Irina Bernebring Journiette

Live. Do. Laugh. Explore. Dance. Love. Fall. Write. Scream. Enjoy. Dare. Go.

Tag: Bangkok

140221–How 2 become 1.

No matter what one might think this is not a Spice Girls eulogy, even though the once larger-than-life girlband have made an incredible comeback during late night dance parties in the streets of Bangkok. No, this is a small reflection, or a personal first hand account, on the political ripple effect in Thailand. This is mostly evident in how issues against the government are morphing together. Looking at media coverage it’s fascinating to track how two separate issues slowly and over about three months time merged into one. First there was Suthep’s march against the government, rallying in intersections all over Bangkok. Secondly there were angered rice farmers demanding fair payment in the aftermath of a somewhat sketchy rice-pledging scheme. In december: Two different topics, different headings, different focus. Now: The unrest and rice scheme have united under a more overarching (and politically difficult to overlook) accusation–Corruption. 

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140213–On the dangers of premarital sex

Excerpt from a Bangkok Post article titled “Teens warned of Valentine’s ‘love'”:

“A 20-year-old man yesterday talked about the consequences of having unprotected sex with his girlfriend three years ago as part of the Valentine’s Day campaign “Don’t Let Love Be An Excuse for Sex”, launched by a network of social activists. At that time, the man recalled, his girlfriend became pregnant and he turned to the drug trade to earn money to raise their child. He was later arrested and detained at Kanchanaphisek male juvenile remand home for three years.”

…Well. That escalated quickly. And it certaintly said more about the dangerous of ILLEGAL drugtrade than perfectly legal sex. Also, that man was an idiot.

140120 — The place to be?

Since the Bangkok Shutdown began a week ago there have been bomb attacks and shootings that have claimed at least one life and injured nearly 100 others. Thursday night a bomb, although more like a large firecracker, went off in front of the UN building. There are a lot of questions. The Daily Paper the Nation asked if Thailand will become a failed state. Both protesters and pro-government Thais ask who is behind the violence. Is there a malicious scheme underway by protesters themselves to force the military to intervene or are the attacks the work of a unknown third party with violent intent?

Then there are the more personal questions. Why am I not afraid?

Perhaps it’s my sheltered upbringing hat has provided me with an appetite for the enticing experience of being where it happens. Not the violence of course. But this sense of belonging to a place that will be remembered in history. A moment in time that actually matters, no matter what the outcome might be or what your political affiliation is. Perhaps it is the thrill of uncertainty about what is to come next. Like waiting for election results in Kenya, venturing out in the night  for celebratory “there-were-no-violence” drinks feeling like man has beat the expectations of oneself sustaining and choosing peace in the most violent-prone situations.

Maybe that’s why I am not afraid. Remaining hopefull that the people in Bangkok will continue to chant in joy calling for peaceful change and not violent transformation.

140109 — An Asian spring?

I hear people talk about an Asian century but I’m wondering if it’s more likely to start with an Asian spring. The rallies in Bangkok are still going strong although their evolving political agenda seem to be more difficult for most locals to grasp. A confrontation between political groups, like in 2010, lingers in the air. In Bangladesh the main political opposition boycotted the recent election and polling stations were fire-bombed. Political violence also erupted in Cambodia this week when soldiers clashed with striking workers who demand a sense of quality of life besides just living. But who knows, a century sure is a long time. 

131216 — One week in Bangkok.

Snow was traded for humidity as I descended upon a city in turmoil. Warnings echoed as I settled in a small house next to the protesters. In the morning, as I walk for work past the army headquarters to the UN building 500 meters away, the protesters and I have formed our own little ritual. I smile and they smile and perhaps we are all safe. At night their chanting morph into singing. I listen to the sound of their political devotion and let it guide me in my sleep.