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Land of Smiles and Teargas

Thailand has managed to do it again. First there were the problems with sickness and disease, where the streets were littered with corpses of those struck by mad bird flue and SARS, followed by the military coop in 2006 which left countless buildings riddled with bullet holes and shell blasts. Now the revolution is happening, and the army has once again been released upon the people to put the violent masses back in their places or better yet, into their graves.

Thailand was once believed to be a peaceful land, with kind and generous people, but clearly the tides have turned, and it is no longer safe to walk the streets, even during broad daylight. Those who were ignorant enough to dare public locations without gasmasks have found themselves in overcrowded hospitals, fighting for air after inhaling near-fatal doses of home-made and military grade teargas which sprouts from shells aimed at anything more than an individual. It's a war zone with no apparent enemy, no uncensored communication to the outside world, and constant looking over your shoulder.

While this may seem very exciting to some of you, it's absolutely fictitious and extremely exaggerated. Let me point out the facts from above, so you can easily disregard the rest as fake. We had bird flue and SARS, roughly 1 person died of each. We had a military coup, but no shots were fired. People were decorating the tanks with flowers. There are a few protests in the south, and there was one case involving teargas. The military will probably get covered in flora again. The second paragraph is completely true, except for the bit after the second comma.

You know, I live in Thailand, and I have not seen one dead corpse from the avian influenza or the severe acute respiratory syndrome. I haven't seen a single protestor. Bare in mind that I'm in Chiang Mai, and no violence ever happens here (I may have hit my younger brother once or twice). The closest thing we've had to protestors is a guy with a megaphone in a van in a local market. He was just politely trying to insult the protestors. I guess he was protesting the protests.

Through some inside information, I've heard that many foreigners are canceling their trips to Thailand. Roughly 60 to 80% of hotel bookings have been cancelled all the way up to and probably past December. Do you know what this means? Hotel room prices are dropping like mortars (excuse the analogy), and if ever you wanted to spend a few nights in a 5 star hotel for the price of 3 star hotels, this is your opportunity. Thailand's economy greatly depends on tourism, apart from rice and shrimp exports, and many of the Thai people know this. Tourists are always treated really well, and if you feel like you're being ripped off on the price, just remember it's still 50 times cheaper than what you'd have paid in your own country.

It's almost a bit boring in Chiang Mai, without protestors and violence... How do you make teargas?

No Farang, No Job
Farang = Foreigner



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Comment by Ralph van den Berg

Posted on 3 September, 2008
I forgot to mention the tsunami, but it doesn't really belong up there anyway. It's not like Thailand flushed the beaches on purpose.

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