Thailand travel in the current political climate

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby forestmat » Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:35 am

Things are just fine here...

You know if you come to Thailand there is a lot to be said for sometimes adopting the Thai attitude of "It's not my business"

There is no reason to think too much about the reds or the yellows, just get on with what you came to Thailand for, and "don't think too much" (another Thai favourite)

With Metta

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Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby cooran » Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:47 am

Hello all,

Here is part of an email I received from a close friend who lives in Bangkok.:

"Its amazing to see the effects of the terrible greed of one man and how much damage he can inflict on the country to satisfy his lust for power. I feel sorry for him, somewhat, because no one, except his family, perhaps, will remember him with any fondness and that he's so much in the thrall of dosa and akusala that there will probably never be any turning toward kusala, at least in the foreseable future. That people are willing to believe his lies, especially foreigners outside of Thailand who don't really know what went on here, is amazing. Well, it is not called amazing Thailand for nothing. Luckily the government was able to diffuse the violence and wanton destruction which severely damaged anything the Red Shirts might have stood for. However, they are home for the Songkran holiday and let's see what happens after that.
If you would like to follow events in Thailand here are 2 excellent websites which will give you up to the minute and accurate news of events: http://www.manager.co.th (Thai language) and http://www.thailandoutlook.tv (English language). Please pass that on to others who would like to know the truth."

metta
Chris
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Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby gavesako » Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:37 am

This is a first-hand account of what happened in BKK recently featuring also a photo of some Buddhist monks who joined the protests:

http://rspas.anu.edu.au/rmap/newmandala ... ed-shirts/
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby forestmat » Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:43 am

.
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Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby robertk » Wed Apr 22, 2009 7:45 am

forestmat wrote:
Chris wrote:Hello all,


And these days I am certainly not going to rely on Thai based media for an accurate reflection of what people think is going on here.


This article agrees with my experience as a bangkok based expat.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7998243.stm
By Jonathan Head
BBC News, Bangkok
Nobody won. That is the only conclusion that can be drawn from the chaotic events in Thailand over the past few days.

Certainly not the red-shirted United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), whose attempted uprising degenerated into a series of chaotic clashes with the army that left a wake of destruction on the streets of Bangkok.

Not Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva either. Although he clawed back a lot of his authority through the successful military operation to disperse the UDD protesters, the promise he made on taking office four months ago to promote reconciliation in his country now looks hollow.

Not the army, which carried out the unpleasant task of clearing the streets with growing confidence, and surprisingly light casualties.

Its decision to suppress these protesters, when it did nothing about the equally damaging actions of the yellow-shirted People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) last year, makes a mockery of its claim to be a neutral force.

That and the 2006 coup that deposed Thaksin Shinawatra have irrevocably tarnished its image with a sizable part of the Thai population.

Not the police, who are now such a diminished and demoralised force that almost no-one in Thailand expected them to play any role in the recent disorder.

When confronted by a few thousand unarmed protesters at the Asian summit in Pattaya, they offered only token resistance. In Bangkok they were essentially invisible. Without a functioning police force, the rule of law that Mr Abhisit has talked of so often becomes very precarious.

And finally, not Thaksin Shinawatra, whose melodramatic call for a people's uprising fell flat, and who is still stuck in exile, without a secure place of refuge.

Polarising figure

Three years of intractable political conflict are taking a debilitating toll on Thailand. Emotions are now very raw.

Some of the ugliest scenes in recent days did not involve the army; they occurred when local residents came out to confront the rampaging red-shirts. Shots were fired, two people died, and some were savagely beaten.

It is difficult to explain why Thailand, a country once seen as a paragon of stability and social harmony, has become so polarised.

The division between Red and Yellow cuts across many lines; it is not simply just rural-versus-urban, or poor-versus-rich. Spend long enough with either group and you meet people from very varied backgrounds.

Multi-millionaire Thaksin is both loved and hated in ThailandBut there is one issue that clearly divides the two camps.

That issue is Thaksin Shinawatra, the man who shattered the traditional mould of Thai politics through his brilliant campaigns, winning him two record election victories in 2001 and 2005.

Not all the Reds love this brash and controversial figure.

But they pretty much all think he was unjustly removed from office by the 2006 coup, and that the various legal cases brought against him - he was sentenced to two years in jail in absentia last year for an abuse of power - are without merit.

They also believe in the power of his populist agenda, the key to his party's mass following.

Not just because it improved the lot of the rural poor - economists have questioned the efficiency and long-term benefit of many of his policies - but because for the first time it gave poorer Thais a sense that their vote mattered, that voting for a particular policy platform could bring you tangible benefits.

The Reds felt Thaksin gave them a voice in Thai societyThis approach politicised a previously neglected class of people in Thailand, and made them a powerful, new force.

These people are the reason Mr Thaksin did so well in elections, and the reason his allies were returned to office in 2007, in the first election held after the coup, even though Mr Thaksin and 110 of his top party officials were banned from running.

They are now the mass base of the red-shirt movement. And they believe, passionately, that their side has been treated unfairly.

Festering grievances

The many, well-founded criticisms made of Mr Thaksin's style of government do not affect that view: that he was autocratic, fatally weakening Thailand's fragile democratic institutions; that he presided over a sharp escalation of human rights violations; that corruption continued to flourish under his administrations; that he shamelessly promoted on the basis of loyalty, not competence.

