Monday, January 19, 2009

Real Men Don't Wear Pink

Think only sissy boys wear pink? If so, you'd better not tell this dude...

Cuz it could land you in prison for 3 to 15 years.

In Thailand anyway. See, the guy in the pink jacket is Thailand's King Bhumibol and Thai law holds that criticizing him or the Thai monarchy in any way, shape or form is not allowed.

As an aside, King Bhumibol is extremely revered by everyone in Thailand, which any Thai would tell you has everything to do with what a truly great man the king is and nothing to do with laws that ban criticizing him. Or at least they'd be pretty stupid to say otherwise, given the possible consequences.

Anyway, when I say any way, shape or form, I do mean any. A few years ago a Swiss man who put black paint on pictures of King Bhumibol while intoxicated got a 10 year sentence. He was pardoned after serving a month, but even still that seems excessive given the 'crime.'

Just this week Australian writer Harry Nicolaides was sentenced to 6 years - reduced to 3 because he pled guilty - for insulting the monarchy. He didn't insult any actual member of the monarchy, mind you; he wrote a fictional novel about Thailand containing a single supposedly disparaging passage about the made-up prince in the story. That only 7 copies of the book ever sold makes the prison sentence seem even more disproportionate to the 'crime.'

Can you imagine if we had a similar law in the US that made criticizing the President a no-no? Given the past 8 years, practically the entire country would be in prison at this point.

Note to self: Cancel planned trip to Thailand just in case the above post can be construed as critical of the Thai monarchy.

1 comment:

soubriquet said...

It is forbidden, in Thailand, to fold or crease a bank note, because it bears a picture of the king.