Calm, order to resume gradually in Bangkok

16:10, May 24, 2010      

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Gun shots in Bangkok streets have silenced, and two-month-long conflicts, which have tarnished the tropical tourist city's beautiful image, have basically terminated. However, volunteers working and sweating in streets, salespeople smiling in shopping malls, and assiduous personnel in public and private institutions have all contributed to recreating a vivid, "land of smiles" image.

On May 23rd, an exceptionally-easy, snug Sunday for Bangkok residents, a metro train speeded out of a suburb station after a suspension of a week, and a huge sign slogan on the station platform with words "A Better Life for Bangkok" stood out sharply against the blue canopy of the sky overhead and the silver colored train beneath.

An entirely-new look has brought to roads once littered with makeshift tents, banners, pot and pans, and other discarded objects. Early in the morning, about 6,000 residents converged to the Lat Phrao/Phahonyothin Intersection south of Bangkok's Central Park. Some people came up with brooms, masks and gloves they had received from voluntary agencies, and some brought in their own tools and toiled along six main roads to participate in the "clean-up day" activities, which were sponsored by the Bangkok city government.

Among these volunteers, there are students, clerks, youths, white-haired senior citizens, and even a few blond Western tourists; they cleaned up streets, removing garbage, scraping slogans and graffitis, and shoveling away the burnt tire residues. After a full morning of cleaning, they cleaned temporary tents, and discarded banners, pots, pans and other abandoned objects on the roadsides where the "Red Shirts" had rallied. A college girl, named Ms. Nada, said "Bangkok is the home of all Thais, and we want to clean houses for guests from all over the world."

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