I was writing a rather lengthy post in English about my thoughts on the recent bloodless coup, but I thought I should first post a few pictures of the coup, for foreign friends and visitors who may be concerned about my safety (thank you for all the kind e-mails :)), so everyone can see how peaceful this event has been and that most of us don’t feel threatened whatsoever by these tanks and humvees. The atmosphere now in Bangkok as you can see from the pictures below is much more like Children’s Day than a country under siege.
So, enjoy the pictures. I will post longer thoughts in 1-2 days, but in the meantime, in case you are wondering:
1) I dislike military coups as much as any pro-democracy person, and I am sad it happened, but I believe the coup leaders did this in goodwill to pull the country out from a political quagmire. Their actions from now will prove or disprove this goodwill.
2) I think the fact that many Thai people support this coup shows that “democracy” comes in many shapes and forms, and that its “substance” (check & balance apparatus) is as much as, if not more, important than its “form” (going to elections).
3) There is considerable risk of a counter-coup, since forces loyal to deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra are still around, and some people are understandably very angry at the coup. But the king’s formal endorsement of coup leaders’ power structure (which he signed yesterday) should help defuse the tension.
All pictures except the second one (which is from CNN according to friend who sent it) are taken by me and a friend yesterday during our tank-photo-hunting tour of Bangkok. For much better pictures, see this post and another one at Pantip.com.
Like in any military coup around the world, lots of tanks have taken up positions in front of strategic locations in Bangkok…
…but I’m not sure how many coups see children and tourists gleefully pose for pictures (which the soldiers are happy to oblige).
All tanks have yellow ribbon around their muzzles to show allegiance to the king (yellow is symbol of king in Thailand). Many people give flowers and food, like fried rice in that plastic bag in the picture, to the soldiers.
While we were at King Rama VI monument yesterday, there were about 200-300 people taking pictures of tanks, which lined up on both sides of the monument. There were 10 tanks in total.