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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

One tank in Bangkok

Well actually there were four.

Four tanks were spotted on the Vibhavadi Rangsit near the Samien Nari Temple Monday evening, leading to coup scare.
But officials explained that the tanks were decommissioned from an operation in the southern border provinces and were sent for maintenance in Pathum Thani, and thus having to run through Bangkok.
The officials said the tanks would later be deployed to a UN operation in Sudan after the maintenance.
The Nation

What surprises me is that anyone noticed and that anyone found it newsworthy. A few months before I left BKK in April of '07, there were about 30 tanks rumbling at top speed down Phayathai rd. and that did not make the news.

I remember very well laying in my bedroom reading and then hearing this amazing roar. I stood out on my balcony and watched as tank after tank went past my apartment building. After witnessing what might be a new coup; I called my BBC acquaintance, Jonathan Head. He consulted his contacts and later called me back to tell me this was a scheduled deployment of tanks around the palace for Wan Makha Bucha. I had lived in Bangkok for over 8 years and had never seen or heard of such a similar deployment. This was not standard operating procedure for holidays. Thai media outlets had been informed of the tank movements ahead of time- supposedly it was in response to threats emanating in the South. Whatever the spin, I was not heartened to discover no coverage of the event the following day. What else was happening under our noses and behind our backs.

Things have changed- four tanks now make the front page. I guess Thais are becoming more leery of the machinations of the politicos. My biggest wish is for the country to pull itself together. I miss my adopted home. I want to visit my old haunts and show my daughter the place where she was born. Revolution- bring it on, and have done with it.

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