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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

It's not so easy being King (Bhumibol Adulyadej)

I bet you thought that being a monarch was a pretty cushy gig. Well, it's not all sunshine and lollypops. Some people just don't respect royalty the way they should, and they can do some pretty hurtful things -- like draw clowny faces on your picture -- those brutes.

The Thai Monarch has his royal drawers in a twist over a YouTube video that's been deemed insulting. It's quite a childish little vid (you can watch it here, while it's still available) that most folks would dismiss as so, but it's gotten much more attention than it deserves because the Thai government is now banning access to YouTube to keep its citizens from watching it.

The Thai elected government was overthrown by a military junta last year, so it's no real surprise that they'd resort to such heavy handed tactics (read the Wikipedia article on Thailand). My guess is that YouTube is the least of the king's concerns, considering the current political situation there. If he wants to see what real attack videos look like, he should check out how US politicos get treated (George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton are just two examples).

Here are excerpts from the New York Times article on the story:

Thailand Bans YouTube
By THOMAS FULLER

BANGKOK, April 4 — Thailand’s military-appointed government blocked access to YouTube and several other Internet sites on Wednesday in a crackdown on material that denigrates the country’s monarch.

"We have blocked YouTube because it contains a video insulting to our king," said Winai Yoosabai, head of the censorship unit at the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.

Thailand’s ban of YouTube, the popular video-sharing Web site, came after YouTube's owner, Google, refused to remove the video clip, the communications minister, Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom, said.

The clip, crude and amateurish and lasting less than a minute, depicts the king with clown features painted onto his face and an image of feet pasted over his head, a highly insulting gesture in Thailand.

Read the full article
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