- by Tammy, Thai Intel’s humanity journalist
When the Abhisit government called for Thais to start to spy on other Thais in their social-network activity-exclusively because anti-monarchy sentiment is so widespread in Thailand that the authority can not handle the situation-there are two considerations.
First, how widespread is the anti-monarchy sentiment and secondly, how will the tactic of spying play out?
In answering the first question, how widespread is the sentiment-Thai Intel would argue that the sentiment is one main core of the Red Shirts movement-as the Bangkok Post once wrote, about a year ago-that if people were given the choice between democracy and Thai royalism, most Thais will choose democracy.
Thus, the anti-monarchy sentiment and the pro-democracy nature of the Red Shirts movement is just the flip side of the same coin.
But the question that centers on anti-monarchy goes beyond the Red Shirts movement-but is impacting all Thais. Today, many indicators Thai Intel follows indicates that the anti-monarchy sentiment has broken from being mainly exclusive of the Red Shirts movement-to the wider general public-that does not support the Red Shirts movement.
Thus, one may ask, what is feeding this outbreak of anti-monarchy sentiment to the wider general public.
Thai Intel would argue that the use the Thai monarchy as a political tool by the royalist, elite and military rulers of Thailand-have back-fired.
Is there any doubt at all, that ever since the 2006 coup-when the Yellow Shirt concocted the theory that Taksin and a group of his supporter has a plan to destroy Thai royalism-that back then, there was no mass and grassroots anti-monarchy sentiment in Thailand.
Through the years, with subsequent actions by the elite, royalist and military-of the fear factor of Taksin-have given rise to the current widespread anti-monarchy sentiment.
To summarize at this point, the royalist, elite and military rulers of Thailand, have very much destroy the legitimacy of the monarchy as the core Thai institution-and pitched the monarchy against democracy, liberty and justice.
If this is/was a game, the ball continues to be in the Thai military court and that of its government-or to put it bluntly, the main momentum, in this game, continues to come from Prayuth, the Thai Army Chief, and Abhisit, the Thai prime minister.
In anlyzing the impact Prayuth and Abhisit is having on the spread of anti-monarchy sentiment-Thai Intel argues that it is too late for the grass-roots and masses-as this group, Thai Intel argues, never exhibited or maintained deep-rooted loyalty to Thai royalism-apart from pockets of very high investment efforts that royalism is able to be maintained.
To summarize here-with many grassroote it is “Give us money and we will be loyal to Thai Royalty.”
But the actual battle ground on Thai royalism have now shifted to the middle-class.
Here, Prayuth and Abhisit, continues to pitch the middle class against the Red Shirts-or in other words-democracy, liberty and justice are being pitched against royalism.
Here, money plays much less of a deciding factor-but philosophy does.
The indicators out of Prayuth and Abhisit continues to be a crack-down on lese majeste-without any viable alternative being offered-such as talk of reforming the monarchy institution to appease those in favor of democracy, liberty and justice.
The history of this struggle between royalism and democracy also is deep-rooted and deeply planted-and carries its own trajectory.
The indicators Thai Intel is getting is that the legitimacy of Thai royalism continues to be eroded at a speed that is very much in the hands of Prayuth and Abhisit.
Thai Intel noted, the other day, of a Twitter-who only a month ago was Twitting about the cerebration of the Thai King’s 83rd birthday in unison with the royalist-only a month latter was Twittering about Jit Phumisak-a Thai icon of equal rights.
That Twitter-is a professional well to do Thai-who is not a Red Shirts supporter.
Within that one month, that twitter went from joining Thai royalism hype with the words “All Thai join hands today in cerebration the King’s birthday” to helping raise money for Jit Phumisak monument.
What went on in that Twitter mind?
That is the question everyone in Thailand is trying to crack-from the Red Shirts who are trying to make in roads into the middle class to Prayuth and Abhisit-who are trying to find a formula to protect Thailand from an eroding Thai royalism.
And as for spying on other Thais in their social-network, the 2006 coup and its royalism hype has failed and cleaning up social network-will only alinate more Thais away from royalism.