Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thailand must step back from becoming a polarized society

I long for the days when I could pick up a yellow shirt or a red shirt without having to feel that if I wear one or the other, some stranger in the street is going to be making assumptions about my political standing. Yellow used to be a color of love, loyalty and friendship, the PAD totally corrupted the meaning of the color of yellow. Red used to be a color or passion, of love, of a call for attention, and now it's a color many fear and feel anger towards in Bangkok.

When you talk politics, you are expected to take sides. Common ground, moderate solutions get washed out in the emotional battle of who's right or wrong. Each side thinks only in black and white. Relationships become strained and society as a whole erodes. When we reach the point where burning buildings are pitted against lives taken out by guns and grenades, our society is on the verge of imploding.

How do we step back from the brink? Stop trying to insist on proving who's right or wrong. Let's look for the white in the black, the black in the white, like in the symbol of the Tao.

Thailand became the land of the free because we understood the concept of a buffer zone, an area designated to avoid conflict between two hostile power. Yes, it's more painful than when our ancient enemies the Burmese burned our capital to have our own people do it. However, it underscores the urgency of how important it is for us to reconcile our differences, to listen to what the other side wants.

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