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Tag: Red Shirts 2010

Update 2: Expat’s Eye-witness Report: Ratchaprasong

Expat Eye-witness Report Ratchaprasong

A bit more worried than before…

We are still ok! However now we are a bit more worried than before.

The 19th was hell on earth. Once the leaders gave up all hell broke loose and there were heavy explosions, gunfire, fireworks and smoke everywhere around us. Our windows were shaking vigorously with many explosions. This kept going until dark.

Ratchaprasong burning

From our bedroom window we saw with horror and disbelief Centralworld first going up in heavy black smoke, then fire, and then we heard the terrible noise of part of the building collapsing. That was a shocking moment because it sent burning debris and sparks flying high up and towards our building. At times we were completely engulfed in the smoke from Centralworld – the stench from that fire is still hanging in our apartment.

Ratchaprasong burning

Ratchaprasong burning

This morning after the curfew we went out onto the street to see what’s left. What a mess! What a tragedy! Opposite what’s left from Centralworld BigC was engulfed in flames. Later firefighters told us that it’s completely burnt out in the inside.

Ratchaprasong burning

There was so much destruction everywhere; so many shops and restaurants looted and burnt.

Ratchaprasong burning

We met poor street vendors that sold us much of the food we had in the last weeks – many of them in tears trying to rescue at least something. Some reds were searching in what was left from their tents to see whether anything of their possessions might still be left.

Ratchaprasong burning

Ratchaprasong burning

Ratchaprasong burning

Just when we went back home the street we were on came under fire from very close. We were running for our lives. Later troops were screening every corner, house, hotel and all roofs in the area from pockets of “terrorists”. We have not been allowed to leave our house for the rest of the days.

Ratchaprasong burning

All people we met are absolutely convinced that this is now only a beginning and we will witness a bloody guerilla war starting soon. Doesn’t sound good.

Ratchaprasong burning

We still heard gunfire and few explosions in our neighborhood during the day yesterday.

Ratchaprasong burning

At least it’s quiet now. Let’s hope it remains that way.

Best regards,
Bernd Mechsner
flickr: Ratchaprasong
ThaiVisa: My Neighborhood Under Siege: Ratchaprason

For the rest of Bernd’s eye-witness reports from Ratchaprasong, please read:

NOTE: At Bernd’s request, comments are closed.

RIP Bernd Mechsner. After being forced to delete an eyewitness testimony from this post, I wonder what Bernd would have said to: “the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court has now ruled that the six people who died inside Wat Pathum Wanaram grounds on May 19, 2010 were killed by shots fired by the military“.

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Update 1: Expat’s Eye-witness Report: Ratchaprasong Resort

Please do not kill us

Here is a short update…

At the moment we have power most of the time. There have been only a few blackouts so far. Mobile phone signal is off mostly and the internet signal is very unstable. Lots of interruptions – sometimes for hours. Water is still running with few interruptions.

Our neighborhood is completely sealed off with the army’s “Live Fire Zones”. The government reported that 32’000 troops are controlling the area and they have got the order “shoot to kill”. The government has confirmed today that the troops are authorized use live ammunition and to shoot anyone approaching them closer than 30m.

Ratchaprasong Resort

We have absolutely no way of getting out without risking our lives.

Going near those army checkpoints is a Russian Roulette. There have been 24 deaths and about 180 injured so far in the last two days. I’m afraid that the real number might be much higher.

There have been 24 deaths and about 180 injured so far in the last two days. According to various international media reports all deaths were unarmed civilians.

No supplies of food or anything else is coming into our neighborhood; we are now living of our reserves.

Yesterday and until the early morning hours we could hear nearly constant gunfire and some louder explosions from different directions. We haven’t slept properly for many days now.

Right now it’s quiet – what an incredible relief!! Let’s hope it’s not the calm before the big storm! The only threatening thing that can be seen right now is black smoke coming from around Lumpini Park.

We keep praying for the best.

Best regards,
Bernd Mechsner
flickr: Ratchaprasong
ThaiVisa: My Neighborhood Under Siege: Ratchaprason

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Thailand’s Multi-Coloured Politics: Will Thais Talk to Thais?

