This article, incorporating relevant data from the Gallup Millennium Survey conducted in Thailand, will look at some of the more significant issues concerning participation and good governance in relation to cultural values and enduring political practices, contextualised by critical local-global debates. It is clear that stable, consolidated democracy has long evaded Thailand. The fIrst attempt was in June 1932 when a group of junior military officers and public servants overthrew the absolute monarchy and proclaimed the first democratic regime in Thailand. Although this was more symbolic than factual, leading to a long period of paternalistic and authoritarian military dictatorships, it at least created new ways of thinking about political democracy and participation. In the period since 1932 there have been nine successful coups and seven failed coups.