A. THE COUNTRY
The Kingdom of Thailand is a country that lies in the heart of Southeast Asia. It is a Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy. The popular king – the world’s longest-reigning monarch – plays a strong, unifying and stabilizing role. The party in power, the People’s Alliance for Democracy, has been challenged by the People’s Power Party. Disruption is far from over as the Thai political scene is deeply divided. Also, violent insurgency among Muslims in the south at times destabilizes that region. Free market principles, foreign investment, fertile agricultural land and recent industrialization have led to strong exports – textiles, fishing products, sugar, rubber, jewelry, cars and electronics. Tourism is a major aspect of the economy. Most of the labour force is working in agriculture and Thailand is the world’s largest exporter of rice.
B. THE PEOPLE
The population is ~68,140,000. The official language is Thai. There is an endemic economy of vice, in particular drug trafficking and sex trade. Some claim 10% of all tourist money is spent on the sex industry. Thailand’s HIV infection rate is Asia’s highest by far. There are many children who are child labourers, are sold into the sex trade, and are homeless street children.
~81% of the population are Southeast Asian (~78.4% Thai, 1.2% Mon-Khmer,
~0.9% Tai, ~0.5% Other Southeast Asian),
~10.8% East Asian (10.6% Chinese),
~6.1% Malay, ~1.2% Tibeto-Burman, ~0.9% Other.
These numbers do not account for more than 1 million Burmese migrants.
C. RELIGIONS AND CHRISTIANITY/PENTECOSTALISM
~85.32% are Buddhist, ~7.9% Muslim, ~2.4% Non-religious, ~1.8% Chinese,
~1.2% Ethnoreligionist, ~1.1% Christian, ~0.1% Other, ~0.1% Hindu,
In the Christian category:
~0.5% are Catholic, ~0.48% Protestant, ~0.08% Independent, <0.01%
Anglican, <0.01% Orthodox.
Evangelicals are ~0.5% of the population.
Charismatics are ~0.02% and of those ~0.1% are Pentecostals.
All religious groups are required to come under one of the government-recognized umbrella networks in order to be legally recognized.
Operation World, Jason Mandryk. Colorado Springs: Biblica Publishing, 2010.