1 year ago...
Looking through my old e-mails to try and dig out a document earlier this morning and came across this. Hard to believe it was a year ago... This last year has gone scarily fast...
Last year most people in BKK (well most of the people I knew at the time) were very optimistic when the troops came in. Taksin needed to go they said. He'd already proved that he wasn't willing to going to of his own accord...
He almost did, in April the year before last. When faced with calls to step down, he went on TV and told everyone that he was 'taking a break' from politics. At the time people took the word 'break' to mean 'resignation.' Everyone was sure he'd resigned. He then went on TV again, and on countless shopping trips all over the word announcing again, and again to anyone and everyone that would listen that he really didn't want anything to do with politics anymore. He just wanted to enjoy his time off.
However, a few months later, after a couple of bomb blasts in the South (an almost everyday occurance here now) he siezed the opportunity to sneakily worm his way back into power. No one else could deal with the terrorists in the south, he said. The country needed a strong leader. It didn't have one. There was only one person able to do the job. Him. He'd refused to go. A military coup or some other way of forcibly kicking him out was the only solution...
People really believed that the coup would be a good thing, and that once Taksin was gone, things would change for the better. That early optimism has all but disappeared. Politics is still as, if not more, messy than it ever was when the squarehead was in charge. And the 'old ginger's ' that run the government have proved to be no better than Taksin was. Thai newspapers in BKK are calling it 'a wasted year.'
Anyway here's the first mail I sent back to friends in England (other than - 'Don't worry. I'm OK. Coup not as scary as it looks on BBC News. Don't worry. Will mail soon I promise, K' on the day of the coup) that explained what I thought had happened.
>>Sorry for ccing this to everyone - but too tired and lazy to type
>>it out a million times. In case anyone wants to know, I'm OK and
>>still in BKK. Bangkok is unusually quiet but very peaceful...
>>Heres whats gone on here so far... For anyone that doesn't know
>>yet, the military staged a coup here around 9.30pm last night...
>>I was a bit worried last night, when a girl from my old work told
>>me to stay away from my old office, in case soldiers etc... came
>>there. There's been rumours that there would be a coup here, or
>>that Taksin would run away (and avoid facing up to all the
>>corruption allegations that have been plaguing him over the last
>>year or so) for weeks. The latest has been that Taksin is secretly
>>trying to flee the country, as he took an extraordinary ammount of
>>luggage (and supposedly also carried lots of cash) with him, the
>>last time he went on a jaunt abroad...
>>The people from my old work had been preparing for a big anti-govt
>>protest that was scheduled to take place at 5pm this evening, and
>>they'd jokingly taught me the thai world for revolution
>>(pa-ti-wat...) but I didn't think that it would really, really
>>happen. I also thought that if it did happen it would be during the
>>PAD protest (as everytime there has been a PAD demo there have been
>>rumours that Taksin will try and use the military or his forest
>>ranger friends to crush it... and that the violence might escalate
>>into a coup d'etat...) Though so far every since protest has been
>>Normally the protests are to get Taksin to leave (in thai - oork
>>pai...) but ironically, the latest one was supposed to be to stop
>>Taksin from coming back here. Thought I guess he won't want to (or
>>won't be able to) come back here now.
>>It was around 9pm last night when I knew that things were really
>>serious, and that a coup was definitely going to happen. My old
>>boss told me that the revolution was starting, and the guys from my
>>old office had started to organise camera crews etc... It was about
>>1/2 an hour later that the army took over the 1st TV station.
>>Others quickly followed. Last night Thai TV just showed a loop of
>>pictures of the king, and UBC (the main cable provider in BKK) cut
>>the BBC, CNBC and CNN channels. Fortunately the net cafe I was in
>>had satellite TV and everyone in there was watching BBC world.
