Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sea of Red

Originally I had heard so many horror stories about the demonstrations going on here in Bangkok, everyone was saying farang ( The Thai word for foreigners) should stay inside etc etc. I was slightly worried just due to all this hype. This morning I would say about at least 500,000 "red shirts" shut down the city protesting the govt.

Well my friend and I are studying Thai, we each bought books so we decided to go to a nearby local park to study. We got there and were surrounded by the red shirt people. At first we were a little nervous but we soon realised these people are not out to hurt farang at all. They love us foreigners and depend on our tourism. So I got around to asking one of them who spoke English what they were protesting.

Apparently from what I understand the people of Thailand elected a prime minister and recently the military overthrew him because they said he was corrupt. As far as I can tell they haven't offered the people of Thailand any proof and they just installed some other guy in his place. So obviously the people are angry. So all the people of Thailand want is a chance to vote again in a new election to elect someone of their choice. A reasonable request I think.

So, we get to talking to this guy and he tells us we can join him at the rally. We figure why not? So we walk down there and there is I would say at least 500,000 Thai's in red shirts clogging the streets protesting and wanting a new govt. People there are happy and chanting and singing not screaming and getting angry. This is totally a non violent thing. I felt quite out of place at first with my friend being one of the very few Farang (foreigners) there. But the Thai's made us feel like Rock Stars! Everyone just acted like I was their best friend even if they didn't speak a lick of English and there was even a monk who hugged me! We also saw a foreign guy leading a protest chant and I asked him what the words he was saying meant, and he said he didnt even know! I was at least informed enough on the issue to know what I was doing there.

They all wanted pictures taken with me and to talk to me and give me free stuff like water etc.... I was amazed! At first I just went down there out of pure curiosity but they thanked me for supporting them and after I actually learned what and why they were protesting I do support them. The police/military WAS there but they were on the outskirts and they didn't harm anyone nor did anyone harm them. I can see this will be a totally not dangerous non violent thing unless either a protester gets angry or the police/military come down hard and hurt someone.

Tomorrow is the "deadline" for the change in the govt to happen so I wont be going down there tomorrow just in case things get heated but overall it was a really good experience for me to see people actually trying to make a change in their govt and doing something about it. In America I seriously doubt 500,000 people would assemble for anything. Either out of pure laziness or just not caring. But, also on the flip side of the coin we are lucky to have a govt that might not be GREAT but it has been and hopefully always will be elected by the people for the people so we dont have these issues.I wish I would have had my camera to take pictures but sadly I left it in the room not thinking I would be needing it for anything.

So long story short I had an interesting but safe day and I plan to make it back to Australia in one piece :)
On a Happier note I found the coolest little bar here on Soi Ko San ( Ko San Road) called The Happy Bar (go figure) the owner and his sister run the place along with a friend and it is literally just big enough to fit 9 people max but it is such a relief from the loud craziness of Ko San and you can actually talk and get to know people its great I really do love it there and I will miss it when I am gone. I do have a love/hate relationship with Bangkok for sure but I guess overall I will miss it. Tomorrow I shall write my Asian Reflections Blog. I guess that is all for now.

Yall take care,Ty

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