The content in this page ("Where learned you that oath, fool?" by Harrison George) is not produced by Prachatai staff. Prachatai merely provides a platform, and the opinions stated here do not necessarily reflect those of Prachatai.

Where learned you that oath, fool?

‘Where learned you that oath, fool?’

(William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 1 Scene 2)


‘I, (name of the declarer), do solemnly declare that I will be loyal to His Majesty the King and will faithfully perform my duties in the interests of the country and of the people. I will also uphold and observe the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand in every respect.  Forever.’

This isn’t what they wrote down for him, is it?

Oh no, that’s what he said.  Missed out the last sentence.  Of two.  And added ‘forever’. 

So what was written down for him?

Er, not sure.  He did have a piece of paper in his hand but it seems to have, er, disappeared.


Well, let’s say no one over at Government House can find it.  Or so they say.

But it must have been printed from a computer or something.  Can’t they find it there?

Same story.  Everybody shtum.  No one saw nothing nowhere nohow. 

And we’ve been saddled with sorting it out.

Well, not really.  We just have to decide if it should be passed on the courts.  They will have to sort it out really.

And what do the courts say about it? 

Well, of course they won’t say anything official until we send it to them.  If we do.  But, er, unofficially …


Well, we have had word, and they will totally deny it of course, that they do have an opinion.

Oh good.  What is it?

‘Don’t even think of asking us to deal with it.’

Ah.  I see.  Well, perhaps I am missing something here, but it seems obvious, what with the pressures of office and all that, he must have come over all funny and forgot to say the last bit.  Could happen to any one of us.

And adding ‘forever’? 

Well at least he didn’t say ‘happily ever after.’

So if it was just a slip of the bifocals, the solution is …

Do it again.  And get it right this time.  Print it in a bigger font or bold or something.

Er, are you sure about that?

Why?  What’s the problem?

Well, he is not known for admitting to a mistake.

Oh right.  Daddy knows best. 

And it is another return flight from Germany.  And there are signs pointing the other way.

Other way?  What do you mean?

Well, if it wasn’t, er, an honest mistake, …

Stop sniggering, please.

… then it must have been deliberate.


Well, think about it.  There were cabinet ministers in the room who must have sworn this oath dozens of times, not that it’s ever stopped them, mind.  And none of them as much as raised an eyebrow.

But it’s a new constitution.

With the same old oath we’ve always had.  New constitutions are always 90% cut-and-paste from earlier versions. 

But you don’t really think he did it on purpose?

Not he.  They.  There is that cryptic comment from the junta’s so-called legal eagle.

Oh lord, not him.  What did he say?  As if I’ll ever understand it.

Well first of all he swore blind that the PM had said it properly and Future Forward had doctored the evidence.

But it’s all on video.

Quite.  So the next day he switches tactics and says ‘One day you’ll know why we shouldn’t talk about it.’  And when the reporters kept after him, he said it was something no one should stick his nose into.

So why are we sticking our noses in it?

Because it was too blatant.  That insolent lot in Future Forward spotted it, the clever clogs, and Srisuwan was only too delighted to have something new to petition about.  So it’s been all over the media, just like whatshisname’s watches.

Ah, but we managed to get out of that, didn’t we?

We did? 

Well he’s not in prison.  How exactly did we get out of that one?  I can’t just remember.

Shoved it across to the anti-corruption mob with the corrupt Deputy Secretary-General and after kicking it repeatedly down the road, they eventually did the right thing.

So that’s what we should do.  Put out a press release saying that because of the complicated nature of the issue and the serious implications for national security blah-blah, we expect to reach a decision in, er, …

Two weeks?

For starters, OK.

But how long do you really think you can sit on it?

Well, as the man himself said, forever.


Since 2007, Prachatai English has been covering underreported issues in Thailand, especially about democratization and human rights, despite the risk and pressure from the law and the authorities. However, with only 2 full-time reporters and increasing annual operating costs, keeping our work going is a challenge. Your support will ensure we stay a professional media source and be able to expand our team to meet the challenges and deliver timely and in-depth reporting.

• Simple steps to support Prachatai English

1. Bank transfer to account “โครงการหนังสือพิมพ์อินเทอร์เน็ต ประชาไท” or “Prachatai Online Newspaper” 091-0-21689-4, Krungthai Bank

2. Or, Transfer money via Paypal, to e-mail address:, please leave a comment on the transaction as “For Prachatai English”