>>The road (Th Phra Arthit) where the net cafe (and my old work is)
>>was eeriely quiet. I went to 7-11 around 10pm to fetch some food
>>for a guy from my old work and there were police at the top of the
>>road and a roadblock. Some cars were getting turned back and people
>>were getting stopped but most people were allowed to walk up and
>>down the road OK. Most of the restruants had closed or been told to
>>A couple of foreigners in the net cafe were asking where the tanks
>>were and said that they were going to see the tanks, take photos
>>etc. Some were typing messages home to friends along the lines of
>>'theres a revolution here - coool....' I could see why they're
>>excited.. but I couldn't understand why they were wanting to go and
>>see what was happening. I guess they didn't really know what was
>>going on - or that.. had the pro-Taksin troops decided to obey
>>orders and stage some sort of counter coup... - that it could have
>>become really hairy...
>>Ever since the anti-govt protests first started, people from my old
>>work have told me how dangerous they could become. How, in Thai
>>history, peaceful anti-govt protests have often been crushed by
>>force. So last night, when everyone was still pretty uncertain as
>>to who has carried out the coup, whether it had really suceeded or
>>not, and whether there was likely to be any kind of reaction from
>>the Pro-Taksin side, I was quite worried, and desperate to know
>>what was going on.
>>I logged onto the BBC and nation websites, MSN and the thai visa
>>forum and sat glued to the news till around 2am. There were loads
>>of rumours on the net last night. People suggested that the phone
>>networks would be cut off, that internet access would be stopped
>>and that Pro Taksin troops might stage a counter coup. I wanted to
>>stay up to hear Taksin's address to the UN, but as soon as I found
>>out it was cancelled I went back home.
>>I took a cab home and the cabbie was listening to a loop of songs
>>about the king. I asked the cabbie whether he'd been to 'Th
>>Ratchadamneon or Tum Neeyep (govt house)' the 2 places I'd
>>recognised where I'd seen piccies of the tanks... He said hed seen
>>about 9 tanks there but that I shouldn't be scared. The revolution
>>was between the military and not did not concern people. I asked
>>him whether he thought it was good or not (as its a cliche here
>>that all the taxi drivers in BKK support Taksin.) He said that the
>>soldiers support the king, and that, if they support the king then
>>it's good for Thailand.
>>Most people here seem to support what has happened (but then BKK is
>>very different from the countryside.) In BKK, where people have
>>money and access to newspapers and alternative media, Taksin is
>>derided and has become a 'square faced, crook' a real hate figure.
>>Upcountry, people watch local TV, happily take his party's
>>handouts and believe his promises so he's revered. It will be
>>interesting to se whether the whole country really suports the coup
>>or not. There's been an announcement on TV this afternoon asking
>>farmers not to do anything. The same annoucement also said that
>>foreigners had no need to worry.
>>Walking down my road last night there were few signs that anything
>>unusual had occured. People were singing karaoke and eating and
>>drinking in the roadside restraunts. At home no one seemed to be
>>bothered by what had happened. There's wireless internet access in
>>the cafe in my apartment block but I didn;t see a single person
>>using the net or reading the news. People were studying or talking
>>about TV and movies.
>>The guy who sells food in the cafe in my apartment block knows I
>>used to work for **** so he asked me whether I'd seen the soldiers
>>or not, and what I knew about the coup, but no one else seemed
>>interested. If I hadn;t spent the previous 5 hours frantically
>>searching for news I would have no idea that there had been any
>>kind of problem here at all.
>>I was a bit worried about the guys and girls at my old work but, so
>>far things have turned out to be OK. No soldiers came here. It was
>>only the govt/army controlled stations - and itv - that were taken
>>over by the army.
>>This morning, other than the fact that the banks and schools are
>>closed BKK seems pretty normal. When I walked down my street this
>>morning, although everyone was talking about the soldiers and the
>>coup, there was nothing else unusal. People sat sipping coffee and
>>eating rice soup, though the traffic was lighter than usual, the
>>boat to work was 1/2 full and there aren't that many people one the
>>Most people seem quite happy with the coup - everyone seems to
>>think something needed to be done about Taksin.... Now the soldiers
>>have become a kind of bizarre tourist attraction. People go to talk
>>to them, to take pictures with them or just to look at the tanks.
>>People have reported that the tanks on Ratchadamneon are sporting
>>yellow ribbons (yellow being the colour of the king...) and I've
>>seen a couple of soldiers and policeman down the street near my old
>>work wearing yellow ribbons too.
