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    Posted June 20, 2014 by
    Bangkok, Thailand
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Thai military declares coup

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    A Brief Report to Tourists on the Political Situation in Thailand


    As an expat living and working in Thailand for the past quarter century, my attitude has certainly become more Thai in many respects: explaining how a coup could be seen as a positive development is one such cultural contradiction encountered in times such as these.
    After months of increasing confrontation and violence on the streets, it became clear to many involved that extraordinary action needed to be taken before the situation deteriorated to a far worse state. Thus the military intervention on May 22nd was met with relief and even understanding by diverse elements of the population, despite the common regret that the political stalemate apparently needed to be resolved in such a manner.
    As a cultural anthropologist, I would never presume to write about another culture without first immersing myself in that cultural for an extended period of time; even then, great care needs to be taken when attempting to write about – to represent or speak for – a culture or people not one’s own. Unfortunately, many (primarily) Western governments and influential international media outlets have not taken these basic steps, leading to negative consequences to the Thai economy in general and to the very substantial Thai tourism industry in particular.
    Travelers and potential tourists living abroad are thus exposed to what is often highly biased if not fearful perspectives on how life is on the ground throughout the Kingdom at this time. Although neither a political scientist nor a journalist, I can report on my experience of daily life in Thailand the past month, which is carrying on as normal. Work and travel throughout the country is unrestricted and functioning normally.
    In short, Thailand is now safer for travel than it was before the coup, and the support and contributions that tourists make to the lives of many working people are important and most welcomed. Frankly, there’s probably no better time to visit Thailand than now: the heat has broken; the afternoon rains are typically short and refreshing; crowds are slim on the ground; and there are amazing deals and promotions to be had throughout the Kingdom. You are well-advised to seize the day, come, and enjoy your stay.

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