Wednesday, May 19, 2010
As of this morning 19 May 2010, the army has moved in to the protest site with armoured vehicles, firing live shots at some protesters stationed near the make-shift barricade they created using sharpened bamboo sticks and tyres. The operation started at dawn this morning, and by early afternoon the protest leaders had called for protesters to disperse and they turned themselves in. By that time, another 5 people had been killed, including an Italian journalist, and several more wounded.
I have spent the entire afternoon/evening glued in front of the TV switching between CNN and BBC, while simultaneously reading up on news from various online sources and calling up friends and family in Thailand to get the latest updates. To say it was an eventful day in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand would be an understatement.
While the protest is now officially over and the government claims things are under control, the situation has actually got to its worse - with fires being set on various public buildings across town in Bangkok and a few other provincial towns.
What many feared about things getting out of hand is exactly what has happened. (Keep in mind also my earlier warning about things being taken underground - expect sporadic violence around town in ensuing weeks or even months). While the protest leaders have turned themselves in and asked protesters to go home, a number of them continue to defy authorities and have escalated the level of violence. It has now reached a state of anarchy, and the governments alleged roadmap to reconciliation seems unlikely to offer disgruntled groups any assurances. It will be an interesting next few months for Thailand, and I fear, not in the positive way.
For those interested to find out more on the background of what led to these protests, have a read at this summary compiled by the BBC. A simplified quick overview version ofcourse, where many other details are not discussed. Another background summary is available via the CNN site and also this article from Newsweek
Monday, May 17, 2010
While Bangkok burns......
I tripped and fell over, hitting the ground first with my knees, then unfortunately with my face. Broke a front tooth, and sustained a deep cut on my lower lip. and YES it was VERY painful. (in fact I now watch all those action and fight scenes with a renewed empathy - as I can imagine how painful it must be!) Things must have happened quickly, but in my head it felt like each step of the fall happened in slow motion.....a very odd feeling.
People from the workshop rushed out to help me. While slowly lifting my face up, I felt something inside my mouth...and right away I knew....simultaneously I asked the good samaritans - "Did I break my tooth?" Just as I opened my mouth to phrase the question, I had my answer. Blood streamed out of my mouth, and in front of me I see my broken tooth! A very haunting image I tell you! My next thought was - Im going to look very ugly now. yes yes I know very vain, but hey it proves Im still a woman? :p
The people in the workshop took me into their office and let me use the washroom to rinse out my mouth. It was then that I looked in the mirror, and was even more frightened by what I saw. After resting for a bit, I made a couple of calls. Rebecca, my volunteer work coordinator, whom I hadnt even met, rushed over immediately and drove me to the clinic. Tony then arrived and waited with me while the doctor tried to clean the wound, wrote me a couple of referrals for emergency services at RPA and a dentist. The referral to RPA scared me even more! The thought of your lip being pulled opened, given a thorough clean to remove dirt and whatever else, and then stitched back together? Fortunately, it didnt come to that. Just some other (equally?) painful cleaning procedure. Local anaesthetic, which could only be achieved through 3 injections directly into the already swollen and painful lip. OUCH! And another shot of anti biotic into the lip. another OUCH.
the bright side?
The doctor was cute. Either that or I was so delirious from the pain.
I had Angelina Jolie lips for a week, without botox?
The most naturally crimson red lips without any lipstick?
Some TLC from my friends - Tony, Vivek, P Elle and Rory. THANK YOU!
The half broken tooth was fixed on the day itself. More painful stuff. And it doesnt end there. Have to go back in 6 weeks to check if the nerves survived. If not, then a root canal to pull out dead nerves. arghhhhhhh. For now, I have this tooth that pokes out slightly, and has a tiny gap between it and the next one. When questioned the doctor, answer was "I cant be perfect." ermmmmmm, excuse me dentist, for the prices you charge us, even if you arent perfect we expect you to not admit it!!
By the way...friends that read this blog, please do not worry. Everything is back to almost normal now. Swelling is all gone and I am back on normal food, instead of liquids through a straw (biggest torture was - having lots of food in front of you, but cant eat any. including no chocolates for many days!! Imagine the horror?)
I wasnt running
I wasnt in high heels
and I certainly was not drunk :p