>>Theres been a couple of announcements from the new government
>>throughout the day. Some sound quite draconian ('political'
>>gatherings of more than 5 people punishable by up to 6 months in
>>jail) but I get the impression from people from my work that these
>>aren't going to be strictly enforced and that the military don't
>>really want to take control of the country, they just needed to
>>find some way of getting rid of Taksin.
>>It probably sounds like I'm scare mongering and over reacting, as,
>>even last night everything was peaceful, but I really think that
>>the people who went to take photos and see the tanks last night
>>could have been riskng their lifes. No one really knew what was
>>going on or how the Pro-Taksin faction in the army would react to
>>Then again, last night, no embassies gave any warnings about what
>>was happening and, until around 10.30 at night (when
>>representatives of the general who had staged the coup went on TV)
>>their was very little 'real' news... Most people had no idea what
>>was going on. Maybe the foreigner backpackers around Khao San had a
>>false sense of security.
>>Reading the news today, I'm shocked at the international reaction
>>to the coup - everyone seems to be condeming it. I guess we
>>westerners have this idea that democrary = good, and military
>>dictatorship = bad but people don't realise that Thailand wasn't a
>>'real' democrary. There was little press freedom, little respect
>>for human rights (countless people - supposed drug dealers - have
>>disappeared or been killed on orders, the government 'accidently'
>>killed lots of muslims in the south), Taksin had managed to
>>circumvent almost every consitutional check and balance upon his
>>power (committees were dissolved and never reformed, people were
>>moved sideways, and most government bodies were stuffed with his
>>cronies...) and when asked to account for his actions, he
>>frequently refused to answer questions about his politics or their
>>When people here finally pushed him into resigning, in April, he
>>sneakily crept back into power as a 'caretaker' prime minister and
>>then denied he'd ever resigned, explaining that there was a subtle
>>difference between 'resigning' and 'taking a break' and his
>>resignation was never really intended to be a resignation as such
>>(as usual the media distorted and misrepresented his speech) it was
>>just a break.
>>Most people here in BKK seem to think that a military dictatorship
>>is preferable to the last couple of months of instability and the
>>possiblility that the anti-Taksin movement would grow and
>>possibly.. turn violent. There was scheduled to be a big anti-govt
>>protest here today... One rumour flyting around yesterday night was
>>that Taksin's TRT party had invited forest rangers from Khao Yai
>>national park (civilians with big guns..) to come to BKK and take
>>on the protesters... So, if there hadn't been the coup last night
>>there could have been bloodshed today.... And that would have been
>>much much much worse....
>>Anyway just realised that I've waffled on for ages and ages. Sorry
>>!!! I hope you;re still awake after wading through all this, and
>>its not too boring... I guess the news here is that theres no news
>>really.... Its over already and we just have to wait and see how
>>the government behaves and whether things really do change for the
>>better or not. The govt have already announced that tomorrow will
>>be a normal working day. I think most people want things to get
>>back to normal asap.
>>Its gone 7pm now and BKK is as quiet and calm as it was when I
>>first started writing this early this morning. Theres supposed to
>>be more troops arriving here later, but no one seems afraid of the
>>idea of more soldiers being stationed here, or frightened about
>>what has happened, or the consequences.
>>Anyway, better sign off for now as its getting late and I wanna go
>>Will let you know if anything else happens - and yes, promise,
>>promise, promise I'll stay away from soldiers with big guns....
>>Take care, talk soon
>>Subject: RE: hiya... and RE: again !
>>Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 22:01:59 +0000
>>SMTPSVC; Tue, 19 Sep 2006 15:02:03 -0700
>>Received: from 188.8.131.52 by by106fd.bay106.hotmail.msn.com
>>with HTTP;Tue, 19 Sep 2006 22:01:59 GMT
>> >Seen it.....
>> >A military coup :-)
>> >You mind the soldiers with the big shooters......
>> >Am i right in thinking it's the king who will still be in
>> >it's just the corrupt government that is going...
>> >oh well.. anything for a party i suppose....
|Create Date : 20 กันยายน 2550
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