Festering anger over the senseless deaths of four children who became the latest victims of political violence in Trat province and Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong has put Veena, a noodle vendor with an avid interest in politics, on an emotional roller coaster. As she closely monitors what daily newspapers have to say on the deaths, she gets irate and begins to spew a tirade of insults about ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his red-shirt supporters, whom she blames for being behind the incident. “They’re the aggressor, so terrible,” Veena says.
But anger hurts no one but the person who gets angry. As Veena grapples to control the spilling over of emotions, she reports a string of physical ailments such as insomnia, a loss of appetite, shortness of breath and anxiety.
Hers isn’t a unique case. The sight of people shouting venom and expletives on cable TV and online, as well as the prevalence of hate speech filled with aggression, have become something of an everyday occurence. Veena, and many like her, find themselves in a vortex of political uncertainty that, if unattended, can emotionally consume the core fabric of Thai society, bringing on a slew of physical ailments to individuals that can tip over into clinical conditions.
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