Today, on Thailand’s TV channel 9, was an interview with an iconic Thai thinker, Verapong Ramangkul, who on the TV program, warned the top brass of the Thai military, that if they stage a coup, they might, for the first time, run into problems with the so called “Watermelon Soldiers.” Verapong, with a Doctorate from Pennsylvania University, was taped to head a top level Thai unit, in charged to re-rehabilitate Thailand after the 2010 devastating flood, and later became the chairman of Thailand’s Central Bank.
Thailand ranks 4th globally in the number of coups stage or attempted, with on average a coup every 3 years.
“The top brass of the Thai military did something un-uaual in the Sunday election, and for the first time, gave the soldiers the right to vote according to what the soldiers see fit………From the voting results, in every military dominated polling units area, Yingluck’s Phey Thai Party won a big majority, meaning the low level soldiers have overwhelmingly voted for Yingluck’s party…………If the top brass stage a coup, for the first time, they will have to be concern about the Watermelon Soldiers. For the first time, the low ranking soldiers may not listen to orders,” said Verapong.
Verapong also mentioned the about 200,000 to 300,000 police force in Thailand, that have mostly aligned themselves with Yingluck.
The term Watermelon Soldier, comes from the fact that in Thailand, Watermelons are green on the out-side, but “Red” on the inside. The color Red in Thailand, means the Red Shirts, a large group of grass-roots Thai that is pro-democracy and many being loyal to Thaksin. The Thai military top brass, such as Prayuth, were involved in the crack-down of the Red Shirts that killed about 100 protesters, a few years back.
For the past few years, before Prayuth solidify his position with a reshuffle to put soldiers loyal to him in power, the Thai military was rocked with internal struggle of power, where the “Color Red” became greatly part of the struggle. The Thai army chief, Prayuth, in solidifying his position, promoted 100s of soldiers involved in the Red Shirts crack-down, to middle ranking force commanding position.