Young people mail their hopes and dreams to the future

At an event organized by the Student Union of Thailand (SUT) and the Popular Student Network for Democracy (PSND), young people wrote down their hopes and dreams for the future and put them in a sealed envelope to be opened in ten years’ time, while many expressed concerns that the country might not make it that long.

A student wrote the message "these past years I lost many opportunities and many of them are long-term. Who is going to take responsibilities?" 

The event, titled “10 years we wasted, 10 years we want,” took place in front of the Grand Postal Office on Charoen Krung Road. The organisers previously planned to hold the event in the courtyard in front of the building. But they found that the area had been blocked off, so they moved to the Si Phraya Express Boat Pier, but were once again prohibited from using the space in front of the River City Shopping Centre. They then moved back to the footpath in front of the Grand Postal Office.

The organisers put up ropes on the wall in front of the postal office, and invited participants, as well as reporters covering the event, to write down what they would like to see in Thailand in ten years’ time. Many messages contained their hopes for democracy and equality, with mentions of good infrastructure, press freedom, marriage equality, and state welfare.

The sign the organisers put up on the rope read "10 years in the past, 10 years in the future. What do you want to say?"

Participants and reporters gathered on the footpath in front of the Grand Postal Office building

One message read “Do you know that on this day ten years ago, we had to fight a dictatorship. I hope that, if you are reading this, our fight will be over.” Another message read “In 2030, I myself, a woman, with a partner who is a woman, will probably be able to get married.”

Meanwhile, several messages raise concerned whether the country will get there, worrying whether there will be true democracy after a decade. One message read “I knew it. We still have a military government,” while another read “Will democracy come first or will people starve to death first?”

One participant wrote "Do you know that on this day ten years ago, we had to fight a dictatorship. I hope that, if you are reading this, our fight will be over.”

"It's been ten years. Have we got democracy yet?" 

The messages were hung on display during the event, before being placed in a sealed envelope which will be kept at the Museum of the Commoners and opened in 2030.

A representative of the organisers also read out a letter they had written, which was sealed in the envelope alongside the messages written at the event.

Two messages wonder about marriage equality. The top one read "In ten years time, are LGBTQ couples able to get married?" while the bottom one read "In 2030, I myself, a woman, with a partner who is a woman, will probably be able to get married.”

“We agree that, if this country is to be a country in which every Thai citizen is equally happy, Thailand needs to be ruled by democracy only. Whatever our political movement we bring forward, the reason is our intention to see change in this country in a better direction in every aspect, to see democracy blossom in the future, to let future generations recognize the importance of the democratic system, of the rights of all, and above all else, of the values of humanity, because whenever the state does not listen to the voice of the people, the state will no longer be a state, and whenever the state obstructs the people’s protests, that state is considered to have lost all legitimacy,” the letter reads.

“Throughout the past decade, Thai people have realized very well how shameful it is to bow down to unjust power. For the past ten years, every Thai person has had to put up with the difficulty of paying taxes and laws of the land which are no longer sacred. Because of this, we cannot tolerate it for even a second longer, and we would like to see a true democracy for every Thai citizen whatever change it takes. This is the intention of all student organisations in coming together today, because all of us strongly believe that democracy is the system which will allow every single citizen to truly be happy and enjoy the rights and freedoms of the people to whom the country belongs, so that every Thai citizen will truly be free.”

One participant wrote "After 10 years, will democracy come first or will people starve to death first?”

Around 20 - 30 people took part in the activity. During the event, the organisers give speeches. There was also a poetry reading, as well as a rap performance and a short concert by the Commoner Band.

The Commoner Band also performed at the event

The messages were placed in the sealed envelope, which was then given to the Museum of the Commoners.

At least 20 police officers, both uniformed and plainclothes, were present in the area.

This event is the latest in the wave of student-led demonstrations which began with the mass protest at the Democracy Monument on 18 July and has continued for over ten days, with protests springing up in over twenty provinces across the country, most of which are led by university students and some by high school students. More demonstrations are still planned until 10 August.