The most likely perpetrators of the deadly Bangkok bombing last week were militant members of a right-wing Turkish organization infuriated by the Thai government’s forcible repatriation of Uighur refugees back to China. Anthony Davis, a veteran security analyst with IHS-Jane’s, made a persuasive case for the Grey Wolves on a panel at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand Monday evening.
He did not rule out the possibility that other foreign militant Muslim organizations could be responsible for August 18 bomb at the Erawan Shrine that killed 20 people and injured 126. He found it extremely unlikely, however, that it was the work of Thai dissident political groups or even of the Muslim insurgents in southern Thailand who have waged a separatist war in three border provinces for the past decade.
Some of the strongest evidence in favor of the ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves was the fury throughout Turkey that followed the Thai repatriation on July 9 of 109 Uighurs and the Grey Wolves’ visibility during the attacks on the Thai Embassy in Istanbul. A violent wing of the loosely organized pan-Turkic organization in recent years has taken up the cause of the Uighurs. MORE
It’s a shame that Bangkok’s “notorious nightlife” has been so profusely publicized. Many visitors probably confine themselves to their hotels in the evening and then flee the city the next day. Actually, Bangkok nightlife is so extensive that prostitution and sex shows occupy only a dreary corner.
From all walks of life, Thais take their food, fun, music, drinking, dancing and conviviality very seriously. Nightlife venues run into the thousands. So don’t conclude that the following glimpse of three very different neighborhoods is in any way exhaustive. The surface has been barely nicked. What can be said is that these are three long-running neighborhoods that will deliver sanuk (fun) wanderings and meetings with ordinary, chatty Thai people.
Upper Silom Road
It’s impossible to pinpoint Bangkok’s coolest neighborhood. The trendsetters are just too fickle. But Silom Soi 4 and Silom Soi 2–two lanes jutting off the east end of Silom Road–somehow endure while more fabulous spots are fuzzy memories. These two small lanes are great for people-watching and Continue reading →
Thailand has a prostitution problem. It is of neither recent nor imported vintage. Nobody really knows quite how big the problem is or how many Thais are involved in the industry because, contrary to the impressions of many tourists, the sale of sexual services is illegal. Social scientists estimate that the number of prostitutes ranges from 500,000 to 1 million within Thailand. Tens of thousands of Thai women also work overseas as prostitutes, mostly as illegal migrant workers in Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and other countries.
The 500,000 figure works out to be 10 percent of all Thai women aged between 15 and 25. When the large numbers of children, older women and men (the latter including transvestites and transsexuals) are considered, the estimate doesn’t seem far-fetched. After all, a well-known Thai journalist, Sopon Ongkara, a few years ago pointed out that in Bangkok there was only one neighborhood, the old royal city area, where sex was not for sale.