I am probably not in the best mood to be blogging about anything sanuk. I have contracted some sort of wimpy cold. The kind of sickness that doesn’t completely debilitate you, but keeps your nose snotty enough to be generally unattractive to present company. Doesn’t help that today I ventured out into the smoky city to grab a few necessary items from my apartment, conveniently located right where some of the heaviest violence has been in the last few days. Firefighters had mostly put out the smoldering of a nearby empty building that had been set ablaze, but smoke was everywhere. So perhaps it’s the cold, the smoke, or the crooked spine I have from sleeping on a friend’s couch that is about two feet too short that makes it hard to smile right now.
However, there are usually quick fixes to minor physical discomfort. Pop some aspirin, a sinus tablet and get back on my feet, right? Not quite. The most discouraging thing about the political battle that has my neighborhood up in smoke, is witnessing the devolution of public discourse. Rational dialogue with all it’s beleaguering complexities has promptly been evicted and people on both sides have found, fed and fortified something more simple: hatred. A hatred wrought with ill will, fear-mongering, and deception so insidious, that regardless of the political outcome, it could only engender more of the same hurtful enmity in the future.
But before you airlift me a lifetime supply of prozac, let me share that like many here I still hold on to the hope that a peaceful solution can be arranged. And a runny nose coupled with a few people’s ugliness can’t really efface the search for sanuk friends described in the last post. On the contrary, trials have actually provided the contrast by which we can value what we take for granted. For example, this month we sponsored extra supplies for five refugee families. All of the five families were having trouble purchasing basic needs; two families of widowers, two with small children, and all very grateful for any help. With the recent escalation of violence here, you can be sure the goods (rice, sugar, cooking oil, etc…) were more than timely. Also there have been a lot of interruptions in volunteering because of the situation here, but similarly, it has made us all the more appreciative of moments we do get to spend in the community.
Thanks to everyone who expressed concern for Thailand. We’re staying safe and being patient. The next few weeks while things are being sorted out, I’ll be sharing some of what I learned working with Bangkok’s homeless.