Last night, as with many nights these past months, crowd control police clashed with young people aged from early teens to early twenties.
Again, there was a score of injuries and arrests, a scene rinsed and repeated.
The people who call themselves “poo-yai” (adults, elders, social superiors) are gravely concerned. What is happening to young Thais? Why are they so violent? From whom did they learn to be so violent?
The answer is, they learn it from the people who call themselves poo-yai, and they have been learning it for the past 16 years.
Occupy public areas. Riot in the streets. Invade and destroy government properties. Cheer for “mysterious” snipers who shoot at security forces. Burndown city halls. Physically obstruct a democratic election. Intimidate residences and business owners for monetary donations.
Deny peaceful public gatherings. Use tear gas and rubber bullets against protestors. Use live bullets in crackdowns.
When there are conflicts, instead of resolving them through the democratic process, use tanks and guns to overthrow democratically elected governments and take power for yourselves to rule as dictators.
Over the past 16 years, young people grew up witnessing and learning from the poo-yai to use weapons, violence, and authoritarianism. They learned from the poo-yai to use anger and hatred.
With every slingshot, firecracker, and ping-pong bomb, they have yet even reached the level of violence perpetrated by the poo-yai before them.
This isn’t to say all protestors over the past 16 years were violent. On the contrary, many had genuine grievances, wanted real changes, and abhorred violence. But many others were led by hatred and violence.
But because bombs speak louder than words and bullets dig deeper than rhetorics, the result of the past 16 years is hatred and violence.
Hence, we are a kingdom of hatred and violence, the standard set by the poo-yai for young people to learn from.