Saturday, June 14, 2014

Thailand: Update--Correction--"Red-Light" Districts Seemingly Are the Exception to the Rule

According to The Associated Press, the military junta seemingly have lifted the curfew in all cities, particularly Bangkok's "red-light" districts.

Hence the correction: We incorrectly characterized in yesterday's posting that Bangkok was still under the curfew, so we stand corrected!

When the army staged the May 22 coup, saying it acted to end increasingly violent political turmoil, the generals' first order of business was to impose the curfew. Initially set at 2200 hours, it gradually was eased to midnight, and already had been lifted in several of Thailand's popular resort areas after complaints from the tourism industry.

Then the generals apparently realized that for many Thais and tourists in Bangkok, happiness means watching the World Cup.

On Thursday, the junta engineered a last-minute deal with the World Cup's exclusive broadcaster in Thailand to cancel its exclusivity on digital television and allow the country to watch the tournament's 64 matches for free. 

The measure, though, was incompatible with a curfew that prevented people from leaving home to watch the matches, which due to the time difference take place overnight in Thailand.

So on Friday night (June 13), the junta announced it was fully lifting the curfew, saying there was no longer a threat of violence and that tourism needed to be revived.

COMMENT: As with so many parts of life in Thailand, the Thai term, "Mai Pen Rai,"loosely translated means "it doesn't make any difference," thereby opening the "flood-gates."

The coup deposed a government that was elected by an overwhelming majority of Thai voters three years ago, though it also was accused of widespread corruption by its critics and faced seven months of increasingly violent protests. 

The junta has no plans to hold elections any time soon, saying new polls will not take place for at least 15 months.