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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 17-Feb-2011
17-Feb-11 News -- Thailand vs Cambodia border clash damages ancient Hindu temple

Web Log - February, 2011

17-Feb-11 News -- Thailand vs Cambodia border clash damages ancient Hindu temple

Both Thailand and Cambodia claim the Preah Vihear Hindu temple

Thailand vs Cambodia border clash damages ancient Hindu temple

Nationalist feelings in both Cambodia and Thailand have resulted in border clashes, thanks to a disagreements about the ownership of the ancient Preah Vihear Hindu temple, on what is today the border between the two countries, according to CNN.


Preah Vihear temple, Cambodia, Thailand
Preah Vihear temple, Cambodia, Thailand

Historically, the temple was built by the Khmer (Cambodians) in the 11th century. In 1907, French surveyors determined the border between Siam (Thailand) and Cambodia, but "bent" the border in order to put the temple on the Cambodian side. However, the temple is on a cliff on the Cambordian side, so the only way to access the temple easily is from the Thai side.

Thailand's army took control of the temple in 1954, causing Cambodia to appeal to the United Nations. The International Court of Justice ruled that the temple was in Cambodian territory, which infuriated the Thai.

The two countries' last generational crisis war was the bloody Cambodian "killing fields" civil war, followed by the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, in the late 1970s.


Map of Preah Vihear temple, Cambodia, Thailand
Map of Preah Vihear temple, Cambodia, Thailand

This war split Thailand along its traditional fault line: The fair-skinned Thai-Chinese, market-dominant minority living mostly in Bangkok and to the south; and the vast majority, the poor dark-skinned laborers, mainly from farms in Thailand's northeast.

A bloody massacre on October 6, 1976, led students and other leftists to join Communist party forces in the northeast. Refugees from the war in Cambodia fled into Thailand, only to be treated violently and forced to return.

The fault line between the classes has turned into the now-famous rallies between the "yellow shirt" Úlites and the "red shirt" laborer class. In particular, this led to the bloody massacre of red shirts in Bangkok last May, leaving behind an enormously bitter class division. (See "24-May-10 News -- Les Miserables of Thailand at a turning point.")

Border clashes between Thailand and Cambodia began in 2008, when Unesco agreed with a request by Cambodia, and declared that the Preah Vihear temple was a "world heritage site," once again infuriating the Thais. There are now thousands of troops on each side of the border, according to Bernama (Myanmar). VOA reports that in border clashes earlier this month, seven people were killed, and the temple itself was damaged.

The deep ethnic and class divisions from the last crisis war are plainly apparent in Bangkok today, according to VOA. Thousands of protesters on both sides have been demonstrating in Bangkok. Some 15,000 "Red Shirts" from the laborer class staged mass anti-government protests, demanding the release of their jailed movement leaders.

Nearby, the "Yellow Shirts" from the Úlite class were demonstrating and making nationalistic demands for the resignation of the prime minister over his wimpy handling of the dispute with Cambodia over the border and the temple.

In other words, the political situation today in Thailand is totally chaotic.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this is very typical of a generational Awakening era. Readers who were around during America's last Awakening era in the 1960s will recall that the politics then were equally chaotic, with civil rights marches, the Vietnam war, political assassinations, student protests, and bombings by the Weather Underground.

With both Cambodia and Thailand in a generational Awakening era, there is no chance today of a major war between the two countries, or for a new civil war in either country. There may be brief conflicts, and it's even possible that the there will be further damage to the temple, but the clashes will fizzle fairly soon.


Thai schoolgirl uniforms
Thai schoolgirl uniforms

A poll conducted by a Japanese news web site found that college girls in Thailand wear the sexiest uniforms in the world, according to Asia Sentinel.

Now, Dear Reader, you may be wondering why I mention this in a story about a border war. Am I just looking for an excuse to add a picture of sexy college girls to my report?

Well, believe it or not, Dear Reader, this is quite relevant. Once again, recall America's last Awakening era in the 1960s. Those of you who were around then will recall the introduction of miniskirts, hot pants, and bra-burning during that period. It was the age of "women's lib," when young girls rebelled against the austere rules laid down by their war-survivor parents.

This is the kind of thing that happens in Awakening eras. Iran is also in an Awakening era. After Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president, he began to crack down on young women who didn't entirely cover their hair. (See my 2007 report, "Iranian police swoop down on women with loose headscarves.") This has been one of the funniest stories to come out of Iran in recent years.

This is in contrast to America today, in a generational Crisis era. Women today are moving in the opposite direction, and becoming increasingly modest, while both men and women are increasingly adopting their stereotypical roles that they supposedly abandoned after the 1960s. It will be interesting the watch the fallout from the horrible sexual assault of CBS reporter Lara Logan in Egypt on Friday (Associated Press) My expectation is that it will lead to widespread questioning about whether beautiful women should be present in crisis-torn regions of the world as American reporters.

As for Thailand and Cambodia, their fate is sealed on a highly predictable course. The border clashes will increase in severity as the years go by, and the violence between the classes in both countries will also increase over the years. This is the manner in which one genocidal crisis war eventually leads to the next one, decades later.

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 17-Feb-11 News -- Thailand vs Cambodia border clash damages ancient Hindu temple thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (17-Feb-2011) Permanent Link
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