- Posted May 24, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Thai military declares coup
Inconvienence but no danger
Situation in Bangkok
Bangkok is very calm this Saturday. The only differences now and before the "coup" for residents and tourists are the lack of TV, (info) and the curfew. Military presence on the streets is minimal and it seems even less than before the coup but then in Bangkok you rarely see police on the streets. You see much more police presence on the streets in any American city than you do in Thailand.
I am an American university professor here and have daily contacts with my students and colleagues, both Thai and international.
There are different kinds of "coup"
The military coup here is not the same as people in the west are accustomed to hearing about. This intervention is supported by a large faction of the civilian population and in fact by most of the power base in the country, and it is rooted in the politics of the country. To fully understand requires an awareness of Thai history and customs. Safe to say that this is not a normal "coup" the way the West thinks of it. The only people I have seen react with alarm to this are the westerners here in Bangkok. The Thai people here are calmer after the coup than they were before. Also this was not a surprise. This was expected, mainly because the two rival political factions were reaching a confrontation point which no one wanted but neither side could back down from. This is not a radical takeover move by a small group of individuals, but a temporary middle of the road solution, mainly supported by one of the power blocks to achieve a larger problem. Therefore a lot of the people here look upon the coup as being an act which will ensure more stability rather than as a threat to liberty as people in the West would view it.
In the West the fear is that when the military takes over, they have absolute power and that abuses may follow. Here there is a higher power, that being the Monarchy, and therefore the people do not fear that the military will try to assume total power, rather they look upon the coup as a stabilizing force, when the politics get to be too chaotic.
Tourists here can get information via the internet and newspapers. Bangkok post newspaper has a good website in English, but honestly there is not much news to report as the daily life of residents here or tourists is not affected, apart from the curfew, which will curtail a lot of the nightlife and make it more difficult for tourists to move bout in the evenings. Many have found a way around it by staying all night in clubs and bars. It just means a little more drinking, but many are actually enjoying that.
The situation for tourists
In short, at the moment there is relatively no danger, no insecurity and people are going about their usual work and leisure routines
Inconveniences yes there are, mainly in terms of the curfew and lack of TV. Business and shops are operating as usual, with reduced hours. Schools are closed till Monday, but are scheduled to reopen
Thai people have a habit of living and working and making do around change and chaos, so except for the adjustment to the curfew, Bangkok is not much different today than usual.