Back in February 2011 I wrote a short essay that highlighted a new addition to Thailand’s long list of internal security organisations. As I suggested back then, the “King’s Protection Volunteers” are a “new volunteer force [that serves] as an umbrella for various official, quasi-official and civilian groupings”.
A recent report from Channel News Asia sheds some further light on this group and how they fit into the evolution of ideology and political performance in Thailand today. That report is certainly worth reading in full. But, just to get the week off to a galloping start, I may as well highlight its most interesting insight.
According to the report, the chairman of the Saothonghin District, Nonthaburi Senior Citizen’s Club, Ruengsak Ketkorn, offered some relevant quantification of the menace facing Thailand’s monarchy. From that perspective:
In total, there is just less than two per cent of people who do not support the monarchy…They are supported by politicians for their vested interests. I have heard some people saying inappropriate things about the King. This is an attempt to drag the sky to the ground.
Of course, nobody is in a position to properly quantify the affection, or otherwise, that is captured by Thailand’s monarchy. Comprehensive opinion polling is, for instance, out of the question. But as a matter for the sociologically-inclined it does bear some closer scrutiny. It’s just that the level of affection remains difficult, if not impossible, to study in any social scientific way.