Thailand in the News Week Ending 4/24/10

Thailand Sending Whitening Cream to Haiti?

Of course not,  this was a satirical news story posted on Not the Nation and then picked up by Failblog  this week on Thailand sending aid in the form of skin whitening cream to Haiti and more than a few news outlets and bloggers took it seriously. The news story came complete with a fake quote from Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya saying:

Thailand is a compassionate nation…we noticed in the news that the Haitians are all very dark-skinned. This is surely one of the reasons they are living in poverty. With lighter skin they could be more successful.

The donation was supposedly sponsored by Unilever to the tune of 50,000 bottles of whitening cream. If you knew anything about Thailand you knew the story was fake right away. No politician would dare anger the female population of Thailand by giving away free whitening cream to another country. Might be an idea to lighten the mood in Bangkok though.

Aside from sending medical and support personnel Thailand also sent 3.3 million baht in financial aid as well as 20,000 tons of rice. The Foreign Minister was blamed though for making the Thai government a target of international criticism when he approved only $20,000 to be sent to Haiti. That amount was the most his office could officially approve and he merely wanted to get the ball rolling. Cabinet approval was needed to send more money.

UDD seeks United Nations Help

Photo Courtesy AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

The UDD ( United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship ) better known as the Red shirts will petition the United Nations this coming week to send a peace keeping force to oversee the protests against the government. UDD co-leader Weng Tojirakarn said about 2000 supporters of the group will go visit the UN office on Ratchadamnoen Avenue to submit a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The government has said they will follow seven steps to deal with the never ending protests and each step would get gradually harsher with the last step being armed personnel with live ammunition firing on protesters if threatened.

On one hand this sounds like a good idea bringing in the U.N. to keep the peace and maybe quell the storm. But, this is Thailand and I can’t imagine that would be the sole reason for the Red Shirts wanting the U.N. involved. They will ask the U.N. to send a peace-keeping force to oversee the anti-government demonstration at Ratchaprasong intersection rally site to prevent the government from using force to disperse the protesters but at the same time that would basically be asking the U.N. to legitimize the protests and the U.N. presence would also help keep the protesters in place.

I still think it would be good to have a U.N. peace keeping force in Bangkok to keep the situation from getting uglier but what they could do and if they would even bother is yet to be seen.

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