Somsak Jeamteerasakul returns

The prominent Thai historian and monarchy reformist in exile has made an epic comeback that many people have been looking forward to for 10 months.

On the afternoon of 9 June, Somsak Jeamteerasakul returned to the comment section of a Facebook Live seminar on “Phraya Phahonphonphayuhasena: the People's Party and democratic military”. 

The seminar, held by the Textbooks Foundation, was about Phraya Phahonphonphayuhasena or Phot Phahonyothin, a Thai revolutionary who led the military wing of the People’s Party which overthrew the absolute monarchy in 1932.

Somsak Jeamteerasakul's comment

“The concern of Rama VII at the time was that Pridi took office in place of Phraya Phahon,” said Somsak in the comment section. It received more than 9.8 k reactions from Facebook users. Many congratulated him with status updates welcoming him back and Kai Meaw X, a famous political cartoon page, captured the sentiment with a cartoon post on Facebook.   

While in exile after the coup in 2014, he disappeared from Facebook in August 2018 due to a haemorrhagic stroke which paralyzed the right side of his body. Facebook users recently reported his active status but there have been no comments or status update until now.

According to BBC Thai, Jaran Ditapichai, leader of the Association des Démocrates Thaïlandais Sans Frontières and a friend of Somsak, also revealed “even though his right arm does not work well, he always practices using his left arm for eating, bathing, washing his hair, turning on his iPad, and reading Facebook for many months now.”

“Since the stroke, Somsak has received good medical treatment, and continuously practises physical therapy,” said Jaran Ditapichai. “Now his physical condition has improved.”

Somsak Jeamteerasakul

Recent thoughts often turned to Somsak in political uncertainty which no one can explain, particularly after Thai Raksa Chart’s 8 February nomination of Princess Ubolratana as a candidate for Prime Minister and rumours about an impending military coup.

An Octoberist historian who has fought for reform of the monarchy for many decades, he is a public figure who gets mixed feedback. Despite the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society’s announcement not to follow him, at least 355,000 people still follow him on Facebook and rely on his political analysis, especially when it has to do with the monarchy.