Thailand’s State of Emergency: Where are the Thai bloggers?

Photoblogging: Military Coup in Bangkok
“Thailand Coup” by Daniel Cuthbert who is photoblogging in Bangkok via bangkok.metblogs.com

As I returned to my workdesk to write about this morning’s Dalai Lama session on world peace, I got word via CowboyCaleb that a military coup is now happening in Bangkok, Thailand. This comes as pretty ironic to me since Thailand has always been a peaceful country to me, even more so when we consider that the Thai are also mostly Buddhist.

News about the coup has been scarce at this point since it was a surprise that was only pre-empted with low rumors. While I surveyed Technorati for signs of Thailand-based bloggers mob-logging the events as they unfold, the most substantial news source at this point still comes from the mainstream media. Quite unfortunate, given the photo opportunities and personal experience of tanks rolling right into their own often highway-jammed city.

Apparently Singapore’s also involved as seen in these excerpts via Yahoo News on “Thai military launches coup against PM“:

The Thai military launched a coup against Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Tuesday night, circling his offices with tanks, seizing control of TV stations and

[…]

At least 14 tanks surrounded Government House, Thaksin’s office. Thaksin was in New York at the U.N. General Assembly and declared a state of emergency via a government-owned TV station.

A convoy of four tanks rigged with loudspeakers and sirens rolled through a busy commercial district warning people to get off the street for their own safety.

[…]

Opposition to Thaksin gained momentum in January when his family announced it had sold its controlling stake in telecommunications company Shin Corp. to Singapore’s state-owned Temasek Holdings for a tax-free $1.9 billion. Critics allege the sale involved insider trading and complain a key national asset is now in foreign hands.

Thaksin also has been accused of stifling the media and mishandling a Muslim insurgency in southern Thailand that flared under his rule.

In Thailand’s mostly Muslim south, separatist insurgents have waged a bloody campaign that has left at least 1,700 dead, mostly civilians, since 2004. Citizens there have complained of rights abuses by soldiers and discrimination by the country’s Buddhist majority.

As my buddy MrBig chatted with me, what’s even stranger was that the Thai Buddhists were using violence against Muslims. That isn’t the way Buddhism is taught now is it? I just listened to the Dalai Lama in person speak about world peace and inter-religion relationships, and now we see people (even Buddhists) once again distorting religion for the sake of politics and economics. While everything is subject to interpretation (even religion), mankind still has to learn to look beyond themselves, and even across borders to stop this retardation of mankind through violence.

At times like these, I come to respect BBC News even more for their approach to news reporting. Reading BBC’s report on the Coup in Thailand, they request for people in Thailand to send in photos and videos of what happening there. That’s the mainstream working WITH budding citizen journalists. At least someone’s getting something right.

While this event unfolds, try to make the best of it by watching and comparing news from various media outlets. It’s another chance for us to see where authentic news sources now come from, whether citizen bloggers or the mainstream media.

11.22PM UPDATE:
Thanks to the perseverence of Sacrelicious, we’ve uncovered the Thailand-based bloggers. In one instance, press photographer Daniel Cuthbert blogged about how he hopped in a cab and headed straight for the government compound. While he reports that major TV news networks have been blocked off Thai airwaves, he notes something about CNN which perhaps applies the same way for most news networks nowadays…

Seems CNN can’t report on the truth, so they make it up instead. Inside the government compound, all roads have been sealed off with tanks, armoured humvee’s and APC’s. Contrary to CNN’s “Tanks are rolling through the streets of Thailand’s capital city..” story, that just isn’t the case at all. They are all stationary and most soldiers are catching up on some sleep or posing for pictures.

Finally, Tailrank has caught up with blogs talking about the Coup in Thailand. Here’s an actual Thai blog talking about it, while here’s a blog completely dedicated to timelining the coup at http://19sep.blogspot.com

  • http://sacrelicious.blogsome.com/ Sacrelicious

    Even our cna is doing that similar request. Citizen bloggers (1) vs MSM (0).

  • Colin
  • http://www.chrisbarr.net Chris

    From nettime:

    http://19sep.blogspot.com/

    This blog is intended to provide local news, media and perspective of Thailand Coup Event on 19th September 2006 to the world. The band of authors let all content to be licensed under Public Domain.

  • http://peter.sisatspace.com peter

    Hi Kevin.. just saw this post on your blog :)
    I’ve been following the news for awhile (amazing we get to know more here in the state faster than Thailand) Thanx to the Internet. Let me assure you that the whole situation is quite nice. It has been calm and no bloodshed spill. Majority (alot) of middle and upper class has been waiting (begging) for the army to take action for awhile. We regret that it had to come down to this, but most people perceive it as taking one-step backward to prepare to leap ahead forward. Mr. Thaksin has been ‘asking for this’ for quite a while and basically the country has been divided by his action for too long. It never happened to Thai society before, since we have a relatively strong king to unite people, as well as our way of live is to be pretty easy going.. what do you think about it? Hint, one of Thaksin downfall actually come because of the Temasek deal earlier this year, :(

  • http://theory.isthereason.com Kevin

    Peter: After collecting news articles about the coup, it became quite clear to me that the military general seems to be quite level-headed and all this was a matter of time. I guess the world just didn’t realize the mess that PM Thaksin was causing to Thailand. I wish Thailand all the best for their future!

  • Peter

    Thanx Kevin,

    I can discuss for days on Thaksin. Almost all of the Thai students at CGU have been having a party all week long. Mr. Thaksin did so manything to Thailand that almost unforgivable (but trust me, he’ll be forgiven and forgotten ;) ) that’s one thing I dont’ like about our culture, to be a bit too passive and let the bad one get away so easily. Pretty soon, Thaksin will be okay walking in Thailand just like nothing had happen… oh well.. at least, we have a chance to flush out his ‘Thaksinomic System’ out of Thailand first.. hehe.. have a nice week.