372. LRB · Joshua Kurlantzick · Red v. Yellow

April 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

Many are those I interact with who accept the logic that globalization has spread income throughout the poor of the world.  Having spent time in developing (sic) counries, I have my own strong impressions of decay, Guatemala being the last, and Costa Rica before that. here is some evidence

Tearing Apart the Land: Islam and Legitimacy in Southern Thailand

Now, however, the number of tourists visiting Thailand is beginning to level out and even to drop, perhaps because they have noticed what many Western governments, focused on the situations in Pakistan, Iraq and North Korea, have ignored: Thailand, once known as one of the most stable democracies in Asia, is in political and economic crisis. The scale and speed of the meltdown have been staggering. In 2001, I travelled in southern Thailand, through the three provinces near the Malaysian border. Most of the inhabitants there are Muslims, ethnically Malay people who speak their own dialect, and the region feels more like Malaysia than Buddhist central Thailand. At that time, the south seemed quiet. Women sold crispy fried chicken from handcarts at the side of the road, and Buddhist monks and Muslim prayer leaders walked down village streets. In Pattani, one of the larger towns, Western backpackers wandered through the market, where they stared at plates of biryani and mounds of jackfruit.

When I returned to the region five years later, it resembled a war zone. Militants opposed to the control of the Buddhist-dominated government in Bangkok had bombed markets, schools, monasteries, police stations and other public buildings; they kidnapped soldiers and local citizens and beheaded innocent people; they even attacked mosques, killing imams and worshippers. Many southerners now instinctively kept away from packages or baskets set down on the street, fearing they might contain improvised explosive devices. In response to the militants’ campaign, Thai security forces had set up checkpoints, machine-gun nests and roadblocks. Nearly every shop closed at dusk; many had closed for good for lack of customers. For the five days I was in the south, I didn’t see another foreigner.

According to Michael Montesano, one of the most astute observers of Thailand, by 2007 household income in Bangkok was roughly three times that of households in the rural north-east. Indeed, while the urban middle classes have benefited from trade and globalisation, the rural poor have seen the agricultural sector collapse in the face of competition from China and giant Western agribusinesses…

via LRB · Joshua Kurlantzick · Red v. Yellow.

update

BANGKOK, April 5 (Reuters) – Thai authorities will seek a court order on Monday to arrest leaders of tens of thousands of protesters occupying Bangkok’s main shopping district, hoping to derail an increasingly bold four-week rally to force elections.

Despite repeated warnings they could face up to a year in jail, the red-shirted protesters occupied the area of upmarket department stores and luxury hotels for a second night on Sunday.

Thai stocks .SETI, which have climbed 81 percent over the past 12 months, looked set to open weaker in response.

Reuters – Pisit ChangplayngamAmbika Ahuja – ‎1 hour ago‎

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