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Children's Day and shutdown the biggest issues now

THERE WERE two main issues on social media this week: National Children's Day and the Bangkok shutdown.

Many people are celebrating Children's Day by changing their Facebook profile picture to a shot from their childhood, as they do every year at this time. This year however, perhaps because of the political situation, not as many are doing this as in past years, but there are some, and there may be more by the time the day arrives today.

Apart from changing profile pictures, people keep posting information about Children's Day, including the slogan from caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra - "To behave, be grateful, be responsible and disciplined, as well as helping strengthen the nation."

Organisations that arrange activities for children also use social media to channel information about their events. For example, the National Science and Technology Development Agency is hosting Children's Day activities at Sirindhorn Science Home; Paradise Park is hosting a Cartoon Festival; the Stock Exchange of Thailand will host a celebration at the SET Hall; and Kasikornbank is hosting "More Smiles for Thai Children" - allowing children to role-play their dream careers.

Meanwhile, timelines are full of comments about the "Bangkok shutdown", both support and notes opposing the campaign. Some supporters are posting their agenda of when they will join the shutdown, or inviting friends to join Monday, posting their march props, details about the march, as well as a map of meeting points and routes.

People opposed to the shutdown are also expressing their opinions against the march and mass rally.

There are also many activities to support the election on February 2, such as a seminar and campaign activities, to invite people to participate in the poll.

Moreover, some creative ideas posted on social media include survival kits for people living in central parts of Bangkok during the shutdown period. Some are preparing to walk, ride a bicycle, or use the BTS Skytrain or MRT subway, plus travelling by motorcycle taxis. Many people are also planning to work at home.

Some see this situation as a chance to test how Thailand might be run if Bangkok were in a disaster situation.

Some plan to keep cash at home, plus stock some food, water and snacks for children.

Meanwhile, organisations have set continuity plans to try to operate their businesses as normally as possible. Mobile-phone operators, Internet service providers and data-centre providers have said their communication infrastructure is ready to cope with the shutdown.


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