I’ve never been a politically-minded person. I wasn’t registered to vote in the last elections and would not be able to choose my local representatives from a police line-up – the need for which has, fortunately, never arisen. Left to my own devices, I tend to avoid political discussions at all costs, intimidated by their promise of dissension and controversy.
But the situation in Thailand has become so outrageous I cannot continue to look the other way.
Some people have asked me why this should be the case. On some level, I guess it is somewhat hypocritical I don’t follow American politics with such fervor. True, I’ve lived in Chicago, Illinois, for seventeen years, far away from tire burnings and street demonstrations in Bangkok. Why should I care?
I care because I still have a stake in that country. I care because I’m certain my future will take me there again. I care because I have friends and loved ones in Thailand, some of whom live within a few miles of the protest zones. And I care because, even in Chicago, I feel the effects of this political divide among the Thai immigrant community here. Even within my own family, I feel the divide.
As I write in my introduction, this blog was created “in an attempt to make sense of Thailand’s political turmoil, as well as to document the experiences of the Thai American community in Chicago.”
My username, nedhra, is from a Sanskrit word meaning “eye” and invokes not only the ability to see, but also to judge, discern, and – hopefully – to understand.
It is my sincere hope that the Thai people will open their eyes and turn away from the violence that has troubled our nation for far too long.