May 15, 2010

Hot Spots: Bangkok, the other City of the Angels

LA and Bangkok have many connections.

At the least, both Pacific Rim cities are named for angels: Los Angeles, and Krung Thep, กรุงเทพฯ, City of Angels.

I admit I've had a hard time grasping the minute details: yellow shirts, red shirts, et als.

My understanding is it's about the business class, allied with the military, vs. the poorer classes and opposition.

And there's some type of electoral fraud thrown in for good measure.

And of course, manipulation.


I promise I'll inform myself better in the near future, mea culpa.

I've always admired Thailand for having had a wise monarchy; during the height of European expansionism in South East Asia, the Thai king negotiated a colonial-free Siam (later, Thailand, Land of the Free), making Thailand the only SE Asian country never colonized.

Interestingly, since a constitutional monarchy was established in 1932, Thailand has had various coups; and now, according to some sources, the country is on the brink of a civil war.

The King hasn't gotten involved; which, to me, is surprising.

When there is live fire on the streets in Krung Thep, I'd think he'd take a side and then use his powerful moral authority to stop the violence.

But, as I said, I don't understand the intricacies of the Thai situation.

Filmed on the streets of Bangkok this week:

The immediacy of this video is frightening. It feels so real you almost smell gunpowder. It views like the best live journalism; another tribute to new media and the power of the individual. I imagine myself in that alley, hearing all the gun shots; trembling, full of adrenaline.

Last year, during the height of the unrest in Iran, I saw a number of videos shot from behind gates and fences and other barriers. This video from Krung Thep reminded me of those in Iran.