Who are they? Working-class farmers from the North and North East, and Thaksin Shinawatra stooges.
For: Thaksin and decentralisation of power.
Against: Abhisit Vejjajiva and traditional hegemony.
Party affiliations: Fronted by two pressure groups: UDD – The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship; and DAAD – the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship. The party most closely associated with Thaksin is currently known as the PTP – Peua Thai Party.
Most likely to say: “Elections now!”
Trivia: Many Thais support Liverpool, Manchester United or Arsenal, but the stigma attached to wearing a red shirt has led to a massive decrease in fans “showing their colours”. Oddly, the next most popular team, featuring a safely neutral sky blue shirt, is Manchester City … former chairman: Thaksin Shinawatra.
Who are they? Bangkok middle class; strong monarchists.
For: Ousting Thaksin stooges.
Against: Ousting ancien regime stooges.
Party affiliations: Was run by PAD – the People’s Alliance for Democracy. PAD members such as Sondhi Limthongkul were in favour of the parliamentary vote that put Abhisit’s Democrat Party in power in December 2008. Many PAD leaders went on to form the NPP party (New Politics Party).
Most likely to say: “See you at the airport.”
Trivia: Although yellow is normally associated with the king, because his Highness was born on “yellow” Monday, the choice is controversial because he was born Monday evening in America. So technically he was born on “pink” Tuesday morning, Thai time. Staunch royalists have a found solution to this dilemma:
Who are they? Strongly monarchist middle class, from Bangkok.
For: Status quo.
Party affiliation: None claimed, but they were wearing yellow shirts last year.
Most likely to say: “Calling an election would be undemocratic.”
Trivia: Pink, along with sky blue, was until very recently considered to be a safe neutral colour to wear to avoid offending either yellows or reds. But the recent adoption of pink by people protesting the red shirt protests will change that.
Who are they? Officially, “blue shirts” are members of the Bhum Jai Thai (BJT) party. This is the only instance of a party being directly associated with a shirt colour. Confusingly, the most famous incident involving people wearing blue shirts may have had nothing to do with the BJT.
For: The middle ground (if blue shirt means BJT). “The institution” (if blue shirt means anti-red shirt mob).
Against: Tricky again. The BJT leader used to be in Thai Rak Thai, which was Thaksin’s party. But blue shirts seem to mobilise against the Thaksin-sympathising red-shirts.
Party affiliation: The BJT party is known as “the blue shirts”. It’s headed by New Chidchob, although, because he was once a member of the Thai Rak Thai party, he officially can’t be a member.
Trivia: The first “blue shirt sighting” occurred during the Asean Summit in Pattaya last year, when an apparent militia wearing blue shirts confronted the red shirts when the latter invaded the resort town. Whether they were BJT members, sponsored astroturfers, royalist conservatives, or just a gang up for a fight isn’t entirely clear.
Most likely to say: “Actually, I’m just wearing a blue shirt.”
Who are they? Europeans who never planned to stay, but can’t afford to leave.
For: Lax immigration rules in Thailand.
Against: Lax immigration rules in Europe.
Party affiliation: Whoever’s most likely to bring about a weak baht.
Most likely to say: “Politics? Thieving bastards. Taxes? Never paid’em. Why don’t the street lights work? Big Heineken and a packet of Marlboro Lights, coppen cap.”
Trivia: Although the resident alien population in Thailand appears to consist of overweight builders from Yorkshire and septuagenarian motorcycle club chapters from Germany, figures for Bangkok indicate that Europeans are outnumbered by Chinese, Indians and Japanese.
Who are they? The latest generation of Debit Card pioneers.
For: Wifi access to lonelyplanet.com.
Against: Being seen with a copy of Lonely Planet.
Party affiliation: Full Moon Party.
Most likely to say: “If you want to see the real Asia, go to Laos … I ran a bar in Vang Vieng.”
Trivia: Beerlao is co-owned by the Lao government and Denmark’s Carlsberg. The chief brewer is Czech, bringing pilsner kudos to this rice lager. Like Lao coffee, it has acquired an exotic prestige and is therefore proclaimed “one of the best in the world”. Like Lao coffee, in reality it is cheap, refreshing but short on character.
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