Thais Just Wanna Have Fun

It’s a whole ‘nother world over there, another culture, but among the public holidays they celebrate over in Thailand, New Year’s Day is one of the few a Westerner would be able to recognize. Perhaps then we can assume that today marked a similar “back-to-work-from-the-holidays” day there, meaning that anti-government protestors went back to work as well on what they called “Black Monday” to press their political demands by blocking key interesections and generally bringing normal life in Bangkok to a halt.

It’s just that things have not really turned out that way, as the reporter-on-the-scene for the Danish newspaper Politiken, Claus Blok Thomsen, recounts. (And note Bangkok is 7 hours ahead of GMT, Monday’s events there are now done.)


“The demonstrators have in any event not succeeded in closing down Bangkok,” he writes.

Traffic is functioning normally in most places, and one can in fact get around in the city. . . . So far the mood has been very relaxed. I have just been down to see the location, Silom Road, where the demonstrators have set up. There are crowds of people. One can best characterize the mood as a mix of a popular festival such as Roskilde* and a demonstration. There is loud music, people walking around with funny glasses in the Thai national colors, and there are foodstands and tents where people can spend the night.

Perhaps that’s only natural in a tropical paradise, on a day when it was 28°C with no precipitation. But that may perhaps also explain why Thai street demonstration campaigns never seem to end.

* That Roskilde reference is to Northern Europe’s biggest rock festival, occuring this year 29 June – 6 July just south of Copenhagen. Buy your tickets today!

UPDATE: OK, maybe fun time’s over. “Dozens wounded in Bangkok as a grenade explodes at a demonstration.”

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