Last Sunday afternoon I spent a few hours strolling from Chidlom to Silom inside the UDD controlled area leaving it via Lumpini Park. Although not a red shirt supporter I had a pleasant reception from those I talked with, from those on the gates and from a couple of old acquaintances. I have spent time in the northeast and I do get on well with the residents of that area, probably better than some of the Bangkok middle-class does.
During my walk I noticed something strange. I feel I did not increase the average age of those in the area at all, even though I’m late middle-aged myself. Where are all the young people? We have schools and universities on holiday and yet there were no large groups of youth in the area. I thought I might have at least found some male vocational school students who seldom pass up a chance to use up some testosterone.
Now I don’t want the above to be seen as an attack on the red shirts, it is just a question. In fact it made me think back to the PAD occupation of the airport. On my visit there the average was probably similar to the UDD’s today although obviously from a different social group. You may well think that a hot Sunday afternoon does tend to leave only the older people hanging around and maybe there are factors that occurred because of my timing, but I think we could probably agree that both movements have failed to attract large numbers of younger people. Why is that?
When you look back to 1992 or 1976 you would see an under-30 age group make up most of the crowds. I suspect many of the 1992 pro-democracy movement did show up in the PAD rallies and a few even in the UDD’s also, but these are 18 years older now.