Who we are
Introduction to Thailand
The Kingdom of Thailand, formerly known as Siam, is a country at the centre of the Indochinese peninsula in Southeast Asia. With a total area of approximately 513,000 sq km (198,000 sq mi), Thailand is the world’s 50th-largest country. It is the 20th-most-populous country in the world, with around 66 million people. The capital and largest city is Bangkok.
Thailand is bordered to the north by Myanmar and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Myanmar. Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, and Indonesia and India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest.
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with His Majesty the King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun (Rama X.) being the current king. During the 20th and 21st century, Thailand’s political system has switched between parliamentary democracy and military governments.
The Thai economy is the world’s 20th largest by GDP at PPP and the 27th largest by nominal GDP. It became a newly industrialised country and a major exporter in the 1990s. Manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism are leading sectors of the economy.
With material from Wikipedia
The flag of Thailand
The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo in Bangkok
Traditional Thai boats on the beach
Political and Legal System
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy. In 1932 the first written constitution was issued. All of Thailand’s charters and constitutions have recognized a unified kingdom with a constitutional monarchy, but with differing balances of power between the branches of government. On 6 April 2017, Thailand’s 20th constitution was promulgated by His Majesty the King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun (Rama X.).
Most Thai governments have stipulated parliamentary systems. Several, however, also called for military governments. Both unicameral and bicameral parliaments have been used, and members of parliament have been both elected and appointed.
The laws of Thailand are based on the civil law, but have been influenced by common law. The Constitution of Thailand is the supreme law of Thailand which prevails over other laws passed by parliament. The Constitutional Court of Thailand has jurisdiction to make rulings over the constitutionality of parliamentary acts, royal decrees, draft legislation, appointment and removal of public officials and issues regarding political parties.
Criminal offences are enumerated in the Thai Penal Code as well as numerous other statutes. Criminal procedures are outlined in the Criminal Procedure Code.
Administrative law matters such as judicial review are handled by the Administrative Court, which was established under The Act on Establishment of Administrative Courts and Administrative Court Procedure BE 2542 (1999).
The most important reference of private law is the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand. It is composed of seven books. Books I and II were first promulgated on 11 November 1925 (BE 2466). The Foreign Business Act of 1999 regulates foreign ownership of certain Thai industries and foreign companies. The Alien Business Law prohibits foreigners from holding certain professions which are reserved for Thai nationals.
With material from Wikipedia
Parliament House of Thailand, Bangkok
Democracy Monument in Bangkok
Thai Foreign Policy: An Overview
In line with current domestic, regional and global contexts, the conduct of foreign policy and diplomatic efforts by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand places emphasis on promoting relations with neighboring countries and countries in Southeast Asia as well as promoting Thailand’s constructive role in the ASEAN Community.
Moreover, Thai foreign policy aims at enhancing Thailand’s relations with strategic partners and playing a constructive and responsible role in the international community.
Thailand’s further strategic goals are to enhance Thailand’s economic competitiveness and cooperation, promoting international confidence in, and positive image of, Thailand as well as promoting understanding and participation of all sectors in the conduct of foreign affairs and improving services for the public and organizational capability.
Flags of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Thailand is Southeast Asia’s second largest economy with a gross domestic product (GDP) of around USD 395 billion in 2015. With a free-market economy, the Kingdom has a strong domestic market and a growing middle class, with the private sector being the main engine of growth.
The Thai economy is well integrated into the global marketplace, with exports accounting for over 70 per cent of the Kingdom’s GDP. Thailand also has a strong industrial sector (38.1 per cent of GDP) and a robust and growing services sector (25.7 per cent of GDP) centred on the tourism and financial services industries.
Though traditionally an agrarian society and historically one of the world’s few net food exporters, the agricultural sector today accounts for approximately 8.3 per cent of the country’s GDP. Thailand continues to invest in new projects to maintain its growth.
