King’s health : shift in official communication

Though His Majesty’s lung infection is clearing up, complete recovery will still take a while, the 25th Royal Household Bureau statement said yesterday.

The statement explained that older people usually take longer to recover, adding that royal physicians have asked His Majesty to remain at Siriraj Hospital so the continued medication and rehabilitation can ensure recuperation. (Nation)

After toying with the nerves -and basic common sense- of the whole thai population for almost A MONTH (the King was hospitalized on september 19)… after using ridiculous “permutations” to write the official statements (using the words “food”, “sleep”, “better”, “x-ray”, “intravenous fluids” and then just changing the order of those words within the statements)… after playing seek and hide with basic medecine concepts… after playing with words (infection becomes “inflamation” etc)… the people in charge of the PR, eventually, understood that something was seriously wrong and that the frontier between “controled communication” and outrage was  thin.

So the 25th statement represents a shift.

-It’s the first time the statement speaks about the future : “complete recovery will take time”. It’s obvious but it’s good to write it.

-it’s the first time the statement speaks about the King as an “old man”. I mean : a man.

Sounds like small details. But it’s important.

Last but not least, after saying that antiobiotics were stopped… the statement talks about “continued medication”… Which kind ?

19 Responses to “King’s health : shift in official communication”

  1. 1 TR 15 October 2009 at 7:51 am

    Good post. It’s interesting that this also coincides with the SET tanking yesterday. The world is starting to notice.

  2. 2 In Phuket 15 October 2009 at 9:12 am

    BP Post Report:

    “HM fine, recovery to take more time

    His Majesty the King’s general condition is good, the Royal Household Bureau says.

    The inflammation of his lungs has subsided, but it will take more time for the King to recover from pneumonia, as is generally the case with the elderly, the Committee of Royal Physicians said yesterday.

    The doctors have also advised His Majesty to remain at Siriraj Hospital so they can continue to give him medication and nutrition and to provide him with rehabilitation therapy.

    The Stock Exchange of Thailand index fell 2%, or 15.20 points, yesterday to 731.47 on concerns about His Majesty’s health.”

    Here they actually mention ‘pneumonia’… hmmmm

  3. 3 DuckVader 15 October 2009 at 11:47 am

    Several questions crop up:

    a) Is the continued market selling despite the official reassurances a sign that the palace is not trusted to tell the truth, or knowledgeable individuals are selling based on “insider” information

    b) Will any news organization break the story, or will everyone sit on their hands waiting for the “official” announcement should the event happen?

  4. 4 Mr.? 15 October 2009 at 1:59 pm

    “Better,” yes, no, maybe, perhaps?

    Possibly, due to lese majeste, the story is off limits to newspapers, magazines, radio and TV media, and discussion of the case discouraged in polite conversation as taboo subject. Additionally, blogs and emails that talk the subject will be punishable under the revised Computer Crimes Act.

    During the mandatory press silence, anything that happens shall be construed as not having happened at all.

  5. 5 L investor 15 October 2009 at 3:31 pm

    I think its very sad. A lot of pressure in on HM’s health. Its not a good position to be in when you catch a flu the stock market tumbles.

    Foreigners are still selling despite the reassurance from the doctors.

    Do you think HM will make public appearance?

  6. 6 abitnaive 15 October 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Long live the king.

    I think it’s fair to say the type of medication is between the king and his doctors, you may just as well ask for a copy of his chart. If the only way to prevent the markets falling is by removing his last remnants of personal privacy, I say let them fall. They go up & down all the time anyway.

  7. 7 ThaiCrisis 15 October 2009 at 9:03 pm

    ->Abitnaive : personally, I don’t care about the markets. At all.

    My remark was more on a “moral” level. It makes no sense to (try to) lie, or to disguise the reality if you prefer.

  8. 8 Bedwyr 15 October 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Also this from feed:// :

    Update 3: The Bangkok Post (15 October 2009) reported that the SET index had fallen below 700 points as rumours spread. The SET has a “circuit breaker” is activated by a 10% decline. SET officials said: “The market would like to warn investors to closely follow announcements from relevant agencies. They should not panic about the rumours …”. They said there had been “a huge sell-off already.” The usually nearly invisible Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij “called on investors to be careful when considering rumours and information relating to the bourse.” He added that the government had “no plans to support share prices.” Meanwhile, the “Royal Household Bureau said on Wednesday night His Majesty’s general health was good but he needed more time to fully recover from a bout of pneumonia. Another bulletin is expected tonight.”

    Notice the first time pneumonia has been mentioned. Bedwyr called it again. Wait for the announcement that the pneumonia was a consequence of the stroke.

