Among the many foreign countries they visit, Thailand invariably holds a special place in the hearts of the South Korea's K-pop stars, Monday's bomb attack at Bangkok's Ratchaprasong Intersection was almost as much a shock for them as it was for us.
And a lot of the entertainers expressed their sorrow online.
On Instagram the following day, Jessica Jung, formerly of the hugely popular girl group SNSD, better known as Girls’ Generation, posted a photo of her handwritten note to the victims. “Thinking of Bangkok tonight,” it said. “Take heart and know that we are all behind you.”
Lay of the well-populated boy band EXO uploaded an image that was entirely black except for the words “Pray for Thailand”, and Ren of NU’EST – who once had some belongings stolen while he was performing in Bangkok – nevertheless showed his feelings by sharing a black-and-white photo from the scene of the tragedy with the same phrase.
Thai singers who are members of K-pop bands also expressed concern. Kanpimuk “Bambam” Phuwakul of Got7 used the same picture that Ren posted and said he hoped everyone was safe. Nichkhun Horvejkul took time out from promoting his group 2PM’s new album to share a similar sentiment on Twitter.
And Sung Kang, the American actor of Korean descent who plays Han in the “Fast and Furious” movies, said on Facebook, “My prayers go out to all my family and friends in Bangkok.”
TV might offer clues
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is offering reassurances every day about the bombing investigation and on Wednesday said he’s open to any source of information about the culprits, but he always stresses that the police have to be allowed to do their job.
At the same time, however, the general recommends that his ranking counterparts on the police force – Commissioner-General Somyot Pumpanmuang and Chakthip Chaijinda, Somyot’s successor come October – pick up some tips from the American TV series “Blue Bloods”.
Prayut admires the way the cops on the show solve crimes through rational methodology. Maybe Thais can’t operate in quite the same way, he says, “but we can try”.
Beginning its sixth season next month, “Blue Bloods” is about a family whose members serve on and around the New York Police Department. Tom Selleck plays a politically savvy police commissioner who covets the mayor’s job. Donny Wahlberg is his eldest son Danny, a hot-headed old-school detective who doesn’t mind bending the law. The middle son died fighting crime. Youngest son Jamie is a Harvard law graduate who chose to be a beat cop, and there’s a daughter working as an assistant district attorney.
All very gripping and structurally impressive, we’re sure, but you have to wonder whether PM Prayut wants Thailand’s top cops to keep an eye on any character in particular. Might he be drawing their attention specifically to the father who knows how to handle politicians, or tough guy Danny who doesn’t let regulations get in the way of a righteous bust – or Jamie, the inexperienced rookie?
Surely it’s not the daughter-lawyer. We have martial law here – who cares about lawyers?