Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Trouble in Thailand (video)

Temple gargoyle guardians, Wat Phra Kaew Thai Buddhist temple (Naxerdam/flickr.com)
(Bravo, June 2013) Follow the work of police in Southeast Asia as they deal with British travellers who are experiencing trouble with Thai authorities.
Thai Buddha (Earlsy1/flickr)
Theravada Buddhist Thailand is one of the world's greatest spiritual tourist destinations. It is also  famous for other kinds of tourism. Unfortunately, it is not safe for either at the moment.

Bangkok, after enduring many troubles in the restive and tsunami-damaged south, is being rocked by political uprisings to oust the prime minister and create more socioeconomic equality.

In addition, the "Free land" is cracking down on mostly European foreign (farang) tourists.

Thailand is surprisingly devotional and pious.
There is also a long standing rivalry erupting again with neighboring Buddhist nation Cambodia and a long simmering border dispute. These rivalries extend back to the time of feudal kings and previous kingdoms.

Now with tourist dollars on the line for the lucrative spiritual-tourist trade, due to the ancient jungle temple on that border, nothing is being taken for granted or resolved amicably.

Our monks protest, too (stuff.co.nz)
Western investment and influence are steering Thailand to follow the tried and true belligerent model of western expansion as it rivals Japan and China for top Asian economy, a title which slips further away due to external currency manipulations, accusations of corruption versus fresh promises of reform and an increasing political rivalry between the Red Shirts (UDD, presumably the good guys opposing dictators and coups) versus the Yellow Shirts (PAD, the economic elites, "patriotic" conservatives in league with the military).

In 2010 there was blood on the streets as police state tactics (with paramilitary forces trained by the West) were deployed to squelch social unrest as a result of corrupt elections and growing inequality. 

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