr Boyce allegedly recounted the event in a leaked cable, writing: “Foo Foo was present at the event, dressed in formal evening attire complete with paw mitts, and at one point during the band’s second number, he jumped up on to the head table and began lapping from the guests’ water glasses, including my own. The man once infamous for his mistresses, crop tops, and presumably fake tattoos now looks out sternly from portraits placed all over Thailand, … The second wife left the country when the relationship ended. On 16 May 2017, Thai officials warned Facebook after an online video was posted of the king wearing a crop top and with full view of his half sleeve tattoo. Bild. “Take the Belt and Road project,” he said, referring to Beijing’s plan for a network of ports, railroads, energy corridors, and shipping lanes aimed at making China the center of a vast Eurasian economic network. Prince Maha has been married three times. His body was even adorned in FAKE tattoos. Bangkok: Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, 64, who is set to be crowned King of Thailand after his father King Bhumibhol died on Thursday, is a womaniser, wears crop tops … Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. “There’s a mutual interdependence between the military and the monarchy. And given its importance as a pillar of Thai nationhood and identity, that could be disastrous in a country already prone to deep divisions and political turmoil. His latest book is China 1945: Mao’s Revolution and America’s Fateful Choice. A diplomatic cable from 2010, released by Wikileaks, reported members of Thailand’s political elite expressing hopes that the King would override the laws in order to appoint the Princess as his heir. 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