For our dear readers who we call family and friends back in the U.S., this may be news to you: we are living and working in a country that is currently under a military-led government. People, there has been a coup d’état in these parts. And the Thai junta is just three weeks old with a projected “end time” roughly a year from now. You can do a great deal of your own researching to read up about the history of coups in Thailand, the protests that led up to the military takeover or the political tug o’ war that’s been underway for years between parties. Go on, do a bit of Googling to get caught up on the state of affairs if you haven’t done so yet.
So what does that mean for us? Well, not much.
Aside from the reality that the coup has barely affected our every day life, we just don’t want to get involved in affairs because a) we don’t have a firm grasp of how the government works here; b) we don’t want to make political stances that we, for all intents and purposes, have no right to make and c) we are first time parents to a newborn and getting riled up about the junta requires energy that we would rather keep on reserve for showers, grocery shopping and figuring out why baby boy is crying.
At first, the junta declared a curfew — which has since been completely lifted for the World Cup weekend — that was more annoying than anything because it limited when we could go out and required forethought on transportation since taxis were pickier about their fares since timing really was of the essence to them. My friend Angi and I were turned down by 4 cabbies in a row when we wanted to go to Salt in the Aree neighborhood after our kids had gone to sleep and our evenings were finally free — lame! There was (is?) a shut down of certain TV and radio channels but since we don’t own a television or listen to the radio, so we are completely unaware of whatever announcements are being made on air and don’t have any guilty pleasure soap operas interrupted by the Army chief making statements.
This may show just how out of it we are, but we didn’t even know that a coup had taken place until I received a text message from a friend back in Seattle. Let that sink in. Somebody in Seattle was the one to notify us that there was a coup in the country we are currently living in. Whoops.
But that may also give a hint as to how high-alert (read: not) things have been in our neighborhood of Nonthaburi. The administration of our school has kept us all up to date about going ons, directing us to different news outlets to read through and encouraging us to sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to ease any anxiety families back home may be experiencing on our behalf. GES administration had also pushed back the start time of our school year one week because of the coup to give new teachers more time to adjust/think/reconsider their travels here…and then they showed how terrifying of a place it is we are based at by posing for this picture:
This isn’t meant as a mockery of the current state of life here, but it is a good example of how not extreme things are in comparison to other nations in the throes of civil unrest. I don’t doubt things are different for those more involved with the protesting and living in the heart of Bangkok. But for the Harris’ in our little corner of the world we are still plugging along day to day, praying for this nation we currently call home.