Forgotten World (175): Thailand

What was then called Siam was the only south-east Asian country not to be occupied by a European power and in 1932 the nation became Thailand after a bloodless revolution created a constitutional monarchy. Since then, there have been 18 military coups, the last in 2006 which deposed the then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The country of 63 million is highly divided between the Thaksin-supporting poor and a wealthy Bangkok elite.
The capital Bangkok – known in Thai as Krung Thep Mahanakhon – expanded rapidly with the influx of workers during the boom years and it is one of Asia’s most vibrant, and heavily-congested, cities with a population of 8 million. The large-scale sex industry which flourishes there contributed to the incidence of HIV infection – a major concern for the Thai government.


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