In the world of academia, Pavin Chachavalpongpun is known as an associate professor at one of Japan’s most prestigious universities, a sought-after expert on Southeast Asian politics and a regular commentator for some of the West’s largest newspapers.

But in his native Thai, Pavin might write a lengthy Facebook post about the monarchy one minute, and in the next follow up with a TikTok video in which he lip-syncs in a theatrical manner to a traditional, not-to-be-mocked song praising the king, all while employing an array of the app’s comical filters.

What Pavin calls his “split personality” — part academic, part brash, unfiltered social media entertainer — has made him an internet celebrity in Thailand and helped foster serious, and not-so-serious, discussions about the monarchy in a country where a strict lese majeste law punishes criticism of the royals with up to 15 years in prison.