Remembering 2010: Red Aussie | Bangkok Post: learning

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Remembering 2010: Red Aussie

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The story of Conor David Purcell last April created a lot of interest among Bangkok Post readers, especially among our foreign readers. 


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This story was published last April

A red shirt from Australia

The recent story in the Bangkok Post about Conor David Purcell  has created a lot of interest among our readers, especially among our foreign readers.

It told the story of Conor David Purcell, a former Australian military reservist, who is now staying at Ratchaprasong with the red-shirt protestors and making regular appearances on the stage.

The 29-year-old has two infected hip wounds, no money, no passport and survives on handouts from his Thai and foreign friends.

When he  takes to the stage, thousands of people stop and listen attentively to the Irish-born Aussie ‘‘military’’ man as he reads his speeches, which are immediately translated into Thai.

To the red faithful, he knows what he’s talking about, whether it’s discrediting government accounts of the Sala Daeng grenade attacks or the ‘‘criminality’’ of the April 10 bloodshed near the Democracy Monument.

Mr Purcell, who says he is not paid by the reds, became ‘‘radicalised’’ and ‘‘very angry’’ at the Thai government after what he witnessed during the April 10 fighting, which left 25 people dead.

He says he was injured by two silicon-coated bullets while trying to shelter behind an APC secured by the reds and now has a ‘‘dirty wound’’ which cannot be stitched and has to be treated with antibiotics.

During the skirmish he lost his Australian emergency passport and 1,400 baht. He signed a declaration at the Australian embassy on April 20 detailing his ordeal. ‘‘They said you have to go home straight away, then they walked back into their air-conditioned office and made themselves a cup of tea,’’ Mr Purcell said.

An Australian embassy source said Mr Purcell’s behaviour and public statements were ‘‘disturbing’’ and they had advised him to return home. ‘‘He’s actually broken quite a few Thai laws,’’ the source said.

‘‘You need to take what he says with a big dose of salt,’’ said the source.

Adapted from a story in the Bangkok Post.

reservist – a soldier who is not part of a country’s permanent army, but who is trained to fight with the army if necessary ทหารกองหนุน
appearance – coming to a place where other people can see you การปรากฏตัว
infected – having been affected by disease or disease carrying substance ซึ่งติดเชื้อ
hip – one of the two parts at either side of your body between your waist and the top of your legs สะโพก
wound – an injury in which your skin or flesh is damaged บาดแผล
handout – something such as food, clothing or money that is given free to someone who has a great need for it ของให้ทาน
the faithful – the people who support a particular political party, group, sports team, musician etc ผู้จงรักภักดี, ผู้ที่มีศรัทธา
account – a spoken or written report about something that has happened  รายงานข่าว
grenade – a small bomb that someone throws or fires from a gun ลูกระเบิดเล็ก
criminality – criminal actions, i.e, actions that are against the law การผิดกฎหมาย
bloodshed – a situation in which people are killed or injured, especially during fighting การนองเลือด
radicalise – to make a person, group, or system more extreme in their beliefs or actions ทำให้เปลี่ยนแปลงทางรากฐาน
shelter – to find a place protected from danger or bad weather หลบภัย  
armoured personnel carrier (APC) – a armoured (heavily protected) fighting vehicle designed to transport soldiers to the battlefield รถหุ้มเกราะ
secure – to take something using force ยึดครอง
stitch – to join someone’s skin together after it has been cut เย็บ
antibiotics – drugs that cure illnesses and infections caused by bacteria ยาปฏิชีวนะ
skirmish – a fight, especially a small or short one การปะทะกันเล็กน้อย
declaration – an official statement that something is true การยืนยัน, คำให้การ
ordeal – an extremely unpleasant experience, especially one that lasts for a long time ประสบการณ์ที่แสนสาหัส
source – someone who gives information แหล่งข่าว
disturbing – making you feel extremely worried or upset ที่ขุ่นเคืองใจ
take with a dose of salt – to not believe something too easily but there is a good chance it is false

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