Four days after the burning of Bangkok, citizens got up on their feet and resumed life. Schools and offices reopened and traffic filled the streets. Shops overflowed with customers and queues snaked around the post office. Everyone wanted to get out and get things done.
In the office, conversation wavered between work and politics. News and rumours were exchanged. Why were only some buildings targeted? Why not some others?
Emotions still ran high. Expressions of anger abound as colleagues wondered “How could they do this to our city? How could they burn down what we hold dear? Did you hear the central bank was also a target? Who are these hooligans to consider themselves above the law? They should be punished. “
The reds, however, do not understand why others didn’t see it their way. How do you know that more didn’t die? Do you truly believe the news you hear? Are you sure its not being censored? How did you know it was the reds that burned the buildings? It was a third hand.
Both sides have their reasons. Both correct in what they say and ask. Both highly skilled.
Who is right and who is wrong then? My answer: No one.
All this bickering will get Thailand nowhere. It’s no longer about determining who is right or wrong. Buildings have been burnt and lives lost. Feelings of resentment have been born and the chasm between the Thais have widened. It will take years and maybe even a lifetime before the wound can be healed.
The reds have returned to their homeland, more determined than ever to come back with force. They say that Thailand of a thousand smiles no longer exists. Smiles exist only for those of the same colour. They say that they walk and talk differently. (According to NYTimes article “Heartland of Thailand, Still Angry and Divided.”) Yet we are all Thais made of the same flesh and blood.
The pro-government side, however, are now more united than ever before and determined not to ever let this nightmare happen again. The young are participating in political debates and making their voices heard. The Prime Minister is working hard to implement policies and changes that will heal this painful wound. Already he is open for suggestions and has already established various channels through which we can reach him.
The government is trying its best.
If Thailand is to move forward, we must remind ourselves that bickering will get us nowhere. We must put aside our differences and work together to mend what is broken.
Only then, will Thailand once again return to being the land of a thousand smiles. The Thailand I know and long for.