An anti-government demonstrator kicks a suspected pro-government supporter after detaining him in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on December 1, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer (THAILAND)
I had to pop out just now in the car to go and run an errand in town. I forgot I was wearing a yellow shirt as today is Monday. I hadn’t change after coming back from school. My neighbour was really scared for me and told me that I should go back and change first. Things are getting scary on the streets. Hardly anyone wears yellow these days. And if they do, then only on Mondays. Hardly any teacher at my school wears yellow in case they are associated with the PAD. Some parents told me that they told their children not to wear red or yellow when they go out any more. What my neighbour said to me is true. In particular if I go out late at night. If I keep my head dead and mind my own business then, as a foreigner, I am sure I wouldn’t be bothered. However, if I accidentally hit someone with my car, who happened to be a red shirt, then I could find myself in a sticky situation. If they had a gun or other kind of weapon, then I could have been beaten up if not killed. This is how bad it is getting on the streets these days.
We are now getting daily reports of people being beaten up on the streets for either wearing the wrong colours or saying the wrong thing. In Thailand at the moment, if you don’t support the PAD (the yellow shirts) then it means that you are supporters of Thaksin (the red shirts). There is no middle path even though this is supposedly a Buddhist nation. Even at our www.ThailandQA.com forums, normally docile members are starting to get angry with people who voice their disdain of the PAD. In Chiang Mai, a group of red shirts attacked a man for watching anti-government broadcasts on television. In my home province of Samut Prakan, a 70 year old man got into an argument with a group of people who were complaining about the airport siege. The old man was a yellow shirt and had just come back from the airport. He went home and came back with a gun. He shot dead one man and shot the other two in the back as they ran away.
Probably a good enough reason for me not to go out tonight wearing a yellow shirt. I have always presented the case that Thailand is a safe place to live and to bring your family on a holiday. But, I am genuinely concerned about my safety and a little scared. Many people believe that we could very well be on the brink of a bloody civil war. The red shirts have made it very clear that they will fight any coup attempt. With two sides not willing to compromise and both saying that they are right, the future of Thailand doesn’t look bright. But, I love Thailand enough to know that I wouldn’t abandon her and that I will stay here through thick and thin.
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