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Coup doesn't have to be public-relations disaster

The US, the UN and the EU have all trotted out the same hoary old arguments about the need urgently to restore civilian rule in Thailand, hold a general election at once, etc.

They seem to have the same speech prepared for crises anywhere in the world. The US in particular is hypocritical. President Obama will huff and puff and cancel the odd military contract. But he is surely not stupid enough to abandon Thailand and allow China to step up its influence in Asean.

None the less, it would help the Thai junta's image abroad if it paid more attention to public relations. The martial music and songs on blank screens were a mystery to foreign tourists and needed at least to have some commentary in English. Spokesmen for the Army should try to avoid statements which won't be believed, for example that red-shirt leaders are in custody so that they can "relax". Moreover, it is not a good idea to suggest, as one Army spokesman did, that "democratic mistakes" have led to this military intervention.

It is sad but true that most tourists in Thailand are currently judging the coup on their inability to get a drink after 10pm. It would certainly be a step in the right direction if tourist areas such as Pattaya could be exempted from early closing. I sense that foreigners there would put up with a tank at the entrance to the Walking Street just as long as their thirst could be satisfied.

Visa2Britain

Chon Buri


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