Bangkok Thailand – Democracy Monument

King Prajadhipok, known as Rama VII, dominated the country. A group of young intellectuals who had been educated abroad staged a bloodless coup, requiring a constitution. This shift represented the first curtailment of this monarchy’s forces in over 800 years.

The constitution has experienced myriad alterations since then, มรภ.สวนสุนันทา  but the frame and fundamental tenets of their first constitution remain the backbone of the present incarnation. The constitution of 1932 created a bicameral legislative body called the National Assembly. The Lower House has been chosen by popular vote, as the Upper House was made by the King and his cabinet. It’s no real surprise this and other elements of the ministry reflect Western notions, since lots of the proponents of these coup were educated in the West. But as much as the initial constitution tried for democracy, it’d take a long time for democracy to truly take hold.

More importantly, the democratic ideals of this coup fell by the wayside. King Prajadhipok went into exile following the coup, also eventually abdicated the throne rather than accept what had become a military dictatorship. After King Prajadhipok abdicated, he issued this statement about the impasse involving himself and the new authorities:

“that I am ready to start the powers I formerly exercised into the people as a whole, but I am willing to turn them over to some individual or any group to used in an autocratic manner without heeding the voice of those people.”

The government-appointed Prince Ananda Mahidol as king, a movement clearly intended to erode the strength of the monarchy further. It’d be another 15 years before Thailand recovered a functional king.

Sadly, that has been the situation that had developed. Immediately after the coup, internal battles for power stymied any possible advancement. Although the proponents of this coup had shot Western notions of democracy, they’d discounted any principle ideals. Especially, a few of new leaders urged that a single party strategy. When the initial struggles for power had been finished, the coup had succeeded in exchanging one full authorities for another. Thankfully, the regime followed on various reforms, such as instruction, however it left for a very slow rise to Christianity.

The inappropriately termed monument was assembled in stunning Art Deco style in 1939, with Thai-style flourishes just like the fountains constituting the mythical Naga snake in the mouth area of Garuda, the half-man, half-bird deity. The military ruler of this new regime, Plaek Phibulsonggram, known as Phibun, commissioned the work. It was made to function as the guts of a fresh, Westernized Bangkok. The Democracy Monument would stand at the mind of Ratchadamnoen Klang Road at the same way as the Arc de Triomphe of Paris stands at the mind of this Champs-Elysees. One can observe the parallels, and the positive legacy that Phibun’s regime could officially argue is one among its modernization plans. But, giving the name”Democracy” to a monument commemorating a coup which resulted in a military dictatorship was blatant propaganda.

The construction of the monument was very popular at that moment. This region of the city planted many shops which were mostly owned by Chinese. They were evicted with just 60 days notice. The widening of Ratchadamnoen Klang Road caused the cutting edge of 200 shade trees, so no small thing in a city as sexy as Bangkok, particularly in the days before air conditioning.

Mew Aphaiwong, who was the god of a high ranking official, designed the monument to become entangled with symbolism. The center piece is just a round turret using a gold bowl which holds a carved representation of their 1932 constitution. The 4 towers represent that the four branches of the Thai military that performed the coup. Since the coup took place on the 24th day of June, each tower stands 24 meters tall. The fundamental turret is three meters high, representing June, which is the third month in the Buddhist calendar. Both tenets of the Phibun regime, liberty, internal peace, equality, freedom, economy and education are represented with the six gates of this turret.

The sculptures at the bottom of each tower were done by an Italian sculptor named Corrado Feroci. He was a Thai citizen that travelled by the Thai name Silpa Bhirasi. The sculptures are just another little bit of propaganda and are largely inaccurate. They recount various scenes of their coup and depict the ideals of this regimen in a very biased manner.

The actual history of the monument is largely ignored by Thais as they assign new meaning to it to the present moment. As an instance, a new celebration for King Bhumibol’s 80th birthday has been held here. To keep a conference in honor of their king at this location might be viewed marginally unsuitable because the monument commemorates a coup which took powers from the monarchy and also led to the abdication of among their king’s temptations. The monarchy has since struck a balance with the chosen government, and the power struggles of this Phibun regime are in the abandoned past. Now, everyone else focuses on Thailand’s future.