Thailand’s Red Shirts, Thaksin, Military

I spent today with the TV running – which, though I hate it – I’ve found it invaluable to keep up with what’s going on with the red shirt protests in Thailand. TV news here has been dumbed down and is on a serious delay – hours or tens of hours in some cases.

Some say that the media is controlled by the Yellow shirts – who don’t have a real interest in reporting the red shirt protests except in a negative way – biased. I can go for that. The news I”m able to see on Thailand TV on ASTV, Asian News Channel and other Thai channels are pretty lame.

If you’re very interested in what’s going on in Thailand or even anywhere in the world you best shot at this is Twitter. Now is the time to get to know Twitter because it’s a hell of a news source. I’ll create another post somewhere and link to it from this one to show you how to use Twitter to follow the goings on – breaking news in Thailand -and you can generalize the info to apply it to finding out about ANY breaking news event in the world. It’s an AMAZING tool. The entire world should be using it. Anyway, more on that later.

Red Shirts
So – recently the red shirts have crashed the Royal Cliff Hotel in Pattaya and caused the leaders of Asian countries to escape by helicopter from the rooftop. They’ve parked gasoline trucks in residential areas with the idea that they would blow them up – I heard. Not sure if that’s true. If true that is more akin to terrorism than just protesting the government and wanting it to change.

They’ve hijacked about 30 city buses and parked them places to block the roads and set their tires on fire – some say to negate the effects of tear gas police might fire, others say – which I find much more likely, they ignite the fires to make it much harder for the police to move the buses.

Rumors run crazy in times like this – on Twitter I heard that the Thai government was ORDERING Americans to leave the country immediately. This same idiot on Twitter also said there was mass food poisoning in Singapore – though I found nothing about that on CNN, BBC, or elsewhere. I didn’t look again – that was about 6 hours ago.

So, everything that comes across Twitter is not the complete truth – like no news source is.

Thai Military
The military was promising to keep control of Bangkok, and so far that’s not been realized at 6:30pm Monday evening, the first day of Songkran, Thai New Year 2052.

The military was videotaped shooting at protesters – and military authorities said they were using blanks – packed paper bullets in that case. They were also seen firing their automatic weapons into the air – and they say – these were real bullets. Then there were seen on tv and in photos online (linked to from Twitter users) that show clearly some red shirt protesters with serious wounds – some said they were absolutely bullet wounds.

Expats in Thailand
Many foreigners have taken sides in the situation – most, surprising to me – seem to favor Thaksin and the red shirts. Apparently they can overlook everything that’s been said negatively about the guy. Corruption seems to be embedded in the government – no matter who is in charge. There may be 50 more years of corruption here before that kind of thing changes.

Anyone think it can happen sooner?

The current government may or may not have a right to be in power. Another election isn’t going to resolve anything at all. There is no good alternative, nor will there be – for about 50 years in my guess. Why 50? I’m not sure, I think when the current crop of politicians all die off and the next generation, or the next is growing up in this amazing place – someway, somehow it’s all going to move toward less corruption. Maybe they’ve got another 100 years or more.

Thaksin was rumored to be staying in a resort on Ko Chang. I think that’s a rumor, who knows. I’d believe anything about him – he’s pretty resourceful. I think it’s more likely he’s pulling the strings from far away until he knows whether this red shirt effort will be successful. Most Thais I know and have talked to about this believe Thaksin is pulling out all the stops to try to save his 2 billion USD locked up in Thailand by the current government. Sounds like a good reason.

Will the country be better under Thaksin? The country is pretty seriously divided between those that hate him and those that love him. Way too divided to ever agree he should rule – even if by majority of the voting population he’s elected. The group that hates him wouldn’t let that stand. Looks like the group that loves him won’t let Abhisit stand as PM either. I’ve no affinity toward either one. Educated Thais seem to have taken the yellow shirts side, and support Abhisit. Many think he’s the best chance for the country. Maybe he’s the better choice of the two – but, in an election – would he be chosen?

It’s amazing to me that Thaksin, with more money than god – can have the poorest people in the entire country fighting in his name. The wrongs don’t matter to those that love him because he DID make their lives better. For once someone seemed to care about farmers and poor in the northeast region. They didn’t forget it – they’re ready to die for this cause – many are saying on TV.

You can be sure that, if Thaksin gets another chance at an election and actually WINS – he’s going to solidify his position there. The guy is a brilliant player in Thai society – you’ve gotta give him that.

So – that’s the situation. I don’t side with either group – any group. I don’t see anyone that deserves to rule the country at this point. I don’t see anyone – any person or any group that has Thailand’s best interests at heart. That’s what Thailand needs. Not more of the same corrupt politicians.

Do you see anyone that’s fit to rule Thailand?

Author: Vern

I'm an American expat living in Thailand. I like to write informative pieces about life in, living in Thailand, including topics like: Thai People, Thai Culture, Nightlife, Technology, and I have published a lot of photographs, videos, and even books on Thailand that you can find at There are many photographs of Thailand here - feel free to share with attribution (a link back to the home page). All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+.

5 thoughts on “Thailand’s Red Shirts, Thaksin, Military”

  1. However the current violence turns, the situation is destined to remain volatile for years to come because the two sides are about equally split. If no compromise acceptable to both sides is reached, it could lead to widespread conflict, perhaps even civil war.

  2. Will you be okay with what Thaksin did (corrupted, took absolute control, trade the country interest with his) IN YOUR COUNTRY? will you count votes which Thaksin used our tax money bought him the claimed victory in past election? The situation in our country is already bad, Our PM Abhisit may not be elected (neither might Thaksin should he did not bought his way out), at least I think he is trying to do his job while the police and military do none. It is easy for you not to take side or even be comfortable to take Thaksin side and be counted in rich and luxurious.

    1. Hi Varaheng, Not sure who you’re ranting against, but it’s not me. I don’t take sides, but I’m against what Thaksin did with buying votes and lining his pockets with billions of baht while he was in office – using his influence as prime minister to make himself even more filthy rich than he was before he took office. Some say what he did is the same as what other PM’s did to get elected… I don’t know about that – but if you don’t cut out the vote buying to start – you can’t possibly have a “Democratic” government…

  3. I see me as the one who fits to rule Thailand. In 30 years from now, I’m definitely going to make my way there.

    Nice article by the way. And I’m surprise to learn that foreigners took the red side more than the other one. I, just like you, am not on both sides because I still think they both don’t have Thailand’s interest in their narrowed/closed hearts. And the military is not helping either, if not makes things worse.

  4. Found your blog through Twitter…

    My opinion for several years has been that Thailand should just completely outsource its government to Singapore. They are as corrupt and nepotist as Thailand but at least they get things done!

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