Dr Pavin Chachavalpongpun, an associate professor at the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies at Kyoto University, has since 2014 been branded an 'enemy of the state' by Thai authorities. He spoke to Green Left Weekly's Peter Boyle.
The pictures of thousands of Thais crying and wearing black after the death of King Pumipon might lead a sane person to conclude that most Thais were political half-wits with a slave-like mentality. That would be a wrong conclusion.
We have to factor in the royalist military repression. Anyone criticising the king can be jailed under the draconian lese-majeste (insulting the monarch) law. Added to this is the green light given by the junta for mobs of fanatical royalists to “deal” with dissidents.
Four years ago on the 19th September, the Thai people were concerned about a very damaging coup which toppled an elected government and resulted in the political and economic crisis that persists to today.