Today, my family and I just went to a friend’s house to celebrate the coming new year. The place was almost an hour away from our place. After spending almost the whole day in their place we headed back home at almost 5.30pm. I suggested that we take the bus to Victory Monument then take a taxi from there to our home in Dusit.
Well, the thought of the convenience of going home on a taxi (straight from our current location) prevailed, we arrived home at about past 6pm (I believe). We offered coffee to my wife’s brother-in-law and his friend. Then they left to go home and possibly go to Central World to join the countdown. My family and I are resting to prepare to go to a church in Sukhumvit 63 later that night to welcome the new year when a colleague called me to break the news, which I later read over Bangkok Post Breaking News. She said there were reports that seven bombs exploded almost simultaneously in several locations in Bangkok. We cancelled going out tonight.
Aftermath of bombing at a bus stop at Victory Monument.
I then received an SMS from our personnel officer informing us about the bombings and warning against attending any gathering tonight, the UN security also sent a similar advice a few minutes later. My wife and I called relatives in the Philippines before they get wind of the news here to assure them that we are fine. As we followed the news, it got clearer how God moved to protect my family.
A bomb went off at about 5.30 to 6pm in Victory Monument, where we planned to get off. A grenade was allegedly thrown in Saphan Kwai, where the bus was supposed to pass by. We planned to go to a church in Sukhumvit 63, a bomb went off near Sukhumvit 62.
As the news develop, conflicting reports on the Thai government’s reaction to the bombings including details surrounding it came out. The first news was that the countdown celebrations will continue, however, this was later corrected to calls of cancellation–the countdown in Chiang Mai was also cancelled as a precaution. Thailand once again has to cancel one of its most awaited celebrations of the year, however due to a man-made incident (The first one was right after the Tsunami of December 2004, no new year celebration happened in Thailand as a sign of mourning).
Emergency medical service staff at Rajchavithee Hospital tend to a wounded person following a bomb attack at nearby Victory Monument.
Further details about the bombing become clear, two people died, scores were hurt in 6 simultaneous bombing in Bangkok. No one has yet to claim responsibility for the bombing. Now, remember that I just blogged about having a more restrained new year in Bangkok?! I guess I spoke too soon.
We celebrated new year at the comfort of our home. However, some Thai people would never budge on the recent bombings (maybe a statement on their side that they will never be shaken) and went on welcoming the new year with their own festive fireworks (real fireworks, I mean). We also watched the fireworks from our apartment veranda.
For the collateral damage of this senseless violence, may God be with them.
(Just as I posted this entry, I received another SMS from the UN Security, “After the new year started, three more bombs exploded at Central World, Pratunam and Khao San Road. Situation still unclear. Previous SMS instruction remain in effect.”)