The idea that the Red Shirts hate King Bhumibol has gained quite a bit of purchase among Yellow Bhumibolists. This is somewhat evident among the New Mandala comments, and especially evident among everyday Yellow Bhumibolists in public discourse. The following Facebook status for example has become quite widespread, and claims to be a quote from the King as conveyed through one of his physicians.
The King was sitting by the Chao Phraya River as if in a trance, looking as if he was going to cry. After a long interval, he said once sentence: ‘What have we done to them. Or are those Thais angry at me and hate me so.’ Those close to Father cried out of pity, for although he had spent his entire life working for the Thais, he has never ever hurt the Thais.
Bhumibol’s one official statement made since the Red Shirt protests commenced have been hard to interpret and have been unpolitical, at least on the surface.
But note the wide semantic and emotional gap between his official quote and his unofficial quotes. His previous unofficial quote was along the lines of “Tell me how I should change.” The response that his unofficial quotes have received from the public have been overwhelmingly anti-Red – all of which occurs under the mass media radar, for the quotes remain unofficial and the Palace has never denied or confirmed that they were ever made.
Are these unofficial quotes a conveniently deniable way for the King to affect public sentiment? Or are they creations of the network monarchy (in this case, the royal physician) that surround him? Or are they the fantasies of the yellow shirt movement fabricated to damage the red shirts?