"The King Never Smiles" is an unauthorized biography of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej by Paul M. Handley and is banned in Thailand. It presents a very different view of the King as a willful man prone to violence, fast cars and dubious business deals. In fact, Thai King is the richest monarch in the world, richer than Saudi King, in a country where 11% of the population live under the poverty line.
For the citizens, the King of Thailand is a personification of the country, the unification of a deeply divided people. In the picture, Thai King has two political opponents kneeling down on live TV, urging the then-military government and pro-democracy protesters to negotiate a settlement in 1992. I often use this picture in my Cross-Cultural Management course.
A long time ago, I had a chance to interview princess Sirindhorn. The interview lasted 10-15 minutes, but I had been given a workshop the day before on how to ...knee down in front of the royal.
Now that theKIng has gone, the crown-prince is known to be a playboy (who appointed his poodle Foo Foo an air chief marshal), while the princess who is loved by the people can not take the throne according to palace law. What would be the ultimate power that opposing parties and enemies from both sides of the political boiling pot in Thailand knee down to?
The time of a benevolent guardian is over. It is the time that Thailand should seriously think about why on earth that they have gone down on the bandwagon of one coup d'état and one new constitution every four year.
The King is no more, so enemies can bow down to that ultimate power. That power should now be in the hand of the people.
Democracy index of Thailand: 98/167