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To their supporters, red-shirt villages are symbols of justice and a single standard for all. For critics they are undemocratic and illegal.
Residents at Jessada housing estate in Ayutthaya’s Wang Noi district wear red shirts and wave red flags to declare their community a ‘‘red shirt village’’. Villagers in several provinces in the Northeast have also proclaimed their communities as red shirt villages. SUNTHORN PONGPAO
“Red-shirt villages” gaining popularity
The concept of the “red-shirt village” seems to be taking off in the Northeast.
Reuters reports that at least 320 villages in the provinces of Udon Thani and Khon Kaen alone have declared themselves loyal to the ideals promoted by the anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) whose mass protest paralysed key parts of Bangkok for months last year.
There are enough red-shirt villages in Maha Sarakham to upset the provincial governor who says declaring a "red democracy village" is in breach of the law on local government.
The governor, Thongthawee Pimpsen, ordered village heads and kamnan to look for and take legal action against those who had erected red flags and placards proclaiming red shirt villages.
Now the phenomenon appears to have spread to the central region. In Ayutthaya yesterday, residents at Jessada housing estate in Wang Noi district also declared their area a red shirt village – the first in the province. The estate has 444 households.
Phue Thai party list candidate and red shirt leader Natthawut Saikua was quick to defend the practice.
He said that the proclamation of red shirt villages was not illegal. He said it was only intended as a symbol to show that people want justice and a single standard for all.
The red shirt villages are not promoting any illegal activities and did not pose any threat, Mr Natthawut said.
The concept of the red village has provoked a lively discussion in the twitter community with former senator Jon Ungphakorn saying it was fundamentally undemocratic.
“I sympathise with reds but am afraid of 'red-schools’ ‘red-villages’, he wrote. “These are not democratic concepts.
“What we need in Thailand is REAL DEMOCRACY! You don't achieve that through political indoctrination!”
Adapted from a story in today’s Bangkok Post by Aekarach Sattaburuth.
declare – to announce officially that something is true or happening ประกาศ
community – the people living in one particular area ชุมชน
popularity – a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people ความเป็นที่นิยม, ความเป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
concept – a principle or idea ความคิด
take off – to become successful or popular very quickly or suddenly ได้รับความนิยมอย่างรวดเร็ว
loyal – firm and not changing in your friendship with or support for a person or an organization, or in your belief in your principles ซื่อสัตย์
ideal – an idea about what is good and right, that you try to follow in your life and behaviour อุดมคติ
promote – to encourage or support something สนับสนุน
United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) – the group originally formed to demonstrate against the 2006 coup and which supported the Somchai Wongsawat government against the PAD and which is now leading the fight against the current government. They are known for wearing red shirts แนวร่วมประชาธิปไตยต่อต้านเผด็จการแห่งชาต
mass – large numbers จำนวนมหาศาล
protest – a meeting or rally, sometimes forceful or violent, of people who strongly disagree with something ชุมนุมประท้วง
paralyse – to cause to be unable to move or function ทำให้เป็นอัมพาต
key – most important ที่สำคัญ
upset – to cause to be very worried, angry or sad about something ทำให้วิตกกังวล ทำให้หงุดหงิด
breach – a failure to follow a law or rule การละเมิดกฎหมาย
local – in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
legal – relating to the law or lawyers เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย
erect – to put the parts of something together so that it stands upright ตั้งขึ้น
placard – a large written or printed notice that is put in a public place or carried on a stick in a march ป้ายประกาศ, แผ่นประกาศ
proclaim – to announce something officially ประกาศ
phenomenon – something that exists and can be seen, felt, tasted, etc., especially something which is unusual or interesting ปรากฏการณ์
spread – to gradually affect or cover a larger area แพร่กระจาย
residents – people who live in a particular area ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่
housing estate – an area containing a large number of houses or apartments built close together at the same time บ้านจัดสรร
household – a group of people, often a family, who live together ครัวเรือน
party list (proportional representation system) – a system that gives each party in an election a number of seats in relation to the number of votes its candidates receive ระบบสัดส่วน, ระบบปาร์ตี้ลิสต์
candidate – a person who is trying to be elected ผู้สมัครรับเลือกตั้ง
defend – to say things to support someone or something ปกป้อง
practice – a way of doing something การปฏิบัติ
illegal – against the law ผิดกฎหมาย
intend – to plan to do; to want to happen ตั้งใจให้เกิดขึ้น, วางแผนไว้
symbol – someone or something that represents a particular idea or quality สัญลักษณ์
justice – fairness in the way people are dealt with ความเป็นธรรม, ความถูกต้อง, ความยุติธรรม
standard – a rule for behaving which should be obeyed มาตรฐาน, บรรทัดฐาน, กฎเกณฑ์, กรอบ
pose a threat – to be a possible danger กระทำการซึ่งอาจก่อให้เกิดอันตรายต่อ
provoke – to cause a reaction ก่อให้เกิด
fundamental – central; forming the necessary basis of something; serious and very important; affecting the most central and important parts of something ซึ่งเป็นรากฐานสำคัญ, มูลฐาน
sympathise with – to approve of and support someone or something เห็นอกเห็นใจ
indoctrination – forcing somebody to accept a particular belief or set of beliefs and not allow them to consider any others การสั่งสอน,การอบรม,การปลูกฝัง