thailand

Thailand’s Prisoners Fight Foreigners in Attempt to Win Freedom

That’s an interesting way to refocus the prisoners. Not sure whether that’s going to help offenders for violence and assault, but having a goal to work towards can have positive impacts, even if it’s almost literally a fight for their lives.

That’s an interesting way to refocus the prisoners. Not sure whether that’s going to help offenders for violence and assault, but having a goal to work towards can have positive impacts, even if it’s almost literally a fight for their lives. Advertisements

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The Thai Junta Is Using Pretty Girls in Skimpy Camo to Win Some Popularity

Great. Now even military juntas are trying to make themselves more palatable by using babes. I can understand the use of sex appeal to sell products and maybe even services, although I don’t care much for marketing gimmicks. But this? This will only incense the Thai anti-coup protesters even more.

TIME

After seizing power in a coup d’état on May 22, Thailand’s ruling military has faced street protests, the wrath of rights groups and international censure.

But now the generals have launched their own PR campaign to win the hearts and minds of their compatriots — using music, dancing and, well, pretty young women in skimpy military fatigues.

On Wednesday, a crowd of several thousand thronged Bangkok’s militaristic Victory Monument — which has actually been the hub of fervent anticoup protests over the past fortnight — for an evening of music and hawkish propaganda.

Attendees took pictures of the junta babes, grabbed selfies with full-dress commandos, petted horses in a straw-filled enclosure and were bombarded with shrill songs and army-recruitment videos played on a loop on two enormous screens.

The PR push comes in the wake of the Southeast Asian nation’s 12th military coup since the end of absolute monarchical rule…

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Hunger Games Salute Becomes a Real Sign of Dissent in ‘Tyrannical’ Thailand

Goodness. Is this real life, or is this fantasy? To think a fantasy novel reference can become a very real symbol used by people in the real world.

TIME

If life does imitate art, Thais may have reason to worry. The Southeast Asian nation’s ruling junta is pondering whether to officially ban the three-fingered “District 12” salute from TheHunger Games, now that is has become an emotionally charged symbol of resistance among opponents of the May 22 military coup.

Already, scores of those proffering the salute during weekend street protests have been dragged off by troops, in scenes eerily reminiscent of the Suzanne Collins novels and movie franchise, which depict a dystopian future society ruled by the totalitarian Panem regime.

Thai army deputy spokesman Colonel Winthai Suwaree told the Bangkok Post that the military top brass are discussing how best to respond to the barbed gesture. “[The junta] must look at [the protester’s] intention, what they want to communicate and surrounding circumstances,” he said.

Thais have reason to be apprehensive. In May 2010, more than 90 people…

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Thai coup chied to get king’s endorsement

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/thai-coup-chief-to-get/1121712.html

Great. I’m sure that the military has zero designs on power, and there’s no political motivation behind the coup other than to resolve the problems that plague Thai politics. Obviously. Why else would they arrest all the government leaders, protesters and anyone with tenuous links to the protests?

This is going to be super unpopular, but maybe the Thai king needs to use his influence better than just approving the military’s actions in dissolving the government and establishing a junta?

Thailand’s State of Emergency Is Over, But the Crisis Endures

TIME

The barricades have gone, so have the rallies, and grenades aren’t being thrown into crowds of protestors for the time being, but the nightmare is not quite over for Yingluck Shinawatra.

On Wednesday, Thailand’s embattled prime minister lifted the state of emergency that since Jan. 22 had governed large swaths of Bangkok, the world’s most visited city, and nearby provinces, in the face of huge anti-government protests.

“The cabinet lifted the state of emergency to instill more confidence in the private sector and tourist industry,” Yingluck told reporters.

The prolonged political conflict in the “Land of Smiles” has already cost the economy more than $3 billion, and another six months of similar strife could result in a recession for 2014. Tourism arrivals were down 4.1% in January and February compared to the same vital high-season period last year.

“The protests have been so destructive,” Paul Chambers, research director of political…

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Thailand’s Intolerance of Its Own LGBT Community Will Surprise You

Not something I expected, given the commonness of transexuality there. But again, Thailand is Asian, and the people are likely to be conservative. Even the most liberal countries have trouble doing so, so why should Asian countries fare any better?

It will be a long, long road for the LGBT community.

World

The water surface ripples, then stirs into a frenzy of feeding catfish. Arisa Thanommek and Pacharee Hungsabut dip their fingers into a bag of pellets and toss two more handfuls into the artificial lake at which they like to spend their weekends.

“We knew people would react when we got married,” says Arisa, thinking of the hurtful slurs that arrived when pictures of the two women’s wedding were published in May. “But it was horrible when strangers wrote that our families should be ashamed.”

Thailand likes to project itself as an oasis of tolerance in a continent where roughly half of the countries outlaw homosexuality. It is one of only seven Asian signatories of the U.N.’s declaration of LGBT rights, and its tourism authority reaches out to gay travelers with websites like this, boasting that “Thailand embraces all lifestyles.”

The country could also become the first Asian country to…

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Child Slaves May Have Caught the Fish in Your Freezer

Yikes. It’s scary to think how many people are being exploited all around the world, even in nearby countries like Thailand. But despite all of this, we’ll probably just blithely continue consuming the seafood imported from there anyway, or the numerous other items that are on our tables or in our gadgets because of forced labour.

World

After two years toiling without pay on a Thai fishing boat, Sai Ko Ko fell ill. “[The captain] verbally abused me but I was so sick I couldn’t work,” recalls the 21-year-old. “He knocked me down, dragged me and threw me into the sea.”

Luckily, Sai Ko Ko was rescued by another vessel and ended up in an Indonesian immigration center. But countless other illegal Burmese migrants like him fair much worse. Many are mere children forced to endure slave-like conditions. And, shockingly, the fruits of their anguish continue to be unwittingly enjoyed by families across the U.S., Europe and elsewhere.

Thailand is the third largest seafood exporter in the world. The sector was worth some $7.3 billion dollars in 2011, and around a fifth of the catch ends up on American dinner tables — particularly tuna, sardines, shrimp and squid. But the industry heavily relies on trafficked and forced…

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Thailand

The Shinawatras have long divided the country in two. The poor peasantry love the Shinawatra family, who do their best to make the farmers’ lives easier. The richer people believe that they are corrupt, and there are question marks over the Shinawatra family’s wealth and acquisitions. Furthermore, the majority of the voting citizenry are poor, and they could well have targeted them as their voting base, hence creating programs to help the needy.

And while brother Thaksin is in exile, sister Yingluck is desperately fending off the opposition. Thailand’s political situation is a mess, and there’s no sign of improvement in the near future. The military could yet pull another coup d’etat at request (or for personal motives), and from what I know, the king has not spoken either. The capital is crippled by the long-running protests, which have erupted into sporadic violence.

Is there a solution? I’m not sure. Shinawatra’s influence in politics is immense. Even after Thaksin left the country and his party was disbanded, the new party formed under Yingluck won a huge majority of votes. The majority of the country loves the Shinawatras, and any democratic process will see them form the government. The opposition government formed after Thaksin was overthrown was just as corrupt, and ineffective; it’s unlikely they can ever win an election fairly.

Is a military coup the only way out? That’s not going to work long-term either, because people will revolt. That’s not to mention the military’s reluctance to intervene this time. If there’s no power to gain from getting involved, Thailand’s already significantly power military will probably avoid it. Can the king do anything? He can speak, and people will listen, but will they obey and let Yingluck continue in office? I doubt it.

Eventually, Thailand could collapse into a state of anarchy. There’s just no easy solution to fix the long-standing political issues that have plagued the country.

I’m lucky to live in a stable country, even if Singapore might not be the freest country in the world. Freedom is important, but freedom without growth? Is that desirable? Not to me. Am I a socialist then? I’m certainly more left-wing than right. Am I rambling now? I think so.

Maybe when the king speaks, Thailand can finally find unity via compromise. If not, then it’ll be a long while before the Shinawatra influence wanes enough for other parties to step up.