Rooted in Reason: Nurturing the Seeds of Liberty

Thailand: What’s going on? by grassroothawaii
May 20, 2010, 12:52 pm
Filed under: World | Tags: , , , , , ,

By Hideo Hikida

In case you haven’t been paying attention in the last month, the country of Thailand has been enveloped in a social and political crisis the likes that the people have never seen before. Now, some of you may be wondering what this may have to do with me right now. Well, to start Thailand is a place that has been instrumental in my upbringing. I attended high school in Thailand for my freshman year of high school, living directly in the middle of the city of Bangkok. My mother was born in Thailand and also calls Thailand home; both my parents also currently live in Bangkok, Thailand. If you want to get sort of a feel of how close my parents were to the conflict that had been going on for the past month, check this out:

You see the “M” on the “Main Stage” text balloon? My parents live there. I used to call that house home when I lived in Bangkok. Scary.
If you want a better picture of what was going on, the proceeding picture is an image right outside of the door of my parents’ house:

Yes folks, that’s a barricade formed by the “Red Shirts”, the anti-government protesters that have effectively shut down the entire country for the last month.

For those of you who are a little unfamiliar with the situation, the “Red Shirt” protesters are speaking out and demonstrating against the current form of government, maintaining their opinion that the current form of government in Thailand illegitimately seized power through corrupt means and military support. The protesters are supporters of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a former leader that advocated for the poor and rural class of Thailand. While popular amongst the lower-class of the Thailand, Thaksin has been in exile since the summer of 2008, because of the fact that he has been already convicted of numerous corruption and tax-evasion charges.

A couple days ago, the Thai Military acted and expelled the protesters from their main base of operations, and have imposed a strict curfew of 9pm on all citizens in Thailand. At least 44 people have been killed with more than 400 injured, and in the aftermath of the military crackdown, more than 34 buildings have been burned to the ground, including the second largest shopping mall in South East Asia. ( I LOVED THAT MALL!!)

There is no doubt that Thailand is in a state of crisis. Whispers of civil war flood the streets of Bangkok, with civilians and tourists alike living in a perpetual state of unrest because of the nature of the protesters as well as the military presence that dominates the streets. I try and keep in touch with my parents as much as I can; communications going in and out of the country have been unreliable at best, but rest assured, I know that they are safe.

The main lesson that we need to take away from this is the fact that no  matter how bad it may seem in our country, whether it be taxes, immigration laws or protests, there is always somewhere else which has it a lot worse than we do. Up until last month, I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that a civil conflict halfway around the world would have such a profound impact on my life.

I may not make that much of a difference here by writing on this blog or working in the office, but the fact here is that I, along with millions of others around the world plead with the people of Thailand to pursue a mutual understanding. There is a lot of work to do in Thailand; there is no denying that fact. Burning buildings and disrupting livelihood however, are not going to advance the country, only plunge it deeper into chaos.


3 Comments so far
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just wanted to say best wishes to your family, hope they stay safe.

Comment by ltamaye

My mother is a Thai citizen and has lived in Bangkok her entire life. I have been unable to contact her since the uprising. I’ve tried calling her to no avail. It’s been several months since we have spoken, do you have any suggestions how to locate ones mother in Thailand.

Comment by Mariah

What i’ve been doing with my parents is going on Skype and chatting through the internet. I don’t know if your mother is able to get internet access or anything but if she has email, try that. While the phone lines may be a little tangled up, the internet service has been relatively unscathed. Hope this helps!!

Comment by grassroothawaii

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