Ail­ing Thai king treated for ‘wa­ter on the brain’

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Thai­land’s revered King Bhu­mi­bol Adulyadej has been treated for “wa­ter on the brain” and a chest in­fec­tion, the palace re­vealed in a rare state­ment, amid public con­cern over the health of the world’s long­est serv­ing monarch.

The 87-year-old king, who is per­ceived as a near-de­ity by many Thais, has been in Bangkok’s Siri­raj Hos­pi­tal since be­ing re-ad­mit­ted in May, but in­for­ma­tion on his con­di­tion has been scarce.

Doc­tors at the hos­pi­tal have “re­duced the level of wa­ter in his brain,” the Royal House­hold Bureau said in a state­ment on Mon­day.

“Dur­ing his stay at the Siri­raj, he has had fever pe­ri­od­i­cally and a raised heart­beat — as­sumed to be caused from an ear­lier lung in­fec­tion,” it said, adding his heart rate had re­turned to nor­mal af­ter treat­ment.

Fears over Thai­land’s fu­ture among com­pet­ing elites as Bhu­mi­bol’s reign en­ters its twi­light years are seen as a mo­ti­vat­ing fac­tor be­hind a decade of po­lit­i­cal tur­moil in the king­dom.

Since 2006, the na­tion has wit­nessed two coups, the re­moval of three prime min­is­ters by the courts and sev­eral rounds of street protests that have of­ten ended in vi­o­lence.

Roy­al­ist gen­er­als seized power in a coup in May last year af­ter weeks of protests against the civil­ian gov­ern­ment of Yingluck Shi­nawa­tra, whose fam­ily and their prox­ies have won ev­ery elec­tion since 2001.

The Shi­nawa­tras are loathed by the roy­al­ist elite who ac­cuse them of wide­spread cor­rup­tion and sub­vert­ing the king­dom’s po­lit­i­cal sta­tus quo.

Thai­land’s gen­er­als have said they will hand back power once the con­sti­tu­tion has been rewrit­ten and cor­rup­tion ex­punged.

But crit­ics say the mil­i­tary has used its self-des­ig­nated sta­tus as the de­fender of the monar­chy as a pre­text to grab power and en­sure the Shi­nawa­tras never re­turn to pol­i­tics.

The king’s health is a con­tro­ver­sial topic. The Thai monar­chy is shielded by one of the world’s tough­est lese ma­jeste laws and pros­e­cu­tions have in­creased dra­mat­i­cally since the mil­i­tary took over.

A man was jailed for 30 years on Fri­day for “in­sult­ing” the monar­chy on Face­book, in one of the tough­est known sen­tences for royal defama­tion. The same day a woman re­ceived a 28-year jail term for the of­fense.

Media have to rou­tinely self-cen­sor when re­port­ing on the monar­chy for fear of fall­ing foul of the broadly worded law, which car­ries up to 15 years in jail for each count of in­sult­ing the king, queen, heir or re­gent.

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