Pictures and a Letter from the Bangkok War by Alfie

Editor’s note: You can contact Alfie at bob@thelaphotographer.com and you can see full size versions of the pictures by clicking on the thumbnails.

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I had hoped that the situation would be resolved in Bangkok before I left, but it was not to be.  My original ticket scheduled me to leave Thailand on the 14th of May, but after the “Red Commander” was killed I decided that I should stay a few more days to see if the situation became clear in Bangkok.  I guess I did not stay long enough for the final resolution, but then again, I am sure we have not seen the final resolution.  I left for the states on the 18th.

The soldiers seemed to me (as an American Vet) to be a rag-tag group that were ill trained without much discipline. It was more often than not impossible to understand who what in command. Notice the man on the right with the rifle muzzle resting on his toe.

I was drawn to the camp that the Red Shirt protesters had in Bangkok.  I hate it when someone tells me not to go someplace; I always put that place on my list of places to visit.  I walked through the camp every day, even when the government put it off limits.  I would not have violated the curfew though as one does not want to go to jail in Thailand.

On Si Lom Road (I think). A beautiful new bus stop obscured by barbed wire and tires.

I hate it when a government lies as it is so obvious.  So many people were killed and the government said that no one was shot without directly threatening the soldiers.  The government said it only shot at people when they threatened the life of soldiers, but that was not the case.  They were shooting just to keep the Red Shirts from building more tire barracades to enlarge the area where they might be free to move and demonstrate.

barbed wire, bamboo poles and tires everywhere, but this photo was near Silom / Lamphini Park.

I was at a place near Lumpini Park where the government soldiers had a group of protestors and press/photographers pinned down.  Each time they could see someone, they would shoot.  I wish I had tried to record sound as there were explosions and shots every minute.  I moved to a place where I thought I could take a photo down a street with my telephoto lens where soldiers were shooting in my direction.  A Red Shirt monitor (for the lack of a better word) pushed me aside and showed me a bullet hole directly behind the place I had tried to reach.  I was on my knees, keeping my head as low as possible, but the fresh bullet hole on the side of the counter made an indellable memory in my mind.  The shot I got was not the one I wanted, but then again, I am here to describe it.

The scene down the street where the Red Shirt pushed me away from standing where a recent bullet had hit the counter of a small abandoned shop.

I was not really happy with the news media.  Most of them were too afraid to be effective.  They hid with their hard hats and bullet proof vests, and did not go the places they should have gone.   Many times, they did not challenge the government positions enough (in their media).  There is room for some very good investigative reporting there, but it must be done by someone with a BBC or a CNN organization behind them.  Someone must challenge the Thai government.  The news releases say over and over again that the soldiers are following rules of engagement.  Either they are not following the rules of engagement, or the rules of engagement they are following are not the rules of engagement that the government has released.

Photo of Andy (Italian photographer... I can't spell or pronounce the name in Italian) and Nam, my Red Shirt guide.

To be fair, the Red Shirts were trying very hard to make the Army “lose it.”  They were using sling-shots, throwing rocks, and using completely ineffective home made bombs.  They would take spray-cans that used propane as a propellant and fixing a fuse to the top of the can with silicone.  When they lit them, they would have maybe 15 seconds to throw the can.  I was under a canopy with one man when I saw him pull out one of those home made bombs from a bag and he lit it.  He panicked after he lit it; when he tried to throw it quickly it hit the tarp side of the canopy and bounced right at my feet.  If it had gone off as intended, I would be dead, but it fizzled like bad fireworks.  It shot off like a 4th of July rocket after an initial fizzle.  At that moment, my guide, Nam, grabbed me and we rushed out a side entrance to the nearly empty street side shop we were standing in.

Near the street at the extreme end of the Red Shirt camp near Lumpini Park / Si Lom Road.

Nam took me to several locations where there was activity between the Red Shirts and the Army.  We would go on the back of motor-scooters that they used.  The Red Shirts were somewhat effective taking photographers and journalists to locations where they could get good shots.  Andy, Nam and I traveled around together until Andy finally wandered away and we lost him.

Photo of police looking across the road (I believe Si Lom Road) at the Red Shirt camp near the bus stop in photo redshirtcamp1.

Barbed wire barracade near Chit Lom Sky Train Station.

Just a photo of a beautiful modern building in the background and part of the Red Shirt camp in the foreground.

To be brief, I will give a short description of the photos in the order they are in.

Photo of the skyline of Bangkok on the left in the distance, and the Red Shirt camp on Si Lom Road near Sala Daeng Sky Train station.

Comments (21)

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  1. Steven says:

    I was also in Bangkok but the week of April 23 thru the 30th.  It was my first trip to Bangkok.

    Several times I went over the Red Shirts on the Sky Train.  Some days it was closed.  Near the area on Sukhumvit things were relatively unaffected by the events about a mile or two away.  Night life was a bustle without restriction.

    I could not help but notice that something HAD to be done.  The occupied real estate was costing millions and millions daily to be unproductive.  My friends working in nearby banks were sometimes not able to work.

    They began to dislike the Red Shirts because they were costing them money.  Many Bangkok residents just grew tired of it.  Then when leaving to burn it?  All of this was not good for the Red Shirt cause.

    I visited many malls and shops in other parts of Bangkok in that week and wish that the protests had ended.  I will go back and know that many things will return to normal but some things never will.

