The good old days
Posted June 10, 2010on:
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)?
Postwar Thailand (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; and amid the chaos 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. 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.
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. with student activists taking to the streets to support the peasants and to protest against corruption in government.
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.
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, one hopes.
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