Thailand’s Multi-Coloured Politics: Will Thais Talk to Thais?

Colourless Farang

This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.

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Red Shirts, pink shirts, yellow shirts… or no shirts…

With Thailand’s political skuffels deepening, I’ve had daily rethinks about the contents of my posts. You see, there are three weeks + of product reviews waiting in the wings. And understandably, no one wants their feature to go live during a time of bloodshed.

Boggles the mind really.

Because when I started blogging, I never thought that second-guessing Thais killing Thais would be a needed skill-set.

With the aim of avoiding the wrong subject matter, or (heaven help me) tripping over a political gaffe, I’ve had to start paying special attention to twitter: Staying Safe in Thailand: Streetwise Advice + Twitter.

But even with twitter alerts, around two weeks ago I missed the boat. Just. Before I could get my intended post live, the Red Shirts preempted my talking point by throwing off their shirts (more on this later). The yellows (pinks?) did a switcheroo too.

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Sure, I could have rewritten the darn thing but, but the momentum of the moment was gone.

The loss of momentum is happening a lot in Thailand lately too. Thai politicians start talking about peace, and then POOF! All gone.

I’m not any colour. Just a farang who loves Thailand…

Ok, since I’m playing the waiting game, I decided to rewrite my former post. Apologies in advance. Due to my growing disillusionment over the political situation in Thailand, the original spirit is lacking.

Anyway… here we go…

Several weeks back I overheard a condo guard telling another that I was a เสื้อ แดง /sêua daeng/ (red shirt). His assumption might have come from my early drive to photograph the Red Shirts. Or possibly from my taxi driver proudly telling one and all that, yeah, ฝรั่ง เสื้อ แดง /fà-ràng sêua daeng/. No matter.

When talking to Kaewmala about her post The Reigning Vocabulary of Thai Colored Politics, we got onto the subject of neutral expats and the themed shirts of the time: Red, Pink, Yellow, and Multi-coloured.

I threw out an idea for a catchy slogan, but Kaewmala’s (no surprises there) was the keeper:

ไม่ ใช่เ สื้อ สี ใด
mâi châi sêua sĕe dai
Not any shirt colour.

แค่ ฝรั่ง รัก ไทย
kâe fà-ràng rák tai
Just a farang who loves Thai(land)

ไม่ใช่เสื้อสีใด แค่ฝรั่งรักไทย has a lovely lilt to it, yes?

At MBK, the gal behind the t-shirt counter gave the slogan a thumbs up and a smile. Returning home, my condo manager did as well. But when I flashed my t-shirted teddy at my Thai teacher, she came close to bursting into tears.

Khun Phairo explained how distraught she’s become over the violence and tension in her country; over Thais killing Thais. She went on to say that she wants everyone to stop the killing and hatred. And she wants it NOW!

I do too. And we are not alone.

Disdain. Disgust. Vitriol. Violence. Hatred. Suspicion. Ill Will. Paranoia. These are what fill the air and are spreading like viruses in Thailand at the moment.

No wonder I’ve been feeling so ill of late with headaches that would not go away – not a normal occurrence for me. But it’s not a normal time in the Land of Smiles. What a misnomer now: “Land of Smiles.” It feels more like “Land of Hate.”

The transformation of the Thai national character from a gentle and friendly people to a tribe of venomous and bloodthirsty misanthropes was so swift and drastic as to stagger even the most sober person.

Go ahead and read the rest of Kaewmala’s post: Harmony and Hate: The Strange Thai Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As usual, it’s quality.

Political resources to cruise…

Kaewmala’s post on the ongoing Thai political situation is a classic, so please pass it around:

The Reigning Vocabulary of Thai Colored Politics: I have compiled a set of Thai vocabulary in the current political discourse (วาทกรรมการเมือง waa-thá-kam kaan-mueaang) frequently used by protesters of various colors, government officials, mainstream media, and commentators of all stripes in new media platforms.

Some expressions have been around for some time, others are new. Some are official, formal concepts and terms, others are new concoctions and slang.

The ThaiVisa Thai Forum is getting into it as well: The Thai Political Word Thread.

New Mandala has several posts on Thai signs: “Thailand want ยุบสภา”: Red signs in English and PAD’s last day at Government House.

On a similar subject is my previous post: Red Shirts in Bangkok: Signs of the Time.

Saving this bit for last…

If you can read Thai, Kaewmala twittered:

A baby step: Sensible Yellows & Reds get together & talk on Facebook เหลืองรู้ทันอำมาตย์ แดงไม่เอาทักษิณ:

So now we have Thais talking to Thais. And on Facebook of all things. It’s a good start, right?

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