Showing posts from May, 2010

Red Shirts in Bangkok – Penfold’s assessment

Thailand is not known for its gentle handling of protesters and those who voice dissent and this has been clearly displayed during the recent political unrest.

The inability, of government and Red Shirt leaders, to reach a peaceful conclusion to the whole sorry affair has largely been to do with the fact that they are unwilling to compromise or change their stance, for fear of losing “face” among their respective supporters.
In Thailand, as with many Asian cultures, the concept of face is deeply ingrained in society. In terms of Western values, face is similar to the notion of reputation or your standing within society. It equates to your social value and is a dynamic that occurs in both personal and business relationships.

The concept of “face” is not hard to understand because, even in the West, everyone likes to be seen in a positive light. Although many Westerners in Thailand do find it difficult to understand the lengths Thai people go to save face. Rather than admit to a mistake …

The Red Shirts in Bangkok – The beginning of the end?

With buildings burning and tanks rolling into the centre of Bangkok, the Red Shirt leaders have decided enough is enough and have surrendered to the police. It would seem that this is the beginning of the end for the hardcore of Red Shirt protestors who remain. However, this is not the end of the Red Shirt movement.

By sending the army to storm the Red Shirt compound and forcibly remove the demonstrators, the government is attempting to restore control and end weeks of unrest that has paralysed large parts of the city, but ending the demonstrations is a futile gesture, without endeavouring to acknowledge or address the massive social inequalities that are at root of the problem.

Life in Bangkok will return to normal for its inhabitants and the yellow shirts will quickly forget the issues facing the poor and disenfranchised, who constitute most of the Red Shirt movement and the Red Shirts themselves will go back to their farms or factory jobs, but the under-currents of tension and hosti…

The Slum Angel

Many of you will be familiar with Mother Theresa, whose work with street children, among the slums of Calcutta brought her worldwide fame and adulation, but few of you, outside Thailand, will have heard of Prateep Ungsongtham Hata.

Khun Prateep, known as the “Slum Angel”, for her tireless campaigning, aimed at improving the lives of slum dwellers in Bangkok’s Klong Toey district, was herself born and raised in the squalor of this sprawling shanty town.

Consisting of tin huts and open sewers, Klong Toey is home to an estimated 100,000 people and is rife with unemployment, illiteracy, disease and drug abuse. The people live a precarious existence, often without basic amenities and have very few legal rights.

Despite the profound social problems Khun Prateep has, over the last 35 years, managed to nurture hope and give those living in Klong Toey the chance of a better life through the power of education.

Khun Prateep, in spite of her humble beginnings, was able to fund her way through night …

The Thai Smile

For many years Thailand has been affectionately known as the "Land of smiles" and to foreign tourists it's easy to see why.

No matter where you go or who you visit you will almost certainly be greeted with a warm smile, except, that is, by immigration officials!!!

In most Western countries, when you smile it means you're conveying a sense happiness or contentment. So, does this mean that all Thai's are happy or is there more to the Thai smile than meets the eye?

The Thai smile or "Yim" is complex function and can have many different meanings. It might convey pleasure or happiness, but, Thai's also smile when they feel negative emotions, such as confusion, anxiety and even anger!!!

Understandably, this can be confusing to foreign visitors and particularly those in the early stages of a relationship with a Thai person!!!! But, thankfully it does get easier to read the situation, the more time you spend in Thailand or in the company of Thai people.

In Thai …

The Red Shirts in Bangkok - A city on edge

Thailand's pro-government supporters claim they have staged co-ordinated rallies at over 40 military bases across the country, calling for the military to crackdown on the Red Shirts, claiming their protests are "illegal". The claim has yet to be independently verified, but what can't be disputed is that the situation continues to deteriorate.

The VOA (Voice of America) have published an interesting article on their website, about these new developments. You can access this information by clicking this link.

The British government have also updated their website to advise citizens against travelling to Thailand. For the the latest Foreign & Commonwealth Office news please click here......

A soldier was killed on 28th April, and early reports suggest that he was accidently shot by comrades, in …