What the hell is happening in Thailand? (a social media journalism snap shot)

For as long as I remembered news from around the world come from a
handful of reliable sources: CNN, BBC, NYTimes, Washington Post, and
the respective local flavors broadcasters. You watch it. You read
about it. You come to rely on it as a portal to understand things that
happen beyond your back yard. The latest political uprising situation
in Thailand is no different. It has been covered by all these outlets
in a consistent, well written manner. One would think that the world
of western media outlet are doing exactly what they are suppose to do.
If it weren't for reports coming through via facebook, twitter,
iReport, and of course my families and friends who are in the middle
of it, I'd probably go about my day as usual, believing whatever the media tells me. Truth is, there are always Nth side to any story. I'd think in journalism you would try to be as objective as possible - present all sides of the story in equal light. When the side that isn't told by the western media are the side that is being felt by the majority of Thai people, one can only wonder why that is.. and what motives might there be to paint a uniform, but not necessarily real, picture of an event.

I will go into details about my personal opinion on journalism and its
inherent bias on this same post another day. I called this out on a
facebook post
2 months ago but did not dive into specifics.Today,
though, I'd like to first share with you a series of posts and
imageries taken from *my personal friends and family*. The conflict
has bankrupted a series of businesses, and introduced unnecessary
threat to an otherwise peaceful group of people.

Bangkok is on fire today. My heart goes out to everyone to stay safe
and rise above the violence.

A CNN iReport call-out on Dan Rivers and biased journalism

Content of the article (it might get deleted by CNN soon since iReport
is a part of CNN)

iReport --
I'm not a Thai but i have been living among the Thai for more than
15years.Everyone knows what the problem is.Taksin Shinawatra raises
and keep bankrolling the protest to gain is freedom back to the
country and back to power.The protest is not in support of democracy
because the PM had earlier surrender to their demands later to get
another callin from furgitive Taksin to continue the protest because
he's not going to benefit from the peaceful western world
would allow the type of protest that's been staged in Bangkok.The
protester are Local terrorist carrying weapon against the state.Dan
Rivers report is a complete failure because he's not doing balance
journalism but siding with the red shirt protesters.Most of the people
that are killed during the protests are been killed by the black
uniform guild of the red protester to incite war.I suggest Dan Rivers
must have been paid by the red shirt protester for his report.I'm
recommending investigation into his reports so that he would not
Tanish the good image of CNN.I'm a living witness to how the leaders
are paying the lazy who doesnt want to work and see paid protest as a
way of living.what they are doing is not democracy but Anarchy against
the states of Thailand.

(fb link)

This guy called the sequence of events as-is. It's quite accurate and does not take side.http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/37395/put-an-end-to-this-rebellion

(fb status) Another report from a few district away (now dubbed District 9). The
roads are closed. On one end: red-shirt bombers. Another end:
residents from the area. we're fine. hearing explosions and gunshots
yesterday. quiet today thus far. we can still leave the condo just hav
to go thru the back sois. stocked up on some food yesterday.

(fb status) dear friends, CNN reporting is rather shallow, do your part to send
facts to the world. this is what you can do you while you cann't go

(fb link) some cheesy montage video

(twitter) RT @Cake_NBC: วอนทหาร อย่ายิงใส่เด็ก คนชรา

ถ้าจะยิงให้พุ่งเป้ามาที่แกนนำโดยตรงเลย -- จตุพรบอก #ch3
translate: plea to the soldiers, please do not shoot children and
elderly. if you must shoot, please shoot at the core of the leader (i
think - im horrible at translating) .. something else something else..


View from my friend's condo and view from the expressway (taken by 2 different people)


was woken up by a loud bang followed by 2 or 3 more bangs in quick succession.... not sure if there were sounds of gunfire or from firecrackers. The telephone booths in front of my soi were also smashed and destroyed last night...

(fb user): hav sufficient food too last a while. was going to get more water @ 6pm but the situation in the soi was very tense. the reds asked where i was going. Will try to get more food/essentials tomorrow. 
(fb user): the reds hav setup another stage under the expressway exit/entrance on rama 4 as they couldnt get to ratchaprasong. they've effectively block rama 4. 7/11 and tesco express close by have been looted and set a blaze. 
(fb user):: dont think anyone gonna deliver, especially @ nite. Lots of gunshots and explosions heard tonite.

Past 6pm its ugly. Hooligan on scooters roam the streets hell bent on destruction.


