Sunday, June 1, 2014

Coup Update

A week ago I made fun of the poorly informed news coverage from Vancouver on the recent military coup in Thailand (no, there was not a coup in Taiwan).  While I do love a good opportunity to poke fun at Canada, the U.S. really isn't much better.  The L.A. Times got the headline okay, but the caption under the picture in the article below gave me a good laugh.  The picture of the supposedly empty Bangkok airport was not taken at the airport at all, but rather at the Terminal 21 Mall in central Bangkok.  And yes, the mall was closed at the time of the photo (malls do close at night, even in Bangkok).

On a side note, if you ever visit Bangkok and need to go to a mall, Terminal 21 is a cool one.  Every floor is designed to represent a different international city, with the escalators in between the floors designed to be airport gates.  My favorite floor is Istanbul where all the shops are done like Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, although I do also enjoy stopping for a bathroom break in Tokyo, or catching a movie in Hollywood.

Getting back on topic, the military has been in control of Thailand for a week and a half now. Recent statements from the military leaders indicate elections could be 15 months away, so it is quite possibly we will live out the rest of our time here under military rule.  Initially the 10 PM curfew felt a little bit like I was back in high school, but now that the curfew has been relaxed to midnight I can return to my self imposed 9PM bed time.

The military has stopped much of the political protesting, although some isolated anti-coup protests have popped up.  Some have involved gatherings of hundreds of people, but most have been very small.  Any public gathering of 5 or more people is technically banned right now.  So is saying anything negative against the military.  Gatherings of 4 people, silently reading books in public locations are how Thais have taken to expressing their sentiment.

Small gatherings like the one above have not drawn much response from the military, but larger gatherings have drawn a strong military response.  The Victory Monument area in Bangkok has been the focus of a number of demonstrations followed up by the military making arrests.  When news of a demonstration hits social media the military is usually not far behind.

For us, life is still continuing as normal.  There have been no protests in our neighborhood, and the military is busy elsewhere in the city.  The army bunker that was stationed outside our condo gate for months is now gone, and I haven't seen any military in our neighborhood in a few weeks now.

No comments:

Post a Comment