Mourning after

It’s a glorious morning in Bangkok, one so far unmarred by columns of smoke or rattle of gunfire. The Bangkok Post has run A NATION MOURNS as its front-page headline. I’d be interested to know what it is people believe we should be mourning, at this point.

One candidate: the fact that—Thai or otherwise—we’re human, all too bloody human. It’s really sad to see how reliably, everywhere and throughout history, demogogues are able to lead crowds of nice people into terrible folly.

A certain class of citizen will primarily mourn the demise of their favorite shopping mall, while another part of the population will be sad at the prospect of returning to business as usual—to unjust and inequitable circumstances amid all the glitz of modern consumerism, a life briefly improved by an exhilarating sense of purpose and solidarity and, more importantly for some, a novel quality of excitement. Many of the latter folk will crave more of the same, whatever happens in the coming weeks.

Other things to mourn:

* Lost innocence, in some quarters, wondering at the impertinence of peasant masses who will no longer sit still for nearly anything.

* Some have lost businesses, others have lost large quantities of money, their insurance not extending to losses from riots and suchlike.

* Many people (reportedly 5,000 at defunct Central World alone) have lost their jobs.

* Rather more importantly, others are mourning dead family members and friends.

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