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                                                                                                                           Asean Affairs November 27, 2013  

Thailand Needs to Restore its Past Glory


I ever lived in Bangkok several years ago and was deeply expressed by its diverse cultures, fabulous cuisine and friendly people. I planned to revisit it again, but the recently recurrent street demonstrations force me to reconsider my trip.

Bangkok was ever one of the most vibrant hub in South East Asia for finance, business and transport, as well as arts, fashion and entertainment, but now it has become a political arena of frequent and violent conflicts.

Since 2006, Thailand has been suffering from the confrontational politics and its society and people have been politically divided into “Red” and “Yellow”. Such political instability has huge costs, both socially and economically.

Hundreds death and thousands injuries were those most innocent victims, and the growing hatred among residents will have much longer damages to the nation.

Thailand ever enjoyed the world’s highest economic growth rate (averaging 12.4% annually) from 1985 to 1996, and many multinational corporations chose to locate their regional headquarters in Bangkok during that period.

Since 2006, political turmoil has dragged its growth rates down to below 5% on average, even with a negative growth rate (-2.3%) in 2009 for the first time since the 1997 financial crisis. In 1999, Thailand was the second largest economy in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with a share of 22%, but its share dropped continuously into 15.9% as 2012.

For us as foreigners, Thailand is widely famous for its Buddhist belief, a symbol of peace, benevolence and love. Therefore, we sincerely wish responsible Thai politicians would have the courage and wisdom to compromise certain personal interests so as to maintain national solidarity and deliver peace and prosperity for the country.

A peaceful Thailand will not only benefit Thai people, but also the whole region.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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