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I'd write more, like you said I should. If only, there was more to me.

Monday, January 01, 2007


Last night, a bunch of us sat and toasted a new year complete with the fireworks. I skipped my afternoon nap and took it easy in the night, knowing deep down that I only had to get back to work at 5am. Squeezing in a couple of extra hours of sleep over the years has become such luxury that I can almost break into a dance if someone tells me the shift would be two hours later than usual.

That was the way it was supposed to be, so we chatted, blew the candles, burnt the sparklers, cleaned up and hit the sack post midnight. Just when sleep was sinking in, the phone buzzed, informing me there were blasts in Bangkok (I hadn't heard of the ones earlier in the evening) so all of this was turning out to be a revelation. It was time to make a dash for the office, for who knows what was going to happen next.

Soon it was counting the blasts, the death toll, the injured. In all, eight coordinated blasts rocked Bangkok - six in the evening, two past midnight. One of the midnight blasts happened near Central World Plaza where the city's main celebrations were to have been staged. If the police hadn't called off this one, like the other countdowns in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, it was a disaster waiting to happen.

In fact, the attacks capped a year of political turmoil in Bangkok which saw a military-led coup topple the government of prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. While no one has claimed responsibility for the multiple blasts, fingers point to the insurgents active in Thailand's south.

Like insurgencies in other parts of the world, this one too has a long list of grievances, has been taking on bloody overtones throughout the year. Like the continuing war on terror, there is no seeming end to it. Part of the reason, I feel, lies in the personality obsession of these continuing wars. After all, the recent trends show that there is a wildly misconstrued belief that if Osama were dead, the troubles in Afghanistan and beyond will end. Now that Saddam is gone, it will be interesting to see if Iraq is turned into a haven of peace overnight.

The trouble we face today, is that while we continue to look at ways of fighting Osama, we have virtually no strategy on fighting the grand evil vision of Osama. That's something that has taken root in so many parts of the world. Fighting it calls for rules of engagement, of winning hearts and minds, but are the powers to be ready? Because if they aren't, we merely have to stay prepared for more rocky Mondays - all the way from Bali to Bangkok to Baghdad.

Sad, but that is the reality as the world rings in 2007. The more I think of it, the harder I find it to wish you, my blog reader, a happy new year.