Colourless Farang

Red Shirts, pink shirts, yellow shirts… or no shirts…

With Thailand’s political skuffels deepening, I’ve had daily rethinks about the contents of my posts. You see, there are three weeks + of product reviews waiting in the wings. And understandably, no one wants their feature to go live during a time of bloodshed.

Boggles the mind really.

Because when I started blogging, I never thought that second-guessing Thais killing Thais would be a needed skill-set.

With the aim of avoiding the wrong subject matter, or (heaven help me) tripping over a political gaffe, I’ve had to start paying special attention to twitter: Staying Safe in Thailand: Streetwise Advice + Twitter.

But even with twitter alerts, around two weeks ago I missed the boat. Just. Before I could get my intended post live, the Red Shirts preempted my talking point by throwing off their shirts (more on this later). The yellows (pinks?) did a switcheroo too.

Sure, I could have rewritten the darn thing but, but the momentum of the moment was gone.

The loss of momentum is happening a lot in Thailand lately too. Thai politicians start talking about peace, and then POOF! All gone.

I’m not any colour. Just a farang who loves Thailand…

Ok, since I’m playing the waiting game, I decided to rewrite my former post. Apologies in advance. Due to my growing disillusionment over the political situation in Thailand, the original spirit is lacking.

Anyway… here we go…

Several weeks back I overheard a condo guard telling another that I was a เสื้อ แดง /sêua daeng/ (red shirt). His assumption might have come from my early drive to photograph the Red Shirts. Or possibly from my taxi driver proudly telling one and all that, yeah, ฝรั่ง เสื้อ แดง /fà-ràng sêua daeng/. No matter.

When talking to Kaewmala about her post The Reigning Vocabulary of Thai Colored Politics, we got onto the subject of neutral expats and the themed shirts of the time: Red, Pink, Yellow, and Multi-coloured.

I threw out an idea for a catchy slogan, but Kaewmala’s (no surprises there) was the keeper:

ไม่ ใช่เ สื้อ สี ใด
mâi châi sêua sĕe dai
Not any shirt colour.

แค่ ฝรั่ง รัก ไทย
kâe fà-ràng rák tai
Just a farang who loves Thai(land)

ไม่ใช่เสื้อสีใด แค่ฝรั่งรักไทย has a lovely lilt to it, yes?

At MBK, the gal behind the t-shirt counter gave the slogan a thumbs up and a smile. Returning home, my condo manager did as well. But when I flashed my t-shirted teddy at my Thai teacher, she came close to bursting into tears.

Khun Phairo explained how distraught she’s become over the violence and tension in her country; over Thais killing Thais. She went on to say that she wants everyone to stop the killing and hatred. And she wants it NOW!

I do too. And we are not alone.

Disdain. Disgust. Vitriol. Violence. Hatred. Suspicion. Ill Will. Paranoia. These are what fill the air and are spreading like viruses in Thailand at the moment.

No wonder I’ve been feeling so ill of late with headaches that would not go away – not a normal occurrence for me. But it’s not a normal time in the Land of Smiles. What a misnomer now: “Land of Smiles.” It feels more like “Land of Hate.”

The transformation of the Thai national character from a gentle and friendly people to a tribe of venomous and bloodthirsty misanthropes was so swift and drastic as to stagger even the most sober person.

Go ahead and read the rest of Kaewmala’s post: Harmony and Hate: The Strange Thai Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As usual, it’s quality.

Political resources to cruise…

Kaewmala’s post on the ongoing Thai political situation is a classic, so please pass it around:

The Reigning Vocabulary of Thai Colored Politics: I have compiled a set of Thai vocabulary in the current political discourse (วาทกรรมการเมือง waa-thá-kam kaan-mueaang) frequently used by protesters of various colors, government officials, mainstream media, and commentators of all stripes in new media platforms.

Some expressions have been around for some time, others are new. Some are official, formal concepts and terms, others are new concoctions and slang.

The ThaiVisa Thai Forum is getting into it as well: The Thai Political Word Thread.

New Mandala has several posts on Thai signs: “Thailand want ยุบสภา”: Red signs in English and PAD’s last day at Government House.

On a similar subject is my previous post: Red Shirts in Bangkok: Signs of the Time.

