Punchai is arranging strings of flowers under the imposing statue of King Rama VI at the entrance of Lumphini Park in Bangkok. The statue overlooks one end of the sprawling “red shirt” encampment that occupies a 3 square-km area of downtown Bangkok.
An altar has been set up at the base of the statue of a king who ruled from 1910 to 1925 and is generally credited with paving the way for democractic reforms in the kingdom. He is also the creator of Lumphini Park.
(“Red shirt” protesters dancing in the main shopping district in Bangkok. Reuters/Eric Gaillard )
I saw Chewbacca last night at the red shirts barricades in Bangkok.
The hairy Star Wars character was standing with a couple of red shirt protesters who were directing traffic in front of their wall of truck tyres, chunks of paving stone and bamboo poles at the entrance to the business district, and the Patpong go-go bars. I was in a taxi and didn’t have a chance to ask the guy in the Wookie suit what he was doing at midnight standing between the red shirts and lines of riot police, shield and batons at ready, under a bank of spotlights shedding garish light on an other-wordly scene. The gentle hairy character doesn’t speak in the movies so maybe no explanation would have been forthcoming.
HANOI, April 9 (Reuters) – Southeast Asian leaders were set
on Friday to adopt strategies for keeping economic growth on
track, bolstering their political and economic community and
making common cause on climate change.
The 10 leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN) will keep “supportive policies” in place to
consolidate the economic recovery, but will withdraw stimulus
measures when private demand returns, a draft of their
declaration to be issued when they wrap up an annual summit
later on Friday said.
HANOI (Reuters) – Southeast Asian leaders began talks on Thursday about building a strong economic and political community at an annual summit clouded by unrest in Thailand and Myanmar’s widely derided election plans.
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva canceled his trip to Hanoi for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ summit after declaring a state of emergency on Wednesday to control a month-long anti-government protest aimed at forcing an election.
HANOI, April 7 (Reuters) – Myanmar will be grilled about
its much derided election laws when foreign ministers from the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations meet in Hanoi on
Wednesday, Thailand’s top diplomat said.
“This evening, I hope we will be talking about Myanmar,”
Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya told reporters after
arriving in Hanoi for a working dinner with his ASEAN
Singapore’s warning of a terrorist threat in the Malacca Straits has again highighted the issue of who is in charge of security in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia have stepped up sea patrols in the strait after Singapore’s navy said on Thursday it had received indications a terrorist group was planning attacks on oil tankers.
Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a 33-year-old mother of two, will have an audience with Malaysian royalty next week when she will ask to be caned. Malaysia’s royals (the country has nine sultans, one for each state on the peninsula) don’t usually grant audiences to commoners, even part-time models such as Kartika, to discuss corporal punishment. But the Malay royal families are officially in charge of religious affairs, and Kartika was convicted two years ago in an Islamic court of drinking a beer.
A performer holds over-sized deck cards in front of the Resorts World Sentosa casino Feb. 14 (REUTERS/Pablo Sanchez)
At least 264 people in Singapore have asked to be put on a list that would prevent them from entering the city state’s newly opened casino. Except for nine housewives and 19 unemployed people, the rest had jobs and probably families that they did not want to hurt with a gambling problem. Family members who think a relative might have a gambling problem can also apply to have them banned.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama called for the release of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi when he met the country’s prime minister at a meeting with other Southeast Asian leaders in Singapore on Sunday.
Obama shook hands with Myanmar Prime Minister Thein Sein at the meeting in Singapore’s Shangri-la hotel with the 10 leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the first ever with a U.S. president.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama called on Saturday for a new strategy to rebalance global growth, but leaders around the Pacific rim, gathering for a weekend summit, took aim at signs of U.S. trade protectionism.
Obama, who arrived in Singapore late on Saturday for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, reiterated his call to redress the economic imbalances blamed by many for the global financial crisis.