It is impossible to care about Cambodia without caring about Thailand. The two countries share similar languages, culture and religion. Their histories are very much intertwined, sometimes as allies, sometimes as adversaries. If they are not brothers, then surely they are close cousins.
And so I had a fitful sleep last night. Just before turning off my phone, I heard that familiar BBC bell toll —  Breaking news:Thailand army declares martial law. As soon as I awoke, I read whatever I could to figure out what had really  happened. Trouble had been not only brewing, but overflowing for a long time now. There have been violent anti-government demonstrations for months, but really, there has been political upheaval for eight years. I think I will leave it up to the journalists at the BBC and the NY Times to try to explain what is going on. But here are some bullet points from me:
* The military says it is not taking over the government
* The military has taken over the media
* There are troops on the streets of Bangkok, and they are likely to remain there for a long time to come
To be honest, it is all very confusing, and as so often happens in situations like these, the more I read, the more I realise I don’t understand. But there is one thing I do know, and one thing I have been saying myself for months now. What is happening in Thailand can also be seen in its own way in Cambodia, as in Myanmar and recently Laos. SE Asia is a very strongly connected and often overlooked region. Those countries are now teetering together on the top of a precipice. The West ignores it at its peril.
Today’s NY Times article can be found here
The BBC report is here.