Return to Normalcy…or at least as normal as it gets in Thailand!

I’m sure you all have heard by now that on Sunday a new temporary Thai civilian Prime Minister was named and sworn in. Despite the fact that he is a former general, he is a highly respected and trusted individual. Directly prior to this he was a member of the Privy Council, the advisory council to the King who also act as his voice at times to….the word of the Privy Council is basically the word of the King. The members of the council are highly respected among the Thai public and all the news here has been nothing but positive for the new PM.

On Monday the troops and tanks withdrew from Bangkok, marking the full return to normalcy. Though I was reading in the newspaper today that coup leaders, now calling themselves the Council for National Security, are keeping martial law in place indefinitely, saying that the situation is still rather unstable (which I can’t say really seems to be the case seeing what’s going on here). Alas, all the news here remains to be very positive. In an interesting sidenote, General Prem, the president of the Privy Council and a former Prime Minister (who was thought to have given the okay for the coup before it happened) related Thaksin with Adolf Hitler…if that gives you any idea how he was thought of against his opponents here.

In this interesting English-language Thai news program that I’ve discovered, they occasionally do these commentaries, and there was an interesting bit the other night in regards to the coup. He was mentioning how the cabinet the new PM is assembling is a “dream team,” and then mentioned that after all the coups they tend to have a great year following the coup when they assemble a “dream team” and have a year where they go around and fix everything. Then, as he put it, we (as in Thailand) return to elected leaders and they screw everything up and then we have another coup in 10-15 years. That’s the way it goes in Thailand, he said…get used to it.

On a personal note, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed lately as the term is winding down. All my classes are term length classes (quarters) so I have finals in all of them next week (essay exams in Thai Ways and Introduction to Buddhism, and an oral exam for Thai). I also had a research paper due today for my Buddhism class which I’ve been busy with all week, but that’s finally done with. While the term system is nice, as your taking less classes at the same time, but I just had midterms a couple weeks ago! All this stuff runs to close together! Anyways, I’ll get a week-long break next Friday and I’ll be heading to Vietnam then, which is bound to be interesting!

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