Saving this bit for last…

If you can read Thai, Kaewmala twittered:

A baby step: Sensible Yellows & Reds get together & talk on Facebook เหลืองรู้ทันอำมาตย์ แดงไม่เอาทักษิณ:

So now we have Thais talking to Thais. And on Facebook of all things. It’s a good start, right?

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An Expat’s Eye-witness Report: Ratchaprasong Resort

Ratchaprasong Resort

What I see in my neighborhood…

I live in an apartment right in the middle of the Ratchaprasong area, so I am able to give a firsthand report about what I see. Several times a day, my wife and I go on the streets around the Ratchaprasong intersection, out among the reds.

From our windows we can see and hear the action 24/7 – we can also feel the windows vibrating from the hundreds of banks of loudspeakers and the noise of the crowd. In order to get on with our lives as normally as possible, we have no other choice than to dive into the red masses from time to time.

Ratchaprasong Resort

No matter which side it comes from, we keep a neutral attitude, ignoring the political lies and propaganda. To be honest, I see far too many deviations from the truth, and too much propaganda from all sides involved in the conflict.

Ratchaprasong Resort

When we are approached by friendly people, we don’t care what color they wear. With this attitude and putting the propaganda aside, it is actually a pleasant experience to dive into the red crowd to taste the hundreds of varieties of food they offer from all parts of the country, listen to some music sometimes, and watch the many people dancing and cheering with so many just being happy. We do all of this while ignoring the political propaganda around.

Now they are celebrating Songkran, and it’s like a mega-party in front of our house.

Ratchaprasong Resort

People are warm and friendly and many approach me to apologize for the inconveniences they are causing. They also offer specialties from Issan, drinks, ice coffee, etc. Even after the terrible events that happened at Phan Fah on Black Saturday, the people around my neighborhood are still friendly, happy, and mostly smiling.

Ratchaprasong Resort

Should we sit like sad victims in our apartment, complaining about the noise and the mob? Or should we stay out of our neighborhood and hope that the government sends troops to “enforce the law” and spill blood in front of our doorstep? We have chosen not to do that. Without politically joining any particular group, we are making the best out of the situation.

Ratchaprasong Resort

Ratchaprasong Resort

In one sense we have no other choice than to connect with the rally and the people when going out for food and entertainment. But we are certainly not joining the political propaganda rally – we are not wearing red.

Welcome to Ratchaprasong Resort!…

In the beginning it was more of an open street party. Now it is developing into something like an independent village in the heart of the city. People are installing themselves more comfortably, and the infrastructure is developing. The markets are getting diverse; the selection of street food is getting better by the day; the number of tents, shelters, street pharmacies, open air massage parlors and so on are increasing constantly. I even heard the red leaders calling the area “Ratchaprasong Resort”.

Ratchaprasong Resort

Ratchaprasong Resort

Ratchaprasong Resort

Ratchaprasong Resort

Sometimes I feel like I am close to crying. I like Thai people – no matter what color. When I retreat into my apartment, the positive experience of the human warmth and friendliness fills my heart and mind. If during such a moment I start thinking about the terrible but real threat of an army marching in violently, I fight hard to hold back tears. It’s an awful emotional roller-coaster.

Ratchaprasong Resort

As a foreigner I have no rights to be involved in politics in Thailand, but I still feel that I would like to help somehow. That’s why my wife and I gave pillows to needy toddlers and old people sleeping on the pavement. It’s not because we want to support the Red Shirts, it’s because we are human beings with hearts.

Ratchaprasong Resort

Ratchaprasong Resort

I regularly capture what is going on around my neighborhood, so I started a flickr account to share my photos. Please stop by.

Bernd Mechsner
flickr: Ratchaprasong
ThaiVisa: My Neighborhood Under Siege: Ratchaprason

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Red Shirts in Bangkok: Signs of the Time

Red Shirts 2010

The signs of the Red Shirts…

Bangkok is dripping in red: Red shirts, red hats, red clappers, red headbands and more. All are slathered with slogans. Some are for an English audience – hello BBC! – but most are in Thai.

So… do you know what the Red Shirts are saying? In Thai?

