Twitter has become a source of news (as well as rumor, bickering and innuendo) about the rallies as they are preventing people from reaching certain parts of the city by car and people here want breaking news about rallies that may be the site of violence. The US Embassy here has advised people to stock food and cash but thankfully there have been no signs of people hoarding food yet. Tensions are running high as people with differing political views feel passionate about them in times like these and many leaders of the protests have been angered by views expressed by foreigners. (Read: we're staying out of it and Thais that work with us are as well.)
The protesters have been called by many the 'educated elites' and many have called themselves this. Once again, we're not weighing in, just stating fact. While some vendors on the streets have been pushed out by the rallies, other vendors follow the protesters as they will need supplies while camping out on the streets. The photo above was posted on Twitter from the rally today. Photos from the rally are posted as traffic updates, news, in support of the rallies or as opposition to the rallies. The same photo may make one person feel inspired by the rallies and another angry, depending on the viewer's political leanings.
The incident that inspired us to start this website was the Hitler mural at Chulalongkorn University. It was shocking to see an elite university use the image and it showed a glaring lack of historical understanding. Some expatriates may say that Thais don't need to know about this, Thais are not interested or that there are more important things to do. Those people are not our audience and our big-picture guiding principle is that History is an important subject to understand for everyone.
It is times like these that show the importance of History education. While people have different cultures and different values systems, we are at heart fundamentally similar. Income disparity, power imbalances, religious and ideological conflicts play out in similar ways within societies. Anyone that wants to be politically active should be aware of History, in many instances knowing History is the closest thing that people have to a crystal ball. To predict the possible outcomes of an event, it makes sense to look closely at similar events in the course of history.
Thailand developed at a very rapid pace and at times looked at the West as a model on how to make progress. Thailand is an economic success in many ways and the nation became successful quite quickly. Parents want their children to have more than they have and education has been a way to gain wealth. Disciplines that are known to pay well are often in Business or Science and many Thais have been encouraged to study them. While it's sad to say that the Humanities are not a way to get rich quick, they add value to society and are essential. Just to add another disclaimer, it is not just Thailand that has progressed this way and a great deal of the West has neglected Humanities in more recent times as well.
Below is a playlist we created of videos relevant to times of political unrest; required knowledge for anyone that is looking to be politically active in our opinion.