It’s a beautiful Saturday in Bangkok. A bright blue sky overhead, people going about their business as usual. I took the skytrain today to the other side of town, and as a result passed by the shrine that just 5 days ago was the sight of a terrorist attack – a bomb in a backpack that deliberately exploded at rush hour on Monday, killing 20 people and injuring over a hundred. The individual or group of people who were responsible have yet to be found.
It isn’t something that I’d write about normally, but for the last few days it’s been difficult to wrap my head around. Throughout the years I’ve heard countless stories of bombings, terrorist attacks, miscellaneous explosions, etc. that always make the media headlines. They happen almost on a daily basis somewhere in the world, whether they are reported on or not. They are in fact, sadly, the stories that bring the most attention to the TV and hence the media covers them heavily, at least in the developed world. The media is meant to scare us, it’s what draws our attention and sells, it the sad fact of the nature of the business. These bombings are a sad reality of life.
Just a few days before the bombings I was a sent a video of an explosion at a chemical storage facility in China that killed over a hundred people and injured hundreds more. It was a scary video indeed, but left little emotional impact on me. Perhaps it was because it was an accident, or perhaps it was because I was far away from it. It was sadly just another story in the headlines.
And then, come Monday evening, I get a text saying a bomb went off near Central World, a major mall in Bangkok and one that I used to live nearby. Within 30 minutes my Facebook and Line feed are filled with horrendous, graphic images of the aftermath. My stomach sinks. It emotionally affects me. It left me with an indescribable feeling.
It is the first time in recent years that something like this really struck me. Perhaps it is because it is at a location that is very familar, perhaps it is the fact that many friends work/live around there, perhaps it’s the images that were flashed before me. I’m not sure.
The following day the city had cleaned up the mess, re-cemented the area where the bomb broke the ground, and washed the street. By the following evening the area was opened back up to the public. Today, as the full skytrain went by, I looked around and no one seemed any different than any other day. When I think about it, that shouldn’t be surprising as what else would I expect them to do? For whatever reason I’ve always assumed that such an attack would create massive fear among the city and cause people to panic, be scared, or stay inside. The from what I’ve seen, it’s the opposite. It was a strange feeling going past that site acting or feeling normal, when just 5 days prior it was full of terror and made international headlines.
People talk about how they won’t go to certain areas for awhile until things “calm down”. The logic there doesn’t make sense, as this sort of event could happen anywhere, at anytime, in any city in the world – it isn’t within our control the slightest. It takes 1 person to ruin it for many. Luckily, the odds are in our favor and you’d have to get real unlucky for it to happen to you. The situation leaves a sour taste in my mouth nonetheless.
I’ll always be as careful as I can, but I’m not going to live scared, it’s pointless. You have to just live your life and hope you don’t get unlucky. And if you do get unlucky and something does happen, at least you lived your damn life without the fear to do so. I do really hope things can be done to prevent this from happening in the future, but truth be told, that is nearly impossible. Catching the culprit is a start, but it doesn’t at all guarantee this won’t happen again. I have little faith in the government here in dealing with this, especially after seeing what has happened over the recent years that I’ve been here with corruption, human trafficking, Koh Tao murder trial, etc. I’m unsure how much they truly care of the well being of Thai society.
At the end of the day, all you can do is your part to make the world better and live your life as a free as possible. Forget being scared.