Bhumibol leaves Siriraj Hospital on his birthday

The Tragedy of King Bhumibol

“The Tragedy of King Bhumibol” is offline for a major revision and update. It will return soon!


  1. My life has straddled two centuries thus far, but with modern advances in medicine I’m gunning for three.

    You could have rattled off a few of the stylistic cheese faux pas numbers and settled the matter for me on the quality of this book which may or may not have LM issues with respect to veracity.

    Would that not be an interesting call on the merchandise if it came from you?

  2. Jon Wright says:

    Regarding “abuses of the English language” and, “most dreadful stylistic misjudgements”, we should note that your prose includes: “One is often tempted to throw the book across the room, but given its vast bulk this could result in severe structural damage if one is reading it indoors”!

    • zenjournalist says:

      I stand by that statement. You have a problem with it? 😉

    • Jon Wright says:

      Fair enough. Also “he protected himself by ostentatiously abandoning worldly desires” – do you really mean ostentatiously or … pretentiously, conspicuously, or the antonymical ‘humbly’, ‘modestly’?

      • zenjournalist says:

        I mean ostentatiously. Conspicuously would also work. He did his best to send a very clear signal that he had retreated to a monastery and had no designs on the throne. Or do you disagree?

        • Jon Wright says:

          I regret I have no idea what the history books have to say about Mongkut’s entry into the monkhood. The use of ‘ostentatiously’ (which I take to mean with pomp and show – we’re talking about a king) led me to wonder whether you meant ‘conspicuously’ or intended the opposite meaning so I had to check, sorry.

          • zenjournalist says:

            The point, Jon, is that Mongkut had a very good claim to become Rama III but in the end one of his half-brothers took the crown. Had there been any indication that Mongkut was miffed or resentful or harboured kingly ambitions, his life would have been in grave danger, for obvious reasons. He made a great show, therefore, of entering the monkhood and stayed there for 27 years to show he had no interest in the throne. Hence my use of the word ‘ostentatious’. And then he became king.

            Interestingly, Princess Sirindhorn has also made a great show of having no interest in the throne. Intriguing.

  3. Jon Wright says:

    Yes I understand what you were writing about Mongkut’s situation. It’s just that in that predicament being ‘humble’ or ‘modest’ would have also seemed like good stances, hence my enquiry. Interestingly, the word ‘ostentatious’ would not seem to fit Princess Sirindhorn. How ‘great’ was her show of disinterest? It’s 99% certain she’ll do a Sihanouk and go to China when her 8pm slot ends right? I hope there are not too many more parallels with Cambodia.

    • zenjournalist says:

      She’s doing everything to signal that she is not interested in the throne: no heirs, a place in China ready for her when her father dies, never shown a desire for power. So that makes me wonder whether the king has one last trick up his sleeve. I find it hard to believe that he really had no plan, after working so hard, he was just going to pass power to his estranged son. Both the queen and Prem plan to challenge the prince for power, according to multiple sources. According to the same sources, the king really has no plan. But I wonder…

  4. Kerrie says:

    “prospective teachers are graded not on qualities like intelligence, communication skills, ability to inspire, but on the neatness of their clothing and hairstyle, the quality of their teeth, and the way they walk.”

    When I worked as a teacher, I used to joke that Thai teachers were graded by their fashion sense and hairstyles. At the time I had no idea that it was actually true…

    • zenjournalist says:

      Yup. You can’t have kids taught by people with unruly hair or crooked teeth, especially if they are poor too. That would lead to anarchy.

  5. Paul Thong says:

    Thai society has been dominated by all elites for a long time. All things have been managed/governed by their own groups for their own interests. They never think that other parts/regions of the country belong to Thailand. Most of people from either north, north east, east or south are insulted by several means such as languages, ways of livings, etc. Only people from the central area are well recognized by the elites led by the royal connections. In Thai society, the more rich the more chance you have. Therefore the time for changing seems to come in the near future. When time comes, we will know that we have lived in the darkness of Thai society for a long time. How come we have allowed such darkness remaining in Thailand?

  6. P Pet says:

    It’s True! – “father of the nation”, a man who has worked all his reign to do what he thought was right for the people of Thailand, lost his own family in the process, becoming irretrievably distanced and alienated from his wife and all of his children except Sirindhorn. It is part of the tragedy of his life, one of the many trials he has endured