Thai Days: Martial Law


Hugh Paxton’s Blog woke (late) this morning after a delightful evening with Tony from FFI (check Google, all will be explained about FFI) to discover that martial law had been declared in Bangkok. Not a military coup. Just lots of soldiers and tanks. Spot the difference!

My beloved daughter was delighted. Her school cancelled all extra-curricular activities and will send her home early. Chang had a gleam in his eye. “No more fighting. This is Thailand not Fighting-land.”

My opinion? This on going urban street politics balls-up has been going on since November. But it really started as soon as I arrived in the Kingdom. Or before.

If it takes the army to bring a degree of order then so be it. Bring on the bayonets! Stamp out everybody involved! Clear parliament! Arrest anybody found on the property apart from cooks, cleaners and gardeners (and the guy changing light bulbs).

Brigitte’s last post on this blog explained that Norway was closing lots of prisons because there weren’t enough prisoners. A shameful state of affairs!

In the good old days Norwegians were infamous sea wolves and spent lots of their time rubbing salt out of their beards, drowning in turbulent seas off the Irish coast or slaughtering peaceful monks on British islands.

What’s their problem now? No banks to rob? No vessels to launch with thoughts of Miklagard and gold? Bunch of wimps! They apparently offer free admission and tuition to anybody in their national university. Odin would weep!

BLOG ED NOTE: You are digressing, Hugh. Martial law in Bangkok. That’s what we want to hear about. Not the penal system in Norway or the shameful decline in Viking raids.

Hugh: Point taken. The Norwegians are short of jailbirds. But here we have loads! Bangkok really needs to start building more prisons – lots more prisons. If everybody involved in civil unrest is given the “hand cuffs hand shake” we’ll need half a million cells. All will be overcrowded. Lots of living space should be allocated to police. Not one single arrest has been made of pro-govt murderers. Bang Kwang’s hideous dungeons simply lack that sort of capacity. It cannot fit all the police in.

BLOG ED NOTE: Any closing comments?

Hugh: The Thai police should arrest themselves and go and do some work that doesn’t involve being negligent, corrupt or criminal. They’ll find that difficult but it might make them better people.

I wish the army well. I wish this whole thing hadn’t started. I wish it would stop. I think a lot of people feel that way. But a lot of other people don’t. Today will be busy in Bangkok. But, I must stress, as I always do, Thailand is a great country to visit if you are a tourist. Don’t let all the violence put you off. Food? First rate! Climate? A bit hot and muggy. People? I find them consistently delightful, amiable, friendly, accommodating, nice. Some are furious and want to slaughter each other but nobody is out there today with the slightest inclination of hurting a tourist.

BLOG ED NOTE: So it’s safe to visit?

Hugh: Always has been. Still is. A great country. Stay away from the fighting and honestly, you wouldn’t know there was any fighting.

BLOG ED NOTE: Hugh, you have established a reputation for deliberate optimism. Are you being optimistic? Deliberately? At the moment?

Hugh: Of course! That’s the point of this Blog! The only soldier I’ve seen so far was guarding us and playing a guitar with a couple of children singing along.

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