If you follow the top trending hashtags, it seems anti-monarchy sentiment is everywhere. Nonetheless, the pro-monarchy sentiment continues.
Last week, in a video interview with Vogue Thailand regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, Princess Sirivannavari expressed her concerns for the well-being of the Thai people and gave the people encouragement.
She also said, “Her Highness struggles too.”
The hashtag #หญิงเองก็ลําบาก went viral, as did criticisms and mockeries, which cannot be repeated here due to Section 112, the lese majeste law. (Therefore, please mind your comments.)
Nonetheless, comments on pro-establishment pages show support.
The Facebook page นักเรียนดี (Good Students) was created in opposition to the page นักเรียนเลว (Bad Students). Good Students offered the hashtag: #หยุดคุกคามเจ้าฟ้าสิริวัณณวรี (stop bullying Princess Sirivannavari).
Good Students argued: “The monarchy institution and the Chakri Dynasty is no one’s playmate!”
Comments under the post argued that the princess employs many staffs who she also must worry about. That everyone’s lifestyle is different. That those who criticize are jealous and disloyal. That the fashion industry is also affected. That the princess struggles in her heart due to worries and compassion for the people. And that every criticism and mockery must be met with Section 112, which carries the sentence of three to 15 years imprisonment per count.
Meanwhile, at this weekend’s political protest, Tanat “Nat” Thanakitamnuay, whose right eye was blinded during the 13 August protest, showed up in a light grey suit jacket, white shirt, and dark trousers with a camera hanging from his neck.
On social media, he’s accused of mimicking His Majesty King Rama 9, which Tanat denied. Nonetheless, it sparked another social media spat in a divided Thailand.
Other than less than a handful of independent media, discussions about the monarchy remain taboo. But one thing is certain; individual netizens have taken the discussion to a level never seen before.
In short, we are witnessing a Thailand as never before seen.