Bleaching of Bangkok Red Shirts

After the eviction of the pro Thaksin Red Shirts, if you just started wandering around Bangkok you will be hard pressed to find any cloth in the color red. Be it a shirt, bandana or flag, all have disappeared from view. The question is are they just hiding or have they abandoned ship because of the violence matching the rhetoric that spewed from the Red Shirt stage was way over the top.

If you put the state of emergency aside, spotting the color red anything is a bit of a challenge. Even an accessory item like a red belt or bracelet are no place to be seen. When the same thing happened in 2009 after the April riots, red could still be seen but displayed in a very low key way. But this time nothing unless it is part of a company uniform that was red long before the Red Shirts were even heard of.

So the question is what happened to the support. Are they in hiding for fear of reprisal, or have they just been so turned off seeing Bangkok burn that they will have nothing more to do with this bunch. To be frank it is a bit hard to say. The Red Shirt supporters that live in Bangkok have for the most part accurate news, so in this case it is a personal choice and not driven by propaganda.

Looking at how much Thaksin paid for supporters to attend a rally prior to the 2009 riots, he was getting a bargain. However after the riots the price went way up to get the average Isaan farmer to head off to Bangkok. They just did not want to get involved in the riots. So what was 300 Baht became 900+ Baht for the same. But even at that price many were ripped off by middle men leaving them with little or no compensation. So looking at what happened this time around, the numbers would be matching respectable western wages with perks to show up for the next go around.

That brings us to the question of how many are turned off completely by the means and the methods of the Red Shirts. Although the underlying desire to have a more balanced society remains, the Red Shirt ride has become simply the wrong vehicle to take. With that said, they also know that any association with Thaksin under whatever banner would end up the same and causing even more self inflicted wounds. Thus that ultimately leads to the thought of price vs cost of how much of their arm must they cut off to get what they want.

As for the appearance of Yellow Shirts, on Monday several people were sporting yellow shirts with the King’s crest but few if any yellow shirts with any other markings. When the Red Shirt rally was underway, even yellow shirts with the King’s crest were no place to be seen for fear of being descent on by violent Red Shirt protesters.

So at the very least all but the most radical and violent Red Shirts have tossed in the towel as sanity would dictate. The Red Shirts have lost a lot of face, and when the smaller pay hits family members in Bangkok and ultimately less money finds its way to Isaan, any money made by attending the Red Shirt rallies will be negated and then some. In short everyone loses.

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