Children of the revolution

September 21, 2006

Of all the things to happen on my first real shoot, abroad no less, I had to be in the middle of a military coup. For those not in the know, I was in Thailand for the production of our documentary since last Sunday and was scheduled to return on October 1. Before anyone has had a chance to miss me, I’m back in Singapore again!

It was kind of surreal really: after the first rather gruelling day of shoot, our Thai coordinator called me up to say there was a revolution on the streets, a curfew of 8 pm (it was already almost midnight then), and that we have to be prepared to cancel the rest of our shoot. So we went back to our hotel rooms, turned on CNN for updates, which was abruptly cut off when the military blocked the airwaves. And then, all we had was static.

Sounds very “drama” right?

But if there is one thing I must say, it’s that CNN grossly misrepresents things. As if we didn’t all already know that. I had a good mind to do an all new documentary about the reality of the situation versus the CNN spin. Since we were in there with the cameras anyway.

Missed a fabulous photo op with the tanks (tourists actually stood directly in front of them and happily snapped away, the lucky bastards), so soldiers walking around is about all I got.

Sure, there were some tanks on the street, and a splattering of soldiers carrying rifles (the guns made me kind of nervous) at almost every corner (one even carried a bazooka?!), but generally it was a picture of calm. Or at least quiet anxiety, according to my boss. I was more of the faith that the Thais were peace-loving and sensible, and weren’t going to turn around and shoot me. So really, it wasn’t too bad. It was a national holiday of sorts, life went on as usual, and for once there were no traffic jams in Bangkok!

Now that I know there hasn’t been any bloodshed and the move is supported by a majority of Thais, I actually think it is quite a cool thing. And understandably very exciting for sheltered ol’ me who would probably never hear a whimper of coup d’etat in politically stale Singapore (not that that’s a bad thing). I really wanted to stay on to shoot (mainly because I’m a fan of “getting it over and done with”), but the bosses decided it would be safer to ship our arses back to Singapore on the next available flight out.


More so because I’m going to have to figure out how to explain to all our interviewees that we packed and ran at the first sign of trouble and now have cancel and reschedule. Okay for the record, we weren’t exactly such wimps since we seriously contemplated staying on, and only left at the advice of a close aide. Right now, I’m just bummed because at least two of our key interviewees wouldn’t be able to do it anymore. Bah!

By the way, the plan is to fly back again on Sunday, considering all goes well, so I don’t see the point of coming back in the first place really. But no counter-coup, please!

Anyhow, at the very least I got to take a Singapore Airlines flight and step into Terminal 2 for (surprise surprise!) the first time in my life. Which indicates I’ve always taken cheap flights when I travel. So, I’m seeing all the pretty girls in the SIA uniforms actually “in action” for the first time and got pretty excited and triggerhappy… so there you go.

Maybe it’s just psychological, but this is the only flight I’ve taken that doesn’t make wheezy. Normally I’d be feeling sick and sniffly by the time I get off a flight and be horribly annoyed with the synthetic smells that are released into the cabin.

But like I said, it probably is just psychological. :p


One comment

  1. heyo chuanni are you sure you can tell the difference between a bazooka and a pistol??? hehehe. take care in thailand man.

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