By Father Joe Maier, C.Ss.R.
Years ago now, maybe 11, his Granny died just after a terrible slum fire. That horrible night, teenager Gee carried Granny out of their shack and watched it burn.
They lost everything. Even Granny's antique betel nut chewing box. With no home, living "make-shift" on the street, Granny died only two days later. For roust-about young Gee, she was his only family.
He'd dropped out of school and grown up mostly alone in the slums and alleyways of Klong Toey. He spent some time with us here at the Mercy Centre, where he went to school for a while.
Once again from Bangkok, "after the present troubles"…
All is quiet. The curfew is slowly going away. I believe Saturday p.m. will be the final night. Today, Thursday, as I write this, curfew is from Midnight till Four a.m. The first night, five folks tried to torch different parts of our Klong Toey Slum, one by dropping burning material from the expressway above the slum. All were doused in minutes. Two of the arsonists were 14-year-old kids who had been given a handful of money to throw a petrol bottle bomb anywhere they could, to burn the slum, and if they succeeded, they would get more cash.
Thank you for your so many prayers and emails. As I write this, Bangkok is burning, filled with smoke of burning buildings and burning petrol-doused auto tires. That terrible acrid smoke; one hospital had to evacuate all their patients as the smoke was literally killing them. Even in ICU - coming through the air con.
Several buildings - department stores, banks are scorched and some on fire. The apparent leaders of the protesters (6) surrendered this early afternoon as the army tanks tore down their bamboo-tire barricades. It unleashed the whirlwind. Marauders in small bands on motorcycles carrying beer bottle fire bombs (filled with petrol) torching the city - anywhere they can. Tonight is not going to be pleasant.