In addition to praying, singing the national anthem, reciting the school motto and listening to a mini faculty lecture, every Bangkok public school student must add singing the royal anthem to the morning routine – starting today.
Bangkok Gov. Aswin Kwanmuan ordered Monday that every school in Bangkok must play the royal anthem every morning for students to sing along to following their recitation of the national anthem. The order went into effect today.
According to Aswin, the practice will “foster love and respect” toward the three institutions, or so-called “trinity” of nation, religion and monarchy. The order applies to public schools operated in Bangkok over which City Hall has authority.
It comes on the heels of a massive weekend military parade declaring loyalty to His Majesty the King and a broad effort to instill allegiance to the crown.
Gen. Aswin, a former police general, was a loyalist appointed by the ruling junta to the post four years ago after it removed the elected governor from office following a scandal.
The royal anthem is typically played before any performance, whether on the stage or in the cinema. Refusal to stand when the song is played is frowned upon and some cases have led to people being pilloried and publicly shamed by ultra-royalists.
The anthem is played at schools, but usually at their discretion.
Earlier this month, a school in Pathum Thani province was found to be using a decibel meter to punish students who didn’t sing the national anthem loud enough. Despite describing it as a “disciplinary measure,” the school stopped the practice after it was roundly criticized.