Happy New Year everyone! The turning over of the calendar is traditionally a time to look forward and hope that the next year will be better than the last one. 2017 will be a big year in Thailand – HM King Rama X will steer the country forward, the push to change elements of Thailand’s important Buddhist sangha is gathering steam, and an election might happen.
Why is that such a big deal? Well, because despite outward appearances and contrary to what a lot of people probably think, Thailand is a military dictatorship. Okay, dictatorship might be a strong word, but the fact of the matter is that the Land of Smiles and one of the world’s busiest tourist destinations has been under military control since the most recent coup of 2014. So if an election happens this year, it will be a big deal.
So, seeing as Thailand has had 19 attempted and successful coups in the last century or so, we thought we’d look back and discuss what it’s like to actually live through one in the hopes that we won’t have to live another one.
From the first message on his phone warning that a military takeover is underway to the time he made a panicked phone call to a friend to ask them what’s going on, Greg has seen 2 coups in his time in-country. He and Evo discuss what it’s actually like to know that a big change is happening while at the same time hoping that no one starts shooting, and how an actual coup – at least the past 2 in Thailand – are much different than what you learn about in high school.