Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I don’t know what the hell is going on. I woke at 4 AM and read on Drudge that there had been a military coup. I live six subway stops and a dollar cab ride from downtown Bangkok so nothing happened around me.

There have been rumors of a coup for weeks, all in the form of denials, all in the very unreliable English language newspapers. Those papers have been pushing the unrest for quite a while. Perhaps I’d better watch what I say since that faction now seems to be in charge.

Martial law has been declared. How will that affect me? Probably not at all if I stay away from downtown. I don’t know if the schools will be open. The three English language news channels are off the air. All the Thai channels have been showing the same archive footage tribute to the king. Now (5:26 AM) a lady spokesperson is making an announcement on all the Thai channels.

Thaksin, the now deposed leader, has been a populist politician. He is famous for work projects out in the hinterlands. That has made him a hero in rural areas. That has given him a voting block that insured him victory in every election. There has been much gnashing of teeth in the large cities because of this.

Now, at 5:36, all the Thai channels have gone back to the archive footage of the king.

I, of course, am neutral in all this, being a farang. In truth, I have no idea if the charges against Thaksin are of merit. The main charge seems to be corruption. All I know is that things seemed to be running okay. The Thai baht was stronger than ever and the economy was healthy.

We will see where all of this leads.

UPDATE: It is 8 AM, 20 September 2006 Bangkok time. Still no local TV programs on the air. The spokeslady comes on occasionally to repeat her announcement. The English language news channels are still off. It is interesting that the local newspapers were delivered though there is a blackout of other news sources. Could it be because the papers supported the coup? Was their tone exultant, or is that my imagination?

The Thai baht was down over one percent.

Schools are closed. Our maid didn’t come to work. The town seems closed down. I’m told that public transit is not running. I’m not going out to find out.


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