Posts Tagged ‘Thailand’

Down the alley 

Posted: January 22, 2017 in Thailand
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Away from the main road, a family takes a moment from work. Street vendors don’t appear to be doing well in the city. Not much for them to depend on with the poor economy and the increasing cost of living. 

Another day at work

Posted: January 22, 2017 in Thailand
Tags: ,

A taxi rider prepares for work. The mornings are routines, repetitive for the sake of his livelihood.

Things don’t look good for low-income workers in the city as household debts are increasingly and the economy sinks further into oblivion.

Little boy of blue 

Posted: January 22, 2017 in Thailand
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Through twisted narrow lanes and swaying shadows, a boy wanders deeper into a Bangkok slum.

Thai students, from high school to universities, have shown tremendous courage under martial law and subsequently under the interim constitution of the junta.

I recall my first story, on Global Voices, of a teenager, Nattanan Warintarawet, who protested against coup-leader General Prayuth’s 12 core values at the Ministry of Education. She led a small group of young people, braving the backlash, and even now continues to voice the concerns of her peers.

More young people spoke out, against an institution that sought to “reform” a country torn by political distrusts and decades of inequality. Despite the threats of repression, forced rehabilitation, detention, arrests and social stigmatization, many surge forth to exercise their right to peaceful assembly. Many protest in the form of flash mobs, which may not command the numbers of thousands, but effective in leaving a mark for others to contemplate about their suppressed rights or feel enraged at having none.

Student activism in Thailand / Art work by AKRockefeller

Student activism in Thailand / Art work by AKRockefeller

Students from the south, a conflict-torn area, are also affected by the presence of the junta. Though many feel their concerns on the lack of social justice has been around for over a decade, even before the coups of 2006 and 2014. Yet many now, brave the conflicts and the rampant crackdowns to call for positive change and liberty. Many student movements, such as PERMAS and its affiliates, demand for their right to self-determination and peace.

And recently, young people marched, rallied and stood in solidarity against injustices. They call for their right to mobilization towards a democracy that they desperately seek in their lifetime.

Obvious indicators show that they are rallying in small groups, with multi-dimensional goals, but all are demanding for a democratic process, one that we adults, sometimes, take for granted.  Despite the heavy military presence, the hordes of policemen, and the threats of detention, young Thais surge forth to claim what is rightfully theirs: Leadership, by young people for their communities.

Pansak Srithep was arrested by authorities on Saturday in Thailand’s capital for making a symbolic walk to a police station. His son was killed by an army sniper during the Red Shirt protests in Bangkok in 2010, and Pansak was one of the four activists from the Resistant Citizen, an anti-coup group, charged with violating martial law for organising a mock election on Valentine’s Day.

Obviously the authorities do not tolerate any forms of peaceful assembly, as defined in the past repression of rallies and the strict enforcement of martial law. So far, there is no indicator of pro-democracy reforms by the minority elites despite the promises from the junta and the military-controlled national legislative assembly. Even then Thais continue, sometimes almost haphazardly, in the attempt to bend the will of the military powers, until perhaps one day more will join in the quest for self-determination.

 

 

 

I walk, therefore i am
Crossing through injustice sand
Pathway holds no light
But together we will fight
I fight, therefore i am
Seeking for a justice land
Where people are all equal
Where rights promise to all individual
I shout, therefore i am
Calling for the rights of man
Voices will be heard on streets
the people will be taking the lead
I walk, therefore i am
Crossing through injustice sand
In the end there will be lights
Of the Resistant citizen who will rise.

Justice for Thailand

ฉันก้าวเดินฉันจึงยังเป็นฉัน
ฉันวาดฝันรุกมั่นสู่จุดหมาย
แม้ดาวดับลับเลือนไม่พรั่งพราย
หากในกายยังคงรุมสุมเชื้อไฟ
ฉันจึงสู้เพื่อให้ฉันยังรู้สึก
ในสำนึกที่ฉันยังต้องเรียกหา
คนเท่ากัน ฉันและเธอ มวลประชา
สิทธิสัญญาว่ารวยจนทุกคนมี
จะกู่ก้องร้องตะโกนด้วยตัวฉัน
ตะโกนลั่นร้องหาสิทธิถูกริดปล้น
เสียงจะดังด้วยพร้อมเพรียงเสียงมวลชน
เสียงของคนใช่ทาสหากเป็นไท
ฉันก้าวเดินฉันจึงยังคงอยู่
จงรับรู้ว่าฉันจะมิอาจเชื่อง
ประชาชนจะนำแสงเป็นฟันเฟือง
พลเมืองจะโต้กลับรุกเอาคืน

 

 

A Thai friend, who has been living in Bangkok for the past three decades, feels bitter from the carnage of Suthep’s so-called “people’s revolution” which is far from peaceful as indicated by the mainstream media and first hand accounts of the street intimidation. Suthep Thaugsuban, this former deputy prime minister who hails from the democrat party, has isolated himself from reason and logic, preferring the feudalistic banner of stopping the Feb 2 election and replacing the government with his band of “good people” – all unelected of course, and chosen by him in accordance to his brand of politics. Fascism is fashionable, hyped by the bourgeois clans with their paid mercenaries from Surat Thani province in the south.

I asked her a few questions, as we sat in the shadows around the corner to Lumphini park, with thick coffee and kretek.

“So dear, what do you think krub? Do you understand Suthep and all this mockery of his movement?”

Their beliefs fall under democracy and anti-corruption, but they follow Suthep, a corrupt individual that has a warrant out for his arrest. Suthep is using subversive ideals to take over Bangkok by using violence and going against the laws of the current government.

“Not that I am an expert in Thai politics as much as my own country (Malaysia) but do you think Suthep’s horde and the democrats believe in democracy?”

Protesters believe democracy means to elect your own council in order to take charge of the government. How is this possible? Protesters think the rest of the country is poor and uneducated to understand that the current government is wrong, but hire people from the south to come to Bangkok in order to help protest, who live among terrorists and have Muslim beliefs that are just as poor as the rest of the country.

“Ah the southerners, this issue seems unavoidable in the equation of the democrats. Seems when the elites and Bangkok bourgeois need muscle, they use their distant kin from the south. So what about the political “people’s power” slogan?”

Protesters use slogans such as, give power back to the people, when the current government was elected by a landslide vote. They create shirts of doves that promotes peace but have the word ‘uprising’ on the top of it. How can you have peace when you are actively trying to create an uprising? Protesters want to shut down Bangkok, but they use all the amenities the city has to offer. These protesters demonstrate that they have no time to just think on their own for 5 minutes to realize how idiocracy is actually controlling their every movement. It’s a sad day in Thailand due to these protesters putting a standstill to the economy and to tourism. 

“So what do you honestly think Suthep and Abhisit’s democrats fight to eradicate corruption is just?”

Do protesters really believe that corruption would come to an abrupt end as soon as Suthep obtains power and him selecting people to run the country?

“Ah, yes. *chuckle* Not to mention they themselves have not been able to clear their filth (corruption) nor would they want to.”

One of the many discussions, overall with the same issues and concerns, and repeatedly mentioned with clenched fists and flare in the eyes of my friends. I believe Suthep, who is acting out of desperation and isolation, realized that he has put his foot in his mouth, and like many desperate fascists, would rather have the whole country fall with him rather than see peace.

Respect My Vote movement believes in peaceful demonstrations for their right to vote and rejects coups.

Respect My Vote movement believes in peaceful demonstrations for their right to vote and rejects coups.