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The Thailand Coup

Rather than saying bits and pieces about the Coup in my blog entries, I thought I'd make one blog entry that I'll graduatally add to with all my thoughts on the Coup, that way the rest of my blog can stay unpolitical.

I've seen a bit of what the Australian media and the Australian government has been saying about the coup. The official advisory said diplomats shouldn't send their kids to school, other things have said that people should stay indoors, keep away from busy areas and don't take any photos or do any filming. I think the coup leaders are justified in being upset with the foreign media for saying things like that.

Today, I saw on the front cover of the Bangkok Post, Thailands biggest English newspaper, a photo of a kid dressed in kahki gear, holding a toy gun, posing in front of one of the tanks. If there was any issue with taking photos in public places, a photo like that would never have made it to the front page of a local newspaper. Rather, I think the coup leaders are very happy for images like that to be posted, because they want everything to be as transparent as possible.

I read that a survey of 1550 random Bangkok residents, http://www.bangkokpost.net/News/25Sep2006_news02.php, showed that something like 97% of residents welcomed the coup, while around 90% were "comfortable" with the military presence, and around 80% said it made them feel "safe". Being here on the ground in Thailand, I completely agree. There is nothing intimidating about the military presence, they are all very friendly, and they want everything to be as smooth as possible. My impression is that they regret that things have come to this, and so want to do everything they can to avoid any inconvenience to residents and especially tourists. Indeed, while we have such a strong military presence in and around the place, and in light of the recent terrorist attacks, I would say that Thailand is a safer place.

As for whether the coup is right or wrong. I read a very interesting opinion column in the Bangkok Post this morning: http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/25Sep2006_news15.php. The writer argued that the reasons for the coup were all right, but morally, the coup was wrong. I think I have to agree with the writer. It is however, very easy for us, knowing nothing of Thai politics, to simply say because it is a coup, it is wrong. One thing I've noticed since coming to Thailand, is that Thai people are very smart, and very friendly. This is not a third world country, where the people don't know what is good for them. Many of them are educated, and they have a very strong desire to help out others. Anytime I was looking unsure or lost, someone would ask me if I needed help. And, they are definitely not a violent group of people. Many of them are very religious, strong Budhists, and believe strongly that what goes around comes around.

So here we are in Thailand, a non violent country, with a military coup that is welcomed. That in my opinion is a very strong sign. If there was any shred of doubt in these people that a military coup was a bad thing, you would think they wouldn't welcome it, that they would strongly oppose. Rather, we see that soldiers are given flowers and cold drinks on the street.

So, my overall opinion of this coup, is that while it is sad that it came to this, it is not a bad thing. I can't comment on the cause, because I am not Thai, but I trust the Thai peoples judgment that it was necessary. And certainly, from what I have seen on the streets, I have every confidence in the coup leaders will resolve it quickly and peacefully.

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About

Hi! My name is James Roper, and I am a software developer with a particular interest in open source development and trying new things. I program in Scala, Java, PHP, Python and Javascript, and I work for Lightbend as a developer on Lagom. I also have a full life outside the world of IT, am a passionate Christian, enjoy playing a variety of musical instruments and sports, and currently I live in Canberra.

I also have a another blog called Roped In about when my wife and I lived in Berlin for a year to help a church reconnect with its city.