Just when you think you've got a grip on Thailand's politics:
Their Majesties the King and Queen will graciously sponsor the funeral of Maj-General Khattiya "Seh Daeng" Sawasdipol who succumbed to brain injuries yesterday morning.
The three-day prayer rites at Sommanas temple are also under Royal patronage. The prayers started yesterday and will continue until tomorrow. The bathing rite held yesterday was attended by a large number of red-shirt supporters as well as his lone daughter Khattiyah and sister Jiaranai Matchakijborribal. The general's wife died several years ago.
So, what's up with this? I can think of three possibilities. First is that the King, by reaching out graciously to the Red's most militant figure (or, at least to his family and their honor) is trying to send a subtle signal to both sides to put aside their egos and resolve differences peacefully.
If the King of Thailand can be gracious to the man in the center of this lovely snapshot, surely the Reds and the government can find their way to each other (In the photo, taken in October 2009, from L to R: Cambodian dictator Hun Sen, Seh Daeng, Thaksin)
Or...it could simply be payback for the incident that happened last year, in which the Queen attended the funeral of a Yellow shirt supporter.
Or...there is something else going on behind the scenes, hidden from sight, and this show of His Majesty's concern is part of a larger deal.
A puzzlement, indeed.