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The Bangkok Podcast

May 21, 2024

Greg and Ed revisit the 2006 coup in Thailand and reminisce about the oddness but also impactfulness of the experience. Ed begins with a quick recap of the career of Thaksin Shinawatra, the billionaire business tycoon who swept to power (democratically) in 2000 on a promise to fix the Thai economy which was still reeling from the 1997 financial crisis. He did in fact manage to stabilize the economy and easily won re-election in 2004. Although controversies did mar his terms, his ability to repay loans to the World Bank and IMF lent him significant credibility. 

However, in 2006, a constitutional crisis ensued in parliament, and eventually, while Thaksin was away in New York giving a speech to the United Nations, the military seized control of the government. Ed relates his utter shock at waking up to headlines of “COUP D’ETAT,” and Greg talks about the strange expectation of tanks rolling through the streets and whether or not it was even going to be safe going outside. Alas, the coup was real but also almost entirely peaceful, with soldiers manning the streets accepting flowers and taking selfies with pedestrians.

The guys wonder at the difference between pre-coup Thailand and post-coup Thailand, the relative peace beforehand and the almost constant political drama since. In their time in Thailand, the guys can’t think of another single event that changed life in the Land of Smiles as much as the 2006 coup. 

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