Land of Frowns, Part IV

As the situation in Bangkok looks bleaker each day, I'd like to share something that made me smile for once. It's a reception speech from an awards ceremony like the Oscar's, and I'm glad Thai celebrities are speaking out:

"Because [the role I played] had to do with fatherhood, I'd like to take this opportunity to speak about dads. Dad was the pillar of my household. This household was a large one, a very large one. Growing up, it was beautiful, beautiful and full of warmth. But before the household could be that way, my father's ancestors had to pour their sweat, pour their blood, and exchange their lives to build it. Even today, this dad tires himself looking after the household as well as the happiness of everyone in it. If there is someone angry - I don't know whom  - or dissatisfied with dad - for I don't know what - and takes it out on him; if he hates dad, if he scorns dad, if he wants to drive dad out of doors - I would walk up to that person and say, 'If you hate him, if you don't love him anymore: get out of here.' Because this is father's household. This is father's land."

I assure you, the speech is more rousing in Thai. On a side note, the man shown wiping his eyes is an old movie star, the heartthrob of my mother's generation.

Today I went with the Fine Arts Institute to hear the Thai ambassador speak at Wat Dhammaram in Chicago. They carefully avoided opening the floor to political questions until after the main event, probably because there were lots of children present. Later though, as most of us were eating lunch in the cafeteria, I heard a group of Chicago Red Shirts were accosting the ambassador. This was relayed to me by one of the other volunteers:

"I was in the auditorium just grabbing my jacket and overheard some of their questions. What they were asking was nonsense - sheer ridiculousness! 'When will the government stop killing the people?' I nearly raised my hand and said, 'Excuse me, but if the people would go home, do you think the government would follow and shoot you in your beds?'"

The Red Shirts got what they demanded last week - the government agreed to general elections in November - and announced they would accept the Prime Minister's reconciliation plan. The next day, however, they recanted and continue to occupy downtown Bangkok. Last I checked, they set a garbage truck on fire and burned piles of tires in the streets. Over twenty people have been killed in the latest round of violence - all of them civilians. So much for peaceful protests.

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