The Flamboyant Demigod and His Ungodly Behaviour

Jax Hudur

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Source: Sun

When it comes to Kings and Princes, why is it that the phrase “the emperor has no clothes” becomes an inescapable reality when the lives of these few and yet powerful if not spoilt people are closely observed? Take our man in the Middle East, for instance. No, I am not talking about King Abdullah of Jordan, who when he speaks on international forums like the United Nations sounds more like a posh Englishman than an Arab. I am referring to his cousin, the young King but is yet to be an official King in Riyadh, Mohamed bin Salman. Yes, the crown prince was busy renting entire islands, to play with planeloads of the finest escorts Eastern Europe has to offer when he is not busy bombing Yemen to smithereens. He was also busy extorting money from his rich uncles to amass expensive art pieces such as a 450 million dollars’ worth of Jesus’s painting. Did you get the irony? The all-powerful de facto Muslim ruler of Saudi Arabia spent that much money on a painting of Jesus. 

Bin Salman also purchased a vast French Chateau in western France, which also comes with a $300 million price tag. But those are the Arab princelings and their womanizing and expensive taste which is common knowledge, thanks to petrodollars.

Forget our man in the Middle East and look to the Far East. Our man in the Far East while not necessarily a head-chopping sadist, is quite an interesting King, to say the least.

Entering the stage of Regal bizarreness is his Royal Highness King Maha Vajiralongkorn. His official title is King Rama X or Rama the Tenth. He is the direct descendant of the Hindu god Rama, making him a demigod. Yes, you read it right, the King is not just a man but also a god, but his habits are anything but godly.

In the western world, you have free speech to criticize anyone, including the monarchy. In Thailand, however, where the demigod Rama, the Tenth reigns, you cannot fault, offend, insult, or write anything negative about the King and the royal court. If the King embarrasses himself, better leave it alone, lest you pay a hefty price. By hefty, I mean rotting in prison for decades

So, what do you think counts as an insult? Well, let us start with the lesser members of the royal court. Consider the case of Wanchaleom Jamneanphol, a popular YouTube TV host who did not like a dress designed by the King’s daughter which was worn by a Miss Universe in a pageant. For calling the dress ugly, she faced charges for maligning the country’s reputation. In which universe can criticizing a dress be interpreted as committing treason or something similar? More worryingly, if some of today’s 21st-century monarchies can be this strict or worse, I dread to ask how monarchies of old behaved. Lord Acton told no lie when he said absolute power corrupts absolutely.

King /demigod Rama the Tenth ascended to the throne in 2019 after his well-loved father died at 89. The new King’s coronation procession cost the Thai taxpayers a whopping sum of $31 million. On what was the $31million spent? I wonder. Definitely not to help Thailand’s poor people, a rising figure according to the World Bank which will undoubtedly become worse because of the ongoing global pandemic. 

In 2015, two students were each handed down a five-year sentence which was halved because “they confessed to the crime.” They wrote a school play about a fictional one-eyed king. Forget the long history of Thailand’s ridiculous lese- majeste laws, in which you can be arrested for anything from the color of the shirt you are wearing to insulting the King’s dog. As recently as the 19th of January 2021, a Thai woman was handed a prison sentence of 43 years after sharing negative podcast audio clips on social media about the monarchy. If she serves the full sentence, she will be out of prison when she is 106 years old. If she ever makes that long inside!

Is the Thai King traditional? No. The man, sorry, the demigod, was educated in Britain and Australia. He is an avid cyclist and an accomplished pilot. He flies his own Boeing 737 and military fighter jets, and when he is not flying or cycling, he is a part-time Don Juan. Believe me; I am not exaggerating; his mother told reporters, “My son, the Crown Prince, is a little bit of a Don Juan… women find him interesting, and he finds women even more interesting.” They say that a mother always knows her son, and her son the King proved his mother’s point. 

King Maha or Rama X the demigod has been divorced three times and has four illegitimate children. In the Thai royal court, however, there is no sugar-coating on such delicate issues. In 2019, the King’s former mistress was made the official concubine. The interesting question you might be asking is the number of unofficial mistresses the King keeps. Well, while most of us ordinary beings were confined (some of us are still in lockdown) in our little flats in a bid to curb the Covid 19 epidemic, the Thai King has been self-isolating in the Alpine Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl hotel. By self-isolating, the King booked the entire hotel with a legion of 20 concubines. The Thai King makes Arab potentates’ rookies and will give them a run for their money, where women are concerned and why not? He is Don Juan, after all. 

According to the experts, Thailand has developed what they term as “coup culture,” meaning coups are normalized or accepted. I am not surprised, considering the country goes through a coup every once in four years. The governments change, but the monarchy is untouched. After every coup, the winners come to the King, where he gives them the nod, and the losers go into exile. It’s a system that works, something Arab princedoms need to emulate instead of butchering dissidents and political rivals.

Understand that every country’s governance is influenced by the people’s history, everything from faith right down to culture. It so happens that some of the most exotic tourist attractions are also home to some of the most bizarre monarchies or, in a simple singular term, despots. That is why in the Middle East, an innocent kiss for your spouse might land you in jail or, in Thailand, eating a sandwich in public.

However, the Thai people widely respect Thailand’s former King because the public saw him as a disciplined, strict King who respected the traditions. The current King is not traditional and is his own man. History will judge whether King Maha will bring down the monarchy altogether or whether he is the reformer his country needs. But to be either, one needs to live in the country he rules, and King Maha loves his Bavarian mansions better than his kingdom.

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I write about history, politics and true crime. Not to mention anything else that takes my fancy or newsworthy. "No special talents. Only passionately curious." Albert Einstein

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