Given the importance of exports to Thailand, it has been a leader in the region in terms of trade liberalisation and facilitation with the rest of the world, starting with its Asian neighbours.
Thailand is a key player in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), enjoying a strategic location that provides easy access to a larger market of nearly 600 million people, which is expected to gain even more strength within the ASEAN Economic Community (2015), a community of connectivity, a single market and production base.
Furthermore, Thailand’s convenient access to China and India, as well as to other East Asian countries such as Japan and the Republic of Korea, takes this huge consumer market to even bigger proportions.
Source: Thailand Today
Business district in Bangkok
Container port in Bangkok
The Thai Education System
Education in Thailand is provided mainly by the Thai government through the Ministry of Education from pre-school to senior high school. A free basic education of twelve years is guaranteed by the constitution, and a minimum of nine years’ school attendance is mandatory.
Formal education consists of at least twelve years of basic education, and higher education. Basic education is divided into six years of elementary education and six years of secondary education, the latter being further divided into three years of lower- and upper-secondary levels.
Kindergarten levels of pre-elementary education, also part of the basic education level, span 2–3 years depending on the locale, and are variably provided. Non-formal education is also supported by the state. Independent schools contribute significantly to the general education infrastructure.
Administration and control of public and private universities are carried out by the Office of Higher Education Commission, a department of the Ministry of Education.
The school structure is divided into four key stages: the first three years in elementary school, Prathom (ประถม) 1–3, are for age groups 7–9; the second level, Prathom 4 through 6 are for age groups 10–12; the third level, Matthayom (มัธยม) 1–3, is for age groups 13–15. The upper secondary level of schooling consists of Matthayom 4–6 for age groups 16–18 and is divided into academic and vocational streams.
There are academic upper secondary schools, vocational upper secondary schools and comprehensive schools offering academic and vocational tracks. Students who choose the academic stream usually intend to enter a university. Vocational schools offer programs that prepare students for employment or further studies.
There are 170 institutions of higher education in Thailand, both public and private, offering 4,100 curricula. For the 2015 academic year, the universities could accommodate 156,216 new students.
With material from Wikipedia
Among the well-known universities and institutes are:
Thammasat University in Bangkok
University students doing project work
Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok
A nation with a long and rich history, Thailand has preserved its unique identity and traditions over the centuries, while also welcoming diverse cultures reaching its shores as the Kingdom increased its contacts with the outside world. Thai people are well-known for their friendliness, generosity and tolerance, regardless of gender, race and faith.
Thailand has a population of around 65 million, consisting of around 80 per cent Thais, 10 per cent Chinese and 3 per cent Malays. The rest are minorities, including the Mons, Khmers and various hill tribes people.
There are five major religions currently observed. Around 89 per cent of Thais are Buddhists of the Theravada tradition. Muslims are the second largest religious group in Thailand at around 10 per cent. Christians, mainly Catholics, represent 0.7 per cent of the population. There is also a small but influential community of Sikhs in Thailand and some Hindus living in the country’s cities who are mostly engaged in retail commerce, in addition to a small Jewish community dating back to the 17th century. His Majesty the King, while a Buddhist, is a patron of all religions.
Underpinned by eight centuries of chronicled history that is rich in tradition going back beyond that, Thai cultural heritage is a blend of customs, from the Siamese royal court and historical tributary principalities to distinctive regional folklore.
Thai culture has also been influenced by religious tenets, largely inspired by Theravada Buddhism, but also incorporating a great deal of Indian, Chinese, Khmer and other traditions from the rest of Southeast Asia and beyond. Culture, arts and religions have been upheld on the basis of freedom and integration.
This has allowed the country to remain open to the outside world, ready to adopt innovations that benefit society. Culture is recognised as an important element of the Kingdom’s social fabric and its dynamic economy, enabling all citizens to uphold their virtues, to live together peacefully and to continually adapt to change.
Source: Thailand Today
Thai Buddhist monks
Traditional Thai dance