Thai coup: Residents say city more peaceful

Thai coup: Residents say city more peaceful
Supporters giving a Thai soldier roses at the Army Club in Bangkok.

The Thai clubbing scene has turned tepid as the 10pm-to-5am curfew has taken the sizzle out of nightlife.

But if you are not into serious partying, life goes on as usual.

Full-time national servicemen Leong Ying Yao, 22, who is on holiday in Bangkok with four friends, was disappointed by the curfew.

The group were hoping to go clubbing, but changed their plans on Thursday night because of the coup.

Instead, they went to Baiyoke Sky Hotel, the tallest building in the city, to soak in the night view.

"The lobby and top of the building were heavily guarded by armed soldiers, but they were friendly and we even took a selfie together," Mr Leong recounted.

"I'm not going to return (to Singapore) early. I've booked a skydiving session and I'm not going to give that up because of the coup. But I feel a bit 'sian' (disappointed in Hokkien) because of the lack of nightlife," he added.

And if you think you can do some late-night shopping in the Thai capital, think again.

Because of the curfew imposed from Thursday, commuter trains in Bangkok stop services at 9pm and departmental stores close by 8pm.

The broadcast media has also suspended all normal programming.

Thai national Patcharee Treepornchaisak, 28, who works at an auditing firm in Bangkok, managed to get home by 10pm on Thursday night, after dinner with her friends.

Her company allowed its staff to leave work early or work from home yesterday, and she was planning to stay in to watch movies with her family at home last night.

"I usually don't watch TV and the Internet is still working, but my mum will miss her drama serials," she said.

Most people we spoke to, both Thai and Singaporean, said that other than the curfew, which is expected to be lifted tomorrow, their life has not been affected much.

Thai resident Prapatsara Rongraung, 37, said the soldiers present at the Democracy Monument at Ratchadamnoen Avenue, government buildings and even the subway stations were an assurance rather than a threat.

PEACE

Said Ms Rongraung, the vice-president of a private school 25km away from central Bangkok: "The military takeover helps to maintain peace and order, and they are trying to prevent the political crisis from escalating."

Her school, along with other schools in the country, were given a notice to shut down on Thursday by the National Peace and Order Maintaining Council.

Singaporean businessman Francis Teo, 33, who has been living in Bangkok for two years with his wife and child, felt that the situation might have become more peaceful instead because of the military takeover.

For the past months, protests were held at the Democracy Monument and popular tourist areas like Silom Road and Ratchaprasong intersection.

But after the coup, the army has banned public gatherings of five or more people.

Mr Teo said: "With or without protests going on, the traffic in Bangkok is notorious. But traffic has become smoother because the protesters have been dispersed."

He added: "My family in Singapore informed me about the coup before I even found out about it, but I told them not to worry," he added.

In a travel notice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises Singaporeans travelling to Thailand to exercise a high degree of caution and take all necessary precautions for personal safety, including purchasing comprehensive travel and medical insurance.


This article was first published on May 24, 2014.
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