[ti:Thai King Creates Camp for Unity Training]
[00:00.04]Thousands of Thai government workers, police and teachers are being sent to a military camp
[00:08.97]for training in community service and loyalty to Thailand's King.
[00:16.88]The Reuters news agency talked to trainees, organizers
[00:22.84]and an official in the Prime Minister's office about the training program.
[00:29.40]They said it was established last year.
[00:33.58]The program shows how King Maha Vajiralongkorn is influencing the country's government
[00:42.46]and society more than any Thai ruler since 1932, experts said.
[00:51.07]That was the year in which Thailand's absolute monarchy ended.
[00:58.28]Seven workers who completed the Volunteer Spirit 904 training
[01:04.79]told Reuters they woke up before sunrise to exercise.
[01:10.16]They also lined up to work on military salutes
[01:15.29]before classes on the history of Thai kings and training for community service.
[01:23.72]The training lasts from 15 days to six weeks.
[01:29.26]Those completing the program are named "Officials in His Majesty's Service"
[01:35.88]and told to work to help the monarchy.
[01:40.36]Their efforts are followed through messaging apps, the graduates said.
[01:47.76]An official at the Prime Minister's office, Theerapat Prayurasuddhi, coordinates the 904 classes.
[01:57.50]The Royal Palace directed all questions to his office.
[02:03.96]"The King has the royal policy to create unity among the people," Theerapat said.
[02:11.60]"Then everything will lead to the people's happiness and a secure nation."
[02:18.84]About 3,000 people have completed the classes, he said, adding that the program was "voluntary."
[02:28.72]The palace website says the program hopes to create a group of people
[02:34.33]to "develop and defend the country and create people who are loyal to the monarchy."
[02:42.60]The King is creating public devotion in a way that Thais have not seen
[02:48.78]since the end of the absolute monarchy, said Joshua Kurlantzick.
[02:55.26]He is with the Council on Foreign Relations, based in the United States.
[03:01.40]King Vajiralongkorn is a career military officer.
[03:06.90]The training is directed by officials linked to the palace and military officers,
[03:13.13]graduates, a teacher and an organizer told Reuters.
[03:19.28]Not many details about the program have been made public.
[03:24.72]It is linked to another government-led program called "Volunteer Spirit,"
[03:30.32]which has six million members.
[03:34.44]Classes are held at the headquarters of a military regiment
[03:38.85]recently put under the king's command.
[03:43.16]Graduates told Reuters one of the main ideas of the program
[03:47.52]is that the monarchy is the best solution to Thailand's problems.
[03:54.08]Thailand is politically divided between military-royalist conservatives
[04:00.00]and supporters of populist political parties.
[04:05.00]Over the past 15 years, Thailand has had violent political protests
[04:11.08]and two times, in 2006 and 2014, the military ousted the elected government.
[04:21.44]All political parties have expressed support for the monarchy.
[04:28.16]Sinchai Chaojaroenrat has written books on Thai culture and religions.
[04:34.50]He says the 904 program is part of an effort
[04:38.83]to unite the monarchy with "every government agency."
[04:44.84]Thailand is a constitutional monarchy, but the King has a lot of power.
[04:52.44]Vajiralongkorn has shown his power in several ways,
[04:57.00]say people who closely watch his public actions.
[05:02.48]The King personally controls the monarchy's wealth, estimated to be about $30 billion.
[05:11.56]Last month, he took command of two Bangkok-based army units.
[05:18.16]Since they were started, the 904 courses have been expanded from palace officials,
[05:25.24]soldiers, police and government workers to university teachers and even students.
[05:33.36]I'm Susan Shand. 更多聽力請訪問51VOA.COM