Good morning, afternoon, evening or night depending on where and when in the wide world this happens to find you. It is a steamy rainy Tuesday night here in Bangkok, and I’m sad to report that I’ve come down with a bit if the Bangkok belly once again. I usually get it twice a year or so, but it gets less and less severe the years I continue to make my home here in South East Asia. When you first visit Thailand you are warned not to eat food off the street, not have ice in your drinks, and never to eat peeled fruit from vendors. However, as the years roll by the temptation is to great and so you start to become adventurous and tempt the fates from time to time. This type of tempting catches up with most ex-pats eventually and we all succumb to usual few days of extreme non-comfort of food poisioning. It’s almost a right of passage here I guess.
However, enough of that unpleasantness and on to the topic i wanted to talk to you guys about today. I received an extremely nice email from Craig and Leslie over at the Royal Pains today, and thought I’d talk about their question in my post. Those two never cease to inspire my writings, so if you’ve a bit of free time make sure you go over to their website and check them out. I guess the rumors of another possible coup de’tat here in Thailand have reached you guys at home, so I’d like to let you know I’m all safe and sound with no worries about unfolding events. I remember that I did panic during the last coup that we had here, but when soldiers were presented with flowers and garlands my fears soon turned to amusement. The elected government was overthrown over night and the constitution was ripped up, and to my surprise the local population seemed over joyed as events 2 years ago. However, in a very short period of time the exact same government has been re-elected once again and so coup rumors have been non-stop since the last election ballot was counted. However, you may ask, if people are so very unhappy with this group of politicians then why give them back the government again? Why did they win again if they are such terrible and corrupt leadership? I am by no means defending the current leadership, because if you do a tiny bit of research you will see that they are in fact an extremely corrupt group of leaders. Watching and reading the local news is very often like an episode of the Sopranos, as the leaders of the country act like thugs and mob bosses you see in old gangster movies. They do and act as they please without a single interest for the wants of the people, but i guess the same could be said of governments the world over…including my very own.
I think a large part of the problem here can be traced back to flaws in the country’s education system. I read a short article today in the newspaper and a professor in the top university here in Thailand was quoted as saying “Thais lacked discipline, are not punctual and prefer light work, jobs in the service industry or those involving religion or philosphy would be the most suitable for them.” He went on later in the article to say that problem was that “the Thai school system was unnecessarily developed and based on Western doctrines.”
Shocking isn’t it, but keep in mind this is coming from a supposed expert in Education here in Thailand. I had the opportunity to travel upcountry last year to visit one of these ‘over developed’ village schools and I think the students sitting on the floor in open air classrooms doing their best to achieve some semblance of learning might disagree with the esteemed professor. If they were any less developed they would sitting under a tree scratching in the dirt for their daily lessons. Now…take some time and think about this. You see, when election times come in Thailand It was the villages and members of Thai society outside Bangkok that elected the previous and current government, so I don’t think it is fair to say we are dealing with a problem of “over developed” school systems and the “evil influences” of western society. If anything, these members of society need their system of education developed further in the worse kind of way and then in time, as an adequate education system takes it course, they can perhaps learn what their votes really mean beyond a 200 baht hand out. This cycle of election-coup-election-coup could be corrected with advances in education in the country at large, for as the education level rises in the general population the elite that maintain control would begin to loose their grip. Individuals like this Education Expert would lose their mass of locals only suited to the service industry, and the country could move forward. However, it is in the best interest of the ruling elite here to keep the general populace blissfully unaware.
So, could there be another coup ‘detat? Maybe. Am I concerned? Not in the least. Hope you have a great week ahead and will talk to you in the next few days.