This colorful festival, in which copies of the old constitution are put on little rafts and floated off down rivers throughout the country, is popular with everybody and brings in thousands of tourists. Throughout Thailand school children and adults are now preparing these rafts, called Kratongs, and decorating them with flowers, candles and incense sticks. The ceremony is believed to take away, not only the old constitution, but all the sins that went with it.
Since 1932, Constitution Day occurs every four or five years. Whenever a new Government comes to power they always want a new constitution. A Government is established by massive vote buying, renting a mob to occupy the center of Bangkok or by a military coup d'etat. Either way, the new Government needs a huge document to show that it is legitimate. The document is hotly debated by shills on Reddit, newspaper columnists and murderous academics (who are trying to gain favor with the current Government or with the lurking opposition) and ignored by everybody else (because in a few years there will be another one).
This year the celebration may be disrupted by acts of terrorism perpetrated by the Minnie Mouse gang of schoolgirls and monkeys. Constitution Day will be on 7 August, so where is the best place to see the celebrations? Stay away from areas that have schools teaching young girls and above all avoid places habituated by monkeys. On no account go to Lopburi.
The real story from Coconuts Bangkok:
International governments still have their eyes on Thailand and haven’t forgotten the country’s history of coups, political tensions and demonstrations.
Though very little is happening with regards to the referendum yet, there is international concern that the situation could turn dangerous.
Yesterday, the UK Government updated their online travel advice for citizens considering travel to Thailand due to the upcoming referendum.
The guide advises citizens of the UK that, “A referendum on the Thai constitution is due to take place on Aug. 7, 2016. Political tensions are likely to increase leading up to, and during the polls. You should avoid political gatherings and monitor the advice of local authorities and local media. Certain restrictions, such as on the sale of alcohol, may be imposed at this time. You should observe local laws at all times.”
The warning goes on to explain the 2014 coup and the military government in place as well as the interim constitution that gives Prayuth, “wide powers to enforce law and order, and restrictions on freedom of assembly and expression.”
The warning goes on to note that, “Before the military coup there were large-scale demonstrations and protests in Bangkok and other cities. Some of these were violent. You should avoid any protests, political gatherings, demonstrations and marches.”
They also say, “A number of media outlets have been taken off air and some internet sites remain blocked. It’s illegal to criticize the coup and you should be wary of making political statements in public. You should monitor local news and social media for developments.”
Geez. When they lay it out like that the situation seems much more serious than it does in our everyday lives.