Posted on 23 April 2010

Thais Love Peace

One person was killed and scores injured in the latest violence in Bangkok last night. The M-79 grenades which caused the carnage were, said the government, fired from the direction of Lumphini Park, where thousands of red-shirt protesters remain encamped. The reds deny firing them. The fact remains: someone lobbed high explosives into rush-hour crowds, [...]

Posted on 14 April 2010

Body Counts

Two more people, a soldier and a civilian, have died of injuries from Saturday’s clashes in Bangkok between the army and red-shirt protesters, bringing the death toll to 23. Anyone living here is also aware that Thailand is currently racking up a second and far higher body count. Road accidents killed 114 people and injured [...]

Posted on 9 April 2010

Knowledge To Act

Shocking video footage of U.S. helicopter gunships killing a dozen people, including two Reuters staff, in Iraq in 2007 has caused global outrage. So has the Pentagon’s shameless response: a tepid expression of regret, followed by a war-is-hell shrug. But outrage was conspicuously lacking from a statement issued by Reuters chief David Schlesinger. I asked [...]

Posted on 7 April 2010

We’re In The Army Now

One of the last rituals of the Buddhist year in Thailand is also one of the most unpopular: the draft. Every young Thai man must present himself for military service and, if he is not stupid or desperate enough to volunteer, can be drafted by lottery. He will then spend up to two years in [...]

Posted on 6 April 2010

Red Ears

I see a lot of photographers wearing or carrying hard hats to the red shirt protests. But the essential gear is a set of earplugs. Today the reds threw out a solid wall of noise as they rolled down Silom Road, home to the Patpong night market, on trucks and motorbikes. Whistles, horns, foot-shaped plastic [...]

Posted on 5 April 2010

Clash of Symbols

So who’s winning then: the red shirts or the yellow shirts? Hard to tell, I know, but perhaps a glance at their protest strategies will help us decide. First, the yellows. In 2008, they not only mustered their largest forces during the cool season, but then chose to occupy Suvarnabhumi airport—one of the largest air-conditioned [...]

Posted on 5 April 2010

The Battle Of Ed’s Head

I’ve been thinking about Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, and not just because it’s a journalistic must-read with some of my all-time favorite lines. (Many still resonate today: “If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger [...]

Posted on 25 March 2010

Big Fish, Little Fish

General Santos City, in the southern Philippines, is famous for tuna. But the real big fish is Manny Pacquiao, who grew up around here. He is scheduled to arrive tomorrow, on what a Filipino colleague claims (improbably) will be the boxing champ’s latest toy: a private jet. The victory parade will take him to nearby [...]

Posted on 22 March 2010

Many Many Manny

MANILA — Reporting from the Philippines is like falling down a rabbit hole. My quest to interview boxing god Manny Pacquiao is less than 24 hours old and already things are getting surreal. He arrived at dawn and ate breakfast at a Makati hotel. So did his hundred-strong entourage, which this morning included reporters, motorcycle [...]

Posted on 20 March 2010

For Your Crashing Pleasure

Tomorrow I’m flying to the Philippines where, if all goes to plan, I’ll interview welterweight boxing champ Manny Pacquiao about his latest bid for political office. But first the flight. It is said that Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok’s main international airport, has the world’s tallest air-traffic control tower. This seems a strange thing to brag about. How [...]