Play the string gently now / Pull the bow

There is so much stuff online doc­u­ment­ing and offer­ing com­ment on the riots and the before and after­math, it’s hard to know where to start. I’ve spent large parts of the day sift­ing through all sorts of pages and links, but I’m still in a state of com­plete shock. This is in the city I live in, in streets I walk down, if not every day, at least once every two or three weeks. I know by sight some of the ven­dors around there, who’s world as sure­ly as any­thing can be sure, has come crash­ing down in what they say is over a bil­lion US dol­lar loss to the Thai econ­o­my so far.

And the tourists stay away.

The irony in that is that tourists and for­eign­ers, even with the acci­den­tal death of the Japan­ese news­man, are not tar­gets and are not at risk, unlike some­thing like the Bali bomb­ings where tourists were the pri­ma­ry target.

I went down to the Ratchapra­song inter­sec­tion near Chit Lom BTS sta­tion this after­noon and I’m going to post a pho­to or two but before, I thought I’d post three videos from Thai-faq’s Tony Joh, which are sim­ply gob­s­mack­ing and, as Thai Twit­ter­sphere has been say­ing, should real­ly be award win­ning stuff:

I knew I could’t get there on the Sky­train, which we were told ter­mi­nat­ed at Asoke, about 2km before Ratchapra­song, so I guessed I’d have to walk and thought I could go the last part of the way on the Sky­walk which, for the BKK unini­ti­at­ed, hangs under the trains’ tracks, branch­ing out to malls (all closed I guessed but I actu­al­ly found a cou­ple par­tial­ly open, includ­ing the big DIY store at Ploen Chit — odd) and usu­al­ly pro­vides an easy way to get around, avoid­ing the traf­fic and the grime.

Why did I go? I guess I like to observe and — more — I want to try and get a grasp on what is hap­pen­ing to this rather won­der­ful but per­plex­ing country.

Sukhumvit Rd, where this shot was tak­en, near Soi 12, is usu­al­ly 24/7 at a traf­fic stand­still or at least groan­ing under the weight. Today, though:

Sukmumvit Rd

Fur­ther on, at Wire­less Rd, the first of two road­blocks, manned by red marshalls:

Wireless Rd

Chit Lom Rd., nor­mal­ly grid­locked on a Sun­day with shop­pers and taxis:

Chit Lom Rd

The sec­ond road­block, at Chit Lom into Thanon Rama 1:

Roadblock at Chit Lom

From anoth­er angle under the Chit Lom BTS Station:


The McDon­alds beside Erawan, doing huge red­shirt­ed business:


rest spot

The main ral­ly stage, with a mas­sive PA that was stag­gered all the way down the street for a km or so:

stage Two women Zen Zen crowd crowd crowd woman red

Not sure what the mid­dle upper one is sup­posed to represent:


She asked me if I liked the Red­shirts, I said I did and she gave me a B5 dis­count on my fresh juice:

Drink Woman monk

Parts of the area were quite sparse, there had clear­ly been quite a drop off in num­bers since Sat­ur­day’s mayhem:

looking back just folks

And lots and lots of peo­ple asleep every­where you looked:

asleep guards dog tailor crowd flag gate bike traffic warden Pratnum Intersection

If I was asked, I’d say the mood was somber, very tired and yet still staunch. It’s very much not over yet.

And yet it was still wel­com­ing to me, and to answer the ques­tions posed after the last lot of pho­tos, not once did I feel threat­ened in any way — quite the oppo­site in fact, peo­ple smiled con­tin­u­ous­ly at me, asked me where I was from, what I thought about all this and shook my hand. And, aside from a cou­ple of cops I saw shar­ing a cof­fee with two red­shirts at one end, there was no mil­i­tary or police presence.

But I have to ask the same ques­tion that Tony does in the videos: this is cost­ing a for­tune. Who’s pay­ing for it all?


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

April 12, 2010 at 1:37 am

That was an amaz­ing report.

April 23, 2010 at 7:42 am

heh, Bali­eye I’ll take those semi lit­er­ate com­ments to mean I’ve hit a nerve, even if its a res­olute­ly cow­ard­ly one 🙂

Have a great day

April 23, 2010 at 7:45 am

and there is no pro­jec­tion or anger sweet one, I’m enjoy­ing this.

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