Archive for June, 2010




June 12, 2010.

Advance Happy Independence Day to all Filipinos in Thailand and all over the world.

Bagong Pagsasama (New Camaraderie).

Bagong Bayanihan (New Synergy).

Bagong Pagbabago (New Renewal).

Mabuhay tayong lahat!

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At 5:00PM yesterday afternoon, Election 2010 came to a close. The turnout? About 700 voters.  So few? Perhaps, yes, especially considering that the estimated number of Pinoys in Thailand runs up to more than 10,000. But considering there were only around 500 voters who turned out the previous election, an increase of 200 more is already good news.

Siam Pinoy visited the Philippine Embassy this afternoon to get a few words from voters, as well as ask Embassy officials for comments regarding this year’s election. To some who have been here in Thailand for many years, the lack of information about the candidates is a major challenge. One voter said she relies heavily on what others say about the candidates, particularly for the presidency. Asking young people about who they think deserves to win, she says, is all she can do so her one vote is not wasted.

Another voter mentioned that election is such a hot topic that even her Yahoo! Group members have succumbed to heated discussions about the presidentiables, which she thinks has gone too far, considering that is not the purpose of the group in the first place.

Back home in Cebu, as one Election Watcher told us at the Embassy, her friends, whom she lead during Election times years back, were lucky to have this new automated way to vote this year. She reminisced about the times in the past, when she would read the ballots out one by one, until the early morning hours the day after elections. Back then, she says, Election Watchers were very watchful. The chairman of a precinct had to read out ballots while Watchers are behind her/him, with flashlights to make sure she/he does not call out a name different from the one that’s actually written on the ballot. She couldn’t even look into her handbag, without a Watcher scrutinizing what it is she looks into her handbag for!

For one who has never exercised her vote in the Philippines, it is comforting to know that there are still places back home, where election proceedings are taken very seriously. It is medicine to one’s disillusionment about Philippine politics, to hear that election stories back home are not just all about fraud, vote-buying, or rigging of the election process.

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In answer to the Governor of Bangkok’s call for residents to help in cleaning up the Rachaprasong area, which had become a makeshift home to hundreds of anti-government protesters for more than two weeks prior to Wednesday, May 19th, some Filipinos joined this morning’s clean up, which started in Silom Road.

Many different kinds of people, from ordinary Silom residents clad in shorts and a T-shirt, to the more made up faces in the persons of Academy Fantasia contestants, were there promptly at 9am in Lumphini park. After a short program, where the Governor , M.R.Sukhumbhand Paribatra, spoke about the theme of the clean up, “Together We Can”, volunteers proceeded promptly to the different areas, starting at Silom.

It was a very organized affair, with people ready to hand out gloves and masks underneath the Saladaeng BTS station. There were people giving out black plastic garbage bags when we were starting to clean up, and along the whole stretch of Silom, there was water, soda or green tea being given to volunteers.

An announcer was thanking everyone through a public address system hooked up to a pick up truck, driving slowly along Silom as volunteers cleaned. In Thai, the announcer also reminded people of free lunch at Lumphini Park, and when we ran out of water while scrubbing the streets of Silom, the announcer was quick to ask Silom residents for more water so we can continue with our work.

There was no need for leaders to shout out orders, as people, with their gloved hands, scooped up garbage from the streets and into garbage bags. Some went on to cleaning ATM machines and phone booths. Others, worked on taking off stickers from street posts. And some of us who had the energy, went off scrubbing one side of Silom Road from end to end.

There were all kinds of people; Thais, farangs (Caucasian foreigners) and us, the few Filipinos. We were joined by Ms. Helen Villanueva from the company, Pedigree. More wanted to come and help, like Josephil Saraspe. But after hours of waiting for transportation from Phet Kasem to Bangkok, they had to abandon the desire to help, and settle on the fact that they did try to get to Lumphini in time for the clean up.

Filipino Expats in Thailand

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