Thailand 1981

By | December 17, 2021

The population (45,100,000 residents according to a 1978 estimate), which has more than doubled in the post-war period, has also increased at a conspicuous rate in the last fifteen years (around 3% annual average). The production of foodstuffs increased in the same years at a slightly faster rate; but the calories available per capita, already insufficient, have not improved. More than double the overall rate of population growth was that of the urban population – especially in the capital and neighboring towns, which saw a massive influx from the countryside. Bangkok, where the main industrial activities of the country have been concentrated and which remains the largest Thai port, has seen its population double in the fifteen years, from 1,

History. – On the death of Sarit Thanarat (December 1963), the government was entrusted to Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn, who continued the political line of his predecessor. For almost five years, the country was subjected to a regime of arbitration, with an Assembly composed mainly of military personnel who met only to endorse the acts of the prime minister. On June 20, 1968, a Constitution was promulgated which did not affect the continuity of the regime, with the aim of presenting a parliamentary facade rather than proposing substantial economic and social changes.

The country had very marked internal imbalances affecting, above all, the regions of the north-east and the south, inhabited respectively by populations of Laotian and Siamese origin. These became the hotbed of riots and autonomist plots. In January 1965, a Thai Liberation Front was created which aimed at the removal of the Americans, the overthrow of the dictatorial government, the independence of the country and the development of the national economy. The growing dependence on the United States, the dictatorship and the inaction of the military regime, provoked growing discontent in the cities. The students who in October 1973, after a bloody test of strength, forced Marshal Kittikachorn to resign and exile. The Thailand, which since 1962 has become a ‘ huge American air base, given its proximity to North Vietnam and China, in foreign policy it has always been linked to the USA. Relations between Washington and Bangkok during the Johnson administration were very close, while the Nixon doctrine of Vietnamization aroused some nervousness, given the state of guerrilla warfare existing in the country, and cooled relations. The collapse of the Lon Nol regime in Cambodia and the defeat of South Vietnam forced the Thai government, in order not to remain isolated in the international arena, to review all foreign policy and to demand the withdrawal of the American contingent stationed in the country.

The elections of January 1975, characterized by macroscopic episodes of corruption and which had seen the partial success of the Democratic Party of Prince Seni Pramoj, led to a coalition government which, however, was short-lived as it was considered too “left”, having tried to establish relations with the People’s Republic of China and improve relations with the Hanoi government. On October 6, 1976, a military coup put an end to democracy, repealing the constitution and dissolving the parties. The new program included only one point: the fight against communism. The international isolation due to the intransigent anti-communism, which had led to a worsening of the guerrilla warfare, and the dramatic internal economic situation advised the military to change course. But the growing tension in the Indochinese region has thwarted the attempt to re-establish civilians in government: a more liberal constitution approved in November 1977 was replaced by a new text in December 1979, which instead gives broad powers to the executive. In November 1978, with the visit of Deng Xiaoping and the signing of a trade agreement, a sensitive approach to China was achieved. On the other hand, the state of war between Vietnam and Cambodia has changed the terms of the internal situation, causing a split in the communist ranks and easing the pressure of the guerrillas. After the elections of April 1979, which registered a very low percentage of voters, a new government, mostly military, was formed by gen. For Thailand history, please check

Literature. – Theater, fiction (which includes legendary tales, short stories and novels) and above all poetry are the most documented genres in modern and contemporary Siamese literature. Of the two main forms of theater, the “internal” one (lakhon nok), reserved for the court environment, was exhausted with the collapse of the absolute monarchy (1932), while the “external” one (now known as lakhon chatri or lik√©), intended for the general public, continues to be very flourishing. Its themes, once exclusively inspired by traditional legends or Sanskrit literature, now appear enriched by modern social experiences. This phenomenon occurred more evidently with regard to the narrative, which has gradually abandoned the themes of Indian origin and traditional stories to offer us the vivid picture of a developing and strongly assimilating society. The best known novelists are Akat Damkeung, author of Yellow Skin, White Skin, and Chant Ruang, who wrote, among other things, in English, My Childhood in Siam. However, poetry continues to be the most cultivated genre, in its various aspects ranging from nostalgic nirat to “songs” or phleng, from boatmen’s songs (he rua) to the famous popular lullabies (he luk).

Thailand 1981