If you intend on witnessing the Red Shirt march this weekend, how about brushing up? It would be good reading practice. Or, at the very least, a lark.

Bangkok Post: UDD reveals route for Saturday march: The convoy would move along Yommarat and Phetchaburi roads to the Asoke intersection and turn right to Ratchapisek road, he said. From the Fortune Town department store, the red-shirts would turn to the right and march along Lat Phrao road to Bang Kapi, Lam Sali intersection, Ramkhamhaeng road, Rama 9 road, Khlong Tan, Phra Khanong, Silom, Rama IV, Klongtoey, Odeon circle, Yommarat and back to Phan Fa bridge.

Additional rounds found via twitter @tulsathit: Pokklao Bridge, BanKaek intersec, Wongwien Yai, Taksin, Tha Pra, Jaran intersec, Pin Klao Bridge.

To make sure I understood the nuances of the slogans (translated below), I sat down with Khun Phairo (my long suffering Thai teacher). As we were under time constraints, Friday night I asked Rikker from Thai 101 to check for mistakes (mine).

Rikker’s input cleaned up typos, tidied up my too literal translations (although I did leave one in), and added the needed political background. A good thing too, as I did not cotton to the change when bouncing between Red and Yellow. I did notice references to the elite in the English language news, but… sigh… Sometimes Thai numbs me.

Red Shirt headbands…

There was no lack of headbands anywhere. At Phan Fa Bridge I watched Red Shirt’s marking out their territory for the duration, while others were just arriving. As I wandered around taking photographs, these fun-loving guys (below) waved me over.

Red Shirts 2010

ไม่ต้องจ้าง, กูมาเอง
mâi dtông jâang, goo maaayng
No need to hire me, I came by myself.

Kaewmala: Not hired, I fricking came on my own.

How fun! This headband is about Red Shirt supporters getting paid to show up in Bangkok. There are crazy rumours about payments, but the standard figure being batted around is 300 baht a day, which is a little over US$9. US$9 is pocket change for some, but in Thailand (especially in the rural north) it’s a decent day’s wage.

แดงทั้งแผ่นดิน
daeng táng pàendin
The whole land is red.

Apologies, but I couldn’t make out the Thai script located on the far right headband.

Red Shirts 2010

ยุติธรรมกลับคืนมา
yút-dtì tam glàp keunmaa
Bring back justice.

This photo was taken alongside Central Mall (Ladprao), on day four. Compared to previous days, day four had wealthier Red Shirt supporters amongst the rest. That’s what I noticed anyway (did anyone see the same?)

Red Shirts 2010

รวมพลคนเสื้อแดง
ruam pon kon sêua daeng
Red Shirts unite!

During my four days running around with the Red Shirts, the slogan “Red Shirts unite!” came up most often.

And isn’t she sweet? She wasn’t comfortable surrounded by strangers making noise – there was a LOT of noise at Phan Fa Bridge – but her daddy was visibly proud.

Red Shirts 2010

อำมาตย์ชั่ว
am-màat chûa
Wicked/evil elite.

What a great face he has :-) Btw – He’s not blowing me a kiss. He was finishing a snack, but wanting me to take photos anyway.

In my reckoning, there wasn’t enough street food available in the Phan Fa Bridge area to feed the thousands of people from the countryside. When I queried Khun Pissout, he replied that the supporters were fed elsewhere (and I believe, for free).

Red Shirts 2010

ความจริงวันนี้
kwaam jing wannée
Truth Today.

And here’s another great Thai smile. Her slogan comes from the political TV show of the same name.

The logo and/or slogan was around during last year’s Red Shirt rallies. During these four days I saw a number of shirts and banners from the 2009 Red Shirt event. Actually, anything red was a consideration (slogans didn’t seem to matter): Bowling shirts, pizza delivery hats, etc.

Red Shirts 2010

ยุติธรรมเป็นสากล
yút-dtì tam bpen săa-gon
Justice is universal.

Red Shirts 2010

รอวันทักษินกลับ
rorwan táksĭn glàp
Waiting for the day Thaksin comes back.

