Thais are mostly Buddhist, and as such tend to be humble and peace-loving. Hence the nickname for the country as “The Land of Smiles.” They take great pride in traditions, especially family, and respect for others. And now they are embarrassed that their countrymen would stoop to the depths of evil, that a few ignorant individuals would ruin the pride and respect they had rightfully earned in the international community.
I’ve delayed writing this post for two days because, first, I wanted to accumulate as much information as possible, and also because I wasn’t quite sure how to describe the experience.
I mean, how many times are you part of a terrorist bombing story?
As discussed in my previous post, Thursday night for me was just another night playing pool in the bintabaht bar district. I was at the Papayita Bar when the woman I was playing said a bomb had gone off in the district. None of us heard anything.
Later, I would learn that two bombs went off, 20 minutes apart, a classic terrosist lure-em-in-and-then-blow-the-crowd-away strategy. A poor, innocent woman who was doing nothing more than selling food from a cart along the alleyways was killed.
I left the bar, heading for Diamond Bar, but it was cordoned off. I am probably lucky I was not arrested for not heeding the orders of police. The bomb blasts occurred very near Diamond Bar.
So I headed in the opposite direction, walking all the way back to my street, but stopping off for some pool first. I still did not know the severity of the night’s proceedings. There were a few Thai guys who wanted to test themselves and we were having a good time until the lights went out and the girls started scurrying around in a panic.
“We have to close. Police coming.”
Time to go home, where I saw the first reports of the bombing. Journalist Ken then kicked in, sending out a short alert through double vision before going to bed.
The next morning, I couldn’t sleep. This was a big deal, I thought. I can’t wait until this afternoon, as always, to send out my news post. This needs to get out now. So I got up a little early, assembled all the information I could find, and published before noon.
Funny thing is that even before I posted anything, my site (www.huahinexpatnews.com) was registering record page views. Web search had found the site as people searched for the bombing. By the end of the day, the site would see 10 times its normal traffic. Second-day traffic is down to four times normal.
By Day 2, this story was hitting newspapers and TV stations all over the world, including Associated Press coverage, BBC, CNN, and media in most European and Asian countries. It is big news.
As I continue to monitor ongoing news about the event, I’m also reading Facebook Hua Hin forum comments. There are dozens of such forums but for my purposes I mingle with 8-9. The comments can be illuminating, as well as infuriating.
The Thais are genuinely embarrassed by what has happened. Many are really scared. One friend told me she wouldn’t go out because “there are bombs everywhere.”
A similar sentiment is echoed by some Europeans in Hua Hin, who recommend cowering in your homes until the evil people are caught.
But the majority of Thais and expats in Hua Hin have a far stronger fighting spirit than the fearful. Streets starting filling again, and shops started opening again late Friday, only hours after the second bombing. Saturday looked like everything was mostly back to normal, with a few shops still closed.
The Bintabaht bar district will be open Saturday night, just two nights after the bombing. Life goes on.