Thailand’s long list of security organisations just got longer.
According to this report and short video presentation, Chonburi (and 30 other provinces) will now enjoy a civilian force christened the “King’s protection volunteers” (sometimes written as р╕нр╕▓р╕кр╕▓р╕кр╕бр╕▒р╕Др╕гр╕Ыр╣Йр╕нр╕Зр╕Бр╕▒р╕Щр╕кр╕Цр╕▓р╕Ър╕▒р╕Щ but more officially known as р╕нр╕▓р╕кр╕▓р╕кр╕бр╕▒р╕Др╕гр╕Ыр╕Бр╕Ыр╣Йр╕нр╕Зр╕кр╕Цр╕▓р╕Ър╕▒р╕Щ). The Thai versions more literally mean “(Royal) institution protection volunteers”.
And in some cases this merits the tidy abbreviation р╕нр╕кр╕Ы.
There are plenty of details on this new outfit available online. The most thorough article tells us that this new volunteer force is an umbrella for various official, quasi-official and civilian groupings. The Village Scouts are in the mix. You may recall that Cyber Scouts are now also part of Thailand’s security landscape although they don’t get an explicit nod with the р╕нр╕кр╕Ы. I’m sure they’re not far away.
Another collective that has signed up to protect the royal institution under this arrangement is called the р╕нр╕▓р╕кр╕▓р╕кр╕бр╕▒р╕Др╕гр╕Юр╕▒р╕Тр╕Щр╕▓р╕Ыр╕гр╕░р╕Кр╕▓р╕Шр╕┤р╕Ыр╣Др╕Хр╕в (“Democracy development volunteers”, often shortened to р╕нр╕кр╕Юр╕Ы). If you want to join them then this application form will come in handy. All you need to do is fill in your personal particulars, pledge your loyalty to the king and the royal family, offer to re-pay the merit due to your birthland, disavow vote selling and buying, and devote yourself to the development of a correct, just and Thai democracy. Prachatai has an old article with plenty of other thoughts.
But back to the overall project of enlisting volunteers to protect the royal institution:
If you really want to dig a bit deeper then this “most urgent” instruction from the Permanent Secretary of the Interior Ministry has everything that you will want to know. It is currently online but I have also taken the liberty of making it available on the New Mandala server. It has a range of formal statements on the “(Royal) institution protection volunteers” that somebody who wanted to probe this issue (such as an Honours student) would need.
It occurs to me that there could be a fascinating study of the ways that Thailand’s Interior Ministry continues to generate an ever-expanding list of security organisations.
And as the sun sets on King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s long reign the enthusiasm for this approach only appears to increase. It is as though all of the various internal security mechanisms deployed over the past six decades have now been revived and brought together for one, last, final hurrah.
And they are joined, perhaps not always comfortably, by the unpredictability and randomness that the digital age presents. If you don’t think you can manage a Village Scout uniform don’t forget that there are plenty of other opportunities to volunteer to protect the king.