Strength in words but rallying to whose cause?
Four hundred people rallying inside the Lumphini Park on a Sunday night, though throw in the gathering number of street vendors, curious homeless people and foreign tourists and you'll easily push the figure to five hundred souls.
A public revelry, a carnival-like experience outside the steel gates of the park, with vendors selling hot food and soothing beverages, while tired-looking entrepreneurs offering the usual variety of politically-inspired propaganda items for sale: the ever present Guy Fawkes masks, large handkerchiefs and assortment of provocative black and dark blue t-shirts.
There's a strong tendency to mobilize and crowd upon someone who's screaming on top of his lungs a name that has been repeated to the point of weariness, regardless of one's perception or delusions of the man.
Thaksin. Ah yes, that word from the lips of politicians, and add the surname of Shinawatra and you'll find all sorts of reaction. The small crowd applaud though I know not of every Thai word said of him - perhaps an extensive curse to this self-exiled man.
Ironically this rally was devoted to him, well sort of, with the usual dose of condemnation and fury torn at the name. Thaksin Shinawatra, an ex-prime minister who lost his job during a coup d'état in 2006 but who's largely popular among the rural folks for his welfare programs for the working class while despised by the democrat party, the ultra nationalists group known as the People's Alliance for Democracy and expatriates.
Its bizarre, really. Not about Thaksin, but protests and rallies in Thailand. It's quite foreign for Malaysians nowadays to see repeated display of expressions without the baton-banging-on-shield fluid movement of riot police or the absence of preempt intervention and betrayals, and where people are arrested before the actually event starts.
Bizarre and foreign, yet one that I like to see and experience, on an endless fury of sensations. At times we take for granted the simplest expression, the need to stand, or sit, side-by-side with fellow demonstrators on the street and in public spots, to shout or scream messages of change and empowerment.
And I do hope for their sake, the Thais and Malaysians, that people would keep their attention on whats important to the present and future, and not based on the fantasies or cocooned imagination of those who care less of what transpires outside their precious city... and luxury. Don't just rally for the sake of publicity, or, which is quite common here, to increase one's public persona. Don't just talk, lecture others and not take initiative to make those changes. After all there are already far too many charlatans and wannabes out there.
|Banner states: "Muslims who love the country and monarchy are here. Wow Wow"|
|Gathering to watch the performances: music and speeches|