I'm OK, You're OK, Thailand's OK
Reading my iPad while caffeinating with an early morning espresso fix, I scanned stories about Thailand's election from leading media outlets around the world this last week. The canvas was painted with a decidedly doomsday picture.
Damned if we do, damned if we don't, forget breaking even, the weekend elections was a lose lose situation screamed from the headlines. A military coup was seemingly unavoidable.
The world was poised to relegate Thailand to the trash bin, slam the lid shut and take a summer holiday. Never mind the county is Southeast Asia's second large economy and one of the most desired tourism brands known to mankind.
The god's had called it in and determined the fate of an entire nation was damned before the event had even taken place.
Well surprise, Thailand and Phuket are indeed still alive and well.
Yes all those images conjured up by foreign correspondents holed up at their cozy little nearest Starbucks or corporate cubicles, of a country in flames with only the cinders of burning despair left glowing by Monday where indeed far off the mark.
The only flames present on Sunday was an ill-advised weekend BBQ at home. Where after the third bottle of red wine I scorched a large cut of beef so badly that even CSI couldn't work out what it was. As the blackened flesh broke into a small fire, I realized my life as a tongmaster was questionable and perhaps not a viable second career option.
Democracy was on show yesterday across the land. As I drove by voting stations and saw Thai's exercising their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness there was a starting sense of peacefulness in the air.
Shops and restaurants had on TV's as locals looked at news updates, watched and waited in trancelike self-determination. While you'd expect tensions to run high, perhaps the opposite was true. But it was not a matter of apathy either as citizens went to the polls in mass.
Now we have a new Prime Minister and yes high drama on the possible return of Thaksin Shinawatra remain just a page turn away in democracy's next chapter. Yingluck does take a great photo though so at least it will be glamorous controversy.
For the overanxious and often excitable excitable media, all I have to ask could the west have done it any better. Go take a xanex and chill out. Asian democracy has a long way to go, but visiting economic miracles like Indonesia and the Philippines who have made the transition over an amazingly short period of time. Yes Vietnam and China are works in progress, but cast an eye wider to see what a volatile world we live in.
Roll models are few and far between. George W. Bush is still checking under his bed for weapons of mass destruction before he goes to sleep at night. Berlusconi…let's not even go there. And the Greeks, now that's a place you could torch a kebab just with the heat coming off the tear gas from street demonstrators. Libya, Yemen, Bahrain…yeah how's that coming along?
Last Friday demonstrators hit the streets in Hong Kong over property prices and a widening gap between the rich and poor. It takes a lot to get their citizens out of the shopping malls, much yet the aircon – but skyrocketing food prices and inflation is now becoming an global problem that is just tipping the iceberg.
For Thailand, please give it a break, it's a moving in the direction its citizen have determined in a democratic process.
Sure things could go awfully wrong in the days ahead. I along with a whole lot of other people hope it can continue on a peaceful and prosperous course. The signs are already emerging the country has an appetite to get back to work, and this can only bode well for the island. An airport expansion and convention center could well accelerate as the incoming government looks to make brownie points in the economic community and instill confidence back into the direct foreign investment regime.
Our attention spans are short in the days of tweet tweet, and facebooking but I'm only looking to get back to the BBQ next weekend and try not to mimic an Agent Orange attack on an overgrown chicken.
I am after all a would be tongmaster and am happy to call Thailand my home.