Apr 24, 2010

Why are they facing the same direction in the Bangkok metro?

Photo credit: Demotix

While not a frequent tourist to Thailand, I'm glad that the few times I was there, there was no visible trouble from the red or yellow shirts. To be held hostage in Bangkok airport for eight days (just because you jumped in at the 0 dollars promotion from budget airlines) must have been an excruciating affair; in December 2008 how you wished you were holidaying in Europe instead. After my overland exploration in January, Thailand is now low on my radar so I'm not overly concerned about the security situation in Bangkok. When I heard troops were deployed in Silom to prevent the Reds taking over the area, however, that caught my attention.

Silom caught my attention because now there is a "face" to the unrest. Previously there was news of the 22 deaths while I was secretly hoping their revered King would mediate in the dispute. I did not get to find out the location so the news wasn't too attention grabbing. Just last night, 40 people, including foreign nationals, were hurt in grenade attacks in the Silom area. This time I checked the location. Woah, suddenly I feel all my "Thai buddies" coming back to me.

From Breitbart:

The first explosion was on Silom Road near the entrance to Thaniya Road, a nightlife area especially popular with Japanese tourists and Japanese residents in Thailand.

The second explosion was on Silom Road as well, and a third was on the roof of the busy Sala Daeng Skytrain station in the same area.

The fourth was close to the Silom Station subway stop, also in the Silom area and near lines of riot police.

From Heraldsun:

The authorities said five grenades were fired last night from within the anti-government Red Shirt protesters' sprawling encampment, which has been fortified in recent days with sharpened bamboo stakes and piles of car tyres.

"Three people died and more than 70 were injured," said Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, adding that an M79 grenade launcher was used in the attacks, which came as the supporters of embattled Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva faced off with the rival Reds.

"It was clear that it was shot from behind the King Rama VI Monument, where the Red Shirts are rallying," he said.

Note: emphasis by me.

Rama VI Monument
Rama VI Monument. I visited the park one morning in 2008 and saw people doing the "Great Bangkok Workout" (will blog in future). In 2010 it became a rallying place for the Red Shirts. My photo was taken from behind the monument.

Thaniya Road
Entrance to Thaniya Road from Silom Road outside Sala Deang Skytrain Station. You can make out "Thaniya Plaza" at the top. Why is the road famous? Check out the next photo!

Thaniya Road
Businesses along Thaniya Road. A "Little Japan" in Bangkok; Honey Club in the foreground even has a website in Japanese promoting their "service".The 2008 trip was made with a friend. Both of us were just curious but too poor to try anything along the street. I think the ladies are Thais trying to pass off as Japanese, enticing even to Japanese tourists and residents.

Silom Station
Silom MRT Station. Interchange station to connect Sala Deang Skytrain Station. In 2010 I revisited the area, not much has changed. I remember fondly the walkway from Sala Deang to the Silom MRT entrance, where a security guard will ask to check your bag.

Back to topic .... which is not really about grenades and Japanese clubs. The mention of Silom reminds me of an observation from a not too distant past. Silom the MRT station, not the financial district, reminds me of a phenomenon in the Bangkok Metro I observed during my 2010 overland trip to Thailand. My mind can be quite associative sometimes.

Inside the Bangkok Metro

Do you notice anything unusual in the photo? In the Bangkok Metro, the standing passengers are all facing one direction. I do not know the reason. Certainly this is not something you get to see in our MRT. Are they reluctant to face the sitting passengers? Does this standing arrangement allow for a quicker exit? Interesting!


peter said...

Did you find out where's "Little Korea" or "Little India"?

Icemoon said...

no Peter, not sure where in Bangkok. :(

Victor said...

No wonder they can't decide on who should be the best government - they can't even decide on the best position to stand in the Metro. LOL.

The best standing position should be facing the side of the train with feet slightly astride so that when the train accelerates or decelerates, you could balance properly. Gosh, someone should write a Kamasutra for the Metro in Thai.