Saturday, April 17, 2010



The sight of red-shirted protesters in Bangkok taking a break from the incendiary heat of political battle to gently douse one another with water in the spirit of Songkran past and present is a small but meaningful step towards repairing dangerous social ruptures and healing the pain of recent political violence.

By taking time out to celebrate a common cultural identity grounded neither in race, religion nor flag, but a delightful folk tradition that elevates fun-loving to a degree rarely seen elsewhere, Thai street combatants have shown a depth of character and resilience that bodes well for resolving civil discord and restoring a sense of normalcy.

The Khao San Road area was hard hit by conflict but was also the site for some transformative fun of the sort that had the world media raising a collective eyebrow.

Going from bullets to buckets of water in a few short days is jolting to the senses, and confounds the media narrative of doom and gloom in the streets, but it does show a glimmer of hope for a peaceful resolution to a seemingly intractable conflict.

(to read the full article, please go to or click here)