Demography and economic geography
State of Southeast Asia. At the 2010 census the Thailand housed a population of 65,980,000 residents (increased to 67,222,972 in 2014, according to an estimate by UNDESA, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs). The annual growth rate shows a significant reduction: from 2.7% per year (1960-70) to 1.05% (1990-2000) and again to 0.8% (2000-10) and 0.3% (201015). The results of the census show that, as of 2010, Bangkok registered 8,300,000 residents and the highest population density in the country (5,294.3 people per km2), a value approximately 77 times higher than that of the northern region. The Thailand, included among the countries with a high human development index (HDI), from 1980 to 2013 recorded a significant increase in the value of the indicator (43.5%), which went from 0.503 to 0.722. In 2011, the World Bank included Thailand among the upper-middle-income countries, considering it a success story. Characterized by strong economic growth (8-9%) between the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, until the Asian crisis of 1997-98, Thailand subsequently recorded moderate growth (except in the period 2000-05, when it reached 5% again), and then faced the uncertainty caused by a series of events: from the financial crisis of 200809 to the flood of 2011 and, again, to political tensions and uncertainties in 2010 and 2013-14. In 2013, again according to data from the World Bank, the Thai economy grew by 3%, albeit in a context of slower growth in household consumption and exports of goods; in the same year, however, exports of services were significant, to which tourism revenues contributed significantly. In the first three quarters of 2013, tourist arrivals increased by 22%, while they decreased in the last quarter (calculated year over year). Nonetheless, the World Bank reports that, again in 2013, tourist arrivals reached a record level of over 26 million. For Thailand 1997, please check aristmarketing.com.
The dismissal, in 2006, of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, following the bloodless coup d’état carried out by the military close to the king, started a phase of strong political conflict and deepened the social fractures in the country, which saw the elites opposedurban and professional from the southern provinces, traditionally holders of political and economic power, to the rural classes of the northern and eastern regions. Although accused of corruption, Shinawatra, with his party, the Thai rak thai (TRT, The Thais love the Thais), in fact continued to enjoy a great consensus among the peasant population and the most disadvantaged strata, who had at least partially benefited of the government’s populist policies and which had been more subject to the pounding political propaganda carried out by the former premier, owner of the most important telecommunications company in the country. To limit the freedom of action of future executives, in 2007 the military junta passed a new Constitution, which increased the role of the judiciary and the Senate. For the latter,
Despite the banning of the TRT, its heir party, the Phak palang prachachon (PPP, Party of People’s Power), managed to win the 2007 elections and its leader Samak Sundaravej was appointed head of the government. In 2008, however, in a climate of growing tension following the protests of the opposition, which had occupied the main airports of the country, the Constitutional Court dissolved the Phak palang prachachon and entrusted the government to the leader of the opposition Abhisit Vejjajiva, of the Phak prachatipat (PP, Democratic Party). Supporters of Thaksin (in the meantime convicted in absentia for fraud) then organized massive protests, which effectively paralyzed the political and economic life of the country and culminated in 2010 in a bloody repression by the government.
In the 2011 elections, Thaksin’s party, now called Phak puea thai (PPT, Party for the Thais), again won the majority of seats (265 out of 500) and Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin’s sister, was named prime minister, the first woman to hold this office. The executive resumed the subsidy and welfare policy already started in 2006, proposed raising the minimum wage and financed a subsidy program in favor of rice farmers. In 2013, a proposal was also made to amend the Constitution, to make all the seats in the Senate elected again, and to grant a general amnesty for crimes committed since 2004, a provision that would have allowed Thaksin to return home from exile.. Opposition protest began to rise again and violent street demonstrations erupted in the capital in November. Y. Shinawatra reacted by dissolving Parliament and calling early elections.
Boycotted by the opposition, the consultations, which took place in February 2014, were considered null and void by the Constitutional Court, which in May deposed Y. Shinawatra, found guilty of corruption and abuse of power, and appointed a provisional government chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan. Within a few weeks, however, the military regained control of the country: the government was dissolved, the Constitution suspended and martial law was enacted. In June, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, who had led the coup, proclaimed himself interim prime minister and in the following August he was formally appointed prime minister by a provisional parliament in which the presence of the military was predominant. The military junta began work on drafting a new Constitution, while the election date was postponed indefinitely. The new government tried to re-establish diplomatic and commercial relations with the main partners of the area, while the negotiations with the European Union for the conclusion of a free trade treaty came to a halt. In September 2015, the Reform Council (legislative body appointed by the military junta after the coup) rejected the constitutional draft presented by the government, also following the criticisms of the parties that they believed would have given too much power to the military.
In August 2015, a violent attack on the Erawan temple in Bangkok left 22 dead and 123 injured. According to some sources, the massacre was attributed to some Yuguri militants, a Chinese minority of Muslim religion, as revenge for the forced repatriation of some of its members from Bangkok to Beijing.
From 1997, the year of the centenary sadly celebrated with an unprecedented production crisis (an inexorable reflection of the financial crisis that involved several South-East Asian countries), to date, Thai cinema has grown like no other.
On a popular level, this cinema has imposed an expressive figure that has made the mixing and accumulation of genres, together with the excess of sounds and colors, its main stylistic features. All this has become intertextual play, metaphilmic reflection and an audiovisual saturation operation in Fah talai jone (2000; The tears of the black tiger) by Wisit Sasanatieng, one of the protagonists of the authorial rebirth of the new Thai cinema, which right from the new millennium is has become more and more influential at an international level, imposing itself, with authority, in the panorama of great cinematographic events. In fact, in 2000, the debut, in the feature film (Dokfa nai meuman, known by the title Mysterious object at noon) by Apichatpong Weerasethakul (v.), A director who is crucial for identifying possible future landings (or drifts) of the filmic image, now capable of embracing various regimes of writing and representation.
Another interpreter of the Thai new wave is Pen-ek Ratanaruang who with Ruang rak noi nid mahasan (2003, known as Last life in the universe) managed to tame the experimental excesses, not without self-satisfaction, of the debut (Fan ba karaoke, 1997, known as Fun bar karaoke) without giving up the desire to invent and reinvent oneself by invading multiple expressive registers.
Weerasethakul’s pupil, who was his producer for Jutti (2010, known as Reincarnate), Thunska Pansittivorakul, making homoerotic desire (central theme of his director’s path) an act of sexual resistance against political repression (Poo kor karn rai, 2011, known as The terrorists), is often exposed to state persecution for the transgression of strict censor codes (Boriven nee yu pai tai karn kuk kun, 2009, known as This area is under quarantine, was forbidden at home).
Anocha Suwichakornpong (Jao nok krajok, 2009, known with the title Mundane history) works on the pure fascination of the image that is the link between the infinitely small (the domestic microcosm) and the infinitely large (the cosmos and the perfection of violence of its spheres). This dynamic continuity between antithetical dimensions both on a spatial and temporal level, but also in the expressive register is a constant of the new Thai cinema as can also be seen in the works of Nontawat Numbenchapol (Sai nam tid shoer, 2013, known with the title By the river) and Wichanon Somunjarn (Sin maysar fon tok ma proi proi, 2012, known as In April the following year, there was a fire).
The same goes for the films of Uruphong Raksasad capable, as demonstrated with Reanglao jak meangnue (2006, known as Stories from the North), of making an ‘impressionist’ reflection on time through the recording of light variations. Time also understood in terms of memory, which is the central theme in Mary ishappy, Mary is happy (2013) by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, an experiment built around 410 tweets that becomes an opportunity to analyze the role and effects of technology on everyday life, such as weakening of remembrance.