This video clip shows the crowd’s adoration of the latest “royalist celebrity,” Apirak “Sia Poh” Chatarnon.
The uncles and aunties flock to him all smiley and loving, and as a very Thai thing to do, photos ensued.
Sia Poh is a notorious underworld figure. He’s a gambling tycoon and, to be fair, also a philanthropist who donates huge amounts of cash. But most importantly, he’s up on murder and weapon charges.
Every Thai knows his reputation. Yet, once donned the yellow shirt and declared love for the monarchy, suddenly, all is forgiven.
You are now among the good people.
In Thailand, that’s all you have to do. Declare your love for the monarchy, attack the Ratsadon Movement, and no matter your sins or crimes, you are forgiven. You are now good.
In a nutshell, this is moral bankruptcy.
When it comes to “royalist celebrities,” they are represented by frothing at the mouth fanatics, shameless politicians, and downright thugs.
Frothing at the mouth
The Thai media dubbed them “ultra royalists.”
They are Mongkutwattana General Hospital’s director Rientong Nanna, Thai Pakdee Group’s Warong Dechgitvigrom, and former singer Haruethai ‘Ooh’ Muangboonsri.
They are known for their fanatical zeals, frothing at the mouth with hateful words. Their speeches are full of raging anger and furious vengeance.
This past week, three Palang Pracharat MPs went on national TV to debate Ratsadon activists. They are Pareena Kraikup, Paiboon Nititawan, and Sira Janejaka.
Pareena is notorious for her chicken farm scandal, her attacks on female opposition MPs, fuels with stars and celebrities, and various social media antics.
Paiboon is infamous for many things, including the latest proposal to hold a national referendum on banning political rallies for two years. Before last year’s election, he campaigned using Buddhist principles in Thai politics.
It turns out that in his religion, General Prawit Wongsuwan is the earthly incarnation of the Lord Buddha.
Sira Janejaka is ill-famed for his entitlement antic, yelling at the police for not giving him a welcome escort that fits the “prestige and honor” of an MP. Also, for his almost fist-fight with another dubious MP, Thai Civilized Party’s Mongkolkit Suksintharanon.
Preceding Sia Pho is the former monk Phra Buddha Issara.
This Khaosod English article offers a glimpse into the man’s notoriety, a leading voice among the royalists. He was even collecting donations from the royalist crowd at the royal walkabout in front of the Grand Palace on Sunday night.
A sigh of relief
When actor Bin Banluerit donned the pink shirt and declared himself a defender of the monarchy, many royalists must have breathed a sigh of relief.
“Finally, someone with a good reputation,” they must have said.
After all, Bin is a well-known philanthropist, a hero who has worked tirelessly for decades to help victims of natural disasters.
But someone like Bin is few and far between. And even with a good reputation, he has threatened to slap “rude” Ratsadon activists.