Self-Contradiction and Perplexity of Urban Thai Society
For a moment, we stood frozen, side by side. Her eyes widened in disbelief. I was taken a back by her response, quite an odd reaction from someone who has lived for so long in Bangkok. But then again should I expect any less from this urban chaos? Bangkok seems to be a contradiction of itself, a city shattered by urban development and its rich dwellers priding themselves on cars, condos, credit cards and all sorts of materialism known to man.
My friend is at a loss for logic nowadays. She tries so hard to avoid talking about politics yet fails repeatedly when we meet once a week. A few things on her plate (and mine), something worthwhile to mention:
The clash of the Thai Titans, the upcoming election in Bangkok. Two rivals, Pongsapat Pongcharoen vs Sukhumbhand Paribatra, should make life interesting for those with a taste for the never-ending political buffet. As a foreigner, my views may not be important to many but I am not in favor of Sukhumbhand. The situation on homelessness and urban poverty which is the responsibility of the city's administration has grown worse. Explosion of migration from other provinces to Bangkok and countries have left many without basic rights and without the platform to assist the poor. Change is good, and like many in the slums and living on the streets, they expect such.
Then there's the drama of soldiers demonstrating in front of the ASTV Manager newspaper. They were upset at the media's criticism of the chain of command, related to the Cambodia-Thailand border disputes particularly about Preah Vihear temple and the International Court of Justice. Seems the Yellow Shirts are making unexpected enemies, courtesy of their ultra-nationalistic pride... I find this amusing. The army didn't take the media's ridicule of their commander well, which compared General Prayuth to "a woman on her period" and that he had failed in his duties as army chief. What else can I say except that one can't expect many Thai media/press to practice journalism. Thai-style journalism breeds ignorance and arrogance, and you can thank the color-politics and self-serving interests for that.
Alas, the Thai are angered over the cancellation of their soap opera. Good show for freedom of assembly, though I find it ironic that some talk about human rights violation while ignoring the poor and the needy in their city. Hypocrites, that they are. I guess Bangkokians believe that TV entertainment is more important than the concerns of the urban poor or the slaughter of fellow Thais in the south.
Suffocating. Not just Bangkok's pollution but also the self-contradiction and perplexity of urban society.