His Majesty gave timely advice. Politicians these days tend to use the government’s fiscal and monetary means to serve their short-term political purposes by, for instance, giving away easy money without proper forethought. A large amount of money has been wasted and it could hurt the country’s finances. Certain populist policies lured the voters with easy money. Greed is fed by greed.
– Extracted from “His Majesty’s timely lesson in prudence”, The Nation, 22 August 2008.
What is not mentioned in The Nation is that yesterday Forbes magazine reported Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej has an estimated fortune of $35 billion. He is now regarded as the world’s richest royal. Understandably, given general curiousity about such matters, there are already a good number of reports commenting on the king’s wealth and some of the comparisons are stark.
I wonder how quickly the analysis by Forbes will be picked up in the Thai press.
Update 1: Across some of the Thai political blogs there are some very interesting comments. Bangkok Pundit, Thailand Jumped the Shark, and Thai Crisis all make their points. And I’m sure there will be much, much more.
Update 2: Readers looking to get started on the Thai-language reporting of this issue will find some good material in these links: Thai E-News, Prachatai (and discussion here), and Fa Deow Gan (and discussion here). Will Matichon or Thai Rath be next?
Update 3: I took a few moments to trawl for new Thai-language sources that are mentioning this issue. There is, not so surprisingly, still nothing (that I can find) in any of the big Thai papers. But Isriya Paireepairit has something. Is this just not news in Bangkok? By contrast, they seem to have already picked up the story in Tajikistan.