  9. 9 Vichai N 16 October 2009 at 8:31 am

    TC is concerned about the “moral” issue of honest reporting pertaining to HMK’s health. TC amuses and is being unrealistic and perhaps getting naive and stupid, on this issue.

    Let us take the extreme case that HMK is/was very very ill . . very seriously ill. Does anyone see any good being accomplished by the royal PR men to honestly and ‘morally’ report HMK’s grave illness on the first or second day HMK was wheeled in at Sriraj hospital? Does anyone really believe THAT would have stopped the panic rumor mongering?

  10. 10 A democrat 16 October 2009 at 12:27 pm

    The Nation has the definitive last word (Oct. 16):

    But the truth of the matter is that the 81-year-old King has gone to Siriraj to receive treatment for fever, fatigue and lack of appetite. He is now recovering at a pace that is natural for his age, and he certainly will be able to resume functions and his role sooner rather than later. There is nothing more to this fact.

    The Nation cites no sources to substantiate this assertion – ironically, since it’s in the middle of an editorial “deploring” rumours about HM’s health (rumour = unsubstantiated report).

  11. 11 ThaiCrisis 16 October 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Perfect false inference and cheap rethoric Vichai. It’s not because a honest and real reporting would have not stopped rumors that people shouldn’t try it (real reporting)… You get my point ?

    One thing is sure : it could have stopped the anxiety.

    Second : again I repeat, I don’t give a hoot about stock market. That was the question, putting into the balance privacy and the fall of the stock market.

    I’ve said that the debate was more on a moral ground : = don’t lie to peope. Don’t consider people like brainless children.

    Lies always backslash. Lies around a very strong relationship (the king and the thai people) are an outrage, a shame. Should be.

    This is a moral debate.

    You do get my point, now, don’t you ?

  12. 12 George P Tuckeer 16 October 2009 at 3:42 pm

    The question for journalists to ask is: What would HM do? Would he want his beloved subjects to know the truth and prepare for all consequences, good or bad? Or would HM prefer his subjects to be forever in the dark?

    If HM is even half the great man he is touted to be, surely he would prefer greater transparency on a subject so dear to the hearts of the the Thai people.

  13. 13 Vichai N 16 October 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Again I go back to my original question TC: How would have the Thai people responded if the the truth, nothing but the truth, was actually being reported to them with respect to HMK’s health, or, for other state matters of grave importance and consequences?

    Whether the truth, or a half-truth, or a outright lie is being fed to them, the Thai people had always taken government utterances with suspicion. And that is healthy.

    I have yet to find any country in the world where the people would believe their government’s PR official utterances.

  14. 14 Marvo 16 October 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Marvo thinks the priority is likely to be keeping the lid on “ROYAL NEWS” long enough for the connected cronies to move their wealth out of the SET before the big drop.

  15. 15 ThaiCrisis 16 October 2009 at 7:12 pm

    I have yet to find any country in the world where the people would believe their government’s PR official utterances.

    On this, we agree.

    China, perhaps ? 😉

  16. 16 Bedwyr 16 October 2009 at 7:58 pm


    “If HM is even half the great man he is touted to be, surely he would prefer greater transparency on a subject so dear to the hearts of the the Thai people.”

    An entirely fair point. Extend it across the entire behaviour of the Palace and it becomes a useful and valuable insight into the toutings and the touters.

  17. 17 Effervescent 16 October 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Princess Chulabhorn have made unofficial q&a session in Germany about HMK health, it is very long and the message seems encouraging for Thai people.

    BTW, TC is right, Royal Household Bureau daily press releases are totally bullshit.

  18. 18 Insanity 17 October 2009 at 11:30 am

    ‘No cause for concern’
    By The Nation
    Published on October 17, 2009

    Princess Chulabhorn says HM in no danger, mainly under rehabilitative care.

    Nontheless, Bedwyr looks right again as we now have confirmation of heart conditions.”

    Princess Chulabhorn: “Now there is nothing to worry about his heart conditions and lung infections.”

  19. 19 Bedwyr 21 October 2009 at 7:51 am

    More deception from the Rpyal Household today:

    “His Majesty the King is recovering from his lung inflammation, the Royal Household Bureau said yesterday. “X-rays show the inflammation has eased,” the bureau said.”

    As far as Bedwyr understands it, soft tissue inflammation X-rays does not show up on X-rays. Pnemonia does though. Also, antibiotics are not given for non-infection soft tissue inflammation, they are given for bacterial infections – like pneumonia. These people couldn’t lie straight in bed and they assume everyone else is an idiot, which irritates the bejasus out of Bedwyr.

    Lies, damn lies, statistics and there there are Thai press releases which are a whole different order of mendacity.

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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.

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