The Bangkok Shutdown, The People
As I made the rounds today everything seemed to be much as it was yesterday with nothing really of note to relay. Rather than write about what I observed, I present a collection of images of the people who make up the protesters. Many have travelled from far and wide to make their views known on the streets of the capital.
The guards patrol the entrances to the protest sites and many look quite a sight, their face covered in ba bandana and sometimes you can see nothing but their eyes. So wrapped up are some that you mightn't even recognise them if it was someone you know…
Yep, I know the feeling…no morning coffee and Stick doesn't look or feel too flash either!
The permanent resident protesters as I call them, those sleeping at the protest sites, have come from far and wide and this fellow was on the phone to home.
With a hat that Clint Eastwood would be proud to don, Somchai is ready to face whatever the day should bring on the streets of his nation's capital.
Some of the guards look like they have been appointed to a position they're not really suitable for, but you get the feeling this guy could hold is own if need be.
Ditto this fellow who spoke remarkably good English. I enjoy engaging the protesters and chatting with them, hearing their views and learning from them. Everyone has a story and once they know you can speak Thai some can get quite excited. Many not being city folk, it's quite possible it's the first time they have had a conversation with a foreigner and almost certainly the first time they have been able to do so in their own tongue. This guy was different to most and was more interested in what I thought about what was going on than preaching to me the evils of the Thaksin empire.
Salt of the earth folks, many of them are.
I swear that every motorbike taxi driver in downtown Bangkok has suddenly become a protest supporter. It's kind of a necessity really as the guards at some checkpoints will not let motorbikes or vehicles through if they are not wearing or displaying the colours – and even then some insist you give your whistle a good toot before proceeding!
Relaxed at Central World, he must have had a fine cup of coffee. Man, I'd need a whole pot of Vietnam's best to get me looking that contended so early in the day!
Someone serve this guy a coffee quickly!
Now we know that Bangkok is the big smoke and people dress a bit smarter here than in the provinces but there's no need to bring one's finery, as respectable as it makes one look. Resplendent in his blazer, I'd say this finely dressed gentleman was an officer, at least a Lieutenant Colonel!
At first I wasn't sure if it was a girl or a guy, but then I looked at the way he is sitting and realised that no Thai girl would sit that way. Ever!
Grandma is eager!
And maybe this is Grandpa?
I'd love to know how many whistles have been sold. Whoever owns the whistle factory has done awfully well out of this.
There are plenty of females in the crowd, predominantly middle aged women and older. The young women you see in the crowd tend to be the Bangkok office crowd who fill up the protest sites once they've finished work for the day.
It was quite a challenge getting candid shots of the protesters. As soon as the camera is pointed at someone they pose…which generally doesn't make for an interesting shot. And when it comes to the guards and some of the meaner looking guys I felt it prudent to actually ask them if it was ok to take their shot, something I don't typically do because it also causes people to pose. And that's just not street photography. Ask someone to pose, move them or God forbid, slip them some money, and you may as well be taking photos in a studio. Street photography it isn't.
Many of the men are lean from physical work, but not this fellow. One can only guess his Mrs. is a great cook!
What's that reflection in this guy's glasses?
That's what I like, a lovely warm smile!
Protesting Bangkok style is, for many female protesters at least, a day out and a chance to have fun with their fashion. There are all sorts of fashion options to set themselves apart.
I feel sorry for those who patrol at night while most are sleeping. They try to get some kip by day while a loud speaker system booms out over protest site. Thais seem to be able to overcome noise and sleep through it.
With a beard like that, he's got to be from the South. In New Zealand, a man who looks like that and who likes like he could go bush for a few days is what we call a good Southern man. I'm sure he'd like that term if someone translated it for him.
This fellow insisted on posing but looking away. It was hard to get an interesting shot of him as he was leaning backwards.
You see a lot of Muslim ladies at the protest sites.
This guard at the Lumpini Park protest site did not look too imposing, as some do.
This fellow on the other hand looked like he had come from another part of the world with his head covered up like that.
Cowboy hats are worn by many. We've had cloudless day after cloudless day in Bangkok and not too hot with daily highs below 30 this week – but you've still got the sun to contend to and no-one, not even folks from the country who are used to working outside want to get unnecessarily dark skin.
Guarding a checkpoint on Rajadamri Road, he is ready for duty, Sir!
This is Thailand so a little colour and some humour to lighten the atmosphere is hardly out of place.
So many have almost their entire face covered up. It's not that they're trying to conceal their identity, but that they are trying to avoid the sun.
Where would the protesters be without the symbol of this protest, their whistle?
I couldn't make out what he was saying for whistles were blowing all around.
He even took his sunnies off for me to capture him.
The flag wavers at Victory Monument work tirelessly waving the national flag with great pride.