Red Shirt t-shirts…

T-shirts were also in abundance. When I decided to write this post, I came close to running out to buy a selection… but then I woke up (as I’ve already put Khun Pissout’s youngest through uni…)

Red Shirts 2010

เรารักทักษิณ
rao rák ták-sĭn
We love Thaksin.

I expected to see more of the “We love Thaksin” type of slogans. A smattering made an appearance, but not in the numbers predicted. And, ok, it might just be my wishful thinking… hmmm?

Red Shirts 2010

นักรบพระองค์ดำ
nákróp práong dam
Fighters of the Black King.

ศรีสะเกษ
sĕe-sà-gàyt
Srisakate (the province they come from)

The Black King is the Thai King Naresuan. He was trained by the Burmese in martial arts, which eventually became Muay Thai (I believe).

The History of Muay Thai: King Naresuan was the King of Siam from 1590 until his death in 1605. At a young age he was taken captive by the Burmese to ensure the fidelity of his father, Maha Tammaraja, who became King of the Ayutthaya Kingdom after it was occupied by the Burmese in 1569. Naresuan spent nine years of his youth at Pegu under the protection of the Burmese King Bayinnaung, who trained him in martial arts, literature and military strategies.

The Red Shirts donning black shirts are members of the Black Guard. The Black Guard were assembled to protect the Red Shirts from harm (and some say to stop the Thai government from creating false problems). You can see the Black Shirts amassing in a previous post (second video): The Red Shirts in Bangkok: The Faces of Day Three.

Red Shirt flags…

Red Shirts 2010

โค่นร้ฐบาลอำมาตย์ยุบสภา
kôhn rat-baalor am-màat yúp sà-paa
Topple the elite government, dissolve parliament.

This design was on banners, flags, t-shirts, the sides of cars… you name it, I found it.

Red Shirts 2010

ชมรมคนรักประชาฐิปไตย
chom-rom kon rák bprà-chaa-tep-dtai-yor
Democracy lovers club.

I have a zillion photos of this lovely man, but the flag was visible in only a few. None of the photos came out great, but… it’s being able to see the flag that counts.

Red Shirt signs…

As mentioned above, most signs include the different locations where the Red Shirt supporters hale from. Noticeable were streets in Bangkok, as well as countries outside of Thailand.

Red Shirts 2010

แดงทั้งแผ่นดิน
daeng táng pàendin
The whole land is red.

เคลื่อนพลล้มอำมาตย์
klêuan pon lóm am-màat
Marching to fell the elite.

หนองบัวลำภู
nŏng bua-lam-poo
Nongbualamphoo (a district in Ubonratchathanee).

Red Shirts 2010

14 มี. ค. 53 ปลดแอกทาสอำมาตย์มาเฟีย
14 mee kor 53 bplòt àek tâat am-màat maa-fia
14 March 53 (2010). Taking the yoke off the slaves of the mafia elite!

Mafia is (obviously) a foreign word: มาเฟีย /maa-fia/

Red Shirts 2010

จนเครียดเป็นหนี้คิดถึงนายกทักษิณ
jonkrîat bpennêe kíttĕung naa-yók ták-sĭn
Poor — Stressed — In debt. We miss PM Thaksin.

Red Shirts 2010

สันติวิธี
săn-dtì wí-tee
The peaceful way.

Red Shirts 2010

ร่วมใจร่วมแรง
rûamjai rûamraeng
Hearts united, strength united.

แดงลาดพร้าว
daeng lâat-práao
Reds from Ladprao.

รักความถูกต้องรักความเป็นธรรมรักประชาธิปไตย
rák kwaamtòokdtông rák kwaambpentam rák bprà-chaatí-bpà-dtai
(We) love truth, love justice, love democracy.

14 มีนาคม 2553
14 mee-naa-kom 2553
14 March 2553 (2010).

Red Shirts 2010

This banner mentions government projects that failed for one reason or the other (usually corruption).

โกงปลากระป๋อง
gohng bplaa grà-bpŏng
Corrupt! Canned fish.

Bangkok Post: The 2009 canned fish scandal: Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit yesterday said Wichen Sommat was responsible for arranging flood-relief bags which included Chao Doi brand rotten canned fish. About 100 flood victims became nauseous and vomited after eating the fish products which were donated through the Social Development and Human Security Ministry.

