20 May 2010

Thoughts on Thai Violence, #4

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(Start reading first from “Thoughts on Thai Violence, #1” below this.)
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It is midday on 20 May 2010. Our neighborhood is quiet, but TV and internet news shows several arson sites in Bangkok still smoking. Things seemed to have settled down a bit after the curfew, which is extended 3 more days. The Royal Thai Army troops who were outside the corner of our house have gone, but police and security people are still there.
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For the last few posts, I have been recording recent news of Bangkok’s Troubles. Now comes the hard part, i.e., analyzing the whole mess. And, frankly, I am too tired to do so right now. Maybe it’s always best to sleep on it when coming to conclusions. I have strong feelings – both good and bad – about all parties in this conflict, and it will take a while to sort out. I’m also a farang, a Westerner, who will probably never really understand this place.
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One weird thing did happen as I just returned from my midday grocery run for ice, beer and other fluids. The police and security guys are located just over the wall that separates our courtyard and entrance alleyway from the sidewalk and street where they are. To be in the shade, many of them were relaxing with their backs to their side of the wall, talking and laughing. I turned off from their position on the corner and entered the little parallel alleyway to our gate on our side of the wall.
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Both my hands were loaded with heavy bags, and I struggled to open the sliding bolt in the gate’s lock. To my horror, when the bolt finally slid open it made the very loud sound of a metallic “ka-cthunk!” – just like a bolt in a heavy machinegun. All conversation on the other side of the wall immediately stopped, and I was expecting to hear the sounds of the workings of small-arms actions as panicked cops locked and loaded. As quickly as I could, I swung the gate open wide, knowing that the hinges would squeak loudly and hopefully reassure those on the other side, which it did.
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We are all a little jumpy these days.
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