    The door is ‘open’ just as 9/11 opened a door.  Please negotiate quickly before opening such doors again.

  2. Dr Love says:

    Ooooh Daffy
    You had a temper, like my jealousy
    Too hot, too greedy
    How could you leave me?
    When I needed you
    Cuddles did too
    Ooooh let me have it, let me grab your buttocks just 1 more time
    Ooooh let me have it ,let me lick whipped cream off your shiny bald head just 1 more time
    Ooooh its meeeeee, Daffeeeeey
    The Doctor

  3. BBK says:

    Steven,

    Your are right “something” had to be done.

    When the Yellow Shirts took over the airport, what was done was the democratically elected Red Shirt government was brought down and replaced with a Yellow Shirt one.

    When the Red Shirts took over the street in front of Central World, the Yellow Shirt government brought out the army, ran them over with armored personal carriers, shot them down in the streets, and killed the Red Shirt women and children taking refuge inside a Buddhist temple.

    So I guess its all about the details of the “something.”

    BigBabyKenny

  4. Dr Love says:

    Kenny

    Takes notes

    These quality photos are where we want you to be in the future – they are the best
    I’ve seen on this site

    I apologise if you took but me thinks not

    btw I can post nude photos of Daffy if you wish. Theyre all delicious

  5. BBK says:

    Dr. Love,

    What exactly is the history between you and Daffy Duck?

    And what is the root cause of your interest in him?

    Would you care to give us some background?

    Your comments have piqued everyone’s interest.

    BigBabyKenny

  6. EvilElvis says:

    My interest piqued at the Kate Bush lyrics sliding into the seedy whipped cream finale. Delicious 🙂

  7. BBK says:

    Evil Elvis,

    Does anyone know if Daffy Duck is actually a homosexual?

    I am working under the assumption that Dr. Love is a dude.

    BigBabyKenny

  8. Raul Villegas says:

    Kenny!  Hi this is Raul again.  because I just found out about your website I have never seen this pictures of the problems in Thailand.  It is very sad that this has happened.  In my country of Panama we had a problem in the past when the United States sent the army to my country to arrest Noriega the president we once had.  Many people died during this and I was very sad.  I am also very sad that this has happened in Thailand.  Is prehaps the United States involved with this?  They do that very much and cause many problems to people all over the world.  Adios Kenny!

  9. Baccara upstairs girl says:

    I see many funny thing each night, like drunk Farang dancing on floor with us, 90kg Farang women looking big, and people silly enough to pay our 1000bt bar fine.  Today I see this funny comment from Raul on biddummykenny website

    “But please, this website is so sad that if it was a dog in my country it would be shot in the head”

    Thats a comment worth 2 thumbs up and big smile, lol

    Aey

  10. EvilElvis says:

    BBK, I would imagine someone out there does know that Daffy Duck is a homosexual, but I am not one of them. Oh well I’m off to Dr Loves for my weekly enema.

    …ah shit

  11. BBK says:

    Baccara Upstairs Girl,

    If you were really a Baccara Upstars Girl, you would know what the Baccara barfine is.

    Hint. It’s not 1000 THB.

    Your not authentic but your still funny.

    555

    BigBabyKenny

  12. Baccara upstairs girl says:

    Mr Kenny, barfine include 2 lady drink for me so 700Bt + 2 LD = 1000Bt

    You come I show you

    My Cheery pop has some yummy nectar for you

  13. BBK says:

    Baccara Upstairs Girl.

    I know it has been reported on the internet that Bacarra requires you to buy 2 LD to barfine  a girl but from my experience the internet reports are wrong. There is no 2 LD requirement.

    You can pay the barfine and go.

    BigBabyKenny

  14. Baccara upstairs girl says:

    I see u at 11pm tonite

    Now!

    No kidding your Throbing Pow Wow

    Big man pen Kenney!

  15. azza says:

    You would think if the OP was a vet, he would know the diference detween a rifle and a shotgun!

  16. BBK says:

    OP,

    You are right about it being a shotgun.

    The soldiers had a pretty varied collection of weapons.

    Some squads had new M-16’s with the round forearm and piccatiny rails holographic sites, collapsible stocks, etc.

    Others had Vietnam era M-16’s with the old triangular hand and where the anti-rust finish on the receiver had been worn off from use.

    I think the shotguns are Remington 700’s also from the Vietnam war era.

    Some of the squads didn’t even have these. They had single shot top break shotguns with exposed hammers that looked like they cost $4 at the True Value Hardware store in the 1940’s.

    BigBabyKenny

  17. Purple Avenger says:

    Purple wannabe war!

  18. Purple Avenger says:

    Purple reporting!

  19. Purple Avenger says:

    Purple brouhahaha!

  20. Carlo says:

    Thank you! I really like your blog as well. It’s aalyws wonderful to find a fellow traveler with a similar story.I truthfully just arrived in Thailand a couple weeks ago and I’m still getting my bearings. Bangkok is amazing with a ton of things to do. I’ve spent most of my time in a town called Lopburi that you can reach from Bangkok for about $1.50 on a minibus or train. It’s amazing if you’re interested in ruins and tons of monkeys. Send me an email if you want more info!

  21. Juste félicitations pour ces articles les plus lus et merci de nous faire partager vos connaissances, vos recherches.Tres bonne année 2013FM

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