So this is the article that for some reason was not published in the NY Times that is distributed in Thailand. I do not think there’s anything overly harmful in the piece hence why I don’t have an issue posting it here, see below for some snippets and my waffling…
By no means is Thailand lifeless. The wealthy parts of Bangkok, including the main shopping and business districts, are still jammed, with Thais and tourists. The well-heeled and well-entrenched elites are insulated from the downturn and on some nights still fill restaurants with laughter and cheer. But gone is the notion of a Teflon Thailand, the country that could continue to prosper despite political dysfunction.
The deputy prime minister, a marketing specialist appointed by the junta in August as part of an effort to revive the economy, acknowledges the country’s sour mood. “People feel dismal,” the minister, Somkid Jatusripitak, said at a conference this month. He compared the country to “a sick person standing in a cold wind.”
There are, as always, 2 viewpoints about Thailand at the moment, the bear that says the military is doing a horrid job, personal freedoms are being suppressed, household debt levels are high, the economy is in the toilet, the military will stay forever, Thailand can’t grow anymore etc etc and then there’s the bullish viewpoint that is infrastructure projects are going ahead, corruption is down, political turmoil has been dealt it, border trade is rocketing, debt to gdp levels are low, the banking sector is in decent shape, democracy will return, and that Thailand will be a logistics hub for the region.
And, as always, it’s somewhere in the middle, personally, I can see the bullish picture far clearer than I can the bearish but without a doubt there are issues and many stumbling blocks to get there.