June 16-20, 2008
THOCBDC hits the pews again ... this time in Bangkok's Chinatown. The Holy Rosary Church was just as empty today as was the Assumption Cathedral yesterday. The RC church owns some pretty prime property here in Bangkok ... and many of these properties support both a school and a RC school. While the schools do a brisk business, the churches seem more like abandoned but well cared for buildings (*). Fortunately, for the students, the RC schools in Thailand don't try to jam Jesus down their throats along with the ABCs (or the Thai language equivalent).
Meanwhile the spirits in River Garden's spirit house are well taken care of.
(*) They are sort of spooky ... what with their weird and off-putting decorations.
Discouraged by the decline in the value of my tobacco shares I have encouraged Watcharee, Pom and Golf to take up smoking. They jumped at the idea once I convinced them that this was a no-pain way to lose weight.
Smoking must be supplemented with a proper exercise program to insure the healthy loss of weight.
If you look at a detailed map of Bangkok you'll see a curious little alley that is squeezed between the Royal Orchid Sheraton hotel on the north and the Embassy of Portugal on the south. About a hundred meters in length, it leads from the road in front of the Sheraton to the river. Lining the sides of this alley are numerous cages filled with birds, a makeshift fishpond, numerous maps and menus for various boat excursions. At the end of this alley there is a small pier/dock that doubles as a seller of tickets as well as antiques. Oh, and there is a TV set for non-sightseers.
Long time readers will recognize ... lying on the other side of the river ... a place favored by THOCBDC for its oysters and steaks.
In 61 minutes (*) something should happen ... or not.
(*) 1 pm Bangkok time.
BANGKOK: -- Thousands of police officers have barricaded roads around Government House to block anti-government protestors from moving in to besiege the government seat Friday afternoon, aimed at pressureing the elected government to resign.
Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, who also serves as defence minister, earlier pledged to refrain from using force against the protesters.
Friday morning the premier was attending a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in preparation for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.
Meanwhile, Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Suebwonglee reportedly shifted the venue of a meeting from Government House to the Ministry of Finance in an apparent bid to avoid confrontation with the demonstrators.
Other cabinet members are nowhere to be seen, and some government civil servants have opted to stay at home in fear of possible violence.
Security around Government House has been tightened with uniformed police manning the barricades along all routes to the government seat.
The anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and its supporters have been demonstrating since May 25 in a bid to pressure the four-month-old coalition government to resign, claiming that Mr. Samak and his People Power Party are proxies of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Army Chief Anupong Paochinda said earlier that the army would not get involved or use force against the crowds.
"It's the police who will take charge," said the Army chief. "I'm sure they have proper measures to handle the situation."
Police Chief Pol.Gen. Patcharawat Wongsuwan said the police would use only non-violent measures and exercise the utmost patience.
Concerns that the PAD-led protests could turn violent spooked investors who unloaded their stocks over the past three weeks.
Thai stock index opened lower Friday at 737.83, down 4.63 points.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand's president Patareeya Benjapolchai on Thursday conceded the SET composite index went into a free fall upon investor concerns over the persistent gathering of anti-government demonstrators.
She said rising inflation and upward interest trend also made investors jittery and slow their investment in the stock market, opting instead to sell off shares to reduce risks while they monitor the situation.
PPS: THPCBDC brings you on the scene coverage of today's events in Bangkok ... direct from the safety of THOCBDC's suite at River Garden.
Next: Part IV