The politics edition 

Thailand has just announced that their king has died. I expect a lot of you are thinking, “I didn’t know Thailand had a king!” In fact, until he died, he was the longest surviving reigning monarch. (Now it’s Queen Lizzy II.)

Until I moved here, I was pretty much ignorant of the vast majority of Asian politics. Let’s see how you do in this little quiz.

1. How long was King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s reign?

a) 82 years and 19 days

b) 70 years and 126 days

c) 51 years and 361 days

d) 63 years and 265 days

2. What type of government is The Kingdom of Thailand?

a) Absolute monarchy

b) Constitutional monarchy

c) Constitutional monarchy under a military junta 

d) Theocracy 

3. Which of these is true of Cambodia?

a) The prime minister, Hun Sen has led Cambodia for over 25 years.

b) Cambodia has a democracy

c) Cambodia has a constitutional monarchy

d) All of the above

4. Which of these Asian countries is a one-party state?

a) North Korea

b) Laos

c) Vietnam

d) All of the above

5. Which party won the 1993 general election in Cambodia?

a) FUNCINPEC

b) Cambodian People’s Party

c) Buddhist Liberal Democrat Party

d) A hung parliament 

6. What happened next?

a) HRH Prince Norodom Ranariddh became prime minister

b) The previous prime minister refused to relinquish power

c) There were two prime ministers for a while

d) All of the above

7. When is the next general election in Cambodia?

a) 1st January 2017

b) 22nd July 2018

c) 9th August 2025

d) There will be no elections for the foreseeable future.

8. What happened to Kem Ley, a Cambodian political analyst, on 10 July 2016?

a) He died peacefully in his sleep

b) He became deputy prime minister

c) He announced his support of prime minister Hun Sen

d) He was assassinated as he drank coffee in a café.

Answers

1. b) He is the 17th longest reigning monarch ever (that can be historically verified). The monarchy is highly revered in Thailand and showing disrespect to them can result in severe, even capital, punishment. It’s even illegal to discuss succession.

2. c) There was a military coup in 2014.

3. d) You’d be forgiven for choosing another option: many would say it is a sham democracy and essentially a dictatorship.

4. d)

5. d) It was a hung parliament with FUNCINPEC receiving the highest number of votes.

6. d) FUNCINPEC’s leader was HRH Prince Norodom Ranariddh so he became prime minister. However, Hun Sen, leader of the Cambodian People’s Party and refused to step down as prime minister. Therefore the prince was first prime minister and Hun Sen second prime minister (which is slightly oxymoronic) for a number of years. In 1997, Hun Sen gained power as sole prime minister in what many regard as a military coup.

7. b)

8. d) Kem Ley was shot multiple times while drinking coffee at a cafe in a petrol station in Phnom Penh. Kem Ley was highly critical of Cambodia’s government, so his murder is regarded with much suspicion. His funeral was attended by thousands of mourners.

Hopefully you now know some more about Asian politics, and know just about as much as I do.

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