โครงการแพงเพียบ
krohnggaan paeng pîap
Lavish economy project.

A play on words (kaewmala: it’s the play on the term ‘sufficiency economy’). This is in reference to corruption uncovered last year in the Sufficiency Economy Community Projects handled by the Democrats: โครง การ พอ เพียง /krohng gaan por piang/.

ไทยอ่อนแอ
tai ònae
Weak Thai.

More word play, only this one is pointing to a strong Thai project (corruption was apparently discovered there too).

ต้นกล้ามหาโหด
dtônglâa má-hăahòht
The brutal seedlings.

This calls attention to the Tonkla Archeep Project (โครง การ ต้น กล้า อาชีพ /krohng gaan dtôn glâa aa-chêep/), a vocational training program. It’s an expensive Abbisit project that failed enormously (emphasis on the enormous).

Red Shirts 2010

4 เสาดอยแดก
4 săo doi dàek
4 Corruption hill.

This is another play on words. Similar to the west, rich people in Thailand give names to their homes. (บ้าน /bâan/) สี่ เสา เทเวศร์ /sèe săo tay-wâyt/ is the name of Prem’s house. So ดอย แดก /doi dàek/ might be a play on the name of his house. ดอย is a reference to Khao Soi Dao (below — khao also means mountain/hill).

เขาสอยดาว
kăo sŏi daao
Khao Soi Dao.

The land belongs to the forestry department, but a VIP built a resort on the property: Khao Soi Dao land encroachment complaint (no longer online).

Red Shirts 2010

ไอ้รัฐบาโจรหยุดโกหกตอแหล
âi rát-tà-baan john yùt goh-hòk dtor-lăe
Damn government of thieves, stop lying!

Red Shirts 2010

นักรบธุลีดิน
nákróp tú-leedin
Fighters for the common people.

There is a typo in the sign: ธุรี instead of ทุลี (seems that the Red Shirts spell as badly as I do ;-)

แดงพรเจริญ
daeng ponjà-rern
Red Pornchareun (where they are from).

ชมรมคนรักประชาธิปไตย
chom-rom kon rák bprà-chaa tí-bpà-dtai
Democracy lovers club >

อ. เซกา จ. หนองคาย
am-per say-gaa jang-wàt nŏngkaai
Seka District, Nongkhai Province (ditto on original location).

Red Shirts 2010

แดงนำ้ยืนโค่นอำมาตย์
daeng yeun kôhn am-màat
Reds from Nam Yeun come to cut down the elite.

Red Shirts 2010

รักทักษิณ
rák ták-sĭn
We love Thaksin.

Bye, bye Red Shirts…

Well, (knock on wood) that’s pretty much a rap for me and the Red Shirts. Below is the entire week of the Reds:

Larger photos will eventually go up on: Catherine Wentworth: Photography: Red Shirts

A special thanks goes to Gaccha for sharing his VOA files, Khun Phairo for being ever so patient while trying to stuff strong stem a lot cruel into my head, Kaewmala for answering an emergency question as well as adding fabulous insight to the march in the comments (below), and Rikker for being amazing. Again.

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The Red Shirts: Thai Reading and Listening

Learn Thai with the Red Shirts

Learn Thai with the Red Shirts…

When it comes to learning the Thai language, there is a real need for decent materials. Gaccha, an expat living in Bangkok, aims to inspire others to contribute their Thai skills towards creating the needed materials.

I ‘met’ Gaccha online last year when he translated and compiled a Pulp Fiction video on YouTube. He’s just released an article from Voice of America (first shared on Thaivisa.com).

Btw: For the record, I am not Red or Yellow. I am for the Thai people.

And now… over to Gaccha…

I have taken a Thai language article on Thaksin and the red shirts from Voice of America, and translated every single word(**) and transliterated all of it for maximum user advantage. There is then a Thai audio that is almost identical to the script. And there is an identical article in English. So for a one page article it is now 24 pages long.

PDF format: Red Shirts Thaksin Rally

Red Shirts Thaksin Rally:

Red Repetition:

I suggest the following…

Advanced level:

  • Listen to the audio initially and try to catch every word.
  • Check against the article.

