I planned watching Fast and the Furious 4 this long weekend because first, I watched all the installments of this movie in the past and would like to see the latest sequel and second, I had been very busy these past weeks with work and all the stuff.
So after going to the church for Easter Sunday Mass, my friends and I troop to Central World Mall to have lunch and watch movie. The movie started at around 4:00. The early part was quite impressive with Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and their gang trying to hijack a truck full of petrol. Next scene is Paul Walker chasing a thug in the streets of Los Angeles. Then the screen stopped…my friends and I thought it was a technical problem.
Suddenly, a lady popped out and is speaking in very fast Thai something that seemed urgent. Finally, all the people in the cinema stood up and headed to the nearest exit. Naturally, since no announcement was made in English, I had to ask someone what happened. The moviegoer said they announced that the entire mall will be closed in a while because there was a mob between the Red Shirt demonstrators and the police only a short distance away from where we are located and there were some army tanks nearby. There was a sense of panic from all people as they rushed out of the mall. Suddenly, in a supposed busy Easter Sunday and pre-Songkran (Thai New Year Festival) Holidays, the Central World Mall, the biggest in Bangkok– is like a ghost town.
We rushed back home and checked the news. Only then that we found out some Red shirted demonstrators tried to seize an Army tank. And so the tension in Bangkok escalates especially after the PM declared a State of Emergency.
This blog features various posts about the situation in Bangkok: http://worldfocus.org/blog/2009/04/13/escalating-political-violence-in-thailand-shuts-down-summit/4946/
Today is supposedly the first day of the Songkran Festival but the festive atmosphere is dampened by what’s happening. Many tourists who planned their holidays in Bangkok had to cancel because of some travel advisories issued by their countries.
I’ve longed anticipated celebrating Songkran here in Bangkok to experience not only the fun of splashing water to others which is the main activity of Songkran but also to embrace a bit of culture of this country I’ve learned to like in a short time that i’ve been staying here.
It’s so sad these recent incidents happened to Thailand, a country known to have peace-loving, kind hearted and joyful citizens. What’s even disheartening is the long term effect to the economy and tourism industry of these events.
I would love to see the day for Thailand to be back in its usual form and living up to its popular tag “The Land of Smiles” as its citizens, “adopted citizens” and tourists wearing a big smiles in their hearts for the joy this land brings to them.
UPDATE: Demonstrations have ceased in Bangkok or other areas and the Songkran Festivities have continued since Tuesday afternoon. Those who are avoiding Bangkok or Thailand earlier, I hope you could re-consider going ahead with your trip to Thailand.