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"Sleeping giant" about to wake up

With all the hoopla in Bangkok as the Yingluck government reaches its final days, the media coverage, comment and mood in the capital is of course anti-government and semi-euphoric.

But Bangkok contains only a fraction of the Thai population. There is a silent (so far) majority of regional and rural folk who have not had their say on recent events.

Here are two points to ponder while Bangkokians plan their next step. Remember the red shirts' anger and malevolence a few years ago in Bangkok? It is likely that such emotions will be rekindled by the powerful and unorthodox way in which the Yingluck government is being pushed aside. I do not for a moment condone violent and aggressive street rallies, but only fear that current events are creating the perfect conditions for a return of furious claims from rural Thais that their democratic rights have been subverted.

Secondly, even if Suthep and others get their "people's council", constitutional revamp and an end to vote-buying, when a new election is held it is highly possible that a Thaksin-sympathetic party will gain a commanding majority, possibly with Yingluck or another Thaksin relative at the helm.

Having lived, worked and been friends with rural and regional Thais myself for a number of years, I am constantly astounded by the depth of their jai dee - angry red shirts aside. They deserve equality and respect from Bangkokians.

Simon Wood

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia


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