The Yellows say Thaksin was both corrupt and autocraticThese are points made tirelessly by the PAD during their anti-Thaksin protests last year, and they are hard to refute.

But because so many poorer Thais saw this flawed politician as their champion, they resented it bitterly when forces aligned with the wealthy elite decided to bend the rules to kick him out of office.

It was ultra-royalist generals who led the coup. But they were cheered on by conservative judges and bureaucrats, wealthy business tycoons and many urban, middle-class Thais. Mr Thaksin's followers felt robbed.

That sense of being robbed continued last year when they saw the governments they had voted for harried by the PAD, and then disqualified by bizarre court decisions.

And they felt patronised when PAD activists said - as they did repeatedly - that the only reason the poor voted for Mr Thaksin was because he had bribed them to.

These grievances continue to fester, and deepen the divide in Thai society.

Go to a red-shirt rally and you will hear the same mantra; "We are grass-roots people, fighting for democracy, against the ruling class".

Go to a yellow-shirt rally and you will almost inevitably hear a different mantra; "We are educated people, fighting against corrupt politicians who abuse democracy".

PM Abhisit Vejjajiva has failed to draw support from rural votersThere appear to be no towering, Obama-like figures in Thailand, who can win the respect of both camps. Certainly not Mr Abhisit, who often looks uncomfortably out of place in the rural, red heartlands of the north and north-east.

How he deals with the leaders of the "red uprising" now - and how that compares with the treatment given to last year's "yellow uprising" - will be an important test of his promise to uphold the rule of law impartially.

So the conflict which erupted so spectacularly in Bangkok and Pattaya over the past week will probably rumble on, steadily eroding the confidence of investors, tourists and the Thai people, in a stable future for their country.
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Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby appicchato » Wed Apr 22, 2009 8:22 am

Everybody goes around and around with this...whew...I'm going to go (way) out on a limb here and air the view I get...and that's that Thais...and I mean all Thais...of all ages, and backgrounds, never, repeat, never get beyond the mental level of, say, an eight year old...maybe ten...they're kids at heart, pure and simple, and everything that goes along with that...maturity, foresight, responsibility, trust, and all the rest...all on the level of a single digit chronological age...I mean no disrespect whatsoever by this, or I wouldn't have spent half my life and over thirty years here...it's just the way I perceive the situation...that aside, I can't tell you how much I love it here...even after having been to approximately forty countries, I can't imagine living anywhere else...Viva Thailand!... :bow:
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Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby forestmat » Wed Apr 22, 2009 8:51 am

Namassakarn Tahn Ajahn,

nice to see you airing your comments. Everything has to be 'Sanook" (fun) here, and if it isn't fun and happy, people don't want to know.

And I am so glad to have found this forum at last.

It is easy much more user friendly than some.

With my respects to you

Namassakarn

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Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby forestmat » Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:06 am

Hi robertk

actually I really don't rate Mr. Head as much of a journalist, and I know many Thais who dislike him.

I'll give you an example from that long quote you posted of his...

It is difficult to explain why Thailand, a country once seen as a paragon of stability and social harmony, has become so polarised.


Now, can anyone here tell me when that was? At what point over the last 77 years was this the case?

Is it 17 or 18 coups d'etat we've had here since the end of the second world war?

But like the Venerable Appicchato, I wouldn't live anywhere else.
Metta

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Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby forestmat » Sat Apr 25, 2009 5:21 am

Bangkok will be having another rally tonight, albeit on a much smaller scale.

It is anticipated that around 5,000 people are expected to attend.

Starts around 5pm tonight up at the Royal Plaza (Where the statue of Rama 5 riding a horse can be found).

However, if you read other websites it says people will gather at Sanam Luang (Nr the Grand Palace)


Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will not make a phone-in to address his supporters at their rally at Sanam Luang Saturday evening.

Somyos Prueksakasemsuk said there would be no special highlight during the rally and the rally would be short, not a prolonged one.

He said people, who want to join the rally, could wear any colour of shirt.

The Nation


Lets hope that it will be peaceful

Metta

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Re: Thailand travel in the current political climate

Postby nathan » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:39 am

All appears calm so far in Bangkok today. I will be traveling to the Marble Temple this afternoon to visit with our Venerable Dhammanando and so I will continue to remain mindful. Also, if we may widen the discussion or simply rename it to "Travel in Thailand", I can add that there does not yet appear to be a known case of the Swine Flu in Thailand and that the country appears well set to deal with this emerging situation. I will do my best to keep everyone updated as I learn more.

I would say that so long as one is careful not to say anything out of place tourists need not be any more concerned about their well being here in Thailand than they would anywhere else and in fact they can continue to expect to be very well treated and well received. I have nothing but praise for the conduct of the Thai people so far in my own case. May they continue to be well and happy.

I used the word "protection" to describe my concern that perhaps I should go to the hospital for an exam in relation to the epidemic as there are now at least six known cases in Canada. I meant this to mean that I would like to protect the Thai people from any possible infection I may have encountered. This word has a negative connotation here and should be avoided as it relates to gang or mafia activity. In the ensuing conversation, in relation to the red/yellow thing, I described myself as orange and this was well received. Most Thais would simply like to go on with their lives; continue to work and advance themselves in this world.
:anjali:
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