My Thai friend in another ENGL 015 course recounted and made fun of what was going on in his class, which I found at once hilarious and frustrating. It happened when his professor were clarifying the definition of the word, “Argument”. Like what we have been taught, he told the students that argument is not fighting because argument needs to be supported by reasons. Suddenly, there was a voice coming from the back of the room saying, “So, what is happening in Thailand right now is not an argument, right? I think it is fighting.” Oh my god! I was so shocked and for the most part, depressed. You might think that I was overacting or that I paid too much attention to such trivia, but if you were me, one of a few Thais who are staying so far away from home and have been told this kind of things about your home country, I bet you would more or less feel the same way I do, especially when the professor replied, “Yes, you are right.”
I would like to give you some background information about this uprising first. It started when the former prime minister of Thailand was charged with corruption a couple of years ago. He used the national income which was drawn into his own pocket throughout his tenure to avoid the punishment, and eventually fled to other countries, where Thai law could not inflict penalty upon him. Peace and concord would have returned to Thailand if he hadn’t appointed his sister to be the next nominee. The seemingly infinite amount of money he continuously obtained from Thailand even if he was outside the country enabled his sister to become the next prime minister with ease. That created high frustration and anger among Thai people and later contributed to the demonstration. However, it was not a violence protest in which people raided and killed one another. Rather, similar to the civil right movement, we could, in some ways, called it a “nonviolent protest.” People gathered and discussed the problems occurring peacefully and reasonably. However, this civil disobedience later turned into a violent clash between officials and protestors, in which hundreds of people were killed. The so called “fighting” between Thai people has developed more and more severely every day, and to be honest, I cannot really imagine how and when it is going to end.