Every month the BWG have some kind of activity.....these are not compulsory but I often go along cause I think the plans sound interesting. Yesterday it was finger knitting....now, I'm not the worlds best knitter....I once knitted a scarf.....it took me three years to finish and then I decided that I didn't actually like it!!! I thought that perhaps finger knitting would be different and, if truth be told, I thought I might be able to wear my shawl in September when we're planning to come to Scotland (Ha....little did I know). So I was quite excited when I arrived at the Big Knit on Sukhumvit Soi 49. The shop itself is absolutely stunning - floor to ceiling shelves covered in every type and colour of wool you can imagine and there is a wee coffee shop area which does food....I was in seventh heaven!!
Anyway, we were given a pattern for a shawl, told to select our wool and then the demonstration started. OMG.....finger knitting is not easy!! My first attempt at a few rows was an absolute disaster (honestly, it looked more like a dogs dinner than the shawl it was supposed to resemble) so I ended up starting again from scratch and I am pleased to say that it started looking a bit better. I ended up doing about 15 rows and it did begin to vaguely resemble what it was supposed to (I'm hoping that I'll be able to finish it on my own....and that it won't take me three years to do it!!). Hehehe - never in a million years did I think that one day I would be sitting in a shop in Bangkok knitting a shawl!!
When I got back from the Big Knit Chris and I met up and the two of us headed along to the FCCT as they were hosting another event. I don't know if your aware of this or not but Thai politics is in upheaval again - I thought you might be interested in the history of it all and where we're at today....I'm not an expert so this is just my understanding of it....
Mr Thaksin (Pic on the right) was forced to resign as Thai PM after a coup d’etat which happened about two weeks after we arrived here. Thailand was then ruled by a military-appointed government for just over a year during which time it drafted and tabled a controversial new security law which in essence gave the Cold War era Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) a key role in internal security. Now, whilst this was going on Mr Thaksin and his family were investigated and, in some cases, charged with corruption and the military appointed government started taking flak for economic mismanagement, amongst other things, so it drafted a new Constitution which was passed and elections were held. The elections delivered a rebuff to the military and it's allies and the People Power Party (a reincarnation of Mr Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party) emerged as the single largest party and formed the current coalition government.
(Pic is of Mr Samak - Current Thai PM). Ok, so that was the history (hope it made sense) now to where we're at now - the movement that pressured Mr Thaksin to quit has returned to bring down the PPP and to get rid of the 'Thaksin regime' once and for all. Divisiveness is back, and there is a fear (Not a real actuality) of violence that could justify the army intervening again.
Last night we went to hear Panitan Wattanayagorn speak about ISOC Bill and the history, position and mindset of the Thai military. He is a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University and has advised a series of governments on military and defence affairs, reform and conflict management and was actually involved in the drafting of the ISCO Bill. The other speaker was a man called Chris Baker who was talking about the military’s influence in politics and the development of democracy in Thailand. He is a Bangkok based writer who has authored and co-authored a number of papers and books on Thailand and is regarded as one of the keenest observers of contemporary Thailand. The two speakers were absolutely fascinating....it is going to be interesting to see what happens next!!