Thongchai Thailand

The good old days

Posted on: June 10, 2010

  1. Reference: Cry beloved country, Bangkok Post, June 10, 2010: Did we grow up in the best of times and have we subsequently squandered the nation’s resources and stolen our children’s future (Cry beloved country, Bangkok Post, June 10, 2010)?
  2. In the 2nd War, after the Japanese invasion of Thailand, Thailand and Japan signed a military alliance that essentially overrode Thailand’s stated neutrality and placed Thailand squarely in the axis. When the allies won, Thailand was a defeated nation with its military alliance with Japan having backfired.
  3. Postwar Thailand then called Siam, began with the humiliation of defeat and being forced to return territory to the colonial powers. King Mahidol was killed in a mystery assassination that shook the nation, embroiled the prime minister, and created chaos in government.
  4. It was amid this chaos that the army seized power and brought back a corrupt former prime minister to head  a new government. Political opposition was ruthlessly suppressed. Extra judicial killings were rampant and unchecked.
  5. Successive counter-coup attempts split the armed forces with the navy at war with the army. All of the counter coup attempts were brutally suppressed and the winners went on a vindictive rampage against the navy. Thereafter there was a musical chair of constitutions. Protests by civil society was savagely crushed.
  6. When their puppet government stopped taking orders the army took over in a bloodless coup and ran the country with an iron hand. In spite of it a communist insurgency and a peasant uprising took hold and the country descended into anarchy. Student activists took to the streets to support the peasants and to protest against corruption in government.
  7. The army responded with yet another army-managed constitution and elected government but opposition to government corruption was by now unyielding; and once again the army was forced to carry out a coup against itself and abrogate its own constitution and dissolve its own government.
  8. During this period the citizens lived in constant fear of its government, the insurgents, of war with Vietnam, and of annihilation by nuclear war. Those were not the best of times and even the horror of the war with the red shirts and the burning of department stores in Bangkok would not make any Thai wish for a return to those times.
  9. Since those days, the Vietnam war and American aid and investment in Thailand created a modern transportation and industrial infrastructure, diversified the economy, and brought Thailand out from a third world Asian backwater into a modern global economy. What we leave for our children today is a glorious future compared with what our parents left for us back then.

Cha-am Jamal, Thailand

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