Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bangkok - It's Going To Hurt

And while I rave on bout books and phones, Bangkok is burning. Bangkok, my home away from home away from home.


The Centralworld shopping mall that I used to visit every now and then has been torched and gutted and is danger of collapsing.

This is not good for Thailand's Land Of Smiles image. The world is looking at Thailand as just another coup, reprisal, coup, reprisal third world country now. And ASEAN are sitting on their arse, too afraid to offer opinions.

E@L has an opinion, and while he always been a pacifist and a lover of law and order and the peaceful solutions, he is increasingly of the opinion that some jarhead should take the shot at Thaksin as soon as. Everyone knows that Thaksin is the puppet-master behind all this chaos.


And the trouble is spreading all across the country, even to Chang Mai where one of E@L's colleagues lives.

E@L's distributors in Bangkok say they are fine and continuing to work around those areas of town not affected, but according to the map above, that's not the centre of town!


E@L was supposed to be in Thailand at some stage in the last few weeks and of course, he has been postponing his trip, and then postponing again, and yet again, always thinking that things are about to be sorted. Well they're not sorted. They're a long way from being sorted.

Thailand and in particular Bangkok is in great danger of crashing as a tourist spot, not to mention a favored work destination for expats and it will put a halt to the 10 years of recovery that has been gaining momentum since the AEC of 1997/98. That's going to hurt people, all the way along from hookers, market touts and tuk-tuk drivers to bankers, investors and businessmen.

E@L senses a tsunami of economic devastation on the way, and while he values people and their freedom above dollars or baht,... ooh dear, it's going to hurt.



anthony said...

Of course the fact that the current Govt. is the result of a Military Coup has nothing to do with the Red Shirts anger, nor does the proposal that country people have their right to vote taken away from them because they are "too stupid to know how to vote and are easily bought".

Thailand was never the "land of smiles", it was always the land of greed and graft. The only time a Thai smiles at you is,

a. When they have just ripped you off.
b. When they are about to rip you off.
c. They are watching another Thai rip you off.

All this means is that the Thai's will be doing a, b and c at much higher rates and in more aggressive ways.

Though with the dearth of tourists in the coming months it should have some good holiday prices, and even shopping prices. (to balance out the bribes grafted from the local constabulary)

Nostradamus Prediction: Thai tourism will die. Bali tourism will rise. In 5 months at the end of the rainy season there will be a bomb attack in Bali to drive the tourists back to Thailand. Because lets face it the only people who profit from trouble in Thailand are the resorts in Bali...and maybe the new ones in Vietnam.

expat@large said...

Bali is a shithole, hope I never have to go back.

The fact that the coup came because Thaksin was another Marcos, ripping the guts out of the country is no big deal either eh? Democracy, what's that? Two lions and a lamb deciding what's for dinner. You're happy enough living in Singapore aren't you?

Get a life and buy me a beer! Oops, make that a diet coke: I'm on the wagon again because of my gastric problems.

marke said...

The Thais I met this week are all pretty calm about it, many seem to be just ignoring the trouble ... I guess they've seen it all before (but all my meetings for thurs and fri got cancelled suddenly thurs AM!).
All these coups etc occur perhaps because the thai elite accept democracy as long as the status quo remains the same ... When things start to shift, they just hit the reset button. This time its a bit more serious as Thaksin seems to have convinced the poor he is their saviour, and given the number of poor .... Well, hence the problems with democracy. I fear Thaksin will continue to fund his poor foot soldiers and thus have a limitless supply of canno fodder to confront a group that won't ever back down...

Skippy-san said...

I think Thailand will bounce back-they have before.

However if Indonesia is going to be the next mecca for "entertainment" maybe its time to get in on the ground floor. :-)

expat@large said...

Anthony: also, that phrase about ripping you off is (mostly) crap. OK it's not. But you're also thinking of the Javanese in Bali, or the Vietnamese everywhere else, or the Chinese shopkeepers in SEA to say nothing of the Chinese businessmen in China itself!... OK rip-offs, scams and corruption are as common in Asia as having rice for dinner. I don't think their is anywhere in Asia a person of European extraction can go without paying tourist prices for stuff in the markets, paying Expat prices at the watering holes, knowing that no matter what you bargain them down to, you are still being exploited for the presumption of your riches.

Mind you, they used to say that if you have over $100k in assets you ARE one of the top 1% richest people on the planet.

Thailands beaches, once you hunt for the best of them, are nearly as good as some in Australia. But where can you get a decent rub and tug on Great Keppell Island? No don't tell me, it was a rhetorical question.

Life under Thaskin was much more of a nightmare than under this current non-democratic regime. Thousands were killed in the south from the hit-lists of rivals and competitors that were drawn up, allegedly for some phony war against drugs, as the local police and militia went "extra-judicial" (i.e immunity from murder charges) on them. And his financial scams were so blatant and so immense that despite having much of his assets frozen he can still afford to fund this insurgency.

Read Arundhati Roy's grasshopper book on the repeated and intransigent failure of "democracy" in India.

To say nothing of Thaskin shutting down the bars and clubs at midnight!

Marke: like I said, head shot.

Skip: you're welcome to Indonesia.


I notice I have lost a lot of my calm multi-cultural Isaiah Berlin type equilibrium since moving to Asia.

Dick Headley said...

This had been coming for years. Thaksin tapped into a reservoir of anger. I am surprised it went so far though.

knobby said...

waiting for something like this to happen in china. matter of years, not decades. it's coming.

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