Tag: bangkok

King Bhumibol Adulyadej 1927-2016

 

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A few selected links from Denis Gray, Paul Handley, and Christine Gray reflecting on the death of Thailand’s King Bhumibol after a 70 year reign:

Denis Gray described his encounter with Bhumibol on a trip up north with him:

The king clearly savored such encounters, bantering with rural dwellers and trying to solve their problems, even marital ones. He once told me the story of a hilltribesman whose wife ran away after he had purchased her with two pigs. The king decided the husband deserved compensation which would allow her freedom. “The only trouble was I gave the money,” he joked. “So the woman belonged to me.”

Paul Handley offered a more sober account of Bhumibol’s reign:

Yet like Tito, Bhumibol failed at securing a stable future for his kingdom. He had made his throne dependent on its alliance with the military, an institution that remains thoroughly corrupt and convinced of its right to arbitrate power. Amid this, the other key institutions of a modern parliamentary democracy have shriveled.

While Christine Gray was more optimistic:

The end of Bhumibol’s reign is an incredible historical moment, one of genuine grief for the late king, if not for opportunities missed during his reign. But also an opportunity for change.

 


Thailand Anti-Government Protests Interviews December 2013

Thailand Anti-Government Protests Interviews December 2013 from Mark Moran on Vimeo.


Pavin Chachavalpongpun on Royal Prerogative

In today’s Nation Pavin Chachavalpongpun accuses Sukhumbhand Paribatra, governor of Bangkok, of undermining Yingluck Shinawatra’s administration in his focusing on Bangkok flood relief at the expense of outlying areas.  That Paribatra is a pedigreed aristocrat doesn’t deter Chachavalpongpun’s strident criticism:

“…as Sukhumbhand continues to clash with the government, this attests to the fact that the elitist class possesses its own mind and the right to define the notion of interest – be it its own interest or that of the nation. This explains why Sukhumbhand has chosen not to listen to the government’s instructions.”

Chachavalpongpun, along with Thitinan Pongsudhirak and Thongchai Winichakul are among the most interesting voices in Thailand’s body politic.  I look forward to hearing more from them as Thailand struggles to develop a more democratic system of governance.


Thai Floods: Great photos from the blogosphere

 

Drew Vattiat Oregonian

A selection of great shots from a wide selection of photo blogs listed here.

This one above was the best of the lot in my opinion from Drew Vattiat of the Oregonian.  What else can be said?  What a masterpiece.

APTOPIX Thailand Floods Sunti Tehpia/AP

 

Getty Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty

Pantip This one from Pantip.com (in Thai)

 


Bangkok Floods: November 4th

 

I left for a five day junket to the south coming back today to check up on fleeting images I saw in airports and guesthouses.  The water has come to the Lad Prao-Don Muang Tollway-Phahonyothin junction right north of Chatuchak Market.  Notice that the underground entrance is shuttered.  We’ll see what happens when the water hits the underground entrances in the next few days.  Notice too the level of water at the canal right south of Chatuchak Market.  God help the people who live or have businesses right next to this water way.  The biggest sandbag bunkers have been built around banks and mini malls.

On the other side of town right on the other side of the Prah Pinklao Bridge it looks like Venice while on the other side on Ratchadamnoen Road and Suan Luang it’s business as usual.  Waters have actually receded.  Westbound traffic of the Pinklao Bridge has been closed with people hitching rides on any large vehicle passing by from ambulances to army trucks.  Thais and the army are improvising the best they can.  Lord knows what kind of havoc this neighborhood is undergoing.  Tomorrow I intend to wade in the water and check it out.  Families displaced.  Businesses shuttered.  Eating and sleeping wherever and whenever.  It will be interesting to see how Yingluck deals with the fallout from “sacrificing” neighborhoods like these so downtown Bangkok remains dry.

Floods of course are nothing new to Bangkok.  Bangkok lies in a vast delta where canals have long played a role in draining water into the Gulf of Thailand.  Some great pictures here.


Bangkok Floods: October 29th

Stronger and deeper current near Wat Mahathat—too deep to ride through.  More flooding around Suan Luang.  Flooding north off of the Kao San Road area on Samsen.  Small pumps, concrete barriers, and sandbags appear to be shielding street merchants’ businesses.  At the Ministry of Education concrete bricks and sandbags are being distributed.  At this point it doesn’t appear that it’s going to get much worse deeper inside the city, but who knows.

 


Bangkok Flooding: October 28th

 

The renown Wat Mahathat, a well known Vipassana meditation center, and the amulet market right outside its walls on Soi Prachan, flooded this morning. All in the shadow of the Grand Palace.  The current was swift flowing away from  the Tha Prachan Pier with street merchants improvising using concrete barriers, pumping water out in blue hoses, or simply selling their wares in spite of it all.  Outside the Ministry of Education volunteers unload sandbags.  Despite the water finding its way throughout Wat Mahathat, life went on.

 

 

 


Bangkok Flooding: October 27th

 

A few photographs from the flooding in Bangkok.  The Chao Praya River started overflowing days ago and has gotten progressively worse.  Above we see local people measuring the depth of the klong (canal) at the Din Daeng triangle (east of Victory Monument); next empty shelves at a 7-11; overflow of the Chao Praya River; (bottom left) what a typical klong looks like; sandbags protecting a business; a medical army unit becoming activated.

Amazing what has been swimming around in these flood waters.  An article about how many children are swept away from their parents and drown.

More pictures here and here.

Concrete Flood Barriers are being built also.

 


Flooding

Right off the Chao Praya River today around 5pm there was slight flooding, but it was under control.  Street vendors at the Tha Pra Chan Pier improvised simply selling their wares on elevated wooden benches.  Overflow from the river was channeled to drainage areas with sandbags.  These images are from the Tha Pra Chan neighborhood right next to the Chao Praya River and Thammasat University.