Thailand or the Kingdom of Thailand was formerly known as Siam. It is the 20th most thickly settled country comprising 90% of Thai and 10% of Chinese origin. It is special in many sense, for one, it is one of the few monarchy countries left in the world. Chakri dynasty has ruled Thailand since 1782; it is currently headed by King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the ninth in the Chakri dynasty. He is the world’s longest reigning current monarch, reigning Thailand since 9 June 1946. Thai people have deep respect for their king, when foreigners witness such respect, they are baffled. From 1985-1996, Thailand witnessed a great economic boom and its stable economic and political scenario opened its gate to the world and development in the tourism industry transformed it into a sought after tourist destination. In 2006 a political turmoil took the country by storm, but it still maintained its impressive export performance and since has been an emerging economy.
A city full of reasons to smile
Thailand is popularly known in the world as ‘The land of smiles’. It has landed this title because of Thai peoples’ calm and affable nature. The country’s major religion is Buddhism with only a small section of society following Islam. Buddhism has had a big hand in shaping the Thai culture. The teachings of Buddhism can be glimpsed in every aspect of people’s everyday life. In Thai tradition, they give great respect to their elders and strive to learn from them. This dedication of the people is the reason that they have a high level of participation in education, and this in turn is resulting in flourishing private and public institutions. The country has always been called as Mueang Thai by its citizen. The word ‘the’ of Thailand means independence in Thai language.
Tourism contributes 6% to the country’s economy. It is rightly said that you should travel all over the world before visiting Thailand because once you come here you will keep on coming back. People can’t get enough of Thailand’s exceptional culture, the sunny weather and the beautiful soul of Thai people. This place has something for everyone. Thailand is popular among the tourists because of its stunning tropical beaches, beautiful, intricately designed royal palaces, ruins and Buddhist temples, Thai cooking and Thai massage. Thailand is unique in another way that it has a temple dedicated to tigers and the monks of the temple look after the tiger from the moment they are born and provide them protection from poachers.
The nightlife and vice trade is another reason for which the country is well known. Among the 10 million people living in the country about 400,000 are estimated to be sex workers. A complicated background of social factors combined with poverty and the allure of money has caused prostitution to flourish in Thailand.
Thailand is witnessed abrupt changes in power and political tensions for quite some time now. On 19th September 2006 Thai coup took place in which the Royal Thai Army organized a coup against the then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. This took place after a year of political crisis in which Thaksin, his allies and political opponents were involved. The upcoming elections were cancelled by the military, constitution was abolished, parliament dissolved, cabinet members and protesters arrested. Several causes for organizing the coup was identified, the junta issued a white paper after two months of the coup, stating corruption, abuse of power, lack of integrity, interference in the checks and balance systems, human rights violations and destroying the unity of the people among the reasons for the coup. After removal of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra a new constitution was established and successful elections took place in 2007 but the political problem which paved the way for the coup still persists. In 2008, protesters against the new Prime Minister who was a brother-in-law of Mr. Thaksin had occupied government buildings and airports and the government was once again dissolved.
In 2010 prolonged riots occurred against the Democrat-Party led government from National United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) also known as the ‘Red-Shirts’. It forced the Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to dissolve parliament and hold elections before 2012. The country was making economic progress during Abhisit’s rule, but faced a strong opposition from ‘Red shirts’ and the former Prime Minister Mr. Thaksin. They claimed that the government was not democratic and demanded to reform the Thailand’s constitution adopted after the 2006 coup.
Yingluck Shinawatra, younger sister of Mr. Thaksin and a member of Pheu Thai Party was elected as the Prime Minister after 2011 elections and became Thailand’s first women Prime Minister and it’s youngest in over 60 years. On 7th May 2014 she was removed from power as the constitutional court found her guilty of abusing power. Since May 2014 Thailand is being ruled by the military junta, which has expressed its intentions of ruling the county till 2016.