Today was quite wonderful, learnt so much that can be used in conflicts of all sorts.
It really intrigued me how the same steps that can be taken to resolve conflict in war-stricken countries with bombs going off all over the place can be used to tackle issues that take place in oh-so-peaceful Singapore.
Started off way too early - bus arrived at 6.45am and we headed to a local university where we attended lectures on violent and nonviolent conflict resolution. I was, of course, extremely excited when Civil Disobedience was raised as a method of addressing violence of any sort in any society. Peaceful rebels ftw. (I love Thoreau) .
Today might actually be my favourite day so far. Awesome lectures, I shared about death penalty and marital rape issues in Singapore and we discussed its contribution to violence on a local and global scale. It was exciting and engaging for me as the discussion kept coming back to these issues that I'd brought up.
The university we were at, Thammasat University, experienced a massacre in the 70s. Some students were thought to be communist and anti-Thai and this resulted in a devastating brutality and killing spree in '76 by the police and military forces. Bodies were hung on trees and mocked, disrespected and tortured while the dead and undead students were strewn around the football field. These acts were supported by local people who cheered and applauded the brutality.
It was something I had no knowledge of before this point and it affected me as much as the Killing Fields in Cambodia did. It made things even worse that some of the group took cheesy superkawaii shots by the field while I was standing there trying not to cry thinking about all that had taken place right there. Would you go to a tombstone, or a monument representing a mass grave, and take a Look-Where-I-Went-in-Bangkok picture there? Doubt so.
During the lectures at uni I wandered off (during break time) to find somewhere to top up my Thai simcard and chanced upon a wonderful street full of hawkers, stalls and people of all sorts. Can't describe how close I was to just ditching the whole thing and taking off but I brought myself back to what I came here for.
After the lectures we had free time and I must say I'm not so good with travelling in a big group. So many things I wanted to stop and see (e.g. cheap earrings) but couldn't. Oh how I miss being on the road by myself! Ragini (roomie) and I snuck away from the group and went to have some beer instead so it all ended well. Didn't have enough time to explore the place so I plan on going back on Monday, which is our first free day. The place is full of backpackers and my heart ached just looking at them.
One thing that has been bothering me is how when we're at the centre, everyone keeps stealing my vego food. It really isn't fair as everyone has a buffet of like five dishes while I have one, just for me and another girl, but it keeps being attacked by the others. After several instances of having to eat plain rice and two mushrooms, I brought it up to the organisers who addressed the rest and told them to keep to their own spread. But yesterday, I found this person (who I'd already clashed with during a group discussion because she kept interrupting me) sneaking into my secret vego corner and helping herself to MY mushrooms. Oh, you're vegetarian too? I asked. Yes, I am, she said, before scuttling off nervously.
Vegetarian my ass.
Beyond the east the sunrise; Beyond the west the sea
And East and West the Wander-Thirst that will not let me be;
It works in me like madness to bid me say goodbye,
For the seas call, and the stars call, and oh! The call of the sky!
Reading, 'tis what maketh a man.
Nice table at random cafe.