Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Coup

By now many of you will have heard that there was a military Coup in Thailand.  No worries we are safe and things are very normal as far as Thailand goes. 

I quote from Reed Haslam's Website  Reed is also a Returned Missionary From Thailand          
History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Thailand
"May 22, 2014 - Here we go AGAIN! - Yes, another coup d'etat by Thailand's military, about the 19th such event since 1932 when  the absolute power of the monarchy was crushed in a bloodless revolution, The Thai's hate bloodshed and while by American standards, there has not been  much of it, by Thai standards it was getting out of hand. Yes that's the bad news. The good news is that Thailand is very experienced with military takeovers. The military generally only steps forward when the government in power is so weak that nothing can be accomplished, such as happened this time. A year of political protests on each side was culminated by a court removing the current Prime Minister on political corruption charges. That is not to say that she had not also been accused of monetary corruption as well.  In Thailand there is plenty of corruption to go around, and the current prime minister had a part in her share of shady and botched dealings.  So if all goes to plan, the military will turn the government over to a set of their hand picked leaders, to run the country, while a new constitution is laid and new elections are set to return Thailand to a "technical democracy."

Marshall law is no big deal.  The 40th Anniversary of the Dedication of Thailand for the preaching of the gospel in October 2006, was all held without any incidents, while Marshall law was in effect. So life goes on, the political stalemate replaced by the military and in about 2 years time, new elections.  Repeating this process can be avoided if only those who lead the country can significantly reduce the amount of corruption that takes place.  It seems with the complexity of today's world, governments everywhere need more bright, energetic, and honest people to make things work for ALL people."
As Reed Mention's this is not the first Coup in Thailand.  In fact it happened while I was here 38 years ago. There was coup In October 1976 while I was in the country and another in October of 1977 just after I left. We feel safe and I assume the Thai people will get it figured out to get their country back to a democracy like they have many times before.
Military Presence in Khon Kaen Street near a major mall
I drove almost 1000 kilometers last weekend.  While delivering a new Vehicle that I purchased for the Church to the Senior Missionary Couple that reside in Udorn Thailand. We were only stopped at one check point. I drove thru several other checkpoints most of them manned by police.  We saw several other Military checkpoints but they were not stopping vehicles during the times that I passed thru.  We did take a picture of military presence in Khon Kaen Thailand See Picture above).  When we stayed the first night in Ro- Et,  the screen below was on every TV station.  It is set of symbols representing each and every branch of the military.
During our Trip to Northeastern Thailand - We spent Thursday, Friday and part of Saturday traveling. Sister Meeker and I stopped at 7 Cities and visited 12 different missionary residences. Some residences accommodated 2 missionaries and some accommodated 4 Missionaries. Some were apartments, some were separate homes and some were duplex like residences. Overall we visited 34 Missionaries. It was a great experience to get to see them in their element.  Sister Meeker did not go empty handed.  She had made a very large batch of Pineapple jam that she shared with every missionary.  As the Mission Finance secretary I pay the rent for all of these residences, it was good to see exactly what I am paying for.  Of course I asked the missionaries and listened to what they had to say with regards to maintenance or items that could be improved with their abodes.
Elder and Sister Brown were thrilled to get their new car - a 2014 Toyota Vios.  A small 4 cylinder 4 door car.  They had been using a Tuk Tuk Driver to take them wherever they needed to go for the 3 months that they have been in country so far.  I understand the Tuk Tuk driver was very sad when he found out that his services would no longer be needed by the Browns.  They have been using him almost daily since their arrival.
We did get to ride in the Tuk Tuk. We were invited to dinner by the Browns and since there were 6 of us we could not fit into the Vios (only holds 5). 
Loaded up ready to go to the Vietnamese Restaurant for Dinner
We had dinner Friday night at a nice Vietnamese restaurant.  The fried spring rolls and the sauce that Elder Brown ordered reminded me of the Vietnamese food that I used to get when I came into Bangkok from Lampang or Lopburi years ago.  The restaurant I frequented featured Vietnamese food and Foremost ice cream. Imagine that...... Elder Meeker liked Ice Cream way back then. 



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