Happy Birthday Thailand Coup!

A few days ago marked the 7th anniversary where the military, once again, took over the government. The difference in this particular coup opposed to the other two that I am up to speed on is that the military didn't release power of the government after they took over.


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I didn't yet live in this country when it happened, but from what I have heard / read it was entirely bloodless and the government didn't even resist when the military took over Bangkok. The current Prime Minister Prayut(h) was a General during the coup and is largely considered the brains behind the operation. At first, this action on his part was seen as disgraceful by the international community and from what my Thai friends have said, this is only possible because the party that lost the election that lead to the coup happening has strong support in the capitol city. Coups don't seem to happen when the "blues" take over leadership, but when the "reds" do it, a coup has happened twice.


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For friends of mine that were here when it happened they told me that if someone didn't tell you that there was a takeover of the government and you didn't live in Bangkok at the time that you wouldn't really know anything happened. Nothing really changed according to them. Of course these people are not Thai so the expat community isn't exactly known for staying on top of domestic current events, doing so would cut into their golf and pub time too much.

The main reason why the government was overthrown (or so they say) was because of a lack of transparency in the previous administration and there were also claims of widespread corruption. I don't know if you know anything about Thailand but corruption is just the norm here. I would say that it is more apparent in this country than most that the rich and powerful get to do whatever they want while the everyday working man is subjected to a myriad of rules and regulations that don't affect the rich at all. The rich continue to get away with literally killing people while the poor and middle class are subjected to regular shakedowns by police and other government officials. Nowhere is this more evident than in the case of the heir to the Red Bull throne killing a police officer while driving drunk and high off of "illegal" substance.


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The fact that he got away with it surprises exactly no one that lives here and the only consequences was a short-lived boycott on all Red Bull drinks. I think most people still avoid the beverage here since we have dozens of alternatives that taste exactly the same but internationally speaking Red Bull is still a juggernaut.

The current Prime Minister is facing a lot of criticism lately over the handling of the Covid situation and prior to this happening the 3rd time there were mass protests in both Chiang Mai and Bangkok. The restrictions in place now have put a stop to that and it makes me kind of wonder if the pandemic fears are actually real or if they are being used as a political tool to stop the growing momentum of this movement.

For me and a majority of expats the administration change changed very little about our lives. We don't really have an rights in this country anyway so provided they aren't killing people in the streets I tend to keep my nose out of it. It isn't for me to decide and my opinion is less than relevant. Getting involved can actually lead to very dire situations and when I see foreigners trying to be activists in this country I feel as though they are likely going to mysteriously get deported. Thailand has had 13 coups since the start of the 20th century. That has to be some sort of record.

So Happy Birthday coup! I guess. It's hard to imagine that while a lot of the rest of the world complains about "voting irregularities" that the people of Thailand weren't really given a choice as far as their leadership is concerned, at least not 7 years ago they weren't.

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