@andrew spooner tweet on 28 July 2013
When @ Andrew Spooner, tweeted an image of Adolf Hitler logo character resembling the colonel of KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken Fast Food chain) o from Amusing Thailand website out to the Twitterverse, he unleashed something that even he cannot stop…
In 2008, I visited Bangkok, Thailand, when the then incumbent prime minister declared State of Emergency, the political breakdown of Thaksin Government occurred 2 years before.
The Yellow shirts, or Anti-Thaksin supporters quickly set up protests around the Central Government region and called for the return of Thaksin (who fled to London) to face legal arrest for corruption.
Around Feb, 2006, Prime Minister Thaksin was ousted due to his sales of Shin Corporation (Shin Corp) a leading Thai telecommunications company to Singapore’s government affiliated Temasek Company. The Thais mainly middle and upper class citizens were upset that Thakin family had pocketed billions of dollars from the sale without paying the appropriate taxes for it. Come 2008, the controversy went on with Thai law regarding foreign investments in the telecom sector had been amended just prior to the sale. The resulting political turmoil forced Thaksin government to order the dissolution of the Lower House and a puppet government affiliated with Thakin was put in power, much to the Thais dissatisfaction. When the government had called for the non-taxation of Shin Corp’s sale, the Yellow shirts had quickly organised an anti-government campaign, calling for the return of Thaksin to be trialed for corruption.
Present day 2010 Thailand seems to have turned 360, with the Red Shirts, Pro Thaksin Supporters (mainly rural regions) calling for the return of Thaksin and for the new re-elections and claiming the incumbent Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajjiva election was illegitimate.
I can’t comment on Thai politics as I am not living there, am neither a supporter or against any governments. The Yellow shirt demonstration back in 2008 seemed more like a carnival event than a political demonstration. However it was quite interesting to note that local businesses were supporting the anti-corruption stance against the former Thaksin government by offering the protestors with food, lodging and other amenities instead of larger political parties.
I wonder what are the political motivations for the Red shirts this time, who is financially supporting these anti-government supporters? And why don’t the Thais learn from previous mistakes?
Photos of Bangkok – political crisis Sept 2008.
The many stalls at the protest site gives the whole place a funfair feel. The stalls sells anti-government demonstration paraphernalia. Only in Thailand where the enterprising thai mixes politics and enterprise, creating merchandises from political protests.
Vendor selling towels for the protesters
Locals buying protest demonstration parapanelia
Photos of Bangkok – political crisis Sept 2008.
Thai University student protesters displaying their political street art.
Caricatures of Thailand’s Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej pasted on portable toilets. Samak being criticised of being in a televised cooking show. Samak, a self-proclaimed foodie, hosted a popular television cooking show _ “Tasting and Complaining” _ for seven years before becoming prime minister. But he also made several appearances after taking office, allegedly breaking a constitutional prohibition on private employment while in office.
Wanted poster of Khunying Potjaman Shinawatra, wife of former Prime Minister Thaksin. Potjaman played a key role in the development of Thaksin’s commercial enterprises. Potjaman fled the country with her husband to Britain.
One inventive protester set up his little site like a performance art.
Please send Thaksin back from Britian for some english tea and biscuits, he can sit on the blue chair.
Caricature of Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej
Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej’s government being the hand puppet of the Thakin government
Posing for the locals.
The barricades installed demarking the site , a portrait of revered Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej displayed
The main road leading to the Government House. The protest area has grown bigger with tents setting up along the pedestrian pathways.
The television tents where televised speeches are shown
The protest stage where the people would gather. Speeches were being blasted from the loudspeakers from televised programs of PAD members.
One of the roads being over taken by the PAD, People’s Alliance for Democracy they had taken over one of the Ministry’s garden compound
Makeshift areas of protesters, there were many Thai flag hanging all over the area.
This stretch of the road were selling t-shirts and other anti-government wares.
Photos of Thai Protesters
Standing up for the Thai King’s Anthem
A protester having breakfast. All meals and drinks are free and provided for by anti-government supporters.
University students visiting the area
Visited the Protest site on a sunday morning. The area was barricaded by the protesters, tentages were set up along the road leading to the Government House. The whole atmosphere was more like a funfair feel than a protest site.
The thai protesters standing up in respect of the king, as they played the Thai King’s Anthem.
This was the kitchen quarter set up surrounding one of the Bangkok Ministry building. A huge screen was projecting repeats of the protester’s speeches.
Protesters setting up home at one of the smaller streets
The tv area was set up with people watching speeches made by prominent PAD leaders
Came back from Bangkok. It was business as usual in the city, people still went to work, there were still massive traffic everywhere, life went on as usual despite the Prime Minister’s state of emergency declaration. Nothing much really happened.
Even visited the Protest Area of the PAD (People’s Alliance for Democracy), quite uniquely Thai, it was rather peaceful. There were a dismarkation of the area with barriers. People brought their whole families including their kids. There were many food stalls giving out apparently free drinks and meals. Stalls selling T-shirts with the protest logos. It felt somewhat like a funfair with people living on big tents.
On the serious side of things, had conversations with some Thais and longtime residents about the whole issue. The general feeling coming from the middle class and those living in Bangkok was firstly the shock and anger generated from Former Prime Minister Thaksin’s sale of his communications corporation to a Singaporean corporation with tax free profits of a few billion dollars, to the unjust way the thai political system is strudded towards massive voting buying and the perpetual domination of large corporance of old political parties such as the People’s Power Party in all levels of governance. The middle class and the more educated locals from the cities demanded a massive shake down and change of their own democratic political system. As to the direction of where they want it to be, remains to be seen.
Will upload photos and write more commentaries of my whole trip soon.
Here’s my photos
Samut on Toilet Portables
Inviting Thaksin for Tea
Street Scene of Protest site
Portraits of Protesters
Protesters Sites and Camps