Intermediate:

  • Read the article and try to work out meanings of words that you do not recognise.
  • Check these words and then read again.
  • Then listen to the audio for around three sentences until your brain can instantly recognise every word.

Beginner:

  • Try to read each word and check against the transliteration.
  • Listen to the audio and see if you can pick up any words.
  • Try to learn about 5 words and listen again to the audio.

Please note the following key:

  • [G] Grammar– requires individual look up the word in a grammar book.
  • (*) Word is a repeat. You failed to remember from first appearance in the article.
  • // indicates this is another meaning of the word.
  • / indicates this is a variation on a single meaning of word.

I have done this partially to show you all what a great idea this is and partially to persuade language publisher professionals to do the same.

(**) I have not translated what are essentially grammar points. If you don’t know these already you are probably a bit out of your depth already. Check out a beginner grammar book.

regards,
Gaccha

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The Red Shirts in Bangkok: Thai Army goes RoboCop

Red Shirts 2010

RoboCops cover the Thai army…

Thailand’s RoboCops made an appearance on day one of the Red Shirt’s march into Bangkok. Impressed and surprised, I had Khun Pissout whip around to drive sloooowly past this Bangkok bunch.

Red Shirt Hot Spots

But it wasn’t until day two, when I was dwarfed by RoboCops, that I realised just how impressive they are. And ok, sue me, but some men just look hot in uniform.

Red Shirts 2010

But there’s hot, and there’s hot. And after reading the Bangkok Post’s article, PM shielded by ‘robot cops’, apparently they really are hot.

‘It looks so ‘cool’, but it’s very hot and heavy,” a private at the 11th Infantry Regiment in Bang Khen area said when talking about his new anti-riot uniform.

“Yes, it’s hot and heavy at around eight to nine kilogrammes,” said one soldier.

Red Shirts 2010

On day three, I drove past a few RoboCops outside government buildings. But there were none (that I could find) at Phan Fa Bridge. And trust me, I looked. And looked. And looked. Nadda. I saw police, but no RoboCop army (or army of any kind).

On Day four I saw mostly a sea of red and locals cheering for the sea of red. But while there was no army, there was a scattering of police. Actually, I saw one policeman watching the parade, and two policeman putting out orange cones to guide the reds in. And that was pretty much it: Red Shirts, cheering locals, and a handful of police.

In Terry Fredrickson’s break down of the Bangkok Post article, we have this count:

The army initially bought new riot gear and uniforms for 48 companies (about 150 personnel each) at 18,000 baht a set.

About 112 well-trained companies with the “robocop” uniforms have been assigned to stand guard in Bangkok during the UDD rally.

Ok, my maths is pretty cacca, but…

112 x 150 = 16800 – the 300 RoboCops guarding Abhisit = 16500.

So, where have the rest of the RoboCops gone?

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The Red Shirts in Bangkok: The Faces of Day Four

Red Shirts 2010

Day four of the Red Shirts in Bangkok…

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The Red Shirts in Bangkok: The Faces of Day Three

Red Shirts 2010

Day three of the Red Shirts in Bangkok…

Ok, today is even more rushed than yesterday as I have company arriving any second soon. Yikes.

So here they are, the faces of day three…

Red Shirts 2010

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Ok, my guests just walked in (they are watching me type this actually) so time to go!

EDIT: If you want to get minute-by-minute updates, follow Richard Barrow on twitter.

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The Red Shirts in Bangkok: The Faces of Day Two

Red Shirts 2010

Day two of the Red Shirts in Bangkok…

Well. Well. I’ve had a huge splash of visitors in the past several hours. Welcome to WLT everyone.

To those coming in new, I am not a journalist. Or even a proper photographer. I’m just an expat in Bangkok who happens to have a camera. Or three.

And while I do have opinions about what is happening in Thailand, I have not studied Thai history or politics to the extent that you would listen intently to what I have to say.

What I have done is take photos of the Red Shirts gathering in Bangkok. Hundreds of photos. And a few videos.

Obviously, I cannot post all here so I’ve selected a few photos. And one video.

And here they are… the faces of day two…

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Apologies, time got away from me (it’s now past midnight) so the write-up will have to come later. If ever.

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