We Thais grew up watching Chinese series set in ancient or medieval times. Often the plot centers around a delusional emperor who falsely believes his rule is just and wise, himself loved and revered, and that the empire cannot function without him.
However, the reality is otherwise, as the people suffer under the yoke of incompetence and injustice. But in his bubble of self-grandeur, the emperor is blinded to the truth.
The emperor is General Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Earlier this week, the general expressed his disappointment with the young pro-democracy protestors for speaking rude language and displaying crude behavior. He said, “I cannot accept the crudeness.” The sentiment baffled the people, who for some six years, have watched him expressing rude words and crude behavior.
The general also questioned that if he’s removed from office, how would the government function, how would the country survive?
He blames the poor economy for the past six years on four things: the world economy, the previous government, COVID-19, and pro-democracy protests. As previously holding dictatorship power and currently head of Thailand’s economic team, he never blames himself.
We may continue listing the general’s failings, but this is a social media article, not an epic novel. Unless you haven’t a clue about Thailand or are brainwashed by propaganda, everyone should be well familiar with the general’s bubble of self-grandeur.
But how could this be?
Like those emperors in the Chinese series, he’s surrounded by slobbering eunuchs. Yesmen and yeswomen who even if he passes wind, they would breathe in deeply and utter these words, “Ahh… just like blooming flowers on the first day of spring.”
They defend his every move with blind devotion and attack his enemies with rabid venom. But we should not be surprised by this. They adhere to the traditional feudalistic patronage values of salivating gratitude and drooling loyalty.
Therefore, the general swagger through life with complete confidence that he is a good man and has exceptional intelligence.
His entourage says so all the time.
They say, over eight million people voted for him because he’s a good man. They arrange every trip so that when he visits the provinces, he’s surrounded by fans.
They tell him, critics and naysayers, even children, are but nation-haters bought and manipulated by the forces of evil, and he believes it.
How could he not?
No one could handle the existential horror of realizing the ridiculous banality of their life’s meaning. It would cause self-combustion.
So he persists in delusions of self-grandeur.
The slobbering eunuchs say he’s brilliant and capable. Why not? He always writes everything down and can recite back every word. He’s a model Thai-style student. No wonder, he was top of his class when he was young.
Little do they realize that to be a model student in the system of rote learning means you’ll make a great assistant, but never the manager.
The past six years are evident enough that no matter how much he jots down in his notebook, he neither has the critical thinking, the analytical ability, the innovativeness, or the creativity to do anything with the information.
That’s why when it comes to economic management, all we have is populist handouts.
What does any of this mean?
The Thai kingdom finds itself in a surreal situation: morally deceitful, ethically fraudulent, and void of sense and reason.
Those who stand up for human rights are called selfish.
Those who fight for liberty and freedom are called nation-haters.
Those who demand equality under the law are accused of being bought and manipulated.
We started the 1990s looking to compete against South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong for our place in the world.
In 2020, we live under the yoke of a prime minister who tossed a banana peel at people.
Literally, he did. Here’s the video.