I'm putting these here rather than answering the comments in the comment section because they might easily get lost.
Thank you for the overwhelming response. Much of it may have been preaching to the choir, but I hope to have made at least a few people get a more realistic picture of all that is going on. Even in the negative comments, there were many valid points and if I were writing a book about all this, I would also have given them an airing.
There are a couple of things though that might have come from my own haste to get words into the ether that perhaps I should clarify.
Many people are furious because they think I said "there is no gap between rich and poor" or words to that effect. My assumption was that people had been following this blog, but obviously there are many new readers. I discussed this issue a few weeks ago. I said "unbreachable gap" because my point is that such an "unbreachable" gap always existed in the past and that in the past twenty years this gap has become "breachable." In the tiny period that I lived in Thailand as a child (early 60s) (for about 5 years between the ages of about 7-12) the class structure was in full swing. The elite were the elite. The peasants were the peasants. The gap was unbreachable 40-45 years ago, when I was little.
Now if you grow up believing fervently that the gap is unbreachable, you don't try to breach it. But now there is a growing middle class and indeed the old elite is getting pushed into the background. It because it is clearly seen that the gap CAN be breached that the poor have finally been able to see that they can have a real voice. In that this has happened, I am entirely pro-red, as can be seen if you scroll back far enough in this blog to read my criticism of the yellow shirts' condescension.
I've also been attacked a lot for bringing up the racism issue. It is, of course, offensive. And should be. It is nevertheless a real issue. I know because I, who left Thailand at the age of six months, never entered the Thai educational system, only learned the language at the age of 8 and only started studying the culture in the 1970s, have had a hard time dealing with this racism myself. I still cannot entirely dislodge my ingrained feeling in the innate superiority of the culture I was brought up in — Western culture. I have often been as guilty of this cultural chauvinism as any of my attackers. I don't think we should rid ourselves of it ... it is part of who we are. I think we should face it and understand it.
As for those who lecture me about the finer points of the American system: I would remind them that they probably didn't have to take a test to become an American citizen: I did.
I'll gladly confess that it is an overstatement for me to have said the soldiers haven't killed ANYONE at all except in self defense, but that doesn't really undermine my basic premise. All the accusations of massacring women and children have been in the "When did you stop beating your wife?" vein. The soldiers have clearly been given instructions to shoot real bullets only in self-defense and they are clearly attempting to do so.
If this were NOT the case, Rajprasong would look like the Amritsar Massacre. (Remember that? It was when the British army fired on peaceful, unarmed protesters and killed women and children.) Amritsar is what they were hoping for. ... that would be a case for a U.N. tribunal. This is not it.