Saturday, February 1, 2014

Bright, Hot Morning

There's no breeze coming through my window this morning, just heat rays that promise to intensify as the day lengthens. The quiet is absolute except for the faint buzz of a motorcycle zipping down the road that leads into the city, and the sound of a little boy's voice as he and a friend go off to seek what adventures the morning may hold.

I hope they continue to be quiet ones. Today is Election Day in Thailand and the anti-government party has decided to hold picnics on the city's main roads and near polling stations. They will supply the food.

Like much of the current protests, this is benign and festive, which brings to mind the old parental admonition, "It's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt." Beyond the food and the market stalls and the crush of shoppers who come to find bargains at the demonstration sites, tempers are running high.

I agree with points on both sides and have friends on either bank of Thailand's Great Divide. Two things about this embroglio bother me very much: People who are exercising their right to free speech are preventing other people from their right to cast a secret ballot and livelihoods--if not lives--are being endangered by what could be solved by a national debate and discussion. But neither side seems at all willing to listen to the other.

In Bangkok laws seem to have been suspended. The Emergency Degree is flouted every day and acts of violence go unpunished. However  those of us who might think that the rule of law is no longer observed in Thailand's capital city can take comfort that this is far from true. And if you don't believe me, just try to have a beer or a glass of wine (let alone a cocktail) anywhere in the Kingdom of Thailand today--even if your skin color indubitably proves that you are incapable of casting a ballot.

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