Thailand at the economic meltdown

Art March 09, 2017 12:25

By The Nation

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Twenty years after the financial collapse of the Thai economy following the government’s decision to float the baht due to lack of foreign currency to support its currency peg to the US, Museum Siam looks back at the past through the exhibition “Tom Yum Kung Studies: Lessons (Un)Learned”.

    Running until July 2, the exhibition is divided into eight zones. The Learning from Experience zone explains how the flotation of the baht caused foreign debts to double to $83 billion or around Bt2 trillion and the rate of exchange to plummet to Bt56 to the dollar, causing widespread unemployment and social problems. Yet despite the suffering, many Thais became stronger and learned to find a new way to survive. The Employment and Basic Livelihoods zone interviews seven figures whose childhood was affected by this crisis and reveals how their families coped with such tough situations.

     Other subjects covered by the exhibition include “What were the causes of the financial crisis?”, “How did it affect Thai people?”, “What skills did Thai draw on to help us wade through the crisis?”, and “Have we really broken free of the debts and problems?”.

     “Though the 1997 economic crisis was a major event in Thailand’s history and affected all sections of society, it taught Thais to find a way to survive and led to the emergence of freelance jobs and SMEs, green businesses and a knowledge-based economy,” says Museum Siam’s director Rames Promyen.

    Admission is free. Museum Siam on Sanam Chai Road (near Tha Tien) and is open daily, except Monday, from 10am to 6pm. Call (02) 225 2777 or visit