On this episode of the Bangkok Podcast, we interview Ron Morris, the author of The Thai Book: A Field Guide to Thai Political Motivations. But before we get into that discussion, Greg goes into (thankfully minor) detail about his second experience with food poisoning after 16 years of eating street food.

Given the size of Greg, it’s safe to say he’s an expert on street food. But despite eating his way through, under, around, and on top of Bangkok for his entire time here, he has only been sick from eating street food once. Until last week. There was no hospital visit or death bed vigils, but the crab curry he ate made sure he spent a “lot of time alone, in a small room,” if you get the drift. Nothing to do with Thai food…it could happen anywhere. But still…you play with fire, you get burned.

But our main topic today is miles away from street food yet still very much in the street. Ron Morris is an author and Thai political commentator who has been in Asia for decades. As the man behind, he’s built up a reputation as someone who calls it like it is, with a keen insight into the motivations and reasoning behind the often murky – even opaque – political machinations of Thailand’s leaders.

Evo’s discussion with him is broken into “chapters” which Evo and Greg comment on, but they include topics such as:

  • What Bangkok was like in the 1990s when Ron’s first coup took place, the infamous Black May protest of 1992, which saw 52 deaths
  • Why protests in Thailand are seen as a very last resort before it hits the fan, unlike in western countries where protest is a sign of a strong, stable democracy
  • The concepts of “face” and “big man” and how they guide relationships, reactions, business, and politics
  • Why it’s impossible to graft the western ideas of liberal/conservative/libertarian etc onto Thai political parties
  • Ron’s comments on the current administration, and what they’re doing that others have not.

Love, Loathe, or Leave

This week is more of a “Would You Rather”, but Greg and Evo discuss transportation in the rainy season. Which do you prefer: having a car, deciding when/how/where you go, controlling your environment….and possibly getting stuck in traffic for 3 hours? Or would you rather be crushed into the BTS, fighting off commuters and splashes from the rain…but have a pretty good idea of when you’ll get home? OR…how about just ignoring all of that and riding between the cars on a motorbike…but having to deal with wet shoes and rain gear?

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See you next time on The Bangkok Podcast!