A House Divided

There is only one rule I go by during my current trip home.

Do NOT bring up politics with family or friends.

Nowadays in Thailand, for some people, you are either the Yellow Shirt (PAD-People’s Alliance for Democracy) or Red Shirt (Anti-PAD).

I have talked to many friends from both sides of the fences. The Yellow Shirts are out and about, strutting proudly while all the “Red Shirts” I know are closeted ones.

Everywhere you go, at some point it will come up. As much as everyone seems to avoid talking about politics, you really just can’t ignore the elephant in the room.

Sometimes people would just make a few jokes about their side just to ease the tension, and the conversation moves on to something else.

I’ve made conversation with chartered van driver in Phuket who would come up to Bangkok to join PAD mob in a heartbeat if he doesn’t have a family to worry about. I’ve talked to a Red Shirt cabby who wouldn’t take any Yellow Shirt passengers. I’ve heard of the uncles and aunties getting dropped off at PAD rally by their Mercedes’ and BMW’s. I’ve listened to a daughter fighting with her mother trying to explain what democracy really means.

I have heard from both sides and I nodded in agreement to both sides. Not because I agree with what they said entirely, but just to keep the peace.

A friend told me her PAD aunt is so adamant that she takes a side because neutral is unacceptable. So she only takes her side in her presence. I found myself doing the same thing.

I usually just wait to see which side the person I’m talking to is taking. Then I would nod and simply go along with what they said.

When being neutral is not an option, but being a fake Red/Yellow to be civil.

Once in a while, my defense was, “I live in America. I have no idea what to think. What do YOU think about Obama?” Subject changed. No problem!

It seems we Thais know exactly how to keep peace in our households and circles of friends.

We just can’t seem to keep the same peace in our nation.

P.S. I am still in Bangkok through December 4. Brandon is supposed to leave tomorrow but airport is still closed. Stay tuned for updates from us two (kind of) lost souls!

10 responses to “A House Divided

  1. Thai Family man

    I started out neutral in this with some sympathy for the elected goverment. Most of my family though are big PAD supporters and there is no way they are going to change they mind about the Thaksin / current regime. Its a difficult time for the country and we only hope they find some sort of solution.

  2. How sad, anarchy and terrorism have taken over from whatever convoluted process of democracy that Thailand once had.

  3. First of all-hope Brandon finds a way to make it.
    This is a Thai problem that is not going to go away, but PAD is totally out of order by making it an international problem, putting thousands of Thai jobs at risk in the process. This is no way to win friends and influence people, whether they be Thai or not, or in or outside of Thailand.
    All PAD has done by occupying the airports in its self proclaimed mission to save the country is destroy the countries reputation internationally-and probably economically to some very great extent.

    Thailand is now very high on the list of the countries most dangerous to visit.

    I hope PAD is proud.

  4. PAD does not have the numbers to win an election. Get over it. Yes, Thaksin was corrupt but does anyone really expect a corruption-free PAD regime? Puh-lease. They laughably use the word ‘democracy’ in their name, yet want to take away the right to vote from certain people (poor farmers perhaps?). These latest events show Thailand and the world how badly they are willing to hurt Thailand just to further their own selfish agenda. It will never succeed (even with another coup), since people will never forget their despicable actions. Wait until the shoe is on the other foot. What if the PAD does manage to get their guys in power, and the ‘red-shirts’ cry foul, and occupy the airports? Will the PAD-sympathetic army forces be so reluctant to remove them by force? Will they also call for a dissolution of the government? The army is entirely too autonomous. They should be at the disposal of the national government, and are currently guilty of treason, in my opinion. The occupiers of the airports should all be arrested and fined.

  5. PAD had won once when they ousted Thaksin out. They wanted to win again for their own agenda. Have they ever thought if the PM Somchai steps down, election is called and what happens if “so called Thaksin party”win again? Will they keep on marching again? The vicious circles will never end.

    To close the airport and seriously inconvenient and jeopardize the country for years to come, is an act of terrorism and they should be dealt with with stringent method.

    The law keeper should stick to the law. the demonstrator should know what they will get if they don’t obey the law. They have been warned many many times. Thus, if there is a clash ,injuries ,death ,be it because the country cannot stand any more damage they have caused.

    The law keepers have to do what they have to do. Of course there will be criticism and so what? Do not be afraid, the country is at stake and if unavoidable, stage a coup. So what if international community condemn us. At least we have a peaceful nation and we can live on with our lives. I’d rather have my country in this type of inconvenient than have PAD disrupt the whole country.

    I beg the leaders of the PAD to be mindful of their action. This is not about them losing face because there will be no face to lose anymore if we don’t have a country called “THALAND”.

  6. PAD-People’s alliance democracy. I do not believe it’s the right translation. I am not trying to take a side but with what they are doing,closing inter- airport, damage the economy and using violent. They do not accept a election because they are afraid of losing again. Do you can call this democracy? i don’t believe so.

  7. Stay away from troubled areas!

    In the end, the Thai ARMY will direct the way things will be in Thailand.

    As, usual…

  8. I was supporting PAD because I wanted justice and democracy but not any more. They have just committed such an internationally-unacceptable crime and brought down the whole whole ‘house’ – not the House!

    Anyways, I’m not against both side for now. I just want to see peace and these people settle down and talk. I guess I call myself an ‘orange’ because red+yellow makes orange and I think the best way to get through this is to combine what the both parties got and put it through – it’s more than the two of them now so they need to unite!

  9. It seems like a lot of people have lost faith in the PAD. I am not Thai. I can sit here in my comfy home in Australia and pass judgement and it is probably none of my business. But my wife is Thai and my son is Thai, and proudly so. Yesterday my wife was watching the events unfold in Bangkok on the news. She turned to me with tears in her eyes and said ‘that’s my country’…Enough said. I think this hurts most Thai people.

  10. I’m scheduled to leave Dec.1 at 11:15pm via Asiana…would like to network and share resources. We need all the help we can get! Just got back from Pattaya/U-Tapao…doesn’t look good!