Turmoil in Thailand hits home - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Turmoil in Thailand hits home

Turmoil in Thailand hits home
By: Wes Wallace

Two days after the Thai military overthrew the Prime Minister, there's still no replacement.

A military official says he hopes the return to democracy will be swift and soon.

It's certainly a confusing situation for the millions of people in Thailand, and for Gregory Snell too.

Snell is the son of a Poplar Bluff couple, who happens to be living and working as an English teacher in Bangkok.

Here's what the last few days have been like for Snell, in his own words.

"A friend of mine sent a text message late Tuesday night and told me Marshall Law had been called and we were to be off the streets and a curfew was in place.  So, I got up and turned on the TV, and I was greeted by patriotic songs and video about the King.  That's always the first sign in Thailand that something was amiss.   It wasn't just one station, all the Thai stations were showing the same programming, but the international news channels were all black. 

I soon learned tanks rolled into town to the government buildings, but they're probably an hour-forty minutes from me across town, so I didn't see any.  The next morning, it was a little quieter than usual.  There's a freeway near me, not many cars on it, which is  typical.  I was just glad I didn't see any tanks or soldiers.

When I called into work Wednesday morning, I was told the following statement, "While no violence was expected, the interim government had invited all of us to stay home."

Later that day, around 11:00 or so, things started picking up a little.  The street vendors were back, although it was a shock at first.  It's always unsettling when a truck with a loudspeaker goes by in a language you can't understand, you don't know if he's saying turn in your radios or 'I have fresh strawberries, come and buy them'.

I did venture out Wednesday afternoon, and noticed the internet cafes' were packed.

On Thursday, things were back to normal, we went to work, traffic back to full congestion, shops were opened, things look quite normal.  I think it's a real demonstration of the Thai expression "mai pen rai", or like we say 'que cera que cera', it doesn't matter, it's ok and that extends from everything to busses late, waitresses slow, and apparently my government has been taken over.

After seeing some of the video, it's important to note there's a lot of yellow ribbons on tanks and on soldiers.   Yellow is the color of the King.  Most everyone wears yellow our of respect and homage.  I think the military is making a state 'we may be here and taking over your government, but we still support the King."

Gregory Snell also tells me the coup really wasn't a big surprise necessarily to some of the Thai people.  Back in the spring, the Prime Minister's party won the election, but he lost the race, so eventually he said he's step down.  Snell explains, "While people may have not been charged to stage a coup, they don't seem unhappy and are o-k that it's happened."

In the meantime, Snell says his attitude has gone from unsettled to more optimistic that things will stay peaceful without violence or bloodshed.

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