Tuesday, March 11, 2008

On The Edge Of Bangkok


Bangkok, Thailand is big. No surprises here, since it is, after all, the capital. But just a decade ago, the outer fringes of the city were remote farmland, and when inbound travelers saw signs like this one, they usually figured that maybe someone had screwed up and put the welcome sign in the wrong spot, or that maybe some prankster college kids had moved the sign as part of some initiation ritual. Because it sure didn't feel like you'd actually entered the city.

This sign in located in Bang Na, a suburb on the eastern fringes of Bangkok that's situated along the main highway to Thailand's eastern seaboard. Bang Na is not notable for much, other than being the home to The Nation, one of Thailand's two English language daily newspapers. The Nation is known for taking more extreme views on political issues than its older and more government-connected counterpart, the Bangkok Post.

In May 1992, when government troops fired on protesting students and killed dozens (a true death toll has never been established), the Nation actually printed stories about the tragedy on its front page, while the Bangkok Post ran blank news holes. Still, the Bangkok Post remains the more well respected of the two publications.

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