new minister, same social order
Saturday, November 23, 2002
The recent cabinet reshuffle introduced a new Interior Minister who indicated that the new social order was still firmly on the political agenda, and recent raids have confirmed this.
The focus has not changed significantly - discos raided for drugs, under-age patrons and not closing by 2:00 AM, go-go bars raided for their sex shows, saunas raided for drugs and "lewd" behaviour. And the focus is not only on gay venues, numerous straight venues have been raided, though some have complained that enforcement has not been consistent.
Local media coverage of some of the recent raids has included footage and pictures of customers on Thai TV and in Thai newspapers and the shock-horror sensationalist language has been prevalent in the English language press coverage also.
Most of the raids have focused more on the local patrons or venue owners, and some of the recent raids have been at venues that are usually not popular with (or even known about) by western visitors, but some westerners were caught in a drug test at a popular Pattaya disco.
The cynics of course point out that the recent flurry of activity has been prompted both by the need for the new appointees to make their mark and by the increasing level of defiance of the new social order concepts by some venues, so the theory is that venues will now tone down their activities for a while, the raids will slow down, then venues will gradually crank up the pace again and the cycle will continue.