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Sangkhla Update | Bangkok Bombing

April 24, 2010

Sorry for the long lag time, I have been sick (tonsilitis..the most random of jungle illnesses) and my computer charger met its death during storm power surges (new one coming in the post this week, Thanks Pop!). But i survived Songkran, and taught my first class this morning.

Illness Saga: somehow i ended up with tonsilitis in Thailand..but for many days we thought it was Malaria/Dengue due to the weakness and hallucinations. Although, my hallucinations were somewhat tame; visiting a cake shop (unsurprising) and my Mon Grandma reading me  fairytales in my room. Pp. and F. eventually persuaded me to go to the hospital where they administered a horribly painful test that involves cutting off your arm circulation for five minutes then checking for skin patterns. There was also blood drawn, but not in the private US hospital rooms where I can show my utter fear of needles privately..Yes, I wept in front of a large portion of the Mon and Thai community, but they seem to still like me anyways.

My boss is visiting this weekend, which meant he was present for my first class, which was nerve-wracking. But I only had three students in town today, all three of whom I know so that helped take off some of the pressure.

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of attending a Critical Thinking Seminar put on by the amazing and inspiring Dr. Thein Lwin, EdD. The seminar was actually geared towards teaching Mon teacher-trainers, who will now return to Burma and disseminate knowledge, train other teachers and work with their pupils on critical thinking & writing. Dr. Thein Lwin was F’s (my “older sister/mum”) teacher and mentor, so I was able to attend the seminar despite not being a Mon teacher and not speaking Burmese (the Dr.’s lovely assistant translated for me at the back of the room). I received lots of tips and techniques for encouraging my students to examine the academic material they’re presented with with a critical eye, and to actively engage with material.

As many of you have undoubtedly read, bombs have started to go off in Bangkok, and grenade launchers are being used against skytrain stations. Every night F., Pp., Grandma and I are glued to the news. I obviously don’t speak Thai, so I am constantly asking “what does that mean?! what is that video footage of?”. The violence is escalating to such a degree I am not sure how it can be resolved. But is the violence really being carried out by RedShirt protesters or by Thaksin-hired thugs whose sole goal is to create all-out civil war? It seems like The YellowShirts will soon amass in Bangkok to fight the Redshirts… will the Yellowshirts be even more violent than the Reshirts? And who are these fabled PinkShirts?! Further violence seems unavoidable.  More in-depth analysis of this issue can be found here:


and with various opinions from all sides :

The Storytellers Bazaar I visited in Peshawar and posted about earlier on this blog was also attacked with suicide bombs this week. This is yet another place I’ve physically spent time in which has now been attacked, another place I enjoyed and felt comfortable exploring at the time. I am feeling exceptionally sad for both Thailand and Pakistan these days, as it looks increasingly like I’ve left a country going up in flames only to arrive at one which is sliding towards urban civil war. What is similar and striking having been in both for bombings now, is the lack of decent in-country reporting. The Bangkok Post’s coverage has been frustratingly slow, and the Pakistani Newspapers could not be trusted to report honestly and accurately.

I will post another update once my computer cables arrive next week, as well as a montage of Songkran stories which simply must be accompanied by pictures.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. willowmata permalink
    April 24, 2010 9:57 am

    I am glad you survived being sick and had people taking care of you. Sounds kind of scary and exceedingly miserable. Hope you are getting your strength back!

    Can’t wait to hear more about your teaching…even if you can’t write about the students themselves you can write about your learning process in becoming a teacher.

    And glad you are writing about the important political events, teaching all of us and encouraging us to read more.

    Thinking of you often,

  2. April 27, 2010 9:17 pm

    The only time I’ve ever gotten tonsilitis was when I was in Turkey. I don’t know what the deal is but I’m glad you don’t have Malaria!

  3. May 2, 2010 10:49 pm

    Hello Love,
    I am happy that you are feeling a bit better. I am excited to be able to keep in touch with you during your crazy adventures! I loved seeing your photos. Erik and I were offered a job in Thailand that we almost accepted before we moved to Casablanca, it has been really nice to be able to follow the goings on through your eyes. Love! -Amanda

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