Thailand Political Culture Essay Research Paper INTRODUCTIONFor — страница 2
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fertile area and where the Thais plant their rice and lastly, the Southern Peninsula which is mostly covered by dense jungles, home to many animal species. Thailand boasts of its being the only nation in Asia to have avoided colonial domination so it has managed to preserve its traditional society, religious traditions and its ancient India-derived conception of governmental authority. However, with the onset of new technology, even though its society is traditional, it has managed to catch up with other European countries. Proof of this is the fact that if you go to Thailand, you will see tall skyscrapers on one side and see the smaller shacks and the “wats” (temples) on the other side. PEOPLE Thailand’s population of 61,230,874 (July 2000 est.) is largely divided into many races but what seems to dominate is the Mongoloid race or the Chinese. Most of the people in Thailand are ascendants of Thai-speaking people who have migrated from Southern China. Other members of the population include other immigrants from neighboring countries like Cambodia, Vietnam and Burma. But, in the urban cities like Bangkok, there is also a mix of Japanese, Indian and European people. There are also other people who live in the hills and have accepted the traditional way of life. These people in rural villages usually survive by fishing, lumber, mining and agriculture, where they grow their own food like corn, cassava, fruits and rice. These small villages have their own schools and a “wat”. Thais are 95% Buddhists but mostly Theravada Buddhists but, other religions include Islam, Christianity and even animism. Its official language is Thai and other languages used are English, Chinese, Malay and other tribal languages. ECONOMY Thailand’s currency is bath where 1 baht = 100 satang. Before 1960, Thailand relied mostly on rice and it natural reserves of tin and also on rubber and teak. However, in the 1960’s, more roads were constructed, more forestlands were developed and banks loaned money to farmers which they used for irrigation, dams and even tractors. This began the new era f technology for the economy of the country. Today, Thailand has on of the most stable economies in Southeast Asia, operating on free enterprise, which depends on rice and manufacturing. One of the major sources for its economic stability is the agriculture business. Majority of Thais are farmers who own their lands. Rice production takes up 25% of the total land area of the country. But, they do not rely solely on this. They also plant bananas, cassava, corn, cotton, jute, pineapples, soybeans, tobacco, and sugar. Thailand is also known as the 3rd largest producer of rubber for international market. But they are also involved in manufacturing of cement, food products, plywood and textiles, particularly silk. They also fish for anchovies, mackerel and shellfish but they also have their own fishponds. Aside from that, they also mine tin, lead, manganese, tungsten and iron ore. They also make use of their vast forests of teak and other hard trees. However, nowadays, one of Thailand’s highest contributors to their economy is tourism where about 4 million people visit its temples and beaches every year. GOVERNMENT Thailand’s government is one of the most centralized and bureaucratic in the world. Though national acts have been passed to decentralize it and give autonomy to the local administration, it has not been successful because very little power is given to them. The country is divided into 72 provinces but is also subdivided into 576 districts more. Thailand’s political history is considered to be most colorful and amazing because it has changed its Constitution a dozen times since 1932. King Bhumibol signed the latest Constitution on October 1997. There have also been numerous changes in the government but with no bloodshed. However, nowadays, its form of government has rested on constitutional monarchy. The monarch is considered the sacred head of the country and is also considered the moral leader of the state. Though the monarch has no governing powers, he is still considered as the symbolic head of the state. But, he is given the position as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. He also appoints the country’s Prime Minister on the recommendation of the President of the National Assembly. The present monarch is King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) and his wife, Queen Sirikit. He is considered to be the longest reigning monarch since 1950. The Prime Minister holds the executive power of the state and has the highest authority over political appointments and also of national security. He rules the country with 44 other ministers, which he chooses.