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Legacy Letter June 2014

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Children Singing in Kyawk Taing 02

During Leon and Gloria’s visit to Myanmar for Pentecost 2014, they were treated almost daily with musical performances from the local church children. They wished to share some with all of you.

Children Singing in Kyawk Taing 01

During Leon and Gloria’s visit to Myanmar for Pentecost 2014, they were treated almost daily with musical performances from the local church children. They wished to share some with all of you.

Motorcycle Ride in Taungoo

Gloria Sexton shares her view from one of her motorcycle rides through the countryside in Taungoo, Myanmar during her and Leon’s visit for Pentecost.

The Good and Kind Coup

To most Westerners, “coup” is a bad word.  As a Westerner living and working in Thailand for the past 13 years, I feel a whole lot safer now than I did before the Thai military took over the country.  Thank you, General Prayuth and other members of the NCPO.

This is the quietest and most peaceful coup d’etat I have ever experienced.  And I have been through a number of coups in Thailand, some that occurred during visits to Thailand through the years before I came here to live.  No one was shot.  No tanks blowing up locked gates of TV stations. No mass arrests.  No tear gassing of protestors.  NO rubber bullets.  We saw none of the usual chaos and confusion that accompanies a coup.  I am calling this the “Good and Kind Coup.”  It was a compassionate coup.  Everything was done in a way that had the safety and care of the people foremost in mind.

Almost immediately, life returned to normal (or was it that life never stopped being normal?)  It was as if a coup has never taken place.  I had friends and family members frantically contact me by email and Skype asking me if I was OK.  I explained that, except for the curfew at night, things were relatively normal.  This may not have been the message of the Western media, but it was the experience of one Farang (Westerner) who lives here.

Western media is not telling you that the coup stopped a civil war.  That was the true pre-coup Thailand picture.  The Reds were planning a civil war in which they would carve out a new Red country consisting of the North and Northeast of Thailand[1].  The coup stopped their plot.

It is also possible that Islamic militants in the South of Thailand were complicit in a coordinated effort with the Reds to carve off 4 Southern provinces and creating an Islamic republic.  The police and army investigators are still finding weapon caches in various parts of Thailand, including the South.  A recent find was sacks of weapons and ammunition apparently abandoned behind bushes in Nonthaburi , across the Chao Praya River from Bangkok.

The people of Thailand are generally happy with the way things have turned out.  Here are some excerpts from a very recent article in the Bangkok Post, an English language newspaper published in Thailand.

The article is entitled People give thumbs up to NCPO, Prayuth[2]

“The National Council for Peace and Order’s performance in its first month of governing Thailand has received an approval rate of 8.82 out of 10 in an opinion survey conducted by Suan Dusit Poll.”

“Meanwhile, another opinion survey conducted by the National Institute for Development Administration (Nida) shows a large proportion of respondents want the NCPO to nominate Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha for prime minister.”..

What this article demonstrates is that the people of Thailand are relatively happy with the army takeover and approve of the army’s performance so far.  The farmers are very happy since the army is seeing they get paid for their rice.  The former government of Yingluck Shinawatra had promised them payment pledged for rice they produced under an ill-conceived and corruption ridden government rice scheme.  Bangkokians are thrilled they can move about in the capital city unhindered by mobs taking over major intersections.  Highrise shopping malls are ecstatic they need not fear gangs looting and burning shops as happened in past Red Shirt riots.

This does not mean that all is now heavenly in Thailand.  There are still many social ills to overcome and deal with.  There are still development issues and a large gap between income levels of the very rich and the very poor.  But the former Thaksin puppet sister Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is gone (impeached for corruption before the coup) and known criminals are no longer in cabinet positions (One man who held several cabinet posts was a famous owner of massage parlors and kingpin of prostitution rings in Bangkok.)

Things are looking up in Thailand.  Until next time,

Leon Sexton

Leon Sexton


[1] See article http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/700672-red-shirts-in-chiang-mai-in-favour-of-new-capital-in-case-of-coup/page-2

[2] Bangkok Post Online, 22 Jun 2014 : http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/416756/people-give-thumbs-up-to-ncpo-prayuth