As the country continued to grieve the passing of His Majesty the King, emotions ran high as the Thai people began to come to terms with the loss of the beloved monarch.
A potential lynching party gathered outside Bo Phut police station on Samui as police gave into the mob’s demand to make a woman, later charged with lese majeste, apologize to a picture of the king. This had followed another mob gathering in Phuket outside a soy milk shop.
The justice minister’s comments seemed to suggest that this was alright in the circumstances while the prime minister and the head of police quickly moved to distance themselves from that viewpoint and urge people to let the police handle things.
This is one case where Rooster would have to agree as the sight of mob rule is hardly the image the country should be displaying at this difficult time. Not that it was altogether easy to follow the news this week – True Corporation took it on themselves to censor programs on TV from the BBC and Al Jazeera.
True claimed they were only following requests from the government but did they really need to advertise for hourly paid censors as was reported? I would love to ask them for a portion of my monthly fees back – not that I think I would get it, just to see their incredulous faces.
All and sundry meanwhile both within the country and even in Australia, where a controversial program aired, wanted action to be taken against people “damaging” the country from abroad. Of course they are powerless to get much of a result though a satirical news show down under did issue an apology.
Activists such as “Aum Neko” – who famously had a go at university authorities while living here in Thailand for not letting her wear hot-pants to go to college – are safe from the junta’s tentacles; so long as she stays in the sanctity of Paris. She’d need more than hot-pants to save her derriere if she returned to Thailand in the current climate.
As the witch hunts were condemned and cheered in seemingly equal measure I preferred the voice of reason on the matter that came from a Thammasat University political scientist who said: “The only kind of love and loyalty that is genuinely valuable and meaningful is voluntary”.
I feel sure that the great monarch who showed such good sense in his wonderful reign would have heartily agreed with those sentiments.
Stories of devotion continued to flood in and the Thai press delighted this week in showing us that it was not just the Thais who had great tales to tell about the king. The story of the Aussie who had met His Majesty during the days when he won a yachting gold medal was a case in point.
Other foreigners showed their devotion by speaking Thai from country villages where they practice the sufficiency economy, walking from Samui to Bangkok for the funeral rites, handing out black ribbons at a local hospital and playing the Thai national anthem in the Boston subway.
Top Thai of the week had to go to Parn an 84 year old handicapped granddad who was travelling on his sam-lor from Buriram to the capital in honor of the late king.
It was all touching and heartfelt and has helped everyone so upset by the news of the previous week to focus on good deeds and alleviate some of their own pain.
Pain of a different kind returned to the news pages and forums as the black and white began to be replaced by color. Top of the pain stakes was an interview – read attempt at PR that failed abysmally – from the still relatively new British ambassador Brian Davidson.
Davidson was burbling something on a visit to Chiang Mai about getting people to wear helmets and have bike insurance. Most British posters on the forum – quite understandably – wanted to know if he was going to help them with consular matters in any capacity.
Dream on! Let’s face it these people are here for Pimms and the odd jolly game of tennis or is it the the odd jolly game of tennis and Pimms – I forget which is the most important to the uncivil service these days.
Either way I would like to award best quote of the week to forum poster “Grumbleweed” who likened the ambassador’s helmet comments to other helpful advice such as: “Don’t eat yellow snow”.
Much of the grisly crime that naturally took a backseat in the previous week reared its decidedly ugly head again this week. Top billing went to the death of another homeless man in northern Bangkok on Monday after police had arrested the alleged Burmese serial killer known as Jimmy.
Had the fumbling fuzz got the wrong man again we thought – altogether rather worrying for Rooster who lives but a stone’s throw from the scene of the murders. Thankfully it turns out there are two Jimmies out there, the other one caught on Friday being a Thai who said in an attempt at mitigation that he had murdered because his homeless victim was naked.
Sometimes I think we could just make up the stories on Thaivisa and they would be more believable!
Also in this category was the tale of the Chiang Mai bank robber whose business – a coffee shop for cat lovers no less – was going down the financial pan. He owed his mate 80,000 baht so he went to make a withdrawal from Krung Thai not with a bankbook but armed with a knife.
He could have taken the bankbook because incredibly it was his own branch. Despite the full face helmet he wore during the heist he was soon arrested. What made the story such a hoot as if robbing your own branch was not enough was the fact that he had dumped most of the quarter million he stole in the bushes nearby because he only needed
I don’t know whether to award him a Doctorate in Darwinism or just give him an A+ for taking only what was necessary. Thankfully, no one on the forum came out with the line that stories like this can happen anywhere in the world…..
And so to this week’s other awards. First up I would like to present the “Do Something Mischievous While People’s Attention is Distracted Award” to the PM who used his magic wand of power to introduce a new governor of Bangkok. The old one has not been convicted of corruption yet but no one seemed to care.
Causing a lot more comment were the BBC who get Rooster’s award for Misinformation of the Week after their video about the situation in the country. Somehow, and one wonders how they managed it, they were able to tell more untruths per second than in speeches by Donald Trump.
Gone are the days when we used to get the crystal set out and believe their every word. Maybe True’s earlier censorship of their broadcasts was a blessing after all!
“We Know How You Feel” award went to the Japanese old timer who went to his ex-wife’s house to see her about the divorce settlement. Well not see her as such, rather take several guns and pump her full of lead through a window.
Whilst I am sure forum posters would not condone such violence did I not detect a smidgeon of sympathy for the chap from the land of the Rising Sun? Especially as the woman survived.
The quirkiest stories of the week both concerned body parts. The first was the discovery of part of a human leg in a plastic bag behind the crematorium at Wat Lat Prao. Fair play to the Chok Chai cops who quickly found that the package was left there by a delivery man who worked for the nearby hospital. It was his job it was to dispose of unwanted human pieces.
Police are looking in the rulebook to see if it’s illegal to leave bits of people lying about.
The other story will have made every red blooded male and even a few lady boys wince. A man was pictured in hospital having a metal “cock ring” extricated from his member by doctors wielding bolt cutters. The operation was successful and I feel confident that the patient was glad that he was not named – unless he was called Kardashian, of course.
Finally I would like to thank the kind souls down at Chonburi Immigration for their good work in rounding up an Iranian burger eater and some Cambodians and their kids. We all feel safer.
My thanks are not exactly for their sterling efforts; rather more for the laughs they set in motion for some of the other more portly foreign residents of Pattaya after a typo appeared in the report.
Apparently immigration are now working under the banner: “Good Guys in, Bad Guts out”.