Coming from a company that specializes in Thailand tours, this blog post might at first sound a bit self serving, but its important that the traveling public be properly informed. The truth is, Thai people, most of the 65 million of them, are categorically happy, pleased and excited about the military coup that took place on May 22, 2014. If you followed the news, you know that this is the 12th coup since the mid 1930’s.
I won’t explain all the background details as to why this particular coup took place as this blog would be far too long but I will focus on what is happening right now, this summer. Basically, whats going on in Thailand is one heck of a good house cleaning. Thai military leaders are systematically cleaning house. In various levels of government, corrupt politicians, corrupt police throughout the country are being sacked. Organized crime, bad boys in general and the Phuket taxi mafia are all being thoroughly routed. Thai people are very pleased about all this. The English newspapers such as the Bangkok Post remain untouched. Thai owned media, TV, radio and newspapers have been taken over by the military for the time being because all or most of those media outlets were personally owned by the former Prime MInister, Taksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in the last coup which occured in 2006 with the King’s backing. Taksin has been living in exile ever since 2006 but he has been effectively and successfully controlling Thailand through his various puppet governments and his proactive political machine. In short, this coup among other things, is an attempt to rid Thailand of Taksin’s over powering influence once and for all.
As of June 15, General Prayuth, the Thai military leader lifted all curfews nationwide, peace and reconciliation meetings are being organized country wide so that disagreeing political groups can meet within a managed environment to work out their differences. The military is barely visible or noticeable anywhere and clearly they have a soft touch! In fact at Victory Monument this week, a few soldiers were seen dancing with people in the streets.
Thailand is essentially pressing the reset button. The military plans that a interim government will be installed by September, after which a political reform process will begin. Democratic elections are planned after the political reforms are concluded, or in about 15 months time, Reforms will include amendments to the Thai constitution.
This is a victory for the common man and for the Thai people. Its a purge of corruption and of those people who abused power. For example, rice farmers are now receiving payments that the previous government had decided not to honor.
Publicly and officially, western Governments had no choice but to poo poo the coup because we in the west are advocates of democracy. So is Thailand. Unofficially, western governments are not at all unpleased because they know its really just a thorough house cleaning, Thai style!
The preceding political protests which gripped Bangkok for 6 months and involved many hundreds of thousands of people has affected Tourism. Arrivals in Thailand are down this year and there have been some cancelations. If you are considering plans for travel to Thailand this year or in 2015, have no fear, your safety is not at risk, it never was a risk. In fact, you will find that hotels and airfares are more sharply priced now. Thailand is at peace, healing has begun, Thai culture is resilient and it remains a great place to enjoy a unique or special holiday experience.