News / Asia

Bangkok Protests Splitting Thai Families

Bangkok Protests Splitting Thai Familiesi
X
February 22, 2014 3:15 PM
As protests in Bangkok continue, the growing political polarization in Thailand is splitting families throughout the country. And as Steve Sandford reports from Chaing Mai, Thailand, there are growing fears the deepening political divide could lead to widespread violence.
As protests in Bangkok continue, the growing political polarization in Thailand is splitting families throughout the country.  And there are growing fears the deepening political divide could lead to widespread violence. 

Despite the carnival-like atmosphere of some anti-government protests in Bangkok, animosity between government supporters and opponents appears to be growing. 

The underlying anger, fueled by public displays of hate mongering, has some observers worried that widespread violence could erupt within the country.

The conflict is attributed by some to a split between the "rural poor and elite urbanites," but some analysts say it is cutting much deeper into Thailand's social fabric.

Human Rights Watch senior researcher Sunnai Pasuk warned that a deep-rooted hatred was spreading through communities across the country.

“We see this division has entered into household families. A split. Rather siblings are split and friends do not talk to each other instead see each other as enemies who could no longer co-exist. This is a very radical development in the political confrontation in Thailand and, if allowed to continue, it is a very dangerous ingredient for large-scale communal conflict,” said Sunnai.

In the northern Thai village of Ban Mai, allegations of government corruption have created a rift within some families.

Farmer Duangian Kaewwanna switched political allegiance after the government failed to make payments on a controversial price-support program for rice farmers.

Now he's a loyal viewer of Blue Sky TV, a popular news network that broadcasts anti-government programming 24/7.

“The first time the government pledged for 15,000 baht per ton for the rice price but in the end they didn't keep their word. We haven't received any money from this program yet,” said the farmer.

Across the yard, his son-in-law, Surin Plukkam, remains a staunch government supporter.

But Surin admitted growing weary of the political conflict that has disrupted his family.  He feared it could escalate into full-scale violence.

“We don't talk about politics with each other. If while we talk the subject comes up, we try to switch to something else. We talk a bit but if we think it'll lead to an argument, we just stop talking altogether,” he said.

For now, the power struggle within the country is more a war of words.  But it's unclear whether the anger it is generating can be switched off, if things get worse.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs