Those of us living in Bangkok were both shocked and saddened by the bomb explosion at the famous Erawan Shrine on Monday evening. Then again, in this volatile day and age, such violence can seemingly happen anywhere at any time, and you can’t really say it was unexpected. As a friend in France wrote to me this morning, “we had the same in Paris many times.”
While many people in Thailand have become almost desensitized to the rash of bombings and killings in the country’s “Deep South” provinces in the past decade (an ongoing horror that seems to never end), having such destruction happen here in the capitol is a different story. Nevertheless, it appears as if the majority of Bangkok residents are going about their lives as normal, refusing to let fear win the day.
Despite the Erawan bomb this week, as well as the uncertainty and sometimes troubling aspects of living under the current military government, life in Bangkok is still a pleasure. It’s like a vintage Rod Stewart album: Never a Dull Moment! Of course the people are a delight, the weather is wonderful (some people may disagree, but I LOVE hot weather!), the choice of food is heavenly, and the cost of living remains relatively low (again, some people living in the high-rent districts may defer). The city can be chaotic and crazy, but it also exudes an additive energy and unbridled spirit that can infect the most hardened of people. This city has soul!
Yesterday morning I witnessed one of those random acts of kindness that makes you smile. A young Thai woman walking down the sidewalk unknowingly dropped a 1000-baht bank note. In her wake, a Thai man picked up the money and — weaving through the obstacle course throng of iPhone-clutching pedestrians — gave the money back to the woman, who looked both shocked and pleased by the gesture.
Yes, throughout it all, Bangkok keeps on keeping on. Hell yes, we’ll survive!