Sunday, July 3, 2011
Life will go on ... won't it?
Tomorrow ... well, later today as it is getting towards midnight ... we'll know many things. We also won't know several other, perhaps more important things.
We'll know whether the Thaksinites have enough parliamentary seats to take over the whole shebang and remake the country in their own image, or whether there will be two to three weeks of hideous squabbling dragging in all sorts of - what are they called? - invisible powers? unseen forces?
People have enumerated the good and bad in the two main sides at length, and pundits of great wisdom and experience have come down on one side or another. Should neither side have enough brownie points, the army is also mobilizing, ostensibly to protect us from the benighted Cambodians.
I am almost certain that the following questions will not be answered no matter who gets to form the next government....
Can any government transform this country into one of inquiring minds, young people who dare to question, a country where innovation is rewarded instead of blocked at every turn, and where few people can see beyond the next few months, and no one thinks of posterity?
Will there ever be a proper educational system in this country where kids do not learn everything by rote?
Will the "standard bureaucratic bribe" fall below the oft-quoted 30% "off the top" for every transaction?
Will there ever be an election in Thailand in which votes are not bought and sold? I read in the morning's paper about several people being caught with stacks 100 baht notes all ready to hand out. I've read that this may be the dirtiest election held yet. If so, it is not nearly so blatant; it must have gone underground....
Last week, my fellow Distinguished Silpathorn Artist, Bruce Gaston, was hideously mugged for his iPhone and had to have 32 stitches, in some alley near his house. But weeks before that, he had called me up and said that while walking home, some people had been staring strangely, looking very threatening, and for the first time in the almost 40 years he's lived here he didn't feel like this was Thailand anymore.
I lived for years in what could be called a "bad neighbourhood" in L.A. I used to believe that in Bangkok one didn't have to take any of the precautions that one takes for granted in a large American city. I really believed that one can walk anywhere in this city and feel completely safe....
Yesterday the police came to my house. They're investigating, still, the death threats I received a year ago from somewhere in cyberspace. I was surprised that they were still doing so, but apparently they do take it seriously although I am sure the trail is very cold.
Early tonight I received an email from no less a figure than the Secretary-General of ASEAN, a friend of mine since my very early 20s. He said simply, "we are all on edge."
See you on the other side of the tunnel....