The military has staged a coup in Thailand. We are now under martial law, and have a 10 o’clock curfew for an undetermined length of time. This is a historic crossroads in the history of Thailand, and has so many political angles to it that it would be a waste of time for me to go around in circles discussing it at you. You might be more interested to hear about the most challenging hurdles and questions my foreign friends and I living in Thailand are facing right now, so that’s what I’m going to address with you in list format.
#8: Coup Puns
If there is one thing that I know has been keeping my friends and me up at night since General Prayath Chan-Ocha pulled the trigger a few days ago, it’s that we haven’t come up with the best possible Coup pun. Here’s what I’ve got so far: Coup Let The Dogs Out?, Coup and the Gang, If the Coup Fits, Coup! There It Is, Coup Do You Think You Are?, Coup Done It?, One Flew Over the Coup Coups Nest, Coup Chip Stocks, What I Like About Coup… and something about coupons. Please comment below or contact me if you’ve got one you think is a winner. I coup really use some help.
#7: Having Enough Beer
Due to something Buddha said thousands of years ago, alcohol is not sold at stores from 2-5 o’clock here in Thailand. Coupled with work and other life stuff, that leaves us a small window to make sure we’re prepared to party on our rooftops deep into the night. Living in Thailand, it’s almost guaranteed that your fridge isn’t nearly big enough to rise to the challenge of holding a significant amount of beer. This used to be a problem easily mitigated by going to a bar, or frequent 7/11 runs. Speaking of 7/11…
#6: 7/11 Being Closed
This is a multi-faceted issue. Everyone takes it for granted that Thailand is the land of smiles. But are Thai people truly as naturally friendly as they seem, or is it just because they’ve lived their whole lives with four 7/11’s within a five minute walk from their homes capable of catering to their every need? I’m afraid to find out. To be clear, they only close from 10PM – 5AM, but that’s like 7/24ths of the day! And forget Thai people, what if I need a toastie at midnight! How am I going to satisfy my late night craving when 7/11 is closed and my fridge is crammed with beer! If the serious riots some are predicting really do happen, we’ll know what the real underlying cause was…
#5: Where Am I Going to Sleep Tonight?
Imagine this scenario: You’re having some drinks with your friends after work friday afternoon. You teach some of your buddies how to play your favorite card game, you shoot a few rounds of pool, you go get a delicious hamburger, and then you glance at your pocket watch and it’s 9 o’clock! Well shit, the BTS train to take you home has already stopped running. Looks like your either taking a cab home and missing out on the rest of the night, or you’re going to have to answer the title question. Luckily everybody is in the same boat, and most people aren’t opposed to offering up a couch, floor or a spot in their precious bed. We’re all in the same boat, so I encourage all foreigners to do the right thing and share your bed with a stranger. For the good of humanity.
#4: How Many Days Off Work Are We Going to Have?
When the Coup happened, all Thai schools were immediately cancelled from Friday May 24th through Sunday May 26th. As a teacher I was excited to not have to teach Friday, and I doubt any of my co-workers felt any differently. But are three days off school really enough? Especially when two of them are Saturday and Sunday? In January lots of schools cancelled school over a several week span, and that was just due to some measly protesting. I’d really appreciate it if the schools I teach at coup let me know now when they are going to reopen. That way if it’s going to be awhile, I can try to escape all these hardships with a bucket in my hand on the beach of a tropical island.
#3: Mixing Up Martial Law, Marital Law, and Marshall Law
This one might only apply to me, but come on this stuff’s confusing. A few days ago when my mom texted me at 6 in the morning Thai time asking me about martial law, my sleepy response was: “I’m not applying there”. And when you think about it isn’t Martial Law basically just imposing unwritten marital law on everybody? You think there isn’t a 10pm curfew for married people? Imagine you’re married and you try rolling in after 10pm when your spouse is at home; you better have a damn good reason for being out or you will be severely punished. The smart money is on this whole mess thing being a passive aggressive response from General Prayath Chan-Ocha to having to sleep on the couch because Mrs. General was angry about him getting home from poker night half an hour later than he was supposed to.
#2: Is It Inappropriate For Me to Wear My Army Football Jersey?
Army Football Club is my hometown football (soccer) team. We’re on a roll right now, just a few points out of third place and having our best season since 2009. I’ve got my sweet forest green jersey and I want to show off my team pride, whether it be on the pitch or just strolling around the city. But the last thing I want to do is make a political statement, I don’t want people thinking I have opinions about things. Especially angry Thai red-shirts.
#1: Getting The Best Possible Selfie With the Thai Army
Oh man is this a tricky situation. There are soldiers posted all over the place, and boy do they look intimidating with their armored vehicles and machine guns. But they’re still Thai, so they’re much nicer than you are. On top of that, they’re standing around doing nothing, basically just there to remind you the army is in control. It’s the perfect selfie storm. Don’t believe me? Check out this article from the Bangkok Post:
I’ll be damned if I’m going to be the only one without a badass selfie with a soldier to show off to all my friends back home. Do you think if I brought him some mango sticky rice he’d let me hold his gun?