Thai Days: Junta Times – Eat, Drink, and be Merry!

by

Hugh Paxton’s Blog is accustomed to living under a military state, a junta, a bunch of guys in uniform and foreign journalists get rather excited when they are sent to Bangkok on assignment. These predominantly female journos look tough, forceful, ask thrusting questions and they stay in five star hotels and get answers from people in uniform that they ignore.

It’s a charade.

CNN, BBC, they swan in looking for a story that isn’t.

Everything’s fine. Everybody’s happy apart from a few Red Shirt agitators, second rate artists and malcontents paid to cause trouble by their master, Tax Sin, the former Thai leader, now in exile and wanted here for corruption and, should a journo actually do something more than a sound bite, lots of bad behaviour. Mass murder springs to mind. But that evil man remains in safety in foreign parts. Mainly Gulf States. But Thaksin pops up here and there and in his heyday owned Manchester City FC.

He isn’t a man of the people, although he portrays himself as such. He has a lot of cash and he uses it with as much success as Manchester City FC.

The stupid old thing has had his day and his money cannot reverse his defeat. Now is the time of the generals. And with them comes a sense of honesty and social discipline.

Every junta attracts purists. And some of them lack the common touch. Or common sense. The Committee for National Alcohol Beverage Control suggested a law banning the sales of anything containing alcohol during the New Year holiday and the adored Songkran water festival. This idea, while nobly meant, was about as popular as installing a condom vending machine in the Vatican.

1. Utterly impossible to enforce.
2. Silly. If you want a drink you can get one. Anywhere. In under ten minutes.
3.Commercially destructive. Honest restaurants abide by the laws and wince at the prospect of nobody drinking anything.
4.Silly. Sorry. I said that already.
5. And rejected.

Cheer up! You will be allowed to pop a cork and sing that stupid Scottish song to welcome the New Year in!

Just to ensure that nobody loses face there are some restrictions on booze. You can’t buy it in government buildings (I was unaware that government-owned properties were selling Mekong whisky but if they are, or were, they’ve got snap out of the habit!) bus stations, train stations, piers.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: BANGKOK REMAINS DELIGHTFULLY LAWLESS DESPITE OUR CURRENT MILITARY OPPRESSION AND THERE ARE NO REASONS FOR BBC/CNN JOURNOS TO WEAR FLAK JACKETS AND PRETEND THEY ARE RISKING DEATH. THIS IS A HAPPY CITY! AND HUGH PAXTON’S BLOG WISHES YOU A HAPPY CHRISTMAS! WHEREVER YOU ARE! JUST DON’T DRINK ANYTHING INTOXICATING IN A BUS STATION. OR ON A PIER!

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