11 Years Ago: Undercutting the Prime Minister

Thai King Uses Influence To Undercut Prime Minister – NYT, December 8, 2001
[Thanks to Tom for pointing this out.]
…The king was speaking last week to an audience of the nation’s most powerful people, gathered at his palace for his annual birthday address, and he was using words like arrogance, double standards and national catastrophe.
”I can see the prime minister has a grim look on his face,” he said at one point, drawing nervous laughter from his audience, magnificent in their white uniforms, medals and sashes.
”He might be upset because he has always said he was happy,” the king went on. ”Perhaps it is happiness on the outside but unhappiness within. He might have no idea what to do because there seems to be no progress with anything.”
He did not stop there. ”So many people have noticed that the country is in a state of disaster instead of prosperity,” he said. ”Everything is getting worse and worse.”
The statements seemed doubly wounding in a country where indirection is the norm and where difficult reality is often hidden behind soft words. They also seemed all the more embarrassing as Mr. Thaksin prepared to travel to Washington next week for a meeting he has long hoped for with President Bush…

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