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THIS IS THAILAND
A Week in Review: September 25 - October 1, 2010


Decisions, decisions...

It has been a week of donuts and bombs in Thailand, but all is not as it appears. Is Thailand suffering from terrorism or a government conspiracy? Read here and then decide for yourself…

Take a casual look at the glossy surface and you would easily be fooled into thinking that all is well once more in Thailand.

Certainly in Bangkok’s upmarket shopping district of Ratchaprasong, life appears to be back to normal. The glitzy Central World temple of consumerism was reopened amidst much fanfare last week – just four and a half months after red shirt protesters tried to burn it to the ground. And at another nearby monument to materialistic excess, shoppers queued up in record-breaking numbers for the opening of an expensive donut shop at Siam Paragon.

Retail therapy is alive and well in Bangkok it seems, and it is working hard to erase those painful memories of the red shirt siege. Did it really happen? Or was it just a nightmare?

But scrape away this glossy veneer and the many layers beneath are as cracked and rotten as ever. Absolutely nothing has changed. The problems of greed, corruption and poverty have not gone away – no matter how hard people try to ignore them.

Several bomb and grenade attacks in and around Bangkok over the last few weeks are powerful testaments to the ongoing feelings of unrest within some sections of Thai society. In the last week alone, explosions in Nonthaburi, Rama III Road, Nang Loen Horse Stables and the Office of the Attorney General have kept the authorities – if not necessarily the public – on high alert.

With the DSI warning of more imminent attacks, almost 400 extra police checkpoints were set up in and around the capital, and in a rare success, thirteen RPGs that had been stolen from a military camp in Lopburi were recovered in Saraburi.

Convinced that one small gang is responsible for all the bombings, the police offered a reward of 100,000 baht for information leading to their apprehension. By the end of the week, three suspects had been identified – although they remain at large.

All of this has caused Prime Minister Abhisit to announce that he will neither lift the emergency decree that remains in Bangkok, nor call an election until there is meaningful and lasting peace in Thailand. While the emergency decree was finally lifted in the red shirt hotbeds of Khon Kaen, Udon Thani and Korat last week, it still remains in Bangkok – in large part because of the bombs.

Of course, conspiracy theorists and paranoid red shirts living in denial claim that the bombings have been the work of government agents who want to keep the emergency decree in place as long as possible to delay the election.

While conspiracy theories normally carry about as much water as a sieve, this is Thailand we are talking about here. Just because you are paranoid, it doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.

So with the reopening of Central World and the arrival of some overpriced donuts, Bangkok seems to have regained a sense of normalcy once more.

But who is behind the bombings that threaten our peace? Is it red terrorists, or a government conspiracy? You decide. Leave your answers in the comments box below.

Paul Snowdon – October 2, 2010

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28 Nov 2015, 04:29
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