Well, I must say, 36 hours after the coup that made world news, things in Thailand (well at least in Hua Hin) are very calm. I went into town last night, and if you hadn’t heard about what was going on in Bangkok, you wouldn’t have known it by the state of things in Hua Hin! It was totally business as usual. Absolutely nothing was different, except for the fact that the banks were all closed, as yesterday was declared a national holiday by the military leaders. Hence why we didn’t have class. But I really must say that the attitudes here in Hua Hin seem rather lethargic about the whole matter! Even what I’m hearing from Bangkok sounds that way as well!
I think part of that is the fact that the majority of Thais welcomed his coup with open arms. There was a poll in the English-language newspaper The Nation this morning that said that 81% of the people in Bangkok agree with the coup and 86% of the people in the provinces (Thaksin’s stronghold) agreed with it! I should emphasize that Thaksin was so strongly disliked, but at the same time supported by a minority. There have been a whole slew of newspaper articles lately about this huge demonstrations and one in particular I saw talked about how Thaksin’s party Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais) were warning academics not to hold demonstrations! The general consensus here seems to be that this was necessary though.
We are still under martial law and the big effect of that is that gatherings in excess of 5 people are outlawed and punishable by 6 months in jail. Also the military has power to censor the media as well, and they just announced that political parties are forbidden from meeting and new political parties are forbidden from being formed. The TV stations are back on the air and it sounds as if we’ll be in this situation for two weeks, while they appoint a new Prime Minister. I should re-emphasize that everything here is so calm! This really isn’t what I expected a coup or political turmoil to be like…it feels a bit like a lighted stick of dynamite that was extinguished. A whole bunch of excitement over what feels like nothing here. Oh well…no complaints!
I guess I’ll see a bit more first hand as I will be heading to Bangkok tomorrow to pick up my passport from the Vietnamese Embassy. That’s all for now…we’ll see how things are in Bangkok and how this whole thing turns out!