Wednesday, September 20, 2006
LIFE GOES ON
s I cycled from home to the office this morning, it seemed that I and my passenger were getting more smiles than usual along the bustling soi. Given that my passenger on these short trips is the Best Dog in the World, who rides kangaroo-style in a frontpack, we normally enjoy our morning smiles, nods and the occasional "Naa rak!" ("cute!" - he's the cute one...). A nice way to start the day. The atmosphere this morning seemed more happy than usual, for what it's worth.
Today had been declared as a bank / civil service holiday, but everything else appears to be open as usual. It's just a regular morning in my part of the Big Mango, and people around here seem to be in a good mood. I think there is a lot of relief that the regime change took place last night without any shooting, and today is really a new day for the country.
General Sonthi spoke to the nation this morning, flanked by the armed services chiefs and national police chief. He reiterated the overnight announcements and emphasised his committment to return democratic power to the people as soon as possible. They have called foreign ambassadors for a reassurance meeting this afternoon (right about now, actually). The Bank of Thailand Governor, MR Pridiyathorn Devakula, is on his way back from the IMF/World Bank meeting in Singapore, and has apparently accepted the position of interim Prime Minister. Note: "MR" is not for "mister" but is an abbreviated honourific title indicating his degree of relatedness to the royal family.
Local television is back to normal -- some channels focussing on the news they couldn't report last night, while others are sticking with light entertainment. There doesn't seem to be any noticeable censorship in the reports, and newspapers hit the stands as normal. Bigger and fatter headlines, but otherwise normal.
The Nation has put up a timeline of events as it unfolded; the Post gives translations of the successive announcements overnight; and here's a wireservices photo gallery on the coup.
2Bangkok has just put up a series of photos taken this morning, which really convey the relaxed atmosphere (yeah, I know it says 'high tension' but... take a look). Also, keep up with his developing... page here. The brand new 19sep blog has lots of links, commentary and even audio. More at Bangkok Pundit.