“Land of grimaces” instead of smiles
Thailand is was widely known as the “Land of Smiles” (as usually word Siam is translated), but now according to some observers smile has changed into grimace.
Thailand likes to call itself The Land of Smiles. And for a while after the advent of democracy in 1992 this seemed to be unusually accurate for an official slogan. Democracy seemed to flourish… The tourists flooded in. Foreign investors smiled on the Thais, who returned the favour…
If Thailand seemed to represent sunrise in South-East Asia, Indonesia appeared to be the region’s nightfall.
Today we see an extraordinary role reversal. Thailand is now a wreck, suffering a constitutional crisis, emergency rule and an investment strike… The US think tank Freedom House has designated Indonesia for the first time as
the only fully free and democratic country in South-East Asia…
The essential difference is that Indonesian power elites universally respect the legitimising power of democracy.
The Thais have not…
Thailand is turning into just another sad, broken autocracy. The smile has become a grimace.
This is very interesting article which compares the decline of Democracy in Thailand and opposite situation in Indonesia.
Recommended to be read whole (before it has been blocked), since there are many things which can’t be quoted from it.
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