By Tammy, this blog humanity journalist
I left home around Sukhumvit about noon and got to the Democracy monument, where the Red Shirt are holding a protest rally, at about 1.30pm. It was hot but the crowd was already big. The taxi cab driver tells me it is always this way with any Red Shirt gathering, as the police will intentionally cause a traffic havoc to discourage people from going and also creating ill will at the Red Shirt.
The taxi cab driver also tells me that not too far away, Anupong’s front man in Thai politics, Nevin, is using tax money to bus in people from all over the Bangkok surrounding provinces, to go celebrate the King’s birthday celebration nearby and the traffic in that area have been flowing OK.
The following is my attempt at Photo-Journalism of today’s activity. I left at about 4.00pm, because of a hot date with a really cute guy.
This is a foreign guy I met and if you look at the tag on his shirt, it says he is a member of the UDD. All in all for that few hours at the event, I saw about 30 foreigners and most of them wore red shirt.
This is a poodle god that its Red Shirt owner had a Red Shirt made especially for it. The poodle’s name is Pochamarn, the name of Taksin’s former wife. But I think the poodle must really be sweating underneath that sweater shirt.
This guy was giving out fliers for a new Red Shirt newspaper called, Voice of Liberty. The first issue as advertised in the flier is about all the companies and products that supports the Yellow Shirt.
Very popular at the stalls are patches. The picture gives a sample at one of the store. I bought one for 20 baht and it is in English with very good graphic. I just can not believe how cheap these patches are, really.
This guy says he is a Socialist and a big fan of Jai Ungpakorn, the socialist in exile in the UK for lese majeste. This guy says Jai’s lectures and writings are a bit above his head, but he liked it that there are Socialist inside the Red Shirt movement.
This is the most ridiculous and funny Red Shirt I met. She is about as happy and crazy as Terry, this blog’s editor is. Wish Terry came because they could probably fall in love and have lots of crazy kids together.
Yes, in that line, and at every entrant into the Red Shirt gathering, there is the military. I showed stingray, this blog national security journalist, the insignia up-close, and Stingray said it is a new unit that had been created especially to meet every Red Shirt gathering. Well they were smiling and I tried to buy one of the more hansom one a coke, but got a “No Thanks, but appreciate it.”
There they go, walking in a line to show order and force at the gathering. They walked like that here and there, but their operational camp is a high school belonging to the city of Bangkok and they are in the hundreds in that high school. Well, the Red Shirt guard, I think saw this and so they stationed several people in-front of the high school and reported the activity on the inside through their hand phone to probably Red Shirt security command.
Well it was so hot, everyone has an umbrella, but it is real funny that most of the umbrellas are also red colored. far off is the stage and they had a concert going, mixed in with political speeches. Some of the talk is really mean to Prem-but then maybe Prem deserves it.
Here is the reception gate of the Red Shirt. They are very strict and search everyone and also ask for UDD ID. If you did not have one, they took your picture. But most Red Shirt are greeted with a non-violence message right from the start.
I asked this elderly to smile for me, but he said he was too pissed off at the government and the military to smile. I asked him when was the last time he smiled and he said when Taksin was governing Thailand.
This guy can probably get voted the most vocal of the day. He went around waving his red flag and shouting really nasty words against the Abhisit government. I asked him why he hated Abhisit so much and he said what he said, I can not repeated here, but it is total and utter hatred.
This grand mother, is the group leader of a big town in some province. She brings her group to every Red Shirt gathering-by several big buses and she tells me the party starts for them the second they are in the bus and the actual gathering is just the cooling down.
Well I am not a lesbian, but if I were, this would be the girl I hit on to do some kinky sexy stuff with. But then she is really into Taksin, to which she tells me, “Taksin is a good person.”
This is another Taksin fan. All in all there were lots and lots of Taksin fans and posters all over. Thai E-News says the Red Shirt have matured beyond Taksin, but from the looks of it, I think the Red Shirt is still very much about Taksin.
Well Sae Dang, the controversial senior active army high-ranking guy, that loves the Red Shirt, did not show up with a bunch of military friends as the press says he would, but stood for a very long line of Thais who wants his signature. I also think it is kind of cute the way Sae Dang would salute everyone who got his signature in a very strict military fashion. I yelled at him to smile for my camera, but he got pissed and his body-guard step in and wave his hand at me-like telling poor foreign girl me, that it is not proper to yell at a high-ranking military guy.
This is one of many stored selling Red Shirt stuff. The sign says this store came from a very far away province. Most of the stuff being sold looks the same but I would say about 25% of them are originals and different from the rest. The trick, is not to get excited and buy something right away, but walk around and there are just simply lots of gems of an items here and there.
I tensed up right from the start because at the entrance points and exit points, that surrounded the whole event like a locked-down prison exercise ground, really mean looking police and Red Shirt guard were standing side by side and they were really mean and grim.
The gathering itself, judging by the people who went, tells me that there is no way in hell the Amart or upper crust Thais, will be able to destroy their spirit and activities-no matter what. These are people who have their own culture and information process and systems that no amount of penetration will sway them.
The overall mood, I would say was very tense and serious, even with some fun and monkeying around. This is mainly because even an on-stage political comedy show, failed to generate much laughter and they were real funny and cracked me up laughing. But maybe it is the mid-day heat and getting to the gathering, as I mentioned before, was a real hell of a trip.
About 99% of the gathering wore red, but this girl wore black, to which he husband tells me it is his wife’s way of preparing for the worse if the military cracks down on the Red Shirt and he gets killed in the process. But she is really cute and I wonder if she would be smiling if she looses her husband to democracy, liberty and social-justice.
I was also surprised that while you would think most of the gatherers were of the lower class or the middle lower class. But in fact, foot massages at 200 baht a crack was very popular and many of them looked like they had money to burn and were buying stuff and eating stuff and many of them had video cameras. Then if you know the area, it is the lottery selling center of Thailand-and literally speaking, very few Red Shirt were buying them.
At this writing, I will confess that I am still a bit shook up by the meanness and grimness of the security people of both sides.