Friday, March 12, 2010
Blast from the past?
Remember the situation here in Thailand over a year ago (November 2008) when the Yellow Shirts occupied and shut down the two big airports in Bangkok? Remember the ouster of the third or fourth prime minister in as many months back then? State of emergency, near coups, violence? They're at it again, this time it's the Red Shirts mobilizing and protesting in the streets this whole weekend with the goal of pushing out current prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva.
Back then, the average person probably only felt a little inconvenience because of traffic, until the tourism industry got its butt kicked because of the bad pub as well as the week or so of closed down airports. This time I think people are a little better prepared and also realize how much it affects their lives.
Pae, as it turns out, has a very important airlines interview on Monday...the airline emailed her and told her that due to the situation in Thailand they may have to reconsider coming to hire...An airline that comes here like only once a year.
I have friends and family traveling from the states, two separate groups arriving near the scheduled end of the protests. Some banks have closed their doors and plan to stay closed throughout the protest period...again, a black eye for Thai tourism. And if things escalate, it could bring more bank closures, state of emergency, curfew, all not exactly a great way to spend a vacation.
I'm hoping for the best but at the same time using street smarts to get through the weekend. No tanks please, no sentry at the end of our soi, no airport closures and please don't start hacking each other with improvised weapons and machetes. A lot of idiots tend to show up at these "rallies" and cause a lot of damage not only to people and property, but to the image and Thai brand, a good portion of the economy.
Lets hope there are fewer idiots this year. (Isn't it sad that we talk about his annually?)