Difficult to get on here…

I tried all last night to access News in Bangkok but I kept getting the yellow server reset message. Anyway, the wife and I are heading to the rally today. We are thinking of officially joining the UDD. The organizers are very open to foreigners joining them in their struggle.

I spent last Saturday at the rally and had a really interesting discussion with a Red Shirt supporter. His name was “Tun”. He explained to me that the government propaganda was having no effect outside of Bangkok and that the UDD is signing people up left, right, and center. I did see a constant line of people paying for their ID cards. Tun also told me that the Army and the “Ronin” warriors have had pitched battles outside of Bangkok that have not been reported in the press. Apparently, the military is divided, confused, and terrified of these “Ronin” warriors appearing out of nowhere, inflicting heavy casualties and then slipping back into the general population. It is quite obvious that they are well trained and motivated. What motivates them is the question? Are they a combination of Thai and foreign mercenaries paid to protect the Red Shirts or idealistic Thai warriors motivated to do what they believe is right?

My previous comment about the military being confused and scared is backed up by a sad even in Khorat. From the Prachathai website:

On 1 May, Private Thiwanont Thienthes, 23, was reported dead at his house in Phimai District, Nakhon Ratchasima Province. Dressed in full military uniform, he was found to have hung himself from a tamarind tree in the backyard.

His mother, Wassana, 52, said that he was a recruit attached to the 1st Special Warfare Training Company, Thanarat Camp, in Kaeng Krachan district, Phetchaburi province, and was due to be demobilized on 1 Nov 2010.

Given a week’s leave on 24 April, he returned home, looking normal, and regularly followed news of the red shirts, she said.

However, when he was due to go back to camp, he complained to his mother about his fear of being sent to disperse the demonstration in Bangkok. In the late afternoon of 30 April, he put on his uniform and asked for 400 baht for the bus fare back to camp.

While his mother thought that her son was on his way back to camp, her neighbors found the body hanging from the tree.

The situation does not bode well for the boys in green.

10 thoughts on “Difficult to get on here…”

  1. I am somewhat sympathetic to the aims of the red shirts, but I cannot see the upside of you, as a foreigner, joining the UDD and participating in the activities. It is all fun and games now, but if the sh@t hits the fan you might find yourself on the next plane out of Bangkok and blacklisted. And if they win, it is not like you would gain some position in the new government. On another note, I think the idea of any pitched battles occurring between military forces and our being unaware of it are unlikely in the extreme.

  2. Hello Qualtrough,
    I find your comment to be condescending to the extreme. Having lived in Thailand for nearly nine years I am well versed on the political situation. I have built a family and a career here. I pay my taxes honestly and break no laws. I find the “foreigner” argument ridiculous. It is not inherently wrong nor illegal to join a political organization. Fence sitting cowards like yourself are what’s wrong with the world. Would you condemn the foreigners who fought in the Spanish civil war against General Franco? I seek no position in any pro UDD government. I only seek what’s fair and just for my wife and daughter. Many foreigners see Thailand as an adult Disney Land created for their own amusement. I am not one of them. If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem. Get back to me after you grow a pair of balls.

  3. Hi Hawkeye,

    I am puzzled by what I can only characterize as your extreme anger at my comment, as I merely wanted to point out that what you are doing could be very risky for you. I am sorry if you found that condescending. I also do not see any relevance between your mentioning the fact that some view Thailand as a kind of ‘Adult Disneyland’ and what I wrote. I assume you meant to paint me with that brush, but will let that one pass.

    You also tar me as a cowardly fence-sitter and impugn my manhood, which I must mean you think you are being very brave. I don’t think you are being brave. I think you are being foolish, even though your heart might in the right place. Although I have lived here more than 20 years since first arriving in 1980, as much as I enjoy living here I will never be accepted as Thai, this is not ‘my’ country, and this is therefore not ‘my’ fight. The direction this country needs to take is one that needs to be decided by Thais. Your public participation in fact could actually backfire, because the opposition can now point to you and others and claim that foreigner’s are interfering in Thailand’s internal politics, something that has already happened. There are many ways that you could support the change you want here without joining a political party and publicly taking part in their activities.

    I appreciate your wish to make Thailand a better place for you and your family, but you are not in the USA or Canada, both countries in which the government not only welcomes, but embraces immigrants. Thailand emphatically does not, and your protection under the nation’s constitution are thin to none. At some unknown government official’s whim you could literally be on the next plane out of here with no appeal. So much for your making a better life for your family here. If you are aware of that risk and still willing to take it, well then, good luck!

    Yes, I am a fence-sitter here.

  4. To the editor. If you choose to post my comment, could you please remove the last line “Yes, I am a fence sitter here.” I meant to delete that during the editing process. Thanks.

  5. Hello qualtrough,
    You are absolutely right I should not have impugned your manhood. I am sorry for that. My adult Disneyland comment was not aimed directly at you but for the people I see daily who treat the Thai people with contempt and ridicule, those who further the stereotypical view that Thai’s are backwards, dishonest, and beneath them. I have heard more than once and less than 1,000 times that Thai women are “little brown fuck machines!” I hear it daily at my place of employment, the ignorant comments about Thai’s addiction to booze, women, and gold. And these comments come from “well educated foreigners”.
    I thought that your first plane out of here comment was meant to suggest that I would voluntarily leave my family in the midst of a crisis. This raised my hackles a bit. Your last comment about being a fence sitter is the most honest thing you have said. How could I possibly remove it.

  6. It is still very unclear to me what any of the issues you raise about Thai women and Thais in general has to do with my questioning the wisdom of non-Thai citizens openly participating in political activities that could jeopardize their legal right to be here. A normal reaction to my first post might have been something along the lines of, “Thanks for your advice, but I am aware of the risk and willing to take it in hopes that I can contribute to the betterment of Thailand.” Instead I get a rant that basically accuses me of being a cowardly Thai-hating ball-less bedwetter, all the while comparing yourselves to members of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (in your dreams). By the way, the members of the Abraham Lincoln brigade were brave men indeed, but you reinforce my point as the survivors were forced to flee Spain and never live there again unless they came back after Franco died. I have also re-read my first comment and cannot for the life of me see how you interpreted that as advising you to leave your family voluntarily. When I wrote that, “you might find yourself on the next plane out of Bangkok and blacklisted” it seems pretty clear I was referring to the fact that you might be risking deportation. Finally, I am not sure where you work, but if you hear those kinds of negative comments daily you should really consider changing your place of employment. I have worked in a lot of places here, and cannot recall ever working in such a corrosive atmosphere. What kind of work are you doing that you must be surrounded by such people?

  7. Qualtrough,
    I in no way compared myself to myself to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. I was giving an example of “foreigners” who took risks for the betterment of society and the world in general. I have never claimed nor do I seek to be accepted as a Thai. You are absolutely right this is not my country but it is my home. I have a wife, child and a large extended family so I think that it is my fight. I never accused you of “hating Thais”. I never called you a “bed wetter”. My comments about the speech I hear at work where not aimed directly at you but were an example of views held by many foreigners. I think it would be very difficult to argue with that. I think your “What kind of work are you doing that you must be surrounded by such people?” is a sad attempt to infer that I make my living nefariously. As for your attempt to label Thailand as a country that is some how anti-immigration, is foolish at best. Thailand is a melting pot of many different races, cultures and ethnicities. I believe that as it is still a developing country it is far more accepting of immigrants than most developing nations. I have never treated the political situation here as “fun and games”. It’s serious business for serious people. Keep sitting on the fence. People like you know nothing of sacrifice.

  8. 1. “I in no way compared myself to myself to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. I was giving an example of “foreigners” who took risks for the betterment of society and the world in general.” Excuse me, but you just did it again.

    2. My question about your workplace was a serious one and not an attempt to paint you as working in a nefarious activity. Seriously, no doubt some foreigners hold those views, but to the extent that you encounter it every day at work means you work in a very corrosive atmosphere. If it is as bad as you say, why on earth would you stay there?

    2. The Thai government is not ‘pro-immigration’ and never has been. Yes, Thailand is a melting pot, but despite government intentions, not because of them. As a result, foreign residents are vulnerable and enjoy little in the way of legal security. That was the entire point of my first post, namely that while your goals may be laudable you were foolishly exposing yourself, and by extension your family, to possible danger.

    4. Apparently joining and participating with the red shirts fulfills your needs, but exactly how does it help them? Do you think that the participation of a handful of foreigners will in any way aid their case? Are you actually going to pick up weapons and fight like members of the Abraham Lincoln brigade?? If not, what are you doing that you couldn’t do behind the scenes? There are many ways in which you could support the side you like without exposing yourself as you have chosen to do.

    5. ‘People like you” Sorry I am not a big ‘hero’ like you, involving myself needlessly in a conflict in which my support will be meaningless while at the same time exposing myself and my family to possible danger. I hope you had the good sense to take a break tonight (Thursday night) but I somehow doubt it.

  9. 1. Giving an example to back up a claim is not comparing. Maybe you just don’t get it.

    2. I never intimated that I work in a corrosive environment. It doesn’t matter where you work, there will always be a certain amount of assholes.

    3. I never inferred that that the any Thai government is pro-immigration. They are a lot more accommodating to foreigners than other DEVELOPING NATIONS. Foreigners do get legal protection. I know of many foreigners who have taken complaints to the Labor Ministry and have won very large settlements from Thai companies. You just have to do the research to find how to maneuver in the Thai legal system.

    4. Anybody who blogs about Thai politics opens themselves up to a certain amount of risk. You seem to have such a low opinion of Thais and their abilities to be fair and impartial. Your are broken record with the “Abraham Lincoln Brigade” comments. This is not about fulfilling my needs. This is about doing anything I can to help out a cause I truly believe in.

    5. Read my posts and explain to me where I make myself out to be a big “hero”.

    6. Go start your own blog. Our discussion is getting nowhere. You are not going to change my mind and I could give a shit about changing yours.

    7. What the hell do you give back to this country?

  10. You are right, this discussion is getting nowhere, so this is my last post here. Good luck on the barricades!

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