Thailand's King Bhumibol reviews a parade to mark his birthday in Bangkok

The Tragedy of King Bhumibol

“The Tragedy of King Bhumibol” is offline for a major revision and update. It will return soon!


  1. History will be kind on this even handed and comprehensive analysis of two elite groups that tussled over Thailand at the cost of the people. The Royalist factions and The Thaksin faction.

    There’s a small typo of Thaksin serving under (I think) Yongchaiyudh in “2007” and I recommend that any researchers can rip the Google Book links provided in this post into pdf files using “Google Books Downloader”.

    Excellent work.

    • zenjournalist says:

      Many thanks for the correction, it’s fixed now. Thanks also for mentioning Google Books Downloader, I wasn’t aware of it. I will also distribute the entire “Tragedy of King Bhumibol” as a pdf once it is complete this week. Best regards.

  2. LesAbbey says:

    A good balanced history Andrew although I think you do struggle to find evil in the Democrats. When I look at the likes of Abhisit and Chuan, instead of a bunch of cynical manipulating royalists I see something on par, certainly no better, but no worse than the UK’s Conservative Party.

  3. Guenter Plum says:

    Fantastic work. Is there a Thai translation available?

    • zenjournalist says:

      Guenter, given the length of these articles, the fact that I have no funds for a translation, and most importantly the dangers for Thais who help translate my work, it is taking time. But a Thai translation of part 3 on the death of Ananda should be ready soon, and I hope to have a full translation of “The Tragedy of King Bhumibol” available before a Thai-version of “A Life’s Work” hits the shelves. Best wishes.

  4. Julie says:

    This is a masterpiece. I was living in northern Thailand in 2006 and had no idea what was going on. Even after I returned to the States it was difficult to find anything other than “The King Never Smiles.” But reading this put me back in Thailand, a country that I came to love. This is a powerful work and a priceless gift.

    Thank you so very much.

    • zenjournalist says:

      Julie, thank you very much for such a lovely comment, it cheered me up on a sad day. Best wishes.

  5. Roz says:

    Most interesting and fascinating article and the story continues!

    Perhaps adding to gossips, but one other reasons my Thai friends gave for “The King never smiling” was that when he met the Kitiyakara family in Europe, he had more in common with the younger sister, but he was dictated to and married the older and extremely beautiful Sirikit.

  6. Paul says:

    We will wait and see what will happening in Thailand in the near future. Whether the monarchy will either exist or end, it does not make any differences to us as we can live in our home well. The only thing that makes us worry is that such power struggle will make more troubles to our daily life. In my opinion, If the monarchy is no longer, it may be suitable for Thailand’s future because :
    1) The property and land taxes can be issued. It cannot be done now as all the elites and the monarchy connections will lose their benefits.
    2) The monarchy itself itself is good , but some people inside it are not good. If we
    can choose the one to be our…….. it could be wonderful, and the bad ones must be got off.
    3) We do not need to waste a budget of over $ 100 million a year for the monarchy
    and this amount should be kept for people them (their own tax). etc.

  7. Bryce says:

    This is excellent. When will you post the rest?

  8. Isaanboy says:

    Hi Andrew, In your article you keep referring to the geographical region of Isaan as a “province”, when there is no such province in Thailand, which makes doing so somewhat like referring to New England as a state, or calling Scotland “Scotlandshire.” This hurts your credibility as a journalist with sufficient knowledge of the country to comment on its politics to the depths that you have. Here’s to hoping you will either correct the repeated typos or take a refresher course in Thai geography, whichever is appropriate…

  9. reader says:

    In the video of the red shirts chanting “the hia ordered killing”, I think they were saying about Abhisit. And the graffiti you linked reads “Abhisit”!

    • zenjournalist says:

      They were not talking about Abhisit, although many observers believed they were. The chant changed over time and became this:


      The identity of these two people is clear to people in the red shirt movement.