YouTube clip from Thai broadcast channel - redshirt beating up the soldiers.

I just spoke to my mother. She is OK. However, many of the areas suffered from electricity and water shortage -  largely due to red shirts cutting them off. She said that most of the red shirts are from the north east region of Thailand. They are paid by Thaksin to do terrorism acts. To join the red shirt, they would have to "give up" their Thai citizen card for the official red shirt card. This card is also used to obtain weapons, food, gasoline, and money. This is largely why people join the red shirts, despite major media outlet justifications. The redshirts make up about 25% of total population -- larger than many other coup in the past, but is a far cry from being majority. Anyone entering red shirt controlled territory will have to present the red shirt card, be interrogated, or beat up (depending on their mood). These territories are usually just random streets - could be where you live, could be anywhere. All official and non official work is halted all over bangkok. 

A recount, mostly by citizen journalists, over the span of many weeks. A large part of this is an evaluation in favor of the redshirts -- a point of view that most people would come to logically if they had been following the western media sources over these past months. 



Fantastic journalism by Al Jazeera anchor. This YouTube video is an example of media manipulation by the red shirt team trying to come across as "peaceful protestors", aka victims of Abhisit's military. Note the date was in April. Abhisit already made a proposal for re-election after this was filmed. However, his offer to agree for re-election, despite the claim that it is exactly what the red shirts want, still was unsatisfactory.

This is the first time an anchor actually asks one of the most logical question of all time that NO ONE ELSE seem to want to ask: "If you [red shirts] are protesting because you feel Abhisit came to power due to undemocratic means, why would you want the resolution of this protest to be to appoint an exiled man who cheated on the Thai people and performed all sorts of undemocratic acts (and caught) to take place as prime minister?" 



Truth about Thailand (a facebook note)

To all my oversea friends, since there is no News networks that willing to tell the truth about my beloved country, here is my take on summarizing our situation so you guys can at least be informed correctly.

First of all, Thai Gov is NOT trying to kill innocent and unarmed citizens like all these profit-oriented international News reported. 

Among these Red-shirt-anti-government- protesters is a group of “Terrorists” well equipped with heavy firearms like M79 grenade launchers, RPG, TNT bombs, pistols, knifes, and many more. They are well trained in weaponry and their purpose is very political oriented. They want to pressure our government to dissolve the parliament by causing Chaos and dramatizing the situation so our government is to be blamed for killing the innocent.

The truth is Royal Thai Army, is trying to take down these Terrorists among the protesters. It is very difficult because they are mixed into one another. The Army have restricted and careful weapon firing protocols which basically only allow the Army to shoot only when being attacked upon. Every unit and every fight are recorded in video and the Thai Government states very clearly that all their actions can be challenged in the court of laws.

Regarding the Red group, they work for/under Ex Prime Minister Taksin, a manipulative, dishonest, corrupted, and selfish businessman/politician. Taksin was thrown down from his power during the military coup 5 years ago and he is now a fugitive residing in Dubai. 

Red supporters are mainly consisted of upcountry citizens and politicians under Taksin’s party. They were mesmerized by Taksin’s Populism-Capitalism Policies which gave them access to quick financial credits from government funding projects. (our taxes money) Credit availability was a good tool but it also entailed many corruptions as well as creating bad money spending habits in our society. Instead of investing in their farms or plantations, these people used this easy money to buy mobile phone, motorcycles, and cars.

This latest protesting campaign started about 2 months ago. Red supporters were “PAID” to be there. They claimed to be “peaceful” demonstrators but actually they were NOT. They closed down our streets as if these public areas are theirs, threatened the safety our community, raided our public hospital, and killed innocent people with their Terrorist Unit.

To paint you guys a simple example; imagine if NY Time Square was closed by protesters for a month! Our government had been very patient and tried every way to negotiate with these people. We even had a live TV broadcasted negotiation between our PM and Red Leaders but no peaceful solution came out since the Red only wanted things their way regardless of other people’s opinions. 

Hope my summary can spread some valuable information to all my friends abroad. Our country does not run by brutal government and this mayhem is necessary to bring back justice, laws and orders to our country. 

Chotiwat Lattapanit
May 17 2010


05.19.2010 -- 

More live coverage from BBC



Central world burning (video)

http://www.youtube.com/blacksheepthailand#p/c /5/exb21yBqT18

I've been getting a lot of tweets and fb statuses in Thai..

I